Jackson Kayak Rules Whitewater at Teva Mountain Games

Team Jackson Kayak continued its dominance at whitewater festivals at the recently concluded Teva Mountain Games at Vail.
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Team Jackson Kayak continued its dominance at whitewater festivals at the recently concluded Teva Mountain Games at Vail. Led by back-to-back titles in the men's and women's rodeo for a second straight year by father – daughter duo Eric “EJ” and Emily “EmJ” Jackson, Team JK racked up 10 individual medals and one team medal, or just shy of one half of all whitewater medals available, at the event held May 31 – June 4.

Team JK Star series boats and pilots garnered five of six podium positions in the freestyle event, sweeping the men's division and earning first and third place in the women's division. Eric “EJ” Jackson wowed the crowd and fellow competitors with a staggering array of loops, a Lunar Orbit, McNasties both ways and cartwheels to rack up 143 points, 11 points ahead of teammate Stephen Wright, who put up his own flawless performance including the only clean Phonix Monkey of the competition, to earn second. Jay Kincaid, with super consistent runs each time he entered the hole, locked up third. Team JK's youngest men's division paddler, 12-yar-old Dane Jackson, riding the Fun 1, placed 7th in the men's semifinals.

Emily Jackson proved that last year's freestyle win here was just the start of what promises to be a wildly successful pro career by stringing together a space Godzilla, powerful air loops and ending with an emphatic McNasty in the championship round to beat the world's top female expedition kayaker, Nikki Kelly and Team JK teammate Devon Barker. Emily's performance throughout the Games also earned Volkswagen's prestigious Full Throttle Award. The award is given to one competitor from among the Games' 1200-plus kayakers, climbers, bikers, trail runners and adventure racers who best illustrates an overall passion for their sport.

Other Team JK medals included the following:
• Homestake Creek Race. Paddling his Super Hero, EJ bettered last year's result by one place to finish behind Pat Keller who had two nearly flawless runs. Brad Ludden finished third in the low-water, boulder strewn extreme creek race.
• Dowd Chutes Boater Cross. EJ finished first in time trials and each round to take first overall in definitive style. Emily earned bronze in a final round that featured Tanya Faux who finished first, Tanya Shuman in second and Laura Nash who finished fourth.
• Big Air Competition. Team JK's Stephen Wright, paddling his All-Star, earned second place behind ingénue Jared Seiler; Todd Baker took third. Ruth Gordon and Jessie Stone, also in Star series boats, racked up gold and bronze respectively. Canadian Valerie Bertrand was 2nd.
• Twelve-year-old paddling prodigy Jason Craig of Reno, NV, led the West to victory in the East vs. West amateur rodeo. Paddling his Fun 1-1/2, Craig was like glue in the flushy hole, racking up 44 points in the final round - by far the highest individual score of the team event.

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