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small zen 3.0 - jackson kayak

Small Zen 3.0 Review – Jackson Kayak

After paddling this boat for just a couple of months here are my initial thoughts from a 115 lb 5’3” female paddler.

  • Stays high and dry
  • Paddles unlike any other Jackson Kayak I have paddled, not only does the bow stay up but it wants to float you above the water where you sit in the kayak as well (feels like when you boof and you land, you land on a cloud!)
  • Just floats over holes which as a small paddler is not something I am used to. It is pretty awesome
  • Maneuvers well
  • Boofs well
  • Surfs really well for a creek boat
  • Super easy to roll

When am I going to grab the Z3 over other kayaks in my Jackson fleet?

  • On a new run that I am nervous about
  • Going to a creek that is near the top of my skill level
  • A creek that is known for some beefy holes
  • When the water is cold, it is a cold day, I am feeling a bit lazy and I don’t want my face splashed!


I started kayaking in Wisconsin of all places, because this is where I am from. I then moved to San Diego and took on kayak surfing along with heading to the Kern River when water was available. I then made the move to Asheville, NC and have been hooked on this sport since my Wisconsin days. With whatever it is that you do, do it because you love it, not because society tells you should or for other outside factors. Don't simply exist, live!

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