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Reviews for Riviera Kayak by Jackson Kayak

Rated: 9.2/10 Based On: 10 Reviews

Riviera Kayak by Jackson Kayak

Length: 11' 4" - Width: 30.00" - Starting at: $499.00
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love my Jackson Riviera kayak. I was afraid it wouldn't be comfortable without a seat pad. However, whoever designed it did a great job. It gives more back support than most kayaks. I love that if I get caught in a tough spot, I don't have to worry about bailing water. It's very easy to maneuver.
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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     "Not that one," I thought when, at an Austin kayak rental, a large group of us were being paired with various craft. "That one looks cheap. And I want one with an actual seat!" But I was given the Jackson Riviera anyway -- and I'm so glad I was!

I'm 51 and fairly new to kayaking, overweight and none too confident in my ability to handle anything fancy. And for that reason, the Jackson Riviera is now topping my list as I decide on my first kayak to purchase.

Here's the good:
Despite only having a molded-in seat, the Riv was seriously comfortable. I spent 3 hours on the lake and could have gone longer. It was also easy to paddle and turn, fairly fast, and remarkably stable. Best of all (by my reckoning) it turned out to be a tough workhorse of a kayak -- no bells and whistles, just a solid boat.

Since then, I've done some research and found that it has a replaceable skid plate in back, so that you can drag it, and it's made in America--I watched a video that showed various workers making kayaks and talking about their commitment to "Make it like it's yours."

So why only an 8? If there's a kayak I would rank a 10, I haven't found it yet! Also, there are at least 2 things I would change about the Riviera. The biggest is, I would like to see more padeyes on the front half, for heaven's sake! In order to add more line, for safety and grabbability, I'll have to install some myself once I get my own Riv. (One of the benefits of a sit-on-top is that it's supposedly easy to get in and out of even in deep water, but line surely does help the process). The other is that I would like some self-draining scupper holes.

All in all, though, this is the kayak for me!

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I purchased two Jackson Rivieras last year for my wife and I. They have been amazing! They are great for lakes or rivers. They are very easy to maneuver and comfortable for all day trips. Being a sit-on-top they are heavier than sit-in kayaks. There is little on it that you have to mess with since it is all one form, making it easy to load up and hit the water.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We bought our first Riviera in mid June 2013, bought number two & three Rivieras this week. We are total beginners, I have never liked the water or any kind of boats, I am older(57) overweight & don't particularly like exercising. What a difference this kayak has made in my life, I can't wait to get up so I can go to the river! I am eating better, feeling better, loving being outside. In the past month I have only missed about 6 days not being on the water due to a very rainy July. I can't say enough good things about my Riviera, my whole attitude is 100% better because of this kayak.
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Submitted by: T.J.Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I just bought a Riviera today. I have 4 other kayaks and was looking for a 3rd typhoon(my favorite)but was told they don't make them anymore. This kayak looks similar so I thought I'd try it.

I have not gotten it in the water yet but was disappointed that when carried by the side handle the weight is not balanced.. the nose dives into the ground and it seams much heavier than the typhoon. On the plus side I like that it has a flat nose with handle on both ends. I can't wait to get it in the water and see how it handles.

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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just purchased my second Jackson Riviera. The newest addition is the version made from crosslink. I highly recommend this sit on top. It's great for exploring small streams as it has a shallow draft. Its great on flat water lakes but with a length of 11'4" long don't try to keep up with longer touring kayaks. Its great on flowing streams. And it surfs great.
  • No scuppers - no problem. Just carry a bilge pump if you want the water out.
  • You can easily attach padeyes for thigh straps.
  • The built-in front and rear carry handles makes it easy to secure if storing outside or while on your rack.
  • The built in seat back in extremely comfortable.
  • And as it was designed for livery use, it's one tough boat.
If you are looking for one kayak to cover a range of uses, this is the kayak to buy.

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Take this review with a grain of salt because my paddling experience was so brief.
A friend brought a Riviera to a summer trip August of 2011. I thought it was an interesting looking boat and asked to borrow it. I took it for a short test paddle - about 90 minutes. I paddled upriver then came back down. In paddling upriver, I surfed it easily. Accidentally actually. At the first riffle, I had a hard time getting up against it and decided to portage. I stopped paddling to let the current take me back down and... I didn't go. The boat sat there and surfed in the tiniest little wave you ever saw just as long as I was willing to let it. That surprised me.

I did get it up stream and coming back down through the main current found that it was very easy to steer and control. It was a bit disconcerting with my 240# frame so close to the water surface, but I grew used to it quickly. As I got more bold, I found that the kayak responded well in bumpy or still water. At the end of the test, coming back into camp, I tried a few eddy turns. I've not paddled a kayak that took an eddy turn more easily - and I used to paddle a WaveSport Diesel. That surprised me - a lot.

I rate it well for how easy it is to paddle. I think novices could be trusted to take this boat out and have a good, safe time with it. I didn't rate it higher because there's no attachment points for thigh straps. I don't suppose with the molded in seat back that a back strap is necessary. Also, scuppers would have improved the rating.

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Just purchased a Riviera for the wife and she LOVES it as well as I. She is a total beginner with zero paddling experience and after a couple of slow river trips she cruises like a pro.

This is a fantastic shallow water/rock bottom river sled that still tracks extremely well in deep water and had a good glide as well. We are living out a major drought this year and water is limited so this boat shines even more the hull is almost bulletproof. She has bounced it off some serious granite boulders and it bounces well!

I myself like to drop in the molded cockpit and relax in it as well. I am six foot three and 250 lbs and it fits me as well as her five foot seven body. We have let other novice family members take it down river and they all love it because its stable, easy to control and just plain relaxing.

I too would like to see a drier seat with the addition of scuppers but not if its going to sacrifice any the durability the Riviera has to currently offer.

Final note: if you are considering kayaks for the family try out a Riviera first, comfortable, maintenance free, durable, stackable and priced right.

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Submitted by: TerrySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I really like the Riviera. It's very stable and the molded seat is very comfortable this past weekend I took it down a class 3 river it handled GREAT I only wish Jackson would of added self bailing scupper holes and made the cup holder deeper.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Picked this kayak up recently to use on both lakes and rivers. I'm 6'2 - 220 pounds and it fits great. Just got done with a 2 hour paddle on a lake and for a sit on top it was extremely comfortable. A lot due to the built in seat and the position of the foot pegs. Construction is solid. Stability is top notch - very similar to my Ocean Kayaks.
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