With the 2015 Freestyle World Championships on the horizon and the U.S. Freestyle Team Trails just a few weeks out, Jackson Kayak announced a brand new playboat design today. The previous Rock Star was, by far, my favorite play boat on the market, so I am excited try the 2016 version (to be released mid 2015) as soon as it becomes available.

Given that team trials and worlds are both on waves this year, I fully expect that this design will be optimized for wave performance. Jackson Kayak's press release for the new design states, "The foundation of the new Rock Star is a narrower, faster, looser, easier to take-off hull." That terminology definitely hints that this design is engineered for a wave.

The 27-second teaser for the 2016 Rock Star shows Nick Troutman landing a huge airscrew on the Detonator wave in eastern Canada, so at least we know that big wave performance will be top notch.

While it seems the new Rock Star is honed for wave riding, Jackson says the new design performs well in other areas like river running, hole surfing, and downriver play. This is good to hear since most of us won't ever surf enormous waves like Detonator or Gladiator, and we need a boat that is fun to paddle in day-to-day conditions.

Rockstar2016 Deck

Fortunately, Jackson's track record demonstrates an ability to balance elite performance with everyday use. One of my favorite aspects of the previous Rock Star was its ability to bridge the gap between park and play and river running.

Rockstar2016 Hull

I was glad to read in the press release that Jackson "took extra time in the development of this deck to make sure we had a rock solid knee position, and increased performance for moves in holes and flat-water." A good knee position isn't just about comfort–it also has a huge effect on a paddler's ability to control the boat. This maniacal attention to detail is a big part of why Jackson's freestyle designs have been so dominant in competitions and on the market for the past decade.

Read more:

Industry Update: Jackson Kayak's New Rock Star

The new design promises an unbeatable combo of winning freestyle features