The Venture Jura was first shown at the Outdoor Retailer late last year, and is now making into shops in time for the Great British summer, and the recent Venture London Kayakathon gave us a great opportunity to try out one of the first MV models.
The Kayakathon is one of a growing number events organised by Simon Osbourne and Paddlesports Events C.I.C with the aim of raising money for charity. Starting from Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre, our generous hosts for the event, with warnings of strong currents and standing waves under bridges, and a group of 60 plus paddler set off into the sunshine to the start line under Tower Bridge. The route took us up through the city past streets packed with spectators for the London Marathon to Chiswick Bridge our halfway/lunch point.
The Venture Jura is billed as an ideal kayak for paddlers looking to get out on coastal waters, longer day trips and multiday trips. Our first impressions were that the Jura certainly looked the part, at 16 foot with a sleeker appearance than previous Venture Kayaks such as the Easky 15, the P&H design influences were clear to see. In fact if you were to stick some P&H graphics on this boat they wouldn’t be too out of place.
On the water, conditions were a little calmer than we had been lead to expect but there was still a fairly strong tide running and of course the wash from the clippers and tourist boats cramming the river. We were impressed with how well the Jura coped gliding through the water nicely for a plastic boat, with the more forgiving nature of the Venture range becoming immediately apparent with the boat feeling really solid and stable and while still being plenty quick enough to keep up with the rest of the group paddling Cetus’s, Etains etc.
One of the more unique features on the Jura is Ventures new ‘Skudder’ system a hybrid between a skeg and under stern rudder. We can see that this feature would be really useful especially in more challenging conditions on open stretches of water, but to be honest on the day the Jura was more fun to paddle with the skudder retracted. We had no problems with the tracking and it responded well to being put on edge and we were able to manouever quickly and easily but without ever feeling too unstable or awkward.
After nearly 8 hours on the water we also really appreciated the Jura’s comfortable cockpit and good seating position particularly the knee position. The outfitting kept us happy with a padded seat, ratchet backrest and thigh grips although it might be worth thinking about getting some hip pads to get a really good fit. The Jura boasts 3 storage hatches which is more than enough for all the gear you need for a couple of nights on the water, although this is one of the only Venture Kayaks that doesn’t have a removable deck pod, and you might miss not having a day hatch just in front of the cockpit. However this is simply solved with the addition of a deck bag .
In summary Venture have produced a kayak that has been carefully designed to not only be a stable and forgiving boat for paddlers just getting into sea touring but allow you to benefit from high performance hull characteristics that will allow you to develop your skills and continue to enjoy the boat for many years, plus a host of excellent and innovative outfitting features all for a great price. Check the Jura out here.
The 2014 Venture London Kayakathon raised an estimated £20,000 plus for charity and was a great way to see London from a new angle. Information on next years London Kayakathon and other similar events can be found here
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