Jackson Antix Customer Review

Jackson Antix Customer Review

Nils Blegen

Review by 4Corners Riversports customer Nils Blegen In December, I decided to jump onboard the Dreamline trip that Steve Fisher had put together for the Zambezi. It was a last minute decision, but once I figured out that it was possible (vacay from the office job), I bought my ticket. I then checked a map to see where exactly Zambia was. If you had asked where I was going and showed me a map, I would have pointed somewhere at the African continent.

Zambezi
Photo by Steve Fisher

Coming from Durango, I let the team know that I would need a boat, so they made an exception for me since they knew they had an extra Jackson Antix. When I showed up to Zambia, I still had not seen one up close. I knew that it was new for this year and some combination of a play boat and river runner, but that was about it. I knew I was in for big water so once I saw it I started to giggle, thinking that I was surely about to be thrown around like a rag doll in the Zambezi juice. I felt good about it though— it looked like a rocket to me, and I had started trying to learn squirts in the Durango park just before winter so it seemed appropriate to check out a squirty new design.

Jackson Antix
The 2017 Jackson Kayak Antix in Amber. With the bow rocker of a creek boat and the stern of an old school play boat, the Antix can do a little bit of everything.
Antix slicy stern
The slicy stern of the Antix allows for old school moves like splats and squirts, as well as pivot turns for quick maneuvers in harder whitewater.

The fit was another reminder for me that I personally fit in Jackson boats really nicely and with no effort. I’m 6’ 1” and 180 pounds. I’ve paddled both a medium Karma and a medium Rockstar and hopping in the Antix with the seat in the center position was perfect. I didn’t need to do anything for outfitting. I pulled the foot rope up and I was connected and comfortable in all the places that count.

Antix outfitting
Jackson’s proven comfortable, lightweight, and easily adjustable outfitting.

Once I was on the water, it was clear that my initial thought was correct—I was going to get tossed around a bit. However, I quickly realized that I had a lot of say as to where and how it would happen. Even though I probably got knocked over 2 dozen times during the week, the boat was ALWAYS on point in all the right ways. I always was able to quickly get on line and get moving. I was surfing everything I wanted and when I got thrashed around I was always able to roll up and correct whatever I needed.

I felt like the boat had the edges of my Rockstar and would turn on a dime, but would also let me carry momentum and punch through the giant waves and eddy-walls. When the stern was underwater (simply from high volume rapids), I still felt like I had a say in what was happening. Even when I got rocked, it was all good, as the boat was really easy to course-correct as well as exceptionally easy to roll. I nailed a couple big moves that I was really excited about and I think that was partly due to being in a really well designed kayak. The edges were really there when I needed them and the sporty feel kept me smiling ear-to-ear in massive water through the whole trip. I ran #9 and surfed Oblivion, and the Antix took good care of me even when I was thinking I might be done for .

Zam Dreamline
The author sending a massive water boof in Number 5. Photo by Steve Fisher.

The Antix is a great all-around kayak, and I think it’s cool they are starting to make these designs. It’s easy to get in and get playful while still having some directional stability and speed. This boat is a great solution for upper Animas marathon jams and big water Smelter carving. Certainly a cool option for beginners, since the play boat/creek boat dynamic can sometimes be a one-or-the-other barrier to entry into the sport. I really don’t have any criticism for the boat. If I was asked what I would change about it, I wouldn’t know what to say other than I’d like to check out a little more volume in the boat, so I’m excited to paddle the large.

Pros:

  • Versatile (surfs and boofs)
  • Faster than a play boat
  • Light
  • Comfortable
  • Playful feel—being one with the river
  • Responsive edges

Cons:

  • Squirrely at times (which is a pro unless you’re not expecting it
  • Not much storage capacity
  • More time spent upside down than a river runner with more stern volume
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