Kayakers Emily Jackson and Rush Sturges are charter members of the Outdoor Idols, new heroes for the next generation with the aim of getting kids outside and active.

The Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF) announced the charter roster of Outdoor Idols at the annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, the world’s largest trade show for human-powered outdoor activities.

The inaugural list includes Emily Jackson, 16, from Rock Island, Tennessee, and Rush Sturges, 21, from Forks of Salmon, California. Other Idols are Logan Binggeli, 16 (St. George, Utah); James Bonnett, 19 (Scottsdale,Ariz.); Juan Herrera, 23 (San Diego, Calif.); mountain biker Kerry-Anne Hamilton, 11, (Whistler, BC); Emily Harrington, 19 (Boulder, Colo.); and Travis Macy, 23 (Boulder, Colo.

It’s easy to see why Emily and Rush were chosen – here’s what the Outdoor Idols Web site has to say about them:

Emily Jackson

Age: 16 – Sport: Kayaking – Home State: Tennessee

Entering the scene in 2003, Jackson established herself as the paddler to beat in 2006. Jackson ran the Zambezi and Nile Rivers this winter, in preparation for the 2006 World Cup. At the same time, Jackson took the lead in a school-building project in Uganda, donating her prize money and rallying the support of fellow kayakers. Jackson’s resume includes two Junior National Championships and two spots on Team USA.

Height: A good guess at 5′ 2″
Boat: Star, and 2 Fun
Likes: Baths, Puppies, and driving the Land Cruiser
Dislikes: Eggs, mean people, and having no water
Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Candy: Sour Gummy Apple Rings
2x Junior National Champion
2x USA Team Member
1st in the Reno Qualifier
2nd in the Reno Invitational (Pro Women)
1st at the Teva Mountain Games Pro Women's Freestyle Event
3rd at the Reno Head to Head

Rush Sturges

Age: 21 – Sport: Kayaking- Hometown: Forks of Salmon, California

Rush is constantly pushing the limits of kayaking with daring stunts such as his recent front flip off a 30-foot waterfall. He holds numerous competitive titles, including a World Championship in junior freestyle kayaking, and a first place at the Teva Mountain Games. He’s a founding member of Young Guns Productions, which produces paddling videos, and was recognized as one of Outside Magazine's “Cool People Now” in 2004. Rush spreads his passion of kayaking through instructing at the Otter Bar kayaking school – teaching in the same water where he learned to kayak himself.

Date of Birth: 2.14.1985
Favorite place on the planet to do your sport: White Nile, Uganda
Favorite competitive event: Lyon Festival, Best in the West Rodeo, Garb, Teva Mountain Games
Favorite Quote: Its all about big waves, big drops, hip-hop and honeys
Mission in life: To have fun and succeed at whatever I put my mind to

2003 Junior World Champion
2004 IR Big Gun Show Launchorama
2004 Winner Best in the West Rodeo

The other Idols are equally outstanding in their own fields.

“The outdoor world has always been fueled by inspiration. We are moved to act by our natural surroundings, by the peaks and rivers, and by the actions of others,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, Outdoor Industry Association President. “By raising the profile of the next generation of outdoor heroes, we’re hoping to lay the foundation for future inspiration to youth throughout America.”

As Outdoor Idols, the eight young athletes will become ambassadors for the active outdoor lifestyle to the youth market, and ambassadors for the youth market to the outdoor industry.

The Outdoor Idols were chosen by a panel of 20 outdoor journalists, industry leaders and outdoor. The panel chose from a broad range of outdoor activities, including climbing, bouldering, biking, trail running, adventure racing, whitewater paddling, mountaineering, fly-fishing, expeditions, and outdoor instruction. To be named to the select group, each of the Outdoor Idols were required to be under the age of 25; to be a trendsetter in their respective sport(s); to exemplify the ethos of the outdoor industry; and to be helping grow participation in outdoor recreation by motivating others to get active.
?Information on the Outdoor Idols, including upcoming appearances, pictures, biographies, and nomination forms for winter 2007, is at www.outdooridols.org