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While I have been called a “holeboater” for many years, especially leading up to the Buseater World Championships- the reality is that I have easier access to waves and wave move locations than holes. Rock Island is a perfect example. The top wave, 3rd wave, and main hole is 80% wave moves, and 20% hole moves for us here. In preperation for the 2011 Worlds, which is very much in a hole, I have had to be creative as well as plan on some traveling to get proper training in that will be appropriate for Plattling. The USA Team trials are over already, we did them last year, so the first hurdle is past for me and my family, making our national team.

This fall we hand made a hole at Rock Island, called “Backstage”. This was an experiment in hole building and we were rewarded with a great hole that was great training for us and also the site of our Carbon All-Star video, and our Rock Star promo video. The problem with this hand made hole is that it washes out evertime the water floods, which is often. It is washed out right now and we can’t rebuild it until the water turns off (June?).

We took a month and headed to Africa where we trained at Super Hole. This was awesome training. Dane, Emily, Nick, Clay, Jessie, and Stephen and I trained every day together working on our hole moves, combos, and going as big as we could.

Like all major competitive events- the World Championships breeds a different beast than local competitive events. People will go through some big efforts over long periods of time to win a world championships. This fact is what progresses the sport and creates so many incredible boaters worldwide. Watching random videos from all over the world of people training and competing to get ready for Plattling this year it is apparrent that, once again, the bar will be set higher and if anyone wants to win the worlds this year, they had better plan on doing what no human has done before in a freestyle kayak!

For the first time, the Jackson Kayak Star series has been copied directly or copied and then modified by not one person/company, but I can have seen over 5 different versions now from all over the worlds. Some are blatantly copying it- molding the boat directly from a plastic JK boat. some are molding a boat, and then making some cosmetic changes, and some are making some performance changes, for better or worse (I won’t judge here as I am just stating the facts). this is interesting as this world championships will see many people in boats that are competitive with the Star series. Less people will have boats that are far behind. Composite boats are also becoming the rage. No surprise, but I wondered when it would finally happen. i timed the release of my our Carbon Rock Star for this world championships. Lightweight and the best design is a killer combo.

For the rest of the season leading up to the worlds- it will be a combinatoin of competing in events, to test out my holeriding skills and competition mind against the very people I train with, plus others. I have the unique position to be able to watch a ride from a Stephen, Nick, Clay, etc.. and hope they do really well, because if they win, my team member won, and even if they beat me, I still won in some ways. This is a great feeling and a wonderful way to be able to compete. With that said, there are no gimmies. I am out to do my best, and win, in every competition I do. That is what makes it a game. A great game of skill, and mental strength.

Let the games begin!

My final event will be the Teva Mountain Games- before heading to Germany- I hope to stand on as many top podiums on my way in as possible, such as the one in this photo at Teva…

Eric Jackson