ARCATA, CALIFORNIA, October 4, 2011– Kokatat is excited to announce a new strategic alliance with whitewater kayaking superstar Eric “E.J.” Jackson and his son and reigning Junior Freestyle Kayak World Champion Dane Jackson. The Jacksons will collaborate with Kokatat on the development of a signature whitewater collection of Kokatat gear for introduction in 2013 and will exclusively wear Kokatat’s legendary paddlesports gear and PFD’s.
“E.J. and Dane are two of the greats in whitewater today and we’re so pleased to have them as part of our team,” said Jeff Turner, Kokatat sales and marketing manager. “We are excited to watch them continue to push the boundaries of the sport in our gear and to integrate their ideas into the Kokatat product line with the Jackson signature collection.”
“I’ve always had huge respect for Kokatat, for its gear and the company,” said Eric Jackson, a four-time Freestyle Kayak World Champion and founder of Jackson Kayak. “Kokatat possesses the same traits that I’ve instilled into my company- first rate quality, innovative design, and made in the USA.”
The Jacksons will collaborate with Kokatat’s product development and design team to create a Jackson Signature Collection of whitewater specific gear, under the Kokatat brand, that will be introduced for the 2013 paddling season. The collection will be launched at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, UT.
E.J. is one of the most recognized and decorated whitewater paddlers in the history of the sport. Every year since 1989, Jackson has been a member of the United States Kayaking Team, either in slalom or freestyle, and competed in the 1992 Olympics in the slalom discipline finishing 13th. Over the past twenty plus years, E.J. has been a pioneer in freestyle kayaking both as an athlete and in the industry. In 2003, after paddling and designing for various kayak manufacturers, E.J. founded his own kayak company Jackson Kayak. Today, Jackson Kayak is the leading manufacturer of whitewater kayaks.
Dane Jackson was paddling before he could walk. He grew up crisscrossing the United States in the family RV making stops at all the big whitewater events. Under the watchful eye and instruction of his father and pushed by playful sibling rivalries, his sister Emily is a Freestyle Kayak World Champion, Dane has emerged as the up and coming superstar of whitewater kayaking.
2011 was a banner season for the eighteen-year-old phenom. In the early spring the young Jackson won the inaugural Whitewater Grand Prix, which included a field of some of the biggest names in the sport. He followed this with a medal filled performance at the 2011 ICF Freestyle Kayak World Championships in Germany, becoming the most decorated athlete at a single World Championships winning three gold medals and a bronze. Jackson then capped the season off with three gold medals at the USA Freestyle Kayak National Championships. Father, EJ and sister, Emily also won their divisions making all three reigning National Champions.