This boat feels like the little brother to the hugely successful Karma. The Jackson Zen is more river-friendly and stays on top of the water in a way that the old Zen didn’t. Much like the Karma, The Jackson design team raised and rounded the stern and added volume in the back. The added volume keeps the boat on top of the water. We might as well call this boat, the “River Karma.”
The chines are forgiving and don’t catch quite as easily as the old Zen, but they are still present enough to hold a line during ferries while surfing or while navigating any type of white water. These forgiving chines that are there when you need them and very similar to the Dagger Mamba.
The Jackson Zen has a planing hull with crisp edges that are not too sharp. It surfs glassy waves really well and is easy to control overall.
The Jackson Zen is very easy to outfit overall. To adjust the seat, you unscrew the wing nut and the screws on the cockpit.
The hip pads are easy to dial in, supportive, and durable. They are sold individually if you have another boat that needs a great pair of hip pads.
One of the coolest features of the Jackson Kayak river runners and creekers is the Uni Shock bulkhead. It is super easy to adjust the front bulkhead (not messing with wing nuts on the side). If you piton, it will release – saving you some pain!