Jackson Kayak Kilroy Deep Water Re-entry

Just a couple days before the Jackson Kayak dealer summit near the Jackson factory; I took possession of my Kilroy. I was very interested in how well it would fish and how well it would work for a camera boat, especially for a larger paddler. I will leave my full opinion for an upcoming piece but be warned, my son was fully sick of me talking about the Kilroy before the weekend was over.
While on the water, one of the dealers and I were discussing kayak safety and how important it is to practice the techniques to rescue yourself and others on the water. She asked if it was possible to reenter the Kilroy and I told her I had seen a video of it being done but it was a skinnier, more athletic guy doing it. (Just so the reader knows, I have never been accused of being skinny or athletic.)
During the lunch break I happened to run into the gentleman who made the incredible Kilroy video, Dan from Headwaters Kayak shop, and he talked about how easy it was to get back in should you ever need to. I had fully intended to get home to my warmer Alabama water before trying it out and truthfully was not sure I could even accomplish it in the Kilroy.
The thought kept gnawing on me to the point that I headed back toward the water grabbed the boat. I asked my son Ethan to run the camera and our fellow fishing team member Bridgett Howard came along to be a witness. I started walking the Kilroy out to deeper water and quickly found out it was too cold for this Alabama boy.
I would love to say how I braved the cold water and pulled off a stellar show but truthfully in the words of my son I “whimpered like a puppy and may have cried a bit” as I headed out to the deeper water. Bridgett had some video of me but I think to protect my fragile ego she agreed not to show it.
I toughed it out because I knew I had a job to do. I swam the Kilroy out till the water was over my head and I was fully floating on my Kokatat PFD. On my first attempt I flipped the boat over too far to get in but the very next attempt I shot right up onto the side and across the gunnels. With a small effort I rolled my hip into the seat and slid my legs into place.
Once I was in and secure I had to make a safety assessment, was the boat paddle-able or was I just barely floating? I am happy to say that even with a 255lb guy climbing over the side, not once but twice, there were only 6 or 7 gallons of water in the bottom of the hull. Easily pumped out or removed by use of a bilge sponge. I took the easy road out and just paddled back to the bank to empty it out.
This boat impressed me with its performance on the water and really shocked me with this little feat. Deep water reentry is not pretty with a guy my size, but it is a very necessary part of staying safe on the water. Knowing that the Kilroy can handle that part of my routine just exponentially increases my trust in this kayak.

Comments on “Jackson Kayak Kilroy Deep Water Re-entry”

  1. Jim Welborn
    November 2, 2013 at 4:29 am

    Now try it out on the pacific with winter swells topping 15ft or more and wind blowing 25knts and 40lbs of bloody fish hanging upside down attracting the almighty GREAT WHITE and water temp in the mid 40’s now that the re-entry I almost had to make last Sunday. We do need to practice these safety procedures because sometimes we get caught fishing with our guard down and it could mean life or death if you loose your paddle and can’t get back in your boat. No marine radio and so on. I was in a small Necky Dolphin and will be looking for a new boat after last Sunday. Maybe a Jackson? Need to demo a few.

  2. Sean Morley
    November 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    You make a great point that rescues need to be practiced in realistic conditions as well to be reliable.
    Have a look at this series of videos by JF Marleau and the guys from SKILS Canada.
    Get your skills dialed in on flat water first, then take them out into real-world conditions with a competent friend standing by to assist you if necessary.
    Have fun choosing a new kayak. You might want to start by checking out the Cuda 14.

  3. John Jensen
    November 3, 2013 at 12:23 am

    My Kilroy was delivered to me in Alabama a little over a month ago and I absolutely love it. I fish year-round so the SINK is perfect for me. The hull cuts through the chop/swells on the Tennesee River that would have been difficult with my little 9.5 Featherlite, and I stay pretty dry. My max time out on the water used to be about 3 hours without being totally cramped up. Now, I have to watch my time to stay out of the dog house with my wife. The Elite Seat with lumbar support and cockpit room make a big difference. I really like the stability that allows you to stand to stretch and fish. I have only begun to take advantage of the features of this kayak.

  4. mark whitehurst
    January 9, 2014 at 3:43 am

    I fish mainly lakes and small ponds – would the kilroy be better choice than the cuda 12?

    1. January 21, 2014 at 5:05 am

      Mark, this is going to be a personal choice. The Kilroy will have a bit more stability, due to the seat and standing are being nearer the bottom of the hull when compared to the Cuda 12. The hull performance is similar. This one really boils down to whether you prefer a SOT of a Sit In. Find a local dealer and take them both for a test drive. You can’t go wrong with either.

  5. Brian Dorbuck
    April 22, 2014 at 5:26 am


    Do you have a link to the video of the guy re-entering his Jackson Kilroy that is mentioned in the article above?

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