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July 10, 2006

I have intentionally tried to keep my website about kayaking as much as possible and didn’t realize that many of you were getting a skewed picture of real life with the Jackson’s as a result of it. I have heard twice already this trip to DC, “where is Kristine” on the site? Well, that is a great question, and only after having it pointed out did I understand that what you see is not just how it is, in fact, there is so much more behind the scenes that would all be interesting to somebody, and Kristine’s contribution to the equation is like the sun’s contribution to the earth. This is about Kristine…

At the age of 17, Kristine was the smartest person I had ever met, that was back in 1987. I was a bundle of energy that loved kayaking more than anything, but wanted to be somebody who contributed to society, the more the better. Kristine was the girl who caught my eye during the time that family and friends, and 3 years of starving while trying to train for slalom kayaking, had broken me down and I had decided to give up my goal of become the world kayak champion and becoming a full time business person. In a short period of time, a couple of dates, Kristine told me that I was crazy to give up on kayaking, to say “#%$ off” to anyone who thought I was being a loser unless I quit and starting working full time or go back to school, and to start kayaking like I wanted to again. I don’t know how it is possible that at 17 she could possibly have seen down the road 20 years to know that it was good advice, but that is something that nobody can hold a candle to, compared to her. Kristine is the best person I have ever met at seeing any situation through to its logical conclusion (or its illogical conclusion). She truly knew that for me, getting back to kayaking was what was right, and I knew it too, deep down, but with no other person supporting the idea, I broke. After that experience, I learned that breaking was something I would never do again.

I married her as fast as I could!

Since we got married, Kristine made our life as a kayak family as successful as possible. In the beginning, it was raising Emily, and then Dane, while I paddled, and made little money doing it, and still organizing me to the best of her ability. (ever try to organize an ant hill, well she can make the create a big pyramid and sing “it’s a small world”) Meanwhile, it became apparent that there was tons she could do to help me help the family. She started by working booking lessons for Adventure Schools the kayak school I would soon buy. She was the best booker you could get, and never let a phone ring without booking a lesson. She also kept me insolated from issues during key times, like USA Team Trials, or the World Championships, or whatever. We would be flat broke, with all hell breaking loose and she would keep me from having the ATM card to see the negative balance, or that I was fired, or whatever, until after the race/event so I wouldn’t be bothered by it.

In the past 10 years Kristine has come into her own professionally, becoming the president of the USA Freestyle Kayak Association, Board of American Whitewater, Board of International Freestyle Committee, and a key part of Jackson Kayak. Most of what Kristine does is volunteer work and the kayaking world would not be the same without her.

Known as the “mother of all kayakers” because of her caretaking ways of any kayakers who need help, food, or whatever, she is an icon wherever she goes. Behind the scenes at Jackson Kayak, on, any major trip, event, or activity, is Kristine organizing Team Jackson Kayak, and the Jackson family, as well as anything else she can do for the benefit of all involved.

As my wife, she is the love of my life and my girlfriend with a spirit that can’t be tamed or brought down, and she is the rock that is the foundation of the family known as the Jacksons.

🙂 EJ



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