Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Jefe Prototype History

Visit LVM Video, the offical DVD publication of this Whitewater Kayaking Blog.
Click Here

There has been much contention about Johnnie Kern's new creek boat the Jefe. In particular the statement made that the Jefe was, "the most tested creek boat on the market".

photo by Nikki Kelly

There are a lot of people out there, Johnnie and crew, who worked hard to make the Jefe a timeless design, founded on safety, function and performance.
Here is the history behind the people and places where the 4 Jefe prototypes were designed.
Main Jefe Prototype Gallery, Click Here

Paddling prototypes is not always fun, the boats leak, the designs are experimental and plastic is fragile and improperly cooked. These factors come down hard when it is a creek boat you are testing, especially on multi-day class V runs.
Here are two prototypes that left their owners’ hanging. Note: When you make prototype molds out of Fiberglass the heat from the oven is absorbed by the glass, where a standard aluminum mold conducts the heat evenly to the plastic. For a graphical representation see below:

The Jefe was taken to every type of environment where creek boats are used. In fact, it was taken to the "Best", the "Top Shelf" rivers of each genre, if you will.

Here is the proof that a lot of hard work went into designing, testing and re-designing the Jefe.

1) Devil's Post Pile of the San Joaquin (4 days class V-V+) 200-900 cfs
Video of Jefe #2, Click Here
Widescreen, Click Here

2) Grand Canyon of the Stikine River (3 Days Class V-V+) 10,000cfs
Stikine Video, Click Here

3) Linvile Gorge (14 mile class V) 800 cfs
Linville Video, Click Here

4) Tatlow Creek, BC (3.5 miles class V-V+) 350 cfs
Tatlow Video, Click Here

5) Green Narrows 200% (3.5 miles class V-V+)

6) Random and sundry other Washington and BC creeks.

7) Rio Blanco al Interior (best run in South America (yes I know another bold claim)) 4 miles class V-V+ 500 cfs
Rio Blanco al Interior, Click Here

8) First Descent Rio Nevado class V-V+ 2 miles
Rio Nevado First Descent, Click Here


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Whitewater kayaking is the sport of paddling a kayak on a moving body of water, typically a whitewater river. Whitewater kayaking can range from simple, carefree gently moving water, to demanding, dangerous whitewater. River rapids are graded like ski runs according sportsbook to the difficulty, danger or severity of the rapid. Whitewater Grades or Classes range from I or 1 (the easiest) to VI or 6 (the most difficult/dangerous). Grade/Class I can be described as slightly moving water with ripples. Grade/Class VI can be described as severe or almost unrunnable whitewater (classic example: Niagara Falls).

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