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Jackson Kayak has the largest and one of the most stacked teams in the whitewater industry. All of the team members are very interactive and and that alone is a large perk to being on Team JK! Here is an opportunity for the public to get to know Team JK. Below is an interview that I did with… Drum roll please…. Emily Jackson!

Emily Jackson is one of the worlds most famous kayakers. Emily is also a driving force behind the success at Jackson Kayak since being very involved a few years ago. Her father, Eric Jackson, started the company back in 2004. She and her brother, Dane, continue to push the sport in their own ways. She continues to compete at a high level each and every year. Some of her accomplishments include 2009 Female World Champion, Silver Medal 2011 World Championships, and 2012 World Cup Champion. Emily’s most memorable year could be 2013 where she was pregnant all competition season and won many events, including the Payette River games at 8 months pregnant. Tucker was born August 2013, adding a great piece to the kayaking power duo of Emily Jackson and Nick Troutman. Here are a few questions I had for my “big sister” Emily!

Alec Voorhees: Being part of the Jackson family makes it well known that you are a great paddler. What is your job at Jackson Kayak apart from being on the team?

Emily Jackson: I wear a lot of other hats- I am manage our teams as well as the team managers for Fishing, Whitewater, and Europe. I also run a lot of the day to day stuff online- Facebook posts, blogs posts and other content. When I am not busy doing all that stuff I do collections, special events, and so forth. Really I am just someone who takes the company personally so I look for things I help with to make it more efficient or just help out.

AV: After competing at a high level for a number of years, what is your greatest accomplishment?

Em J: Wow- getting my ass to look good after having Tucker perhaps : ) Just kidding, but honestly I feel like my greatest accomplishment is probably that I never got persuaded or convinced to do anything over my head. I feel like its really hard as a girl boater coming up in the sport because everyones response to everything is “you got this” or “you could totally run this.” I always know what I want and don’t want to do in a kayak and I feel like I have done a good job of always deciding that and not allowing others to decide it for me- including my Dad, brother and husband. As far as competing wise- 2x World Champion, 7x Teva Mountain Games, scoring 736 points at an ICF event in finals, and 4x Payette River Game Freestyle Champ isn’t too bad either.

AV: At the 2013 USA Team Trials you were in the later stages of your pregnancy and just missed the cut to make the team. Looking back at it now did everything work out for the best or is it still a little tough to swallow?

Em J: It was a hard pill to swallow, and still is in some ways. But it was fun to sit back and watch Worlds in a way. It taught me a lot about what I want- I have been competing at a top level for so long, and watching others compete it made me realize that all events are just one event, and they come and go, and they feel like the world for a moment, and the next event takes it place. I am not more excited then ever to compete- mainly because my goal isn’t to win, but to impress myself. I have won a lot of events, but the things I remember arent whether I won or not- but if I pushed myself or tried moves I am not great at. So I am working hard on throwing new moves for me, and just going out on whim more.

AV: Last summer you competed all the way up until giving birth and some people questioned your decision- what kept you motivated to still paddle?

Em J: There was nothing else for me to do. Being in the water made me feel the most normal, relaxed and comfortable. I gained a whopping 60 pounds (still don’t know how that happened). Sitting in a a kayak I felt lighter (then land), refreshed and super happy. I felt like I needed to be active for my son, and my knees were so bad- biking and walking hurt. Sitting in a kayak took me off my feet and gave me something to wake up and look forward to- I was excited. My kayak was so small on me, it took little to no muscle to move it as my pure body weight would throw it around. The doctors never said no- and I told myself- the second one doctor says its a bad idea- I am out. But luckily none said it. So I was motivated by the support I got and the joy of just being on the water.

AV: What advice would you give to younger female kayakers or girls just getting into kayaking?

Em J: Don’t give up- kayaking has a lot of “fear of the unknown” and the only way to get over un- knowns is to make them more known. So that crazy feeling of being upside in a kayak, will feel crazy at first and probably intimidating, but if you do it over and over, it comes naturally at some point and won’t scare you. Also always listen to your gut- kayaking should be fun, if you are not having fun, don’t be afraid to take a step back to whatever is fun for you- then do that enough that you are looking for a little more thrill. That’s how I have progressed in kayaking- not necessarily diving into things, but taking baby steps.

AV: If you could be an athlete in another sport what would it be?

Em J:This is a hard one- growing up it was football. The idea of me being bad ass in a mens only sport always made me want to play foot ball- and for a 10 year old girl I could really throw a mean spiral. My dad was a state champion swimmer though and growing up I thought that I would be a great swimmer! I just love being in the water.

AV: You are married to one of the world’s best kaykers, Nick Troutman. When training does he help out a ton or mostly just push your buttons?

Em J: A little bit of both, we have moments where he certainly pushes my buttons and others where he does help. Mainly because I have gotten better about telling him what mood I am in- a lot of times I want coaching just for positive affirmation, and not actual coaching- so I will say its a compliment party- and that’s it : ) Other times he has a funny way of making me over think things but that’s okay!

AV: How did you and Nick start dating?

Em J: That is a long complicated story, but….. My Dad would teach at Wilderness Tours on the Ottawa and Nick was from the area. I met him a couple times as a really young kid (like 9) but I had cooties and he wanted nothing to do with me. Then when he learnt how to Kayak I saw more and more of him. Dad saw him boating and thought he was super good, but realized after a couple events, that Nick really couldn’t compete well. So he invited him to the RV to go to all the events. Nick lived with us for over 6 months- of which my Dad said we weren’t allowed to date (he didn’t tell me this and I never knew why nick kept turning me down). About 2 years later (after Nick continued to join us on trips) I decided to hit on Nick one more time, just to see how it would go (after a lot of epic fails). Nick tried to turn me away twice as I attempted to hold his hand, but I was persistent and grabbed his hand with both of mine, and I noticed he was smiling. Later that evening we held hands through the whole King Kong movie (which is long) and when it was over I gave him a kiss goodnight. The next day when he got back from school (12th grade) he came running up the stairs to where I was- gave me a kiss and asked if this meant we were now dating. I laughed at him and said I guess so, and the rest was history.

AV: Awe, so cute. Moving on, even though you travel around the world constantly, can you explain your phobia of booking plane tickets?

Em J: Ha! Well- when I was 16 and Nick and I just started dating. I hadn’t seen him for awhile so my parents decided I could get a ticket to go see him. I booked it ALL BY MYSELF. I was going to Ottawa, Ontatio, Canada. Which is ONT, CAN, well I went to Ottawa, CA, CALIFORNIA. Not only did I book the wrong ticket- but I checked on and boarded the wrong flight, and flew from TN all the way to California. It took FOREVER and was a big crazy mission. What should have been a 4 hour flight, turned into multiple days and lots of chaos. So I am always terrified that I will screw up again, and that it will cost me a lot of extra wasted money… I am stressing just thinking about it.

AV: What is your favorite thing about being a mother and why?

Em J: My goodness, so serious, my favorite part is……..Everything! I love feeling like the best person in the world, and tucker makes me feel that way. He makes me feel like I understand him and no one else, therefore he loves me to the moon and back. And you always get special treatment in a lot of places I never got it before.

AV: I’m sorry but can you please explain to the world your new nickname, MMB? Are you proud of it or now are you self conscious?

Em J: Proud- and a little self conscious. I love playing random quizzes on Buzz Feed and one was what is your Butts nickname. I got MMB- Marvelous, Massive, Boulder. That means, its big, beautiful and rock hard : )

Pop quiz:

Regular or bendy straws

Me or Hayden
Can I keep both?

River run or play park
River Run with Play

Wave or hole
Best Wave in the World vs Best Hole in the World and it would be Wave- BUT I do love holes