When looking back at 2010, my first thought is “Wow”. It was chock full of highs, challenges, victories, failures; a roller coaster ride from start to finish. I have to start any summary off by saying that everything I do has alot of meaning to me, because I do it with my family and friends. If you wanted the run down on everything that goes on in my business, you can ask Dane, Emily, Nick, or Kristine and they’ll know my current challenges, and recent victories or failures. Of course, most of my friends do, too, since they are close by at all times and on the team. Same goes for my personal life.
We just did our New Year’s Resolutions, and the biggest part of mine are to make sure that my energies for next year stay focused on what is the most important to me in my life. Luckily, I keep my life’s path in the shape of a circle and Keep everything important to me on one path as much as possible. I want to do bettter with Dane, whom I am hard on and to be more specific to offer 5 positive affirmations to each one negative. His positives are amazing, while his negatives are trivial, so there is not reason why a series of trival negative actions/attitudes should overshawdow his amazing positive ones in my communications with him. I am not sure how I got onto this subject, but while on it… You know, 2011 is a world championship’s year, and I put my Norse Rhune on again, the one that stands for victory in competition. This year is another important year for me as I have the tools (new Rock Star) and the venue (2011 World Freestyle Championships in Platling Germany) and I have had my sites set on winning my 5th World Champion title. Nick thwarted my effort in 2009 with an incredible win in Switzerland. He, and many others will be gunning for that title this year and we are not on home turf, but istead we are playing out this game on the European’s training turf. Not an easy year for a North American to be world champion. But that is how we like it, when the odds are stacked against us. My new year’s resolutions include making Jackson Kayak self-sustaining, so that my family and friends who all work at Jackson Kayak can count on this business to be there for them in the years to come. We have grown 50% in 2010 and have done so many incredible things, including become profitable, but not profitable enough to fuel the fire that keeps the new products coming, and to feed all of the mouths we have. (we went from 45 employees to over 100 this year in the process of bringing more and more manufacturing into our factory) My wife Kristine has some great goals for 2011, including running two marathons and doing a tri-athalon with Emily. She did the Marine Corp Marathon this year (something she has had on our goal list for 15 years) and a century bike ride (100 mile race).[youtube]OK back to the year. We got the Villain out this year, a huge hit and the creeker to measure other’s against now. While Jackson still isn’t considered to be the “creeking company” our creeker can’t be ignored and only the hold outs not willing to try it will be missing out. Funny the creeking market. Playboaters know and assume that a new boat coming out is likely to be better than anything out there. Creekers; they’ll sit and watch something for 5 years to see if it is really OK and good and then, if enough other people like it, get one. As a group of people, they tend to be very fashion centric and go where the flow is going with what is popular. Easier than wasting money on something that might not be good, I figure. I got some good paddling time in my Villain S, and so did most of Team JK. today I have my new Hero loaded on my Landcruiser and will be firing it up on the TN creeks! North Chic, Bear, Cain, so many options. This project is finished in 2011, but was a 2010 project that David Knight and I spent alot of time on. We prototyped the Hero and re-designed it. The final plug changes were done by Tony Lee in good form. The production boat is now ready, and I am making my virgin run in the production Hero today!
Our year started off in Rock Island, paddling the creeks and playboating there. We jumped in the RV in April and were on the road until October. We went to Germany for the World Cup but it got flooded out after the first event. We got to hit up “Hardcore Wave” in Austria, however, that rarely runs. The Colorado tour was awesome this year, but my highlight for the tour was hitting up the other Rocky Mountain states. Missoula, MT was host to the USA Team Trials and I was so fired up to compete there and hang out there. Strongwater kayaks, our local Super Store, run by KB and Luke did an awesome job making everyone feel at home. We also hit up the Payette River and got to see Kelly’s Whitewater Park, and do the North Fork run at 3,000 cfs. Reno, California were also awesome this year. We got the RV up to the South Branch for some fun runs down, my first time.
The Ottawa this year was incredible as I was not only teaching clinics, and playing, but also filming for two TV shows with Drew with our new Fishing kayak the Coosa. This boat is just incredible and is turning the kayak fishing market on its head. A debut kayak that is the new standard from a kayak company that never made them before. We are lucky to have nailed it, but with our team is wasn’t luck in the end. For me it was big bass, big pike, some catfish, and tons of top water action!
Outdoor retailer was good for us this year as we introduced many new kayaks to the world. The Regal, Coosa, Ibis, Hero, Journey were all introduced and well received there. Staging up 2011 season.
This fall we got back to a dry Rock Island. This was an opportunity to work hard and play lots of yard games, mostly disc golf in my backyard. We also built our own hole at Rock Island with the water off. We named it “Backstage” hole, staging up the release of the new Rock Star kayaks (a little preview of coming attractions). We tried 4 times to get the hole right before we did. Dane and Nick got the formula right on the last try and we created our own world championships training site from nothing! Today it will be gone, for the second time, however, as the river got hit by rain and it is now 20,000 cfs +. We had an incredible day surfing it yesterday, and will build it again when it dries up, if it does.
The final push of the year just finished and it was an “all hands on deck” push to stage up 2011 season with product, production capacity, orders, and the process to make 2011 very profitable with another 50% growth. We are taking extreme measures to make everything work right. Everyone in the company is sacrificing in their own way towards making this year our breakthrough year. Like a sports team, putting in the 5am runs, the extra workouts, and committing the true grit needed to have a winning performance, against any odds. The excitement of it all is incredible. I am filled with adrenaline from the business staged up for a world championships winning year, to the actual kayaking world championships in June, where my daughter, son, son-in law, team, and myself are all staged up for a possible win. Tough crowd to hang with, friendly, fun, helpful crowd, but like going for a jog with the fastest marathoners in the world- running 5:15 minute miles for 26 miles, you have to run your butt off just to hang with them for a few minutes. This is how it is with our team. They go hard and fast and it is overwhelming to an outsider just wanting to hang for a day or two.
Well it is 8:13am and we are leaving at 9am for a creeking mission with the Hero. Got to eat and run! More later…..
It is now 8:47 PM and i am trying to get this wrapped up… KC is being put to bed by Kristine, and I want to get a good night sleep too.
Just got back from 12 miles of classic TN creeking on Cane Creek into North Chic. Hero is a dream boat!! Man- our first production boat outing with Emily, Clay, and I all in the new Hero, and Jessica in a prototype of it, and Stephen in the Villain S. We had an incredible day.
I am moving on to visuals of the year…. Here are some photos and Videos from 2010!
My favorite video- Water over the Dam:
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