Thu - August 23, 2007

JKK Supernova, a Multisport Racing Sea Kayak from New Zealand - Review by Jeremy Rodgers

JKK Supernova

JKK Supernova

  • manufactured: JKK Kayaks (Jan Kees Kayaks), New Zealand, 2001
  • length: 6.40 meters
  • width: 19 inches at waterline
  • layup: carbon/kevlar with epoxy resin
  • design: multisport ocean racing kayak
The JKK Supernova was my first composite racing kayak purchased from my paddling coach imported from the New Zealand to San Diego, California. JKK will export the Supernova directly to the United States however is difficult to insure with a carbon fiber kevlar construction. The stern was damaged upon arrival requiring composite repair in Fort Collins.

The Supernova is significantly more stable than comparable racing kayaks I have paddled including the Sisson Evolution and various wildwater boats. I would rate the primary stability as moderate, which is somewhat undesirable in significant side swells or standing waves but very desirable on exceptionally long endurance paddling. Secondary stability is also moderate. While not as sleek as the Sisson Evolution, I find myself quite comfortable in multi hour paddles up to 6 hours with a flat water hull speed of approximately 6.5 mph at my body weight of 165 lbs.

The New Zealand multisport boats were designed for river races such as the Speight’s Coast-to-Coast involving the swift shallow class 3 braided waterways. The Supernova has significant more bow volume than even sleeker JKK UFO and Sisson Evolution which prevents as extreme bow diving during following swells or downriver use. I was quite happy with its surprisingly forward performance in very strong head winds of the 42 mile Wyoming Outback Challenge. My favorite design feature of the Supernova and New Zealand kayaks in general is the very durable foot rudder system allowing me to aggressively load the split pedal design without engaging the rudder unintentionally. The over stern rudder comes in three separate lengths which I recommend the shortest for Colorado's shallow waterways. I have ran the Supernova on many of Colorado's classic waterways up to class 3 including the Lower Animas and the Colorado River Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio and Moab to Potash runs.

Final analysis, the perfect combination of speed and stability for multi hour swift water racing. Importing the boat is perhaps one’s greatest obstacle!

Jeremy Rodgers, Boulder, Colorado

Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon

Jeremy with his Supernova kayak at the finish of the Colorado River Race in Glenwood Canyon.

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Posted at 06:50 AM    

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