James McBeath 04/04/2016 | Posted in Canada, Internationalisation, Whitewater
First off, it’s exciting to be writing a letter of introduction into Jackson Kayak! Kayaking has been my life’s journey and to conjoin with a company of people whose passions parallel my own is a great feeling. It’s been a long amazing path to end up with a company I respect so much. In the following paragraphs I’ll explain what has brought me to Jackson Kayak and why this is an exciting partnership.
Decades in this sport has given me many lifetime experiences and sculpted my perspective and involvement in the whitewater industry. My goals in kayaking, aside from realizing the apex of my physical ability and performance, have been to heighten the sport of kayaking in participation, skill, discipline and innovation. In short, to give back to the sport which has given me everything. While extreme and expedition kayaking are the things which I will continue to be known for it’s really the simplicity of life on the river, joining a river on a journey of its own, and being in the presence of river people which are the aspects of paddling I will always hold close. Without a doubt we are involved in the greatest sport and lifestyle imaginable! I feel incredibly lucky not only to have paddling in my life but also to have been able to shape it into my career and continue to progress in this process, bringing me to Jackson Kayak.
When it comes to paddling hard class V whitewater and trusting your life to a boat, nothing can outweigh the importance of paddling boat designs you believe in. I’ve found myself more and more borrowing Jackson boats to paddle. First with the Super Star and then with the Karma and Zen I began realizing I felt more comfortable and was paddling more predictably well than ever in the Jackson boat designs. When I couldn’t get my boat on the plane to Zambia and borrowed a Zen to paddle the Minus Rapids and most of the Zambezi River my belief in the Jackson designs was cemented. I went from paddling hard class V and being gripped to doing it with the biggest smile on my face. The designs aren’t good, they are amazing, and I can honestly say paddling Jackson boats simply makes kayaking more fun for me and in turn makes me a better paddler.
It’s no surprise that a company owned and operated by paddlers are creating the best designs and doing more to support our sport than any other kayak manufacturer. Jackson Kayak as a whole maintains qualities that I admire most in people: integrity, hard work, and the honorable spirit of the people who are behind it. Jackson has an intrinsic dedication to the sport and the same qualities that make the Jacksons superstar athletes also creates the success of this company. To work closely with people I enjoy and respect is a dream come true for me and I greatly look forward to finding my place amongst an already stellar team of people.
Life’s journey, like that of a river, is rarely a straight line. After decades of paddling, running the highest waterfalls ever paddled, the biggest rapids on the planet, countless expeditions around the world, first descents, and more competitions than I can remember, I found myself wanting to challenge myself in a diversity of ways which would help me learn more about myself and the world around me. I sculpted the Wizard’s Eye Expedition to fuel the need to diversify my experiences in what I saw as the ultimate adventure. For me this expedition was one of the greatest educations and adventures I could imagine and it has turned out to be exactly that. Now three years and three quarters of the way around the world, the Wizard’s Eye has arrived back to the Americas and is nearing completion of her circumnavigation. Long passages and time at sea has given me perspective as to what I love most in life and where I want to invest my energy. Not surprisingly everything has come full circle as the circumnavigation nears completion. Kayaking is without a doubt where my heart is. I’m excited for the future in my kayak, grateful for the perspective I’ve gleaned from the Wizard’s Eye, and fired up to take my paddling career new levels.
With Jackson Kayak I look forward to lots of laughs, amazing days on the river, meeting new friends, and working hard to continue to build the best kayaking brand there has ever been!