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In celebration of National Let’s Go Paddling Month, Jackson Kayak is giving away two kayaks to a the paddler whose unique journey touches the most Facebook fans’ hearts.
The Inspiring Journeys Video Contest will launch on the Let’s Go Paddling Facebook fan page on June 1, the start of National Let’s Go Paddling month. Participants are encouraged to submit a brief summary of their story describing an inspirational journey of overcoming adversity. It can be their own story, or that of a friend of family member. The winner will be decided, in part, by the number of “likes” the story receives on Facebook. Jackson Kayak will donate two boats to the campaign – the winner’s choice of any boat in Jackson’s lineup of whitewater, rec/touring and fishing kayaks and one of the company’s Journey touring kayaks for the winner’s favorite non-profit to use as a fundraiser. Jackson Kayak founder and president Eric “EJ” Jackson said the goal of the Inspiring Journeys campaign is twofold: to raise awareness and participation in National Let’s Go Paddling month and to recognize an individual whose personal story inspires others. Jackson, an Olympian and four-time World Freestyle Kayak Champion, has had a lifelong passion for kayaking that, beyond the competition arena, has included starting his own kayak manufacturing company, raising his family in the globe-trotting kayaking lifestyle and giving back to the kayaking community through support of American Whitewater and grass roots outreach programs like World Kayak and Let’s Go Paddling.
Jackson explained that as he and his family tour the country each summer as part of his company’s annual Fun Tour, they are humbled by the number of inspirational stories they hear nearly every day from fellow paddlers. “Whether you call it blessed or charmed, my family has enjoyed life to the fullest with very little adversity. Every day, we appreciate how lucky we are especially when we see others around us who’ve had a tougher road in life,” Jackson said.
Since she was a teen, Jackson’s daughter Emily, the reigning women’s world freestyle kayak champion, has dedicated a generous amount of her earnings from winning kayak competitions to others less fortunate. She is one of the biggest individual cash and sweat equity donors to Soft Power Health, and its mission to prevent and treat malaria among villagers in Uganda near the headwaters of the Nile, a favorite training spot for the world’s top kayakers. Son Dane, an equally decorated kayaker at the tender age of 17, also shares the family’s bent for philanthropy, donating a portion of his earnings to help send Ugandan orphans to school.
An example of the type of stories Jackson hopes the Inspiring Journeys campaign will bring to light is that of Reno, NV athlete Grant Korgan. Last year at the request of kayaking friends of Korgan, the Jacksons donated a new boat as part of an event to help raise funds for Korgan’s recovery from snowmobile accident that paralyzed him from the waist down. Korgan now hopes his remarkable path to recovery and not just walking again but kayaking and snowmobiling again too will inspire others to overcome seemingly improbable odds.
The deadline to enter the Inspiring Journeys Video Contest is June 18. Fans will vote for their favorite entries from June 19 – 30. A panel of judges will make the final determination of the winner from among the fans top choices. The winner will be announced July 5. The first 10 verified video entries will win a copy of “EJ’s River Running Basics” DVD. Submissions will be accepted on the Let’s Go Paddling Facebook fan page.
Founded in 2003, family owned and operated Jackson Kayak is passionate about paddlesports and committed to helping boaters of all ages, size and skill excel. The global leader in whitewater boats, Jackson Kayak also proudly designs and produces rec/touring and fishing kayaks from its manufacturing facility in Tennessee.
Let’s Go Paddling is a nationwide initiative to get more people paddling more often. The program invites new and lapsed paddlers – whitewater, flatwater, freshwater or saltwater – to expand their enjoyment of the lifetime sport of paddling through lessons, festivals and other programs offered at a nationwide network of paddlesports Welcome Centers that can be found online at