Jackson Karma L vs River Elf Storm Chaser M - help me pick

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wildwaterc2
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Jackson Karma L vs River Elf Storm Chaser M - help me pick

Post by wildwaterc2 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:30 pm

So, I've tried and don't care for the Cascade and am planning on a different boat. I've read all the postings here and narrowed to these two. I can't find anyone who has paddled both of them.

About me. I'm 46, c-boating since 16, active wildwater racer roughly 96-04, mainly mellow family boating since (class 2-3, like French Broad Section 9), and recently back into more interesting paddling. Always paddled a Gyramax - fun runs were stuff like Upper Gauley/Daddys Creek/Chattooga IV, harder runs were like North Chickamauga/Cain Creek, Caney Fork, North Fork French Broad, Russell Fork. All in Gyramax. Local fun run now is Johns Creek. I'm about 175 lbs and 5'7".

I have a recently bought Viper C1 that feels right at home and paddles without having to think about it - different than my Gyramax but equally at home to paddle. In contrast, I don't like the Cascade hull - too chunky, feels like it squats no matter the saddle position, no faster turning than Gyramax and does not like to lean to turn - wallowing would be a good description for it, not remotely crisp - it feels like it would bash through anything on a low water run but overall I don't like it. I also have a Howler OC-2 I paddle with my kids that I like a lot after passing a Probe 14 on to my brother. I suspect it is fair to say I like some edge and some carving.

The River Elf Storm Chaser is appealing as it looks like good moderate hull, it is light, it is designed as a c1 with a narrower bow and wide spot at your back, and I appreciate the outfitting flexibility you easily get with a glass c1 - lots of flexibility in saddle and strap/bracing attachment. I will do runs at very low water (typically a bit lower than the American Whitewater recommendations), but suspect the boat is pretty tough - after all I trained and raced our wildwater c2 on the Loisach in Garmisch and it survived the hits, albeit with some patches after some pounding on the much more fragile boat. I grew up paddling in Alabama and am familiar with the Sand Mountain runs that the designers developed the boat for, and they are not unlike my typical runs.

The Jackson Karma seems like a very popular C1 conversion. I've read all I can on it here. I know some have M and some have L. ClassVBoats was ambivalent on his L, the great gonzo really likes his M, and BMille really likes his L. I like the wide 28" width of the L and would aim this way to be a little more conservative. While it has less edge, the flat planing hull appears to give some edge, and it also allows for a fairly flat area where your knees go, which I also like. I don't know if I'd try the Jackson C1 kit or not - I'd consider it but would lean towards doing my own. I suspect this boat would be tougher than Storm Chaser as well as more forgiving in steep drops.

I would paddle it on my local Johns Creek as well as other similar runs, and probably some bigger water runs like the New and Gauley (though I may take the Viper on those instead). I like a 6" or so seat height depending on the hull shape - I can go lower in a flatter hull and need more in a rounded hull.

It would be great if I could paddle both, but that is complicated at best. Cost is certainly a difference in the two, but as you can tell I don't buy a new boat very often, and as such cost is not a prime factor - my sweet wife is encouraging me to pick whatever I want.

If you have paddled both boats, I would really appreciate your input. If you've paddled one of the boats and have anything to add to the above, I'd appreciate that also.

Thanks, Russell/wildwaterc2

Larry Horne
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Re: Jackson Karma L vs River Elf Storm Chaser M - help me pi

Post by Larry Horne » Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:26 am

I've paddled neither, but have been through a few boats. One thing that I like to consider, because usually I can't try before I buy, is resale. I have never been able to sell a c1, but selling a kayak is easy as pie.
If you buy the c1 you may be stuck with it forever.
If you buy the kayak, you can easily sell it if you're not in love with it. I suggest getting it with the kayak outfitting for that reason.
Larry

Pierre LaPaddelle
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Re: Jackson Karma L vs River Elf Storm Chaser M - help me pi

Post by Pierre LaPaddelle » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:17 pm

wildwaterc2 wrote: . . . too chunky, feels like it squats no matter the saddle position, no faster turning than Gyramax and does not like to lean to turn - wallowing would be a good description for it, not remotely crisp . . .
Well, yes, but possibly that's the nature of current WW river-runners or creekers. They're not meant to be race-boats.

I have a Storm Chaser, and like it. Being light, it's very quick, and quite fast. I got an extra layer of material in the hull and the deck, and it's still 'way lighter than any plastic hull. It's also been strong and smooth enough to bounce off every rock I've encountered. It's not a playboat, and the chines are not edgy. Notwithstanding, it surfs wide green waves like a dream. Best of all, the service from River Elf was excellent.

Rick
C'est l'aviron. . . !

wildwaterc2
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Location: Roanoke VA

Re: Jackson Karma L vs River Elf Storm Chaser M - help me pi

Post by wildwaterc2 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:06 pm

Well, I picked a Storm Chaser. Chris was great to communicate with about the boat, but I was trying to get a test paddle in prior to purchase. His brother Trevor brought up a demo boat and a new boat to meet me near Nashville TN where I had traveled for New Years, which was great and so nice to do. I took the demo boat out for a half-hour paddle on the Harpeth (basically moving water) and decided to buy the new hull from them.

I am in the midst of outfitting it now and hope to get mine on the river within about a week. I bought it bare, but bought parts from River Elf to install. I have the full cut, narrower hull version.

It is going to take some adjusting to such a short boat, as it will turn so effortlessly - notably faster than my Viper for example. Top speed is modest but acceleration is great. Stability is very good - really firms up rapidly as you lean. In contrast to the Cascade and like the Gyramax (and Viper), it has a flat hull bottom under the saddle - to me that both makes it more comfortable and also helps it carve when you lean the edge of that flat bottom down.

I did find a used Karma L for sale near Cookeville TN that I came close to buying and converting, but I think for my tastes the true C1 hull is better.

Paddle Power
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Re: Jackson Karma L vs River Elf Storm Chaser M - help me pi

Post by Paddle Power » Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:53 pm

Great news!

Best wishes with the Outfitting and Happy Paddling
Brian
http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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