How its Made. Inside the Jackson Kayak Factory

I have always wondered what happens behind the closed doors of the Jackson Kayak factory.   In a way I assume that it is some kind of hybrid of magic and chemistry that gets a shiny new kayak to my door.  I envisage a cross between Hogwarts and the underground lab from Breaking Bad.  Today I arrived in Tennessee to paddle at rock island for my first time and Stephen Wright was available to give me and fellow JK Team paddler Brooke Hess the grand tour.  It was super fun to see all the different processes used to get a boat from a bucket of powder into the shining, fun pieces of plastic that are such a big part of my daily life.  I was amazed to see what a huge facility it is and how much work is done by hand.  Many different processes are used to create different outfitting parts, moulded inserts so that there are no holes all the way through the boat (except the drain plug), machines that heat and cool to correctly distribute plastic, lasers which measure the thickness of each boat in like a hundred spots, a whole separate station which makes the competition carbon tracks.  Stephen also took us through the areas where JK is constantly trying to improve. For example they have been using special machines to test the strength of a new lay up for the carbon tracks that go into competition boats, and a new rotomoulded seat which will eventually find its way into all of the JK creek boats. We also saw Uni-shock bulkhead’s being assembled, LT series fishing boats being moulded and SO many finished kayaks being loaded in the shipping department.  Stephen told us Jackson Kayak was one of the biggest employers in the county and I believe it! The factory was so big there were people going back and fourth on bicycles.  If you get a chance to have a Whitewater legend take you around the JK Factory DO IT, it was pretty sick, although less like Hogwarts than I imagined.

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