The “real story” behind the Coosa FD

IMG_1872With the recent announcement of the new Jackson Kayak Coosa FD, it has certainly been what folks want to know more about. So, I figured I would share “the real story” behind its development. The story is lengthy, but hang in there because this is entirely true and I think you’ll be blown away at how this kayak came to be.

A couple weeks ago at icast in Orlando we, at Jackson Kayak, noticed that most other manufacturers jumped into the pedal drive market. Our marketing director, James McBeath, product manager Damon Bungard and I were at our booth discussing this. James furiously mentions, “Why did we not get the memo that 2016 was pedal drive year?” Damon said, “I’m as confused as you, James. I got a memo FullSizeRender 11saying it was ‘fly fishing specific kayak year’ and that is why we focused hard on the new ‘Mayfly’ design.” Clearly someone at the ICOKM (International Committee of Kayak Manufacturers) had fed us some lousy intel in that memo!!! I replid, “This is bogus, man, someone is trying to throw us off and sabotage JK! Even worse, guys, they’re ultimately trying to rob our customer’s 2017 fun by not allowing them to pedal (if that is their fishual preference…not that there is anything wrong with that).”

FullSizeRender 10That night, after the show we looped in our founder and president Eric Jackson, CFO Dave Olson, head coach Joe Pulliam and VP of Sales Marty Cronin and emphatically told them how “…there is some serious corruption going on at the ICOKM, involving their 2016 memos.” Dave quickly suspected bribery, given so many other International committees have had bribery scandals in recent years. But who did the bribing, and why target a small family owned company like Jackson Kayak that just wants to have fun? Joe didn’t have the answer to that, but having founded Daggar Kayaks many years ago, he clued us in on the ugly truth behind the business of kayak manufacturing and its pursuit of worldwide domination, via the attempt to control the manufacturing of the world’s most mass produced product – plastic. He said, “Corruption and scandal has always followed the ICOKM, and that’s why back in 1989 they denied us, at Daggar, the right to name our two new whitewater kayaks ‘Corruption’ and ‘Scandal!’ It was, or what we thought was, a peaceful way to protest the way the ICOKM has always been.” Marty chimes in and says, “So, Joe, this very well could be someone from your past that has now seen you with having success with JK for the last 6 years, and is trying to bring us down. We have to combat this, and now, but how?”

FullSizeRender 12After hours of debate, we came up with several plans. The first plan was to secretly go into competitor’s warehouses and replace their plastic resin with Bisquick mix (mixed with the proper food coloring of course). Once they pull the kayaks out of their rotomolding oven they would be soft and fluffy, and couldn’t have a weight capacity of more than 20lbs or so! Plus, they would get soggy once on the water, and before that would be too tempting to eat before anglers even get to the water (especially if we went with the buttermilk version)! Muahahah, it was the perfect plan. I personally liked this idea, but I guess Damon was right when he said that they would probably notice their kayaks were biscuits by the smell of them, and very likely by looking at them too. He was right, on to plan B.

FullSizeRender 13Ok, EJ had a plan now. We go into their facility and add whoopee cushions inside all of their pedal kayak seats. Everyone knows fish are scared off by noise, and what better (or worse I should say) noise to add to a kayak seat than that one! Plus, can you imagine on the sales floor what an edge this would give us? Dude comes in wanting to look cool in his new kayak and sits in “competitors kayak A” and expels a horrific sound throughout the store, grossing out all the babes who in there to buy their next yoga paddleboard. Those are the two main things that no dude wants to scare away – fish, and babes! I thought sure this idea was going to be how we handled this, but the logistics of getting whoopee cushions into that many kayaks seats, and do so undetected, was just something only the Oceans 11 crew could pull off.

Many other ideas were thrown around; some may or may not have involved taping zip lock bags of flour inside their hulls, especially on boats that were set for container shipments outside the US, while other ideas were as simple as putting a label on their products that said things like “Proudly made in Canada & assembled by Indiana James” or, “Made with a pedal drive system that is known to the state of California to cause, or reproduce, the sound of an injured seal.” However, in the end, we decided that since we’ve always taken the high road, we’d try to do it again here. Even though we have 2 weeks to do it, we were going to make a pedal drive of our own!

As you may know, as of now, we strive to make as much of our kayaks in FullSizeRender 9the US as possible (about 99% currently), and do so by hiring American employees (and one Canadian). We simply saw this as a way to continue to help American families by hiring new employees, since we would be in a bit of what you would call a “time crunch.”  What would normally take Tony Lee and our entire R&D team 2 or 3 years to develop, we now had to do in about 2 weeks!! So, it seemed logical to us that if a small team of people can do it in 2 years, then why can’t 3000 people do it in 2 weeks? And the Coosa FD process began on July 18, 2016!

Hard working Americans in Sparta, TN worked around the clock. 3-D Printers have never printed so fast. Kayak molds were increased to cook at 1,000,000 degrees at 2 minutes, instead of 45 minutes at 750 degrees. CAD design was done on every tool we could find, from a imac, to an iphone, all the way down to the last etch-e-sketch we could buy at the local Wal-Mart in Sparta. And now, now that it is finally here and we did it, there are 3000 people still asleep right now, from working non-stop for 2 weeks straight. When they wake up, I want them to know that someone out there was able to tell “their story,” the “real story” about the Coosa FD. Make sure they see it by sharing the article with your friends and hashtag #TheRealCoosaFD

Don’t think this is true? Ok, then you tell us how you think the Coosa FD came to be! Hashtag #TheRealCoosaFD and the best story out there will win some Jackson Kayak and/or Orion Coolers swag!

Disclaimer: We wish products like this could happen in two weeks, but the truth is that it was years in the making and we are happy to finally be able to offer this to you, our customers, in 2017! Thanks for supporting Jackson Kayak!

Click here to read actually true my Coosa FD first impressions article!



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