My kayaking passion is ocean rock gardening (ducking in and out of the rocks and waves). So for me the true test for a kayak is how does it handle dynamic water in close with the rocks. Swell was 4.5 feet at 18 seconds today so it made for some challenging conditions, some waves 6-7 feet, perfect for putting the Jackson Kayak Journey to the test.
At 14 feet and 24.5 inches wide the Journey is a short sea kayak, but it tracks very well and has enough speed to keep up with your friends. It can also hold enough gear for a multi day paddle trip. At 6’3", 195 pounds the high quality outfitting fit me well.
The Journey proved it is capable of going where some sea kayakers fear to tread due to great stability, superior edge control and turning ease. With large surf creating chaotic whitewater crashing into the kayak from all angles, I was very comfortable punching through waves and paddling through the sea caves and grottoes that adorn our Central California coast. On the way back into the beach I surfed one of the medium sized waves (4 ft.) and was pleasantly surprised by how well it carved the wave face!
All the attributes that make the Journey excellent as an advanced paddler's rock garden kayak, also make it a great beginners kayak. A stable, easy to turn and roll kayak like the Journey is perfect for our teaching program.
John Bonaventure, is a lead guide and instructor for Central Coast Kayaks in Shell Beach, California. With over 25 years of paddling under his belt, John is as comfortable in big waves as he is in calm water. His experiences range from kayak surfing big California swell, 21 day kayak trips through the Grand Canyon to sea kayaking 90 miles of the Big Sur Coastline.
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