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If there is anything that JK symbolizes, it’s FAMILY and ADVENTURE!  I have been part of the JK team since 2005.  Over the years there has been lots of change – boat designs, business structure, team members, etc – BUT, one thing has stayed the same . . . the emphasis on FAMILY!  That is what I love most about being part of JK.

So, where am I going with this . . . Looking at my own life and the adventures that re-directed where my life was headed, I have witnessed “first-hand” how family can ignite passions that you never even knew you had.  My father-in-law, Steve Herbeck, was the biggest factor and support in my whitewater kayaking progression.  He was the one I’d follow down the river like a baby duck.  He was the one who taught me how to roll.  He was the one who had all the gear (though not very cool looking . . . haha) that I borrowed to go kayaking.  I trusted him, as he was the one who taught my husband how to paddle.  Kayaking became so important to Nate and I that we’d give up a weekend of hanging out with friends (our age) and head off to camp and kayak for the weekend with people twice our age.

This past May I had the opportunity to paddle one of the first rivers Steve took me down – the Cobb River in Mankato, MN.  I met Steve and a few of his friends at the put-in . . . just like old times (even though this time I wasn’t nervous . . . haha).  It was such a special experience to paddle down the river with these guys (cigars and all) . . . we had a variety of crafts and you can imagine some great stories!  As we headed downstream, Steve and I caught a few waves and reminisced about past kayaking adventures. 

Before meeting Nate I didn’t even know the sport of whitewater kayaking existed.  I think Steve would ‘shy away’ and deny this statement, but he was truly the leading factor in the life I live today!!!  I am grateful for all the experiences and people I’ve met along the way that have helped shape TODAY.

Heather Herbeck

Team JK