By Nick Hinds / Photos and video by Dan Patrinellis and Mike Hagadorn
L: 7'2"; W: 25.5"; 67 gals., 36 lbs. $1,199 jacksonkayak.com
The fourth generation of Jackson's 4Fun franchise brings the boat back to its roots: downriver play. At 7'2", the 4Fun is the shortest boat in our test fleet, and the one that falls closest to the pure playboat end of the design spectrum. Our crew found the new 4Fun to be stable, easy to roll and clearly meant for downriver play. It excels in eddy turns, front surfing green waves, and straight-ahead stability. The new 4Fun has more stern volume than its predecessors, making it tougher to stern squirt or spin on waves and steeper features. The tradeoff? It's easier to stay on glassy or less-steep waves. A flatter rocker profile, combined with the increased tail volume, helps this boat track. It's not as loose on waves as previous versions of the 4Fun, but it's better at piercing features while running the river. Even though this was the shortest boat tested, the outfitting was comfy and my big feet fit even with my creek shoes on. At 6'4" that's something I almost never say about boats this size. In short, the paddler/designers at Jackson dialed some of the play out of the new version to make it a more comfortable and user-friendly river runner. If you paddle mostly Class III and are looking to express your playful side, this could be your perfect match.
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