2017 Jackson Kayak Antix Review
I remember walking into the CKS Warehouse last summer and seeing a lime green mutant looking Jackson Kayak sitting on the front office desk. It had a planing hull, semi-squashed tail, but looked like is had enough volume to actually run rivers. The bow had significant volume, and the cockpit was marked up with magic marker, and pen….we said to ourselves “why is there a lime Green Jackson Stubby / fun runner sitting here?” Well, it turns out that Clay Wright dropped off an early prototype of the new 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix – we were shipping it back to Jackson Kayak world HQ in Tennessee, and were very intrigued to say the least…
A few months later, we received our first truck load of the 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix, and upon first look, this boat appears to be a total quiver killer. We caught up with Colin Kemp, who pitched the boat to Jackson. He gave us a rundown on the history of the concept, inspiration for it’s design, and intended usage….
Who Designed the Antix and Why?
There was not one person that was directly responsible for the design of this boat; it was a team effort. Colin Kemp (who also came up with the idea of the Fun Runner a few years back), pitched the idea to the team. The original concept, was to play off the success of the Wave Sport Stubby (Colin and EJ used to be Wave Sport paddlers). People still creek out of the Stubby, as well as play in it – the boat has a cult following, and for good reason. With squirting being back en vogue, why not have a planing hull river runner that will get vertical on most eddylines?
The Jackson Team was also a huge part of the R and D. This boat in particular went through more prototyping than most Jackson boats…the reason for this was because of the challenge of trying to blend in so many different facets of paddling into one boat.
At the end of the day, the Antix was created to make whitewater kayaking fun, and help paddlers simplify their quiver. This boat really is capable in all but the hardest whitewater. It is playable enough where rivers turn into play grounds – except with the Jackson spin on things (SUPER user friendly, comfortable, easy to roll, stable hull, light weight, great warranty and Jackson’s famous customer service).
Who is the Antix meant for?
The 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix has a wide audience in regards to it’s overall appeal. According to Colin, it will without a doubt be the most popular teaching boat in the Jackson fleet. You could think of it as 50% Zen, and 50% Fun. I would argue that it’s closer to the Fun than the Zen, but that’s splitting hairs…
The new Jackson Kayak Antix is built to be enjoyed, and give confidence to a paddler in all but the top 10% of rivers within their paddling abilities. In other words, you’ll be able to use the Antix on all rivers except for the hardest stuff that you paddle. On the hard stuff, you’ll want to be in a big volume boat, or whatever you are the most confident in.
If you are currently paddling a Jackson Fun, but want to step up from paddling class III, to III+ / IV-, the Antix would be a great contender. With more volume in the bow, longer running length, and more volume overall, it will be that much more confident going downriver. If you’re an advanced paddler who is getting bored with paddling an 80 gallon river runner on you local class IV (or harder) run, take out the Antix – squirt the lead in to the rapid, wave wheel the wave trains, surf some big glassy waves on the way down, splat whenever you can, kick flip the wave at the end, and still have confidence in your boof.
- Squirtable Stern – The low volume stern will squirt in eddylines, but is not so thin that it will easily and unintentionally get squirted in rapids. You have to be on your game, and use good form to get it to squirt vertically. The stern of the 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix is not as long as the LiquidLogic Party BRAAAP’s tail, and is also convex, and not concave (like the LL boats) – this will allow the paddler to squirt the boat in shallower eddylines, and gives more stability in rapids (since the tail sheds water easier).
- Volume distribution – The 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix has what I would call Jackson’esque volume distribution. This means that the boat is very confident and capable going downriver, it rolls easily, and overall is fun to paddle and is user friendly. The boat has a bit of the overall volume in the center of the hull, which keeps it on the surface when coming out of drops. It’s got a modern planing hull, which means that it’s gets 10/10 in regards to primary stability. The drop chines are nice because they are easy to edge, but do not get in the way and give the boat an “edgy” feeling…the overall rocker profile was designed to give the boat enough hull speed, but at the same time be able to boof and have enough rocker for surfing smaller river features. We paddled the boat in the Buena Vista River Park at low water, and noticed that the boat was able to surf smaller river features that only a tiny playboat would be able to fit in….props to Jackson for giving the boat enough rocker to enjoy “real world” waves, and not just large scale river features…
- Outfitting – Like all Jackson boats, the outfitting is comfortable, simple, clean and adjustable. This year it was upgraded to Ripstop Nylon for added durability. The 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix also has the unishock bulkhead, which provides a solid platform to put your feet against, as well as protection against pitons and powerful impacts…
- Fits in a car quite easily – one other nice thing about the MED sized Antix, is that it fits in an SUV no problem…
When would you pull the Antix off the roof instead of the Rockstar, Mamba, Zen, Karma or Burn? In our valley (Arkansas River), Browns Canyon and The Numbers are the first 2 runs that come to mind. They both have fun lines, lots of eddylines and downriver play potential – 5 star jibbing. East Coast paddlers will have a blast on the Ocoee, Nantahala, Nolichucky, Pigeon, Gauley, New, Russel Fork, and pretty much any run that is not in the top 10% of their ability levels.
If you’re a beginning paddler, and do not want to spend money on a boat that you will outgrow at the end of the year, the 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix could save you some money. If you learn to paddle class I and II in a Dagger Mamba, but aspire to surf, squirt and play your way down river, why not learn to boat in the 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix? You’re learning curve will be about the same, but you’ll have more fun down the road!
So far, the Antix has been incredibly popular for us, and we can see why…