Jackson Kayak Mixmaster Review

Jackson Kayak Mixmaster Review – Four Boaters, Different Thoughts

We here at Alder Creek have had the Jackson Kayak Mixmaster for a little over a month at the time of writing this blog post. One of our Instructors, Jesse Nicola, has been taking our demo Mixmasters out and sharing them with a wide variety of people. Here’s a collection of some reviews from users taking the boat out thus far.

Jackson Kayak Mixmaster Review

Thom Park in the Mixmaster 7.0

Thom parker is a 5’6” 180 lb class 4 boater who likes to playboat often. He can flatwater Cartwheel and has been boating for many years.

Thoughts after a few runs?

My very first impression was demoing it at the pool. My first move was a squirt turn which sliced so easily into steep vertical it shocked me. And what was even more amazing was how little effort it took to cartwheel out of the squirt. Since it is so easy to throw around on flat water it allows me to focus entirely on technique.

On the river the Mixmaster 7.0 feels very squirrely. It was uncomfortable at first, which is to be expected, but didn’t take me long to dial into the boat and start trying out eddy and wave moves. The bow tends to dip a bit more than I’d like for a down river boat, due I think to the extreme low volume ends. However, I didn’t have any issues guiding it through technical class 3 drops. For a playboat it boofs quite well. All and all I really liked it on the river.

How does it compare to other slicy/play boats?

I’ve had two other slicy playboats with similar length and configuration to the Mixmaster. Both had much more volume in the ends, and consequently both felt more stable on the river and kept their bows up. They are also much more difficult to cartwheel. All of the boats had very similar hull shapes, and all three surfed about the same. So the low volume of the Mixmaster doesn’t seem to affect surfing, but there is a stark difference in all other play moves.

Cockpit configuration was very different between the boats. One, even though it was bigger than the Mixmaster had much less knee room, which made it almost impossible for me to sit in for more than 30 minutes. None of the boats allow for creeking shoes, but the mixmaster was by far the tightest in this area.

Who would you recommend this boat to?

I think this is a fantastic boat for learning playboat moves, even for novice boaters. And I think that someone more experienced (like me) can really benefit from the ease of this boat for leaning more complicated moves. While I think it is a hoot on the river, I wouldn’t suggest this as a down river boat for a beginning boater.

Any outfitting recommedations?

So since the boat is fairly small I think it’s important to adjust the outfitting to put your weight as close to center as possible. Then make sure you can adjust the backband to a very snug setting. On the river the boat tends to throw you back, so it’s particularly important to have good back support. But the most important thing I’ve found is that the foot foam needs to be set as far forward as you can fit. This is to ensure you can both push down hard with your feet and still maintain a good knee bend and good contact with the thigh braces. Even if this means your feet are short of the foot bubbles on the bow. The foot space is tiny anyway, the bubbles don’t provide much extra room. I found that when the foam was farther forward, I tended to paddle with legs straighter, which resulted in hip and leg discomfort.

Jackson Kayak Mixmaster Review

Ethan Boswell in the Mixmaster 7.0

Ethan Boswell is a 5’4” 130 lb class 4+ boater and Kayak instructor. He loves creek boating but does not playboat very often.

Thoughts after a few runs?

This boat is adequately fast, surfs like a dream and RIDICULOUSLY easy to get vertical. I feel this boat is a better river runner than full on playboats and I felt more confident in this boat in class 4 than a normal playboat.

How does it compare to other slicy/play boats?

This boat has more river running capability than shorter boats such as the rockstar, but is much easier to throw around than larger volume boats such as the Antix or Party Braap. I found learning tricks much easier in this boat than the Rockstar.

Who would you recommend this boat to?

Experienced paddlers looking to make easy runs more exciting or to playboaters looking to get relentlessly vertical. I would not recommend this boat to people who are looking for a 1 boat quiver or to beginners who are just starting out learning to whitewater kayak.

Any outfitting recommedations?

Chopping the front pillar back allowed my heels to come together making the boat notably more comfortable. I think the latest Mixmasters though have the foam cut further back and may not require this. Also wearing smaller shoes helped a ton. Personally I would have liked to toss in a foam seat riser for added seat leverage. Then again, I do that in basically all of my boats.

Jackson Kayak Mixmaster Review

Tim Layzell in the Mixmaster 7.5

Tim Layzell is a 6’ tall 200 lb class 4 boater who frequently playboats. He can do many flatwater tricks and is currently working on learning how to flatwater loop.

Thoughts after a few runs?

My first impressions were that the mixmaster surfed better than expected. I expected it to be comfortable and it was. I expected it to do ends like a boss and it did. I did not expect it to surf as well as it did and that was like an added bonus. Having taken it out about a half dozen times now I don’t want to paddle anything else. I have taken it on one class 4 rapid and it was a white knuckle experience for my skill level but I am completely comfortable on class 3. There is always something new to try in a boat like this no matter how many times you have run that particular river.

How does it compare to other slicy/play boats?

Yes this boat will set you back considerably more than a 20 year old slicy boat but it is worth it, assuming you like to be able to feel your legs at the end of your run. Not only is it more comfortable but the design is more refined than old slicy boats. The edges are sharp but not too sharp like the dagger ego or superego. The volume is concentrated around the cockpit with minimal volume on the ends. Over all it has as little volume as possible which is one of the main goals of a slicy boat. This is my biggest problem with the Pyranha Loki. The Large is 60 Gallons compared to the Mixmasters 52. Yet the Loki is harder to get in and less comfortable. In my opinion it is worth the investment if you like playboating.

Who would you recommend this boat to?

Don’t buy this boat if you want to get down the river as easily and as possible. Also if you just getting into kayaking this would be a challenging boat to learn in. It is possible but it will be challenging.

I definitely recommend this boat if
You want to learn cartwheels and any other vertical aspects of kayaking
You are bored with your modern playboat because you only use it as a short slow river runner for easy runs.
If you want to have fun on the river!

Any outfitting recommedations?

Because it is a Jackson it is fairly easy to outfit this boat, but there are a couple things to consider. First if you get an early model mix master they made the foam pillar too long. It does not allow your heels to touch which makes it feel like there is less foot room than there actually is. Eric Jackson has a youtube video on how to fix this. Do it. Second the foam foot block might be too short. I am 6’ and 200 lbs and the foam foot block is barely long enough with the seat most of the way forward. You may need to add additional layers of foam to make it fit you. Third, this is a low volume boat and if it feels too unstable you may try taking the seat pad out and sit right on the plastic. I did 2 runs with the seat pad in then took it out and it felt much more stable. This is purely a matter of preference. Some people like a high seat position and that is up to you.

Jesse Nicola in the Mixmaster 7.5

Jesse Nicola is a 5’10” 235 lb class 4 boater and ACA Level 4 instructor. Jesse frequently playboats and can do a multitude of flatwater tricks. He can’t loop however and likely never will!

Thoughts after a few runs?

I’ve been really surprised by this boat. I wasn’t terribly keen on it at first, but I’ve quickly come to appreciate it and have even gone on to order one in just the color I want. It’s so much fun for downriver play. Pivot terns are effortless and telepathic in ease of maneuvering. Cartwheels in and out of features, through features, around features… this boat just brings out all the fun! Rock spins, splats… it’s a really fun boat. River running it’s a lot like most of the other play boats I’m used to. It goes through more rapid features than over, such as when going through a wave train in your creeker you may go over everything and feel stable that way, in this boat your nose often goes INTO and THROUGH the wave on your way up and over. It’s a different experience, and a common one in play boats for me so I was right at home in this boat! Jackson really nailed it with this boat and I can’t wait for the one I ordered for myself to come in!

How does it compare to other slicy/play boats?

The big difference is comfort. Jackson really nailed the ergonomics of this boat. I’ve mostly paddled playboats, and the slicer style of playboats that compare best to this boat are nowhere near as comfortable. They also don’t initiate as well as this boat. A lot of attention to detail has been paid throughout the boat it seems to make switching ends effortless.

Who would you recommend this boat to?

If you’re an intermediate boater mostly comfortable in class 3 with a reliable combat roll looking for new ways to add challenge to late or early season class fun sections, this is the boat for you. Playboating will take your boating up a notch in general as you’ll fall over in all sorts of new and exciting ways. It will also add a lot of fun to your day and really up your stability, posture and paddle control on the river.

If you’re playboating already but maybe not hitting cartwheels all that great or inconsistent with your playboating, this boat will let you get vertical everywhere and all over the place.

If you’re playboating and able to combo a lot of moves and what not, then this boat will be fun as it effortlessly lets you combo in and out and through everything. You’ll be able to throw down all over the place with half the work.

Any outfitting recommedations?

When I first got the boat, I believed I didn’t fit. I’m in theory 20-30 pounds over the weight range. I complained about it a bunch and was less than thrilled… but then, my friend Tim made me eat a bag of crew as he showed me various ways he outfitted his based on things Eric Jackson had said and it fit me great. From there, other people have taken the Demo out from Alder Creek and made their own customizations, letting me try out all sorts of fun combinations.

Personally, if I were to be selling this boat to someone I’d start with nearly everything removed. Remove the center pillar, remove the foot foam, remove the hip pads, remove the seat pad even. If you can fit into the boat like that, it can be made to work. From there I’d start adding things back in to get you to the comfortable position you fit into the boat with.

Removing the seat pad in the 7.5 really helped me feel good in this boat. It adds a notable amount of stability and in my case changed my leg angle to be just right for myself and my thighs in the thigh hooks. While you do lose a little bit of leverage for making certain tricks easy to initiate flatwater, this boat is so slicy and easy to connect ends on it that you won’t hardly miss it downriver, especially for the stability it gains. I do intend when my own boat comes in to try and attach a thin foam to the seat in favor of the slightly thicker seat pad, possibly resulting in a better balance of fit to leverage to stability.