This week, Bobby Kuepper of CKS Online had the pleasure of speaking with Jesse Shimrock, a member of the Demshitz crew and former Team Wavesport freestyle kayaker. Recently, Jesse paddled the Antix 2.0 – a brand new boat from Jackson – and had some great feedback on the outfitting, fit, downriver performance, and freestyle play of this kayak.
THE JACKSON KAYAK ANTIX 2.0 BETA
- QUICK/EASY TO OUTFIT: Jesse used one of Dane Jackson’s personal Antix 2.0s. After two simple modifications (tightening up the backband and adjusting the bulkhead), Jesse began paddling. The adjustments took seconds. Yes, seconds!
- LIGHT: Jackson Kayak outfitting is some of the lightest in the industry. What they lack in bells and whistles (burly ratcheting backbands or fancy seat adjusters), they more than make up for in simplicity and the benefit of having less weight in your boat.
- AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES: If you’re not familiar with Jackson Kayak outfitting accessories, you should be. They sell many different items that will dial in the fit specific to you for ultimate comfort.
- “RIGHT AT HOME” FEEL: According to Jesse, things just felt right while paddling the boat.
- HIGHER SEATING POSITION: Similar to other Jackson boats, the paddler sits a bit higher out of the kayak. This gives the paddler more torque, leverage, etc. Jesse also commented that he noticed absolutely no loss of stability.
- COMFORTABLE TO PADDLE: Seeing that Jesse’s spent almost ⅓ of a decade paddling boats like the XXX (which he still owns), it was a welcome relief to be able to throw down at will like any decent playboat, yet have the comfort of a river runner upfront.
- CONFIDENCE-INSPIRING: With a heavily rockered creek boat bow, the Antix is extremely capable. It also has a flat hull, which gives it a lot of primary stability.
- LOOSE HULL: “You feel like you can do it all” –Jesse Shimrock, 2020. The Antix 2.0 is a boat that you feel like you can spin at will, and do tricks that were once reserved for a full-on playboat.
- AGGRESSIVE CHINE: The aggressive chine is not to be confused with an aggressive edge. The chine helps to keep the boat on track, carve turns and feel in control when paddling. The boat does not feel edgy or quirky.
- LOW VOLUME STERN GETS 2 THUMBS UP: The stern of the Antix 2.0 is technically a “wing” shape. The top half of the tail is convex, as opposed to concave (see Party BRAAAP), and therefore the stern sits out of the water a little bit higher compared to other boats. Therefore, the tail does not catch as easily and is not as grabby as it would be if it were convex. The tail of the Antix 2.0 is also a bit shorter than that of the Ripper or Rewind, which means that it is less likely to hit rocks when pivoting, squirting, etc. You can sink the tail in shallow eddies, which opens up new squirtable river options.
- “BOOFABILITY IS NOTICEABLY AWESOME”: With a lot of rocker in the bow, and not a lot of boat behind you, the Antix 2.0 is really fun to boof. It’s a boat that rewards proper technique. Take a strong boof stroke, wind up properly with your hips, and next thing you know, you’re airborne!
FREESTYLE CAPABILITIES / DOWNRIVER PLAY
- SQUIRTS ARE REWARDING: First off, that’s what Jesse said…Secondly, The Antix 2.0 has “tremendous control on axis. Even past vertical, you are still in control.”
- FREESTYLE PLAY: This boat has the capacity to perform like a freestyle kayak. It is able to surf, spin, cartwheel (yep, that’s right), squirt, and do combos that you would only think possible in a full playboat.
HOW DOES THE ANTIX 2.0 COMPARE?
TO THE PYRANHA RIPPER?
Of all the competing half slice boats on the market, the Jackson Antix 2.0 compares closest to the Pyranha Ripper, although Jesse will be the first to tell you that they are “wildly different” kayaks. The Ripper is longer, narrower, and noticeably faster. Similar to the LiquidLogic’s BRAAAP series, the Ripper is more of a slalom based boat than the Jackson. The Ripper takes more effort to squirt and it has a longer tail, which means that you hit bottom in shallow eddies more often.
One point to mention is that while the Ripper requires more effort to squirt, it is fantastic pirouette boat.
The Antix paddles like a playboat, but with more comfort. It’s not as fast, and is easier to initiate turns and tricks, all while being able to hold its own in big water.
TO THE DAGGER REWIND?
The Rewind is a larger boat. It’s got more volume pound for pound and will be more difficult to initiate on the freestyle end of things. The Jackson is again, more playful, and the Rewind is more downriver oriented.
TO THE WAKA STEEZE?
The Steeze is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a class V, planing hull, creek boat with a low volume tail. The Steeze was not built to play the river, it was designed to crush anything in its path. The Antix is certainly capable of paddling class V, but was designed to win the Green River Rodeo, and not The North Fork Race…
TO THE JACKSON ANTIX 1.0?
The Antix 2.0 is more playful, more confident downriver, and more comfortable than Jackson’s older model. The knee area is roomier, which allows for taller paddlers to fit in smaller boats.
WHO IS THE ANTIX 2.0 DESIGNED FOR?
This boat would fulfill and put a smile on any paddler’s face. Seriously. Beginners will love it for its stability. Intermediate paddlers looking to perfect their skills will enjoy the Antix 2.0’s insistence on proper technique. Class IV+ boaters will love it, no questions asked, for its supreme versatility.
OUR FAVORITE JESSE SHIMROCK QUOTES:
- “This is the Upper Yough boat that we’ve wanted”
- “It filled a slot that hadn’t been filled yet” (again, that’s what Jesse said!)
- “Not a lot of compromise with this one”
- “It can paddle class IV+ no questions asked…it may not be the best creek boat, but that is not what it was designed to do”
- Yes, the Antix 2.0 is longer than a 6’ playboat, but it is every bit as loose. With the amount of rocker upfront, and edge control from crisp chines, you really feel like you can do it all. The low volume stern makes this boat easy to manage (perfect for beginners!). The tail end edge won’t catch or steer you like in some other half slice boats.
- Compared to other brands of kayaks on the market, Jackson boats always seem to be the easiest to outfit and will have you out on the water the quickest. One issue is that the UniShock bulkhead can feel a little bit loose at times, and it is important to tightly bind the prussick to the cleat.
- A boat this versatile has never existed. The ratio of playability and comfort is insane.
TEST PILOT DETAILS – JESSE SHIMROCK
- Height: 5’9”
- Weight: 180 lbs
- Inseam: 30”
- Home Run: Upper Yough
- Daily Driver(s): Pyranha 9R, Pyranha Ripper, Wave Sport XXX
- Paddle Type Length and Offset: Jim Snyder wooden 197 / 30 degree
- Years Kayaking: 27
- Bio: Team Wavesport Freestyle Team member from 2000-2005 (back when freestyle was cool). Jesse’s also paddled for LiquidLogic and got into the extreme racing scenes of the Green Race, Sickline, etc. He previously coached for World Class Kayak Academy. Outside of kayaking, Jesse is an accomplished mountaineer, and paraglides.
Pictures of Jesse paddling the Antix 2.0 to come next week!