By Eric Jackson
You don’t need to paddle a variety of waters, or a variety of boats to have a great time and explore new places… but why not? This year I am fired up to keep pushing my personal boundaries and see new places, and see what I can accomplish in the name of fun in my kayaks.
Having just returned from the Zambezi, where I had the task and pleasure of leading Lonnie Bedwell (100% Blind) down the might river in his own Zen Kayak, he has inspired me to keep pushing my boundaries as well. The Zambezi has a way of doing that all by itself, and was a great place for me to paddle my 2015 Fun. The Fun was Jackson Kayak’s first boat design, and this is the 4th generation of this boat. I was super happy with my choice as I had the benefits of an awesome river runner, but also the enjoyment of a playboat for squirting, and surfing the awesome waves and holes of the Zambezi. The lightweight factor was, of course, always appreciated.
Now, at home, I have turned to my Zen for river running, waterfall running, and cold weather boating. The Caney Fork, Rock Island, and the other awesome creeks that are and will run this winter will be seeing me in the Zen quite a bit.
We have a new kayak coming out this winter, the Karma Traverse.. This boat will get a winter overnighter or two with my kids and team, I am sure. We scouted out some sweet places to camp to turn a day run into a two day and also allow us to go further downstream on the Caney Fork. I am fired up to pack lots of stuff in that boat.
My Coosa HD is also calling my name for some spring TN and Florida fishing. I will be in Florida in January/February and will get into some phosphate pits and lakes that are not easy to get into. The bass like it that way, but when I get there, I’ll introduce myself to them.
We haven’t scheduled it, exactly yet, but Steve Fisher, Hobie, and I are going to paddle Krakens from Florida to the Bahamas. This is the true spirit of a first every expedition and a “I hope we can pull it off” trip where the open ocean, Gulf Stream, and long distances are going to challenge us. With our fast Krakens, Werner Paddles, Kokatat gear, Raymarine electronics, Goal Zero Solar systems, and general willingness to endure punishment, I am sure we’ll make it.
My Rock Star is going to get regular use, of course.. I’ll play here at Rock Island, and also on other spots around the USA and Canada… We are taking about Skookumchuck tidal rip in BC… that is an amazing place!
The Ottawa River will be another place where I’ll have my Rock Star, and my Coosa HD on the water daily. World Class Playboating and World Class Fishing! Whitewater kayaking in my fishing boat- running the same rapids as the whitewater kayakers do, but in my Coosa HD.. that is fun!
I have been considering some other trips that are on my radar, but not committed to yet- Asia, Europe, South America… so many rivers, so little time..
What boat will bring me the most pleasure in 2016? That is not possible to answer.
I can’t live without my:
Rock Star, Zen, Coosa HD, Kraken
I don’t want to live without my:
Fun, Big Rig, Karma, Dynamic Duo
My gear for 2016 will be:
Helmets: Sweet Strutter/Rocker
PFD: Maximus Prime- Kokatat
Drysuit: Icon- Kokatat
Paddle: Werner Double Diamond and Odachi, and Cyprus hooked (fishing)
Shoes- Adidas, Sperry, and Crocs
Fishing outfit- Dickies Coveralls- Stetson hat
Solar Charging Gear- Goal Zero Nomad 20 and 100 solar panels, Venture 10,30 Venture 100, Lighthouse 250, rockout portable speakers,
My fishing kayaks will be rigged with: Raymarine Dragonfly, Power-Pole micro anchor, Buck Knife Splizzors.
My adventures will be captured (most of the time, when I am not lazy)- on GoPro Hero 4 silver and black, and Session
My paddling buddies will be my family, Team JK, and friends from around the world!
Happy New Year– I resolve to make it a good one!