Reviewer: Simon Coward
The revamped Jackson Antix, creatively coined the Jackson Antix 2.0 is now available in Canada! This past week we excitedly took the new improved River Play Boat out for a spin on our local Class II/III run the Kananaskis River.
Now, I am a die hard Dagger paddler, Nomads, Jitsus, RPMs, CFS, Cenrifuge, Kingpins.... I have had them all. Currently my boat of choice is the Dagger Rewind M, so, in a lot of ways Jackson Kayaks have been a challenge for me to really get into over the years. I did however purchase my first Jackson Kayak this year the Rockstar 4.0 M, so, it appears they are growing on me.
So enough context, lets get into why you are here, to read about our experience with the new Jackson Antix 2.0 (we paddled the medium).
Photo: Brandon Willms testing the Stern 'squirtability' of the Antix 2.0 Medium
I definitely went into paddling the Antix 2.0 a little guarded. So many times new products get loads of hype, only to fall flat in the performance department. Even with this in mind I was pretty stoked to get it on the water.
The main differences I noticed UPON UNWRAPPING & SITTING IN THE BOAT ON DRYLAND first time were:
- Much improved knee position. Unlike the previous Antix, I didn't feel as though I needed to be a yoga instructor to comfortably sit in it.
- The boat felt pretty wide around the hips, not something I am a huge fan of and was a bit of a surprise
- The Bow and Stern Rocker was ultra noticeable, the actual water line on the boat is really short. My old school brain wondered how this boat could possibly be fast.
HOW IT PADDLED
I went in to my first paddle in the Antix 2.0 ready to compare it to the standard 9' half slice boat options, this, as it turns out was an incorrect assumption. From the instant of putting it on the water I could feel a polarizing difference from other half slice boats that I have paddled. I love the Rewind and like the Ripper, the differences in the two are noticeable, though kind of subtle, the Antix 2.0 felt like a totally different boat, and from our testing crew, we agreed almost an entirely DIFFERENT CATEGORY of boat than half slice boats to date.
- The boat is ultra stable. Yes Dane Jackson can paddle the Green at 200% in it, he could do that in a cardboard box I'm sure. This stability for average Class II/III paddlers opens up a forgiving option in the half slice category.
- The boat doesn't initially feel fast, flatwater speed and acceleration (for me) felt sluggish compared to say a Rewind. However, once up to speed in and across the current, the boat feels really zippy, accelerates and planes through boils really well.
- Although the Antix 2.0 didn't carry speed as far or long as the 9' half slice boats, it was fast enough and, the upside is it turns on a dime. Stern dip turns, flat boat turns, all happened effortlessly and very quickly.
- Stern Squirts are as easy as any modern kayak. This DOESNT MEAN there is no technique required. If you can't stern squirt now, this is a great boat to learn this fun skill in. You won't however be instantly transformed in to Clay Wright or Dane Jackson stern squirting all over the river.
- The width I was worried about does make it feel a little harder and 'choppier' to put on edge than a more displacement style boat like the Rewind. This however equates to much better PRIMARY STABILITY than other half slice boats, and, for boofing etc we had no issue getting the boat on edge for moves like that. I did find I paddle the Antix 2.0 much flatter than more displacement style boats.
- The boat surfs waves, blasts in holes, wave wheels (with a big wave and good technique), kick flips (see good technique comment prior) really well. It is a super fun and playful down river boat that plays the river better than other half slice boats.
COMPARISON TO OTHER HALF SLICE BOATS
In my personal opinion Jackson have done an amazing job of re-invigorating the 'River Play' category of kayak. To me, it is almost not worth comparing the Antix 2.0 to other half slice boats. The extra foot of length most of them have gives them a much more 'river runner with stern squirt benefits' feel, where as the Antix 2.0 feels so much more playful.
It is also a more stable option for those either looking to run harder white water in it, or who are starting out in the sport, or getting their first half slice boat.
In a nutshell I would say as a paddler, if you want a boat that is super fast, holds speed, rewards aggressive, 'on it' paddling and conversely punishes sloppy paddling something like the Dagger Rewind series or Pyranha Rippers might be your best option.
If however, you are looking for something that is ultra easy to paddle, forgiving, playful and really in it's essence a more all around fun boat, then the Jackson Antix 2.0 is hard to look past.
Photo: Courtesy of Jackson Kayaks
|Cockpit Size||34" x 19"||35" x 20.5"||36" x 22"|
|Volume||58 Gal||66 Gal||76 Gal|
|Optimal Paddler Weight||95 - 160 lbs||130 - 190 lbs||170 - 230 lbs|
|Boat Weight||34lbs||38 lbs||42 lbs|
In summary, I think Jackson did an amazing job of firstly building great hype around this boat. The media release was as good a one as I have seen in the past 15 years. MORE IMPORTANTLY however, they delivered in the performance department.
Dane Jackson and company can make any kayak look good and fun, the Antix 2.0 is not just something that world class paddlers can enjoy. It is suitable for all ability levels and, I think, could become a bit of a quiver killer style boat for Class III boaters, this kayak could be the one and only boat you need if Class III is your happy place!
Thanks for reading and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Antix 2.0 lineup (or any whitewater boats and gear for that matter.
Feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply promptly