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When the Rock Star came out, pretty much every freestyle athlete thought it was amazing for competition, big air, and advanced moves. That being said, the 2010 Star Series still held its own as a great design and had a following. There were a number of things that made the Rock Star stand out in competition, so it became the standard competition boat for the Jackson Kayak Team, as well as many advanced playboaters who throw all the biggest and most difficult moves. It even won over many who just love a hull design that takes off and breaks free for clean spins and dynamic carving! Even still, there were those who loved the ease of paddling the 2010 Star series provided, and could still play hard on every level…

Now we have the best of both worlds with the 2013 Star Series… It has the volume you need to throw HUGE air, a little friendlier river running design with a hull that feels fast and lively but easier to control the take-offs. I have been watching EJ in this boat the past 3 weeks and cannot believe how much more dynamic his moves look. There is no doubt when the move goes… it goes gigantic! Here is proof:

The paddlers who had a chance to paddle the 2013 Star series in the World Cup all competed fiercely, and with so little time to get used to it! Unlike the Rock Star, it feels easy immediately. In the Men’s class, Nick (and Dane) started off by literally dominating the early rounds of the Rock Island event. It was awesome to see plastic outperform the composite boats that have pretty much become the European standard! Dane in the new Star continued to stay consistently competitive with powerhouse Peter Czonka in his composite Vadja through all 3 events and it was a battle in every round. Nick, Stephen, EJ were never far behind, (and Clay until a shoulder sprain took him out) and they continued to make cuts and score moves with more bonuses than ever before against the solid European freestylers. In the women’s class, Emily made it clear in the 1st World Cup event that her new Star stands out by leading every round and taking the win by a big margin. Erin Clancey advanced through the semi’s into finals to take 5th in her new Star as well! Jessie Stone paddled the Star for all 3 events, strongly advancing into the semi’s once, and being extremely close when she didn’t. And yes, Emily ended up taking the overall crown for the World Cup Champion with strong finishes (despite being quite sick and unable to train the last week!) in every single event! Jr Men’s saw Grady Kellogg and Alec Voorhees making a strong showing (in the new Allstar and Super Star) advancing into the finals in the 1st event and Alec winning an overall 5th in the World ranking!

Jackson Kayak was well represented in the eddies and on the podiums… with medals hanging around the necks of athletes for 3 weeks straight. Many other countries arranged to paddle a new Star, Allstar, or a Rockstar for the entire event series! Japan, Russia, Canada, New Zealand, and even European paddlers were putting their trust in Jackson Kayak for the rides they hoped would advance them on. Ruth Gordon, and Courtney Kerin made strong appearances in many semi’s and final rounds, with Ruth winning a silver medal in the Final event. Claire O’Hara paddled her Rockstar into back to back wins. Nuria Fontane won it all for the Jr Women in her Rockstar. Jez had solid C1 Rockstar rides, just missing the podium at event 2. And for the US in a Rockstar, Lauren Burress paddled strong in the final, taking a silver as well. Up and coming Jr Men like Hunter Katich, Max Karlson, and Bennett Smith showed up in their Rockstars and ended up in Finals and on podiums. As for me, I was finally able to fight my way into semi finals by the last event and finish in the same spot I did 2 years ago at World Cup in Germany. The competition was stacked and the judging was tough! Jason Craig made us all proud with a 3rd place finish in the Final event, and we all found inspiration from his display of strength and fortitude. Congrats Team JK!!!

Emily Jackson: 2012 World Cup Champion Women’s
Hunter Katich: 2012 World Cup Champion Jr Men’s
Dane Jackson: 2012 World Cup C1 Champion, Squirt Champion, and 2nd place Men’s

Photos by Philip Robert