A Year with Jackson Kayak

This year has been one of the best years of my life! I have loved going to all of the breathtaking places that I have seen in my travels. I have also loved working on some of the more advanced play boating tricks. One of my goals this year was to grow in my creeking abilities. Thanks to some awesome friends I have been able to run some pretty amazing creeks here in the south east. I didn’t realize how much fun boofing is! I have even set some new personal records which has been fantastic!

This year I have paddled in 4 countries, 20 states, 10 new rivers, and I have loved every second of it. I would not have been able to see such amazing places without the help of my family and friends. That’s one of the best things about kayaking. It’s a mixing pot of tons of different people with so many diverse interests, but we all share one passion. We all love to kayak, and we want to help everyone else to enjoy kayaking just as much as we do.

This year I have been able to help teach my 4 younger sisters to kayak. They are my best friends and I have been wanting to share my passion of kayaking with them for a long time. I started teaching them about whitewater running the Nantahala River. I would take one sister at a time in the Dynamic Duo and we would have a blast getting splashed, and enjoying our time together. The Duo is a great boat. Its fast, easy to maneuver, and it’s even easy to roll! The Dynamic Duo is the best teaching boat for kids who don’t want to paddle alone.

After a couple runs down the Nantahala in the Duo, my sisters wanted to take their own boats down. My 11 year old sister took her Side Kick down and had an “ AMAZZZING TIME!” A couple weeks ago she even paddled the Falls without swimming. Watching her succeed in her goals makes me happier than ever. That feeling of happiness is what kayaking is all about. It’s about lifting each other up and creating a positive experience for the people we love.

Another favorite part of this year was being able to kayak with the other team members of Jackson Kayak. They have helped me reach a new level of paddling in so many different ways. It has been so much fun kayaking with other teenagers like me. I want to thank Garrett Madlock, Katie Jackson and David Silk. I also want to thank some of the coaches that I have had this year including Steven Wright, Clay Wright, Nick Troutman, and Kalob Grady. With their help, I am a better kayaker than I ever thought I could be.

My main goal this year, was to get on the USA freestyle team that would compete on one of my favorite waves in Canada. I went to Uganda to work on my wave boating tricks with Steven Wright and David Silk. That was one of the best trips ever! I learned a ton, and figured out what else I needed to work on to get on the team. After I got home, I started training hard, but I knew that I needed to remember why I was kayaking. I kayak to have fun, not to win. So even though I was pushing myself, the second I would start getting frustrated or started to not have fun, I would stop and relax. This made the entire year different and relieved all the pressure to win. I wanted to win, but I was not willing to lose my passion for kayaking. In June, the Team Trials competition started and I was on fire. I had the best rides of my life, set a new personal score record, and did all of the tricks in my routine. I was having so much fun!! Unfortunately, I did not place how I would have liked. I was the 1st alternate, and I was not going to be able to compete in Canada. I was disappointed because I didn’t reach the goal that I wanted to. After a little time, I realized that I had reached a different goal. In trying to be on the US Team, I was able to have an amazing journey where I got to see so many beautiful places, make so many more friends, but most of all, I was able to do things I never imagined that I would be lucky enough to do. Once I realized that, I was very happy, and I wasn’t bothered that I didn’t make the team.

Overall, I could not be more pleased with the year that I have had. I am looking forward to setting new goals, seeing new places, and experiencing what another year has to offer!

I made a video to recap my year, Enjoy!

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