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From Devon Barker, By Conner Jackson

The Payette river system has proven to me that it is one of the best rivers in the world- for beginning kayakers that is. In only one year, me, and an entire group of kids have learned everything we could possibly get out of one stretch of river.

We are part of the Idaho River Kids. IRK is a group of kid paddlers that is run by Tom Long, former Junior National Slalom coach, and all of his instructors at Cascade Raft and Kayak. We paddled every Wednesday and Friday for almost 6 consecutive weeks, and sometimes more. The lessons ended soon after school started, though. But the amazing part is that a group of us stuck together. Every weekend it was either a surf session at “the gutter” or a trip down the Main Payette. It has become a ritual. It still is.

“We” are a group of kids dedicated to paddling. “We” all own Jackson Kayaks. Our names are me, Conner Jackson, 14, my sister, Brindi Jackson, 12, our friends Connor McLeod, 14, Ethan McLeod, 12, and Lauren McLeod, 12. We also paddle with Troy Wilson, 12, Tyler Wilson, 16, and their dad Gary Wilson lots.

We all believe Jackson Kayaks have really elevated our kayaking experience to a new level.

Jackson Kayaks have really given me more confidence in anything I do. For instance, I used to own a Perception Sparc. I simply couldn’t roll it with confidence. I ended having to do at least two tries before ever making a combat roll. Then, I got a Pink Hero from Devon Barker and it really helped. I haven’t missed a roll since.

It changed the way my friend Troy Wilson kayaks, too. He is 12, but a really small kid with a heart of gold. He too could barely roll or maneuver for that matter in a Perception Sparc. Then his dad got him a Fun 1.5 and it changed everything. He is now surfing everything, hitting all the eddies the best, and trying out the most things out of all of us kids.

Four weeks ago, I was terrified to go down a class II section called the Lower Main. I had been kayaking in a hard shell for over 1 ½ years and yet kayaking just didn’t seem like much of a sport I would like to pursue. Then, the switch turned on and I made my first combat roll! It was amazing.

But I still was having issues. I couldn’t easily move the boat around, and it was simply too long for my taste. So, my dad, realizing the situation I was in, bought me a Jackson and I took off. Within three weeks I had gone from being afraid of kayaking at all to sticking every roll I did and surfing like someone gone crazy. Now, I’m paddling class III+ with ease with more confidence than I ever could have had in the Sparc.

Many of us are now at the same level of skill because every one of us uses a Jackson Kayak.

While it may not change everything we do, it definitely has an effect on our boating experience.

The thing that Jackson Kayak does best though is introduce you to the sport of kayaking itself on a new level. Jackson Kayak simply jumps out at you to kayak and have fun. Now, most of us cannot simply think of anything better to do than kayak.. Jackson Kayaks perform so well they make it easy to get hooked on the sport. They really work magic. We are all very glad that Jackson Kayaks came to be.

Presently, we kids are so addicted to kayaking, that we have decided to try and kick-start the future Boise WhiteWater Park.

Brindi Jackson

If you would like to help this cause, please visit this website:

Thanks Devon for letting me write this,

Conner Jackson, age 14.


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Brindi Jackson

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Conner CJ Jackson

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Conner McLeod

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Ethan McLeod

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Lined up to start on Payette

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Troy Wilson

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Tyler Wilson