Zen Series

Zen Series The Zen bridges the gap between river runner and creek boat, launching a new tier of speed and performance. High sidewalls provide stability, while ample volume and bow rocker keep you floating on the surface. The Zen is fast, light, and maneuverable; it allows you to fly up and over rocks, holes and waves better than ever! Whether you are looking for a forgiving, easy to roll, all-around kayak or a sporty river runner that surfs as well as it creeks, then the Zen is for you! Available in three sizes.

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Zen Series - Product Description

Product Features

  • 1  - Uni-Shock Bulkhead System

    Save your ankles with Jackson Kayak's Uni Shock Bulkhead System. This system has zero holes drilled into the boat and operates out of your front wall. With a quick release you can push the bulkhead forward and stretch your legs- all without getting out of the boat. Front plates can be removed for added storage in the bow of the kayak.
  • 2  - Fast and Forgiving Planing Hull

    This smooth, progressive rocker design carries speed through rapids like nothing we’ve made before and is forgiving for punching holes and boils but also for smooth surfing, carving and spinning.
  • 3  - Sure-Lock Back Band System

    Instantly adjustable all-day comfort with no metal parts to rust or break. A simple pull of the ropes and you have the snug fit you love.
  • 4  - Improved Bow Rocker

    Lets you ride over holes easier than ever and scoops upwards even when you plug deep.
  • 5  - Higher parting Line for added stability

    We added a higher parting line to make this 2015 Zen more forgiving and add more secondary stability.
  • 6  - Drain Plug

    To get rain water out by parking on a steep hill, of course. Why else would you need it?
  • 7  - Go Pro Ready  - GoPro

    Comes equipped with a screwed in insert Go Pro mount to record your adventures.
  • 8  - JK Nalgene Bottle  - Nalgene

    This US-made BSA free product will give you years of use - just like your kayak - and has our logo to match.
  • 9  - 4 Grab Handles and Security Bar

    To lock up your investment and keep it securely connected to the roof racks, not to mention safety on the river.
  • 10  - Composite Reinforced Hull Support System

    Keeps this flat hull flat even after hard impact, roof rack time or years of use.

Comments on “Zen Series”

  1. sean
    February 24, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    An example comment regarding the 2015 Zen.

    1. February 24, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      An example reply

  2. Chris
    May 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Just got my new lg zen and love it. But my question is why is it so much harder to roll than my hero? A little about me I am 5″11 185/190lbs 34 waist with 19.5 shoe. I know it’s a bigger boat but I thought it would be easier.

  3. November 2, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    can you surf in this kayak? and how much room do you have in here with a person? as in would you be able to pack for a long overnight trip or is there no room? also will a big kid that weights about 140lbs fir in this?

  4. John
    February 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    I am a bigger waisted guy that wants to get into kayaking white water, I’m looking at the zen large but I’m unsure if the cockpit size will be adequate?

    1. February 26, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Hey John, i am sure it will work, but the large karma if you can find one is our largest model, or you can contact info@jacksonkayak.com for more help

  5. Elvis
    April 17, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    What size spray skirt for the large Zen?

    1. July 22, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      it depends on the brand of skirt, unfortunately. In Seals it’s the 1.7 for a great fit. Check the skirt companies website – this is a larger cockpit rim than any of our medium boats – similar to Karma LG or Villain or Superhero. Hope this helps! Clay

  6. Gustavo S
    July 11, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Hi, I want to buy Medium Zen Kayak Model but I´m live y Mexico City, Can you send me it to Mexico City?

    1. July 22, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Man that’s a question for customer service.. I don’t know if we have an importer in Mexico right now or a dealer but I hope so. Check the website ”find a dealer” section and then write info@jacksonkayak.com Shipping might be an option.. just depends on current pricing options. Good Luck! Clay

  7. Doug Woods
    July 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Is it possible to buy a Zen set up for C1 paddler?

    1. Colten Thor
      September 7, 2018 at 12:13 am

      the karma would be better for that as it is slightly taller .
      Sounds like an “aftermarket ” type of thing to me?

  8. Paul
    September 1, 2018 at 2:00 am

    Heard you were revamping the Zen. Felt the need to give my 2 cents. Please make the layman’s all around dream boat. The world doesn’t need another racer.
    • Keep the excellent thigh indexing. It’s very comfortable but still narrow and low enough to roll easy. No need to lower that deck (see Nirvana).
    • Keep the Zen’s rails. They work, don’t chamfer them for softer landings.
    • Add more rocker. The current Zen likes to go deep. Keep it on top. Also, no need to make a low rocker boat that trades boofing for max speed.
    • Add more volume to the bow. Paddlers are getting used to growing bow friendly boats that stay on top, keep following this trend.
    • keep the every paddler’s stern, Add more volume. Today’s flattened race sterns work well, accelerating the boat downstream when you nail your line like a pro. Bring back the stern that will take care of you when you miss that line.
    Thanks and keep up the great work,
    Paul in SEPDX

  9. Matt Woodard
    September 8, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Want one in solid black. Can you dig it, can you make it?

    1. September 19, 2018 at 11:19 am

      yes! We can make custom colors, it’s a $200 uncharge plus some extra weeks to ship – check with your dealer!! Clay

  10. Leonard
    January 13, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Is there a new version of the Zen getting released for 2019?

    1. February 26, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      Hey Leonard – The newer Zen isn’t ready yet, so we’ll be offering the current Zen a bit longer until it’s perfect. Thanks for your patience! Clay

  11. Jax
    February 3, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    ZEN 3.0 ?

    1. February 15, 2019 at 11:49 am

      Hey Jax –

      We’re still working hard to find a way to improve the surfy / river running ability of the 3.0 so expect to hear more about it late Summer or Fall as a 2020 model. I believe we may re-offer the current Zen until we find a shape we like better! C

      1. April 1, 2019 at 9:17 pm

        Please please please update the regular zen. It’s just such a meh boat. The Nirvana is also a missle. Please build something akin to the Waka OG. It won’t win races but it’ll be a rad boat to just get in, have fun, and relax.

        1. April 3, 2019 at 9:56 am

          Hey Jesse –

          We’re working hard to update the Zen with something you’ll love! We had a recent proto that was OK but we’re giving it another go. We don’t want a ”meh” boat either!! I loved the Zen before the Nirvana’s (Waka / 9r) high bow and sweet planing across everything style came around and we’re eager to step that up in a shorter, forgiving, fun design for all rivers. Not everyone wants a 9′ boat, not everyone needs the speed of a long, low stern. For those people… we’re giving the 3rd Gen Zen the time it deserves. Clay

  12. Eric
    February 7, 2019 at 11:31 am

    I have a 2015 Zen. I don’t have any damage I nerd to repair now but I am wondering if the plastic is cross link or linear. I just want to confirm that it is linear as I know cross link can’t be welded. I noticed you sell somr pkastic rods for repairs and I assume that would work for normal crack repairs?

    1. February 15, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Hey Eric –

      It’s Linear. We haven’t used x-link in many years as the newer, healthier formulas did not offer as much longevity and were still worse for the environment than the newer Linear plastics. X-link was much better for awhile, resisted cracking and lasted much longer, but when Linear improved and the old X-link formula was linked to some skin allergies we changed over. Good question, though, as I tried to weld an X-link boat a few years back and burned a hole in it. Clay

  13. James A. Ferro
    February 17, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    I am shopping for a used Zen. 175 lbs. 6′ 2′ and an inseam of 31′, and I have size 12 feet. Will I fit in a Medium Zen? I was able to tweek the fit of a medium Antix but there is very little wiggle room. I would hope to find the Medium Zen roomier.

    1. April 3, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Hey James! Of course you will fit, most river running boats fit most people, so the question is ”is this the right size for my uses”. At 175 you might try the Antix Lg instead for river running – it might be sportier paddling and larger cockpit at the same time. The Zen Md is a bit bigger cockpit too – so that should fit as well. Curious what was tight about the Antix but at 175 that’s a pretty sporty height / weight in that boat. Did you remove the foot foam? All our boats come with foam blocks over the bulkhead that you cut to fit when you buy the boat. This can make taller people feel like they don’t fit (even though there’s plenty more travel in the bulkhead). Hit me back for more if needed! Clay

  14. Clayton
    February 19, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I’m 5’7”, but I’m 205 lbs. I know that exceeds the max weight on a medium, but I feel too short for a large. What do you recommend?

    1. February 26, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      Hey Clayton! I’m 5’9” and paddle the Lg a lot by sitting up on an extra seat pad. You pay prefer chocking out the knees a bit for easier control too – I can tell you how. Try the Medium and see what you think but I actually love the Large at 175lbs because it’s so floaty and fast and easy to paddle.

      Hope this helps! Clay

  15. Sam kh
    February 21, 2019 at 12:22 am

    Hi
    I have a feeling by reading all comments that Nirvana is a more stable/ faster big water kayak than Zen,
    Is this true?.
    At 5’11” /245 lbs / beginner kayaker, I do not know what to buy?
    Really need advice of how to choose…..
    There are no retail store near to try Jackson’s either
    Help
    Help

    1. March 22, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      The Nirvana is faster, as it’s longer, and it has a bit more secondary (tilted) stability and a bit less primary (flat) so many beginners prefer the Zen Lg up to 200 lbs. For 245 I would reccommend the Nirvana Lg instead though, as it’s just a bigger boat overall and will handle that weight better. I wish you the best! If needed hit me again for more info. Clay

  16. Bonnie Larson
    April 21, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    We just bought the Large Zen and are looking at NRS float bags for it. Can you advise as to which bags you would recommend? Not sure if we need the split stern or just the standard Kayak float bag. Also what do you recommend for the bow of the boat?
    Thank you!

    1. April 23, 2019 at 6:02 pm

      Hey Bonnie – not familiar with all the float bags, we make Creek Floats which are nylon (lighter) and wrap around the wall (harder to install, easier to keep from falling out). Nylon is lighter than vinyl. Split bag because it has a wall. The manufacturer of the bags should have some info. For the bow, I suggest box wine bags … drink first 🙂 Clay

  17. Sarah
    April 22, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Hi!
    I’m a female paddler, 5′ 6” & weighing approx. 170lb (12 stone).
    I paddle in Europe on flat water and up to Grade 3.
    I demo’ed the medium at my local dealer and thought it was great, really responsive and a good size for me; however, reading the product description on your website, I notice that my weight is near the top end for the medium, will this effect the boat’s performance? Should I be in a large?
    Thanks.

    1. April 29, 2019 at 11:36 am

      Hey Sarah – at 170 you are top end for serious creeking, as I weight the same thing! On the other hand, for river running you’re right on target. I love the Md on low volume creeks I know – even steep ones like the Green, Russel Fork, Lower Meadow etc. It’s just on laggy / high level creeks with continuous rapids that I prefer to step up a size. So chances are the Medium is perfect for your uses. At 5’6” it should fit you much better than the large as well. Enjoy your Medium Zen! Clay

      1. Sarah
        May 30, 2019 at 5:49 pm

        Many thanks Clay – I did get a Medium and I’m loving it!! I have been using it on rocky, low volume rivers and i’ll be trying in on medium volume water soon.

  18. Kim
    May 14, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    Been paddling the Zen for a couple years now and am struggling to get it to whip in and out of eddies like I would love it to do. In bigger water I love it; in class III I am fighting against it to play around eddy hopping and surfing. It is a much bigger boat than anything I paddled in the past and I am fairly small…how do you think moving the seat would affect the performance?

    1. May 31, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Hey Kim!

      Edge the heck out of it!! As in drop your hip until your skirt gets wet and the Zen carves GUTTERS into the flow. I love the zippy performance of that boat, but go ahead and LEAN it over .. like a Mt Bike! The trick is drop that hip rather than lean over the cockpit rim… push the edge DOWN. If that’s hard, sit up higher .. extra foam pad or hip pad shims under your seat. This enhances your leverage. Once again – lean into the turn and DROP THAT EDGE… 45 degrees is perfect. Clay

  19. Lee
    May 19, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    I had a chance this weekend to take out a Zen M on class 1 and 2. I was quite impressed with it’s stability, outfitting, and handling. I’m an intermediate paddler and expect to be running class 2-3+. I may have the opportunity to take out an Antix in the next week or two and have a few questions concerning the two. At 175 and 5’10” I was very comfortable in the medium Zen. Would the same be true with the Antix? I may encounter class 4 but, not purposely. I love boofing, surfing, peel-outs, and ferrying difficult spots. Which, in your estimation, would be the better choice? I do like to change my mind on a dime so to speak. The Zen did that quite well and part of the reason I was impressed. Your comment/recommendation is appreciated.

    1. May 31, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      Hey Lee!
      I love the Antix L at your size – it’s a great combo of creek-worthy and fun play. Harder to squirt vertical by far but super-floaty and sporty for downriver or surfing. The medium Antix is smaller than the Medium Zen, same for the Larges, so a Large Antix is a step up in terms of sportiness but makes up for it by being larger. Medium Antix is much sportier than Medium Zen – sits a bit lower in the water but is way more playable. Hit me again if needed! Clay
      Missed this last week, sorry.

  20. Tony Macerollo
    May 25, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Is Jackson going to continue making the Zen?

    Thanks!

    1. May 31, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Yes! We are still making the current Zen but also starting to work towards it’s next generation model. I know this model will continue through the summer and Fall but after that.. it’s likely to be discontinued. Hope this helps! Clay

  21. May 30, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    What kayak for someone who is 220 ponds, Lives by a river with a 4 rapids. Is that the zen or karma. River on water level. 1 to 4 class rapids.

    1. May 31, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      At 220 your options are the Zen Lg or Nirvana LG. Nirvana will be easier in the big rapids, especially if you paddle forwards through the waves. The Zen more stable to drift and float through. I really like the ”dry ride” of the Nirvana but also like the hard-carving edges of the Zen… it feels sportier crossing currents while the Nirvana has a bit more ”take care of you” feeling. Your call Mike! Clay

  22. May 30, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    What kayak for down river running for class 1 to 4. One rapid after another.

    1. May 31, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      Zen or Antix or Nirvana! Zen might be most stable but Antix is most fun on easy water – surfing and eddy turns – and Nirvana most likely to let you stay ”face-dry” all day in waves. Your pick! Clay

  23. Kate Lines
    May 31, 2019 at 4:40 am

    Please please please keep the small Zen going for us smaller paddlers who are just that bit too tall / large for a kid’s boat ! I’m an older padder, 5’5″ and 119 pounds and like the more relaxed paddling the small (post 2015) Zen offers me having changed from an Axiom that was just too tail happy for me.

    I’m currently scouring the likes of Ebay for a second small Zen in case I split my current one on our rocky Scottish rivers !

    1. May 31, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      Hey Kate! WE did! We’ve been having trouble selling through our smaller boats but fully recognize the importance of making them – at least every other model. Expect smaller boats from Jackson Kayak for many years to come! Enjoy Scottland for me – and consider the Antix S with the seat forwards… the rocker makes it way less stern-grabby than most. Clay

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