Ben Morton 23/05/2015 | Posted in Internationalization, Karma RG, Recreational/Touring, River Running, United States
If you’re wondering about the JK Karma RG’s ability to perform in “Rock Gardens” (in the ocean) I’ll refer you to Sean Morely’s youtube channel (you can watch Sean make paddling in rough places look extremely easy). My goal is to share some of my experiences paddling the JK Karma RG is all sorts of other places, the surf zone, flat water, attainments, steep rivers, play boating, multi-day trips etc.
The Surf Zone:
I’ve taken the RG out in a wide range of conditions at this point, but most recently I used the RG at Pacific City, OR when the surf was 6-8 ft at 13 seconds. It was the perfect boat for the conditions! The RG’s speed made it really easy to catch waves long before they began to crash for longer rides. Additionally, the speed of the RG also made it really easy to charge back out beyond the “soup zone” to get set up for the next wave. The edges of the RG allowed for really fun carving turns down the face of the waves while surfing. The bow rocker of the RG also prevented the bow from “pearling” when charging down the face of the wave. One of the most impressive aspects of the RG was that after three hours of surfing hard (and getting smashed hard) the stern hatch was still completely dry. In the surf zone the RG is definitely a winner. To get an idea about the Karma RG’s speed paddling out into the surf zone check out this short video of me at Pacific City, Oregon:
While traveling throughout the U.S. teaching kayaking I find myself in places sometimes that aren’t near the highest quality whitewater or surf. However, I can always find something entertaining to paddle and in these cases I typically will do some flat water workouts or an easy section of whitewater to attain up (paddle upstream). First off, it’s really hard to beat the comfort of the RG. I could paddle for hours in the RG with no discomfort what so ever. Also, while paddling the flats I could also utilize the drop down skeg on the RG so that I could focus more on clean forward strokes without having to correct as much. The RG’s length and hull profile really make it a fun and fast kayak to paddle in flat water as well as paddling upstream.
Coming from a whitewater background I knew as soon as I got in the RG that I wanted to take it to the river. The Karma RG’s length (11’10”) makes it a very fast kayak, but the rocker of the RG also allows for quick turns and easy maneuverability. After a little getting used to I found the RG really easy to move around through technical rapids and tight slots. The combination of the rocker and the speed of the RG made for really great boofs and made it really easy to surf fast glassy waves. Lastly, the stern rocker made the RG easy and fun to back ferry and back surf.
The most recent trip I used the Karma RG on was a 3 day self support kayak trip down the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River in Oregon. With he length of the RG alone I knew it was going to be easy to pack overnight gear, but the rear hatch made gear easy to pack and very accessible. Even when packed with overnight gear, water, and food for three days the RG performed extremely well. I still surfed waves, made attainment moves, carved in and out of eddies, and picked fun technical lines through the fun class II-III whitewater.
As I’ve used the Karma RG over the past 6 months I’ve realized that it’s definitely not just “my long boat” it’s my “everything boat”. With the RG’s high quality performance in such a variety of venues and conditions it’s definitely going to stay in my quiver of kayaks.