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385692_380725538626321_707254771_nIn January, Danielle Katz and I started on quest called 12 Rivers in 2012.  We are paddling 12 California Rivers, source to sea, over the coming year.  In addition to doing the miles, we are engaging the local communities in stewardship, conservation and citizen science involving these rivers.  The adventure is almost 2,000 miles of boating, so when we went looking for boats and gear last fall we had a long list of requirements that ultimately lead us to Jackson Kayaks:


  • We wanted solid boats that would fill a multitude of rolls.  good whitewater performance, good river running and decent hull speed on the flat sections.
  • We wanted a complete boat.  unwrap it and straight into the water.  no out fitting needed, splash, off we go.
  • We needed good handling for tight creeks as well as larger capacity for not just camping gear, but also fragile items including cameras, water sampling equipment, solar cells and electronics
  • We wanted to work with a Made in America Company, preferably family owned, not part of a large conglomerate. I’ve always enjoyed connecting with the people who build the gear first hand.
  • We wanted a company who was interested not just in River Running, but Conservation too, and helping people enjoy their time on the water to the fullest extent possible.
  • We wanted a company that was innovating, both in materials and product and in looking toward more sustainable production methods.  (My dream boat factory is one that takes in old soft drink bottles on one end and pops out white water boats at the other.)
  • I’d seen Eric Jackson and his family paddle slalom at the Kernville, California Slalom Course and had a lot of respect for their first hand knowledge of what makes a boat work, what does not.
  • We found Emily Jackson and the rest of the staff a joy to work with.


On the water, the Rogue is very neutral in it’s handling, very forgiving, yet its still responsive on a wave, fun to paddle.  There is plenty of  volume in back for gear storage (lawn chair anybody?), room enough up front for a sleeping bag, tarp and pad.  The bungies on the front deck are an unexpected bonus, allowing me to have small items topside when paddling in easy water.  Its a small thing, but something I’ve never had that on a whitewater boat before and I’ve gotten attached to that littler perk.  When we drop the skeg down the boat does a pretty good sea kayak imitation, transforming from agile river boat to straight tracking lake traveler.  The boat comes has what for Jackson is standard.  Built in bow float bag, hip and seat pads, and one of the better back bands if experienced.


I’m looking forward to spending as much time in the boat as I can.


-John Dye
April, 2012


For more information on 12 Rivers in 2012 go to:

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