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As I sit, watching the snow fall and the Jackson video, that accompanied my new Jackson Hero kayak, I wanted to send you an email with a picture of its maiden voyage and a picture of the kayak, it will be taking priority over.

Last week, I took my new boat to Wright State, in Dayton, Ohio to Paddle with the Pros. It rolled so easily! The next day, I took it to Rocky Fork, near Chilocothe, Ohio. A cold but delightful day was my group’s first paddling trip, of the season! While only a class II run, it provided a great time to learn how different going from a flat bottom boat to a round bottom boat really is. I had a great time, practicing eddy turns and ferries. A run through the chutes was very cool!

I fell in love with paddling maybe five or six years ago and spent most of my time learning to paddle, a solo open boat. I manged to get my open boat down the Lower Yough several times and thought, ‘who needs a kayak?’ At NOC’s GAF, I spent a few minutes talking to THE Eric Jackson, who impressed me greatly, when he said, ‘it doesn’t matter what you paddle, just paddle.’ An open boater does have an open mind and a dedicated set of friends some how persuaded me to jump in a kayak and join the dark side. It took me months to learn to roll and I ended up buying an friend’s Perception Whip-it. It was a boat that taught me a lot…including what the sky looks like, when I drop into a hole and catch the stern.

I want to thank you for providing me, with the opportunity to get this boat. As a member of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, in Columbus, Ohio, I played in our pool sessions, in both a Punk Rocker and a 2Fun. The ease of rolling a Jackson sold me, as I was in the market for a new boat. After some on-line research, I knew my focus was on either a Punk Rocker or a Hero. A large group of us traveled to Frankfort, KY, to the National Paddling Film Festival. And armed with a pen, I stood my ground in the silent auction and was absolutely thrilled, when I won the silent auction for a 2008 Jackson Hero!

Thank-you for doing what you do and being a sponsor at the AWA events! I can’t wait to get my new boat out on the Lower Yough, where I spent almost every weekend, this past summer. I am looking forwarding to a great 2008 season and hopefully step up my game this year, on a bigger river, in my Hero!

Toni Hartley
Columbus, Ohio

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