Good Playboat for a Small Woman

Jackson 2Fun. Photo credit: Colorado Kayak Supply

The Wavesport EZG 42 has taken great care of me. I stepped up to class III in that boat, learned to surf in it, got munched in many holes in it, and became a better boater using that kayak. After padding it out, the EZG was perfect for a small boater like me, and I felt like it was just an extension of my body. It moved precisely as I needed it to while still keeping more stable than a lot of other playboat/river runners.

Unfortunately, at 6-years-old with a design defect, my boat is nearing its end. Right now, I am running it into the ground on the Deerfield, Dryway and have been looking at other playboats.This does give me an opportunity to try all the different designs that are out there and describe them in this blog to others looking for the same. So far, the boat I’ve found that might be able to compete with my life for the EZG is Jackson’s 2Fun. That’s the boat I’m going to talk about for this blog so enjoy!

The Company

Jackson Kayak started in 2003 by rodeo legend Eric Jackson and Tony Lunt as co-founders. The company is located in Sparta, TN–a town of about 8,000 people. They sell whitewater, touring and fishing boats as well as many unique accessories for outfitting and more.

A couple things I like about Jackson: 1) it’s local to where I’m from (east Tennessee). 2) Jackson was the first company to design kayaks for kids as well as promote the paddling as a family friendly sport, which is probably why they continued to strive as a company when kayaking sales in general plummeted in the early-mid 2000s.

Because the company sells boats that can fit kids, they consequentially sold boats that small women could fit as well! And by fit, I don’t mean we can make it work after fitting a ton of foam in and hoping for the best. While companies have made some strides in designing creek boats for smaller paddlers, for whatever reason play boats still lag behind. Probably because its specialty is playboats, Jackson has managed to create playboats that small paddlers can be comfortable in, ready to rock the rivers.

The Boat

The 2Fun is the smallest of the Fun Series, which are river runners that have a lot of playboating elements to their design. Like the other Jackson boats, the 2Fun’s outfitting is different from any other company’s design. For one, the backstrap gets tightened by ropes, and the accessories are basically air bladders that you blow up to fit yourself in rather than foam blocks, making the fit perfect each time and easy to move from one boat to another.

Even though the weight range starts at 115, which I don’t quite weigh (I know, I’m small), I felt very secure and tight in the boat, ready to surf some waves. The boat was surprisingly responsive with its planing hull and curved wall combination. I also found the boat incredibly easy and fast to roll.

My main plus to this kayak is the lack of need to outfit as a small paddler. I have made other boats work and written about how to do that, but sometimes it is nice to just get inside a boat and have to do very little to it. That’s the Jackson 2Fun. The 2007 series and 2010 series are apparently quite different, and I believe I was trying a 2010, so I cannot attest to the older boats. Overall, though, it’s a great boat and worth a try if you’re small and looking for a responsive, quick playboating river runner for a fun day on the river.

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