Kyle Thomas 17/08/2017 | Posted in Antix, Creeking, Media, Reviews, River Running, rivers, Video, Whitewater, WW Disciplines
For the past six months, I have been paddling Jackson Kayak’s Antix in the southeast and recently the Pacific Northwest. I learned to paddle on rivers like the Chattooga and Ocoee, and as I progress in the sport, I continue to have a lot of fun on class III rivers. I’d like to review Jackson Kayak’s Antix from a class III point-of-view.
The Antix from Jackson Kayak is a creeking or river running kayak. For me, I have been searching for years for a kayak that I can take to rivers I feel comfortable on, and make that river more challenging and have a bit more fun than I would have in my high volume creek boat. I have bought and sold my kayaks (a variety of brands) in the river-runner category because one would not surf well, I wouldn’t feel safe, it would be hard to gain confidence in, or it was not comfortable or too big.
I bought a Large Antix at 6’1’’ and about 185 pounds, so I’m between Antix sizes. I could fit into the Medium as well as the Large at my size, and I guessed that I could take the Medium and squirt it with ease or I could take the Large and take it on some of the more challenging stuff that I paddle. I opted for the latter.
Before paddling a river runner, I have general criteria that the best river runner must have.
Kyle’s River Runner Criteria
▪ Safety first: With considering to take this kayak on creeks, I want to feel safe and not be distracted by the What-if’s.
▪ Comfortable: I need to be comfortable because I’ll be sitting in the kayak for hours at a time.
▪ Confidence-inspiring: If it’s easy to roll, my confidence goes up. If it’s stable, I’ll surf. I also want to try the tricky lines and have success.
▪ The Fun Factor: I want to have a GREAT time.
While paddling around the southeast, I took the Antix on class III classics like the Middle Ocoee, Big Laurel, and Upper Green River. The first thing I noticed is the Antix’s impressible ability to lock onto a wave. I hopped in the hole below Bayless Boof on the Upper Green and felt as though I could do hole spins until the end of time. Then I took it to Big Laurel and just spent the day finding surf wave after surf wave. I have been to Big Laurel many times, but the Antix transformed me into surf maniac. Every time I would hop onto a wave, I would be able to stay on and practice. Normally, I would have hopped onto one of these waves and immediately be kicked off, causing me to get frustrated. With the Antix, I could surf so much longer and my skills could evolve. And then I took it to the Ocoee, and surfed until my arms turned to jelly.
While creeking in river runners in the past, I had been nervous about designs without a front bulkhead. Over the years, I’ve heard the stories of kayakers injuring their legs. The Antix provides a beefy front bulkhead (the Uni-shock bulkhead system) and makes me feel safe in the case of a piton or pin situation. Jackson Kayak’s outfitting is also easily adjustable, which helps me to feel safe on the river when I can pop into an eddy, make adjustments in seconds, and feel confident that my outfitting is rock-solid during an upcoming big rapid. I also have enough room in the stern of the kayak to pack a breakdown paddle.
When I moved out west, I was nervous about the difference in whitewater between the southeast and PNW. When I traveled to the Middle-Middle Snoqualmie, a local class III-III+ after work run, I immediately threw the Antix into my car (it fits easily inside my Jeep Cherokee). I knew that it could do the job and keep me safe on a personal first descent. After descents of the Middle-Middle, South Fork of the Snoqualmie, Wenatachee, Elwha, and Sol Duc, I noticed that my creek boat was getting dusty. I just wanted to paddle the Antix everywhere.
The Antix has many personalities. It punches through holes without getting hung up. It can surf better than most of the playboats I’ve ever paddled (it’s actually my favorite boat of all time to surf). It has a slicey stern which helps when making contact with rocks (especially that splat spot toward the end of the Middle Ocoee). It also rolls super easy without any resistance from the slicey stern. My GoPro videos end up having tons of laughter, as I am just having the best time on the river. I am constantly amazed at what I’m capable of while paddling the Antix, and end up noticing new river features that I would have probably passed up in other kayaks.
All things considered, I recommend Jackson Kayak’s Antix for those looking for a safe, fun, and confidence-inspiring river runner on every type of whitewater. This design has been effective on big water runs like the Wenatchee at 9,000 CFS, southeast creeks like Big Laurel, and classics like the Chattooga River. The Antix will leave you with a grin from ear-to-ear!
Things you should do in an Antix:
– Surf the Rodeo Hole on the Wenatchee Play Run
– Splat the toaster slot line of Screaming Left Turn rapid on the Chattooga River
– Run the meat of Stairstep on Big Laurel
– Catch as many eddies as you can on Broken Nose rapid on the Middle Ocoee