Jackson Kayak Dealer Summit 2012
Shannon Finch - Sierra South Kayak Instructor
I had the opportunity to attend the Jackson Dealer Summit in Rock Island Tennessee this year. It was nothing short of a good time. The party kicked off with seminars focusing on outfitting whitewater kayaks, building teams, the impressive line of Jackson fishing kayaks, social media, and general Q&A forums led by Eric Jackson and the Team. I learned a lot during these seminars.
Next stop was the Jackson Kayak Factory. Safety Glasses Mandatory. What an incredible thing to see... Made in America. Eric Jackson walked us through the processes of building a kayak, we saw everything, the molds, the molder, the fans, the plastic pellets of color, the people, the smiles and the high fives. The factory is a family of amazing people dedicated to building quality kayaks following the motto, "Build it like it's your own" It was like being in Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory, weaving in and out of aisles of kayaks, each kayak built by an individual, this was not an assembly line of tedious work, each factory worker is able to pour a bit of their own personality into the boats, and their individuality is celebrated.
We got to take part in building a kayak as well... what a process that is! In teams of four we joined a member of the factory team and built a kayak. It was awesome! Quality Control reviewed the boats and made no exceptions, perfection was demanded. I loved it!
Lots of laughs, tons of learning, plenty of smiles and heaps of high fives were happening. We had dinner at the Fog Light one night, which was incredibly good. I had a cool conversation with EJ about his passion for building kayaks, being a kayaker, and having his family. I'm a huge fan of the guy, he brings an energy that promotes goodness and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to just exist with someone like that for a few days. A NEW concept was revealed from Jackson Kayak... But... my lips are sealed, just keep your eyes open, very cool things are coming!
Each morning began with breakfast and seminars, but if you know Eric Jackson, getting on the water was top priority, so we did just that. I hopped in the new Karma and found myself floating down river amongst new friends and good vibes. The new Karma is awesome! Paddling the medium at 85 gallons I really liked the responsiveness of the boat, holds a good edge, is fast, and really has great potential to be an all around river runner / creek boat. Kokatat was there with the new collaboration Kokatat/Jackson line of Dry Suits, Dry Tops, and PFDs. They look so amazing on the water, I will admit, the colors seem a bit loud on the wall, but on the water, they look sharp.
The final night was a party at Eric's home, hosted by the Jackson Family and Red Bull, with an OctoberFest theme we ate well and danced into the night. Everyone was stoked. I was stoked to be apart of the show. Thank you to the Jacksons for hosting such a successful party.
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What a way to start the New Year!! On January 1 California Cooperative Snow Surveys reported the Southern Sierra at an average 7 inches Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), or about 26% of the normal April 1 seasonal snowpack. The January 13th report puts the Southern Sierra snowpack at a whopping 22 inches SWE or about 83% of the April 1 norm. The snowpack has more than tripled since New Year's! Today, four Kern Basin snow sensors (CHP, PSC, TUN & CSV) were reported at over 100% of the April 1 normal and Wet Meadows (WTM) is listed at 93%.
The heavy snow resulted from a combination of a broad, moist westerly flow and more-defined atmospheric river events. At times lower elevation rain and melting snow produced high flows on the Upper Kern. Based on the preliminary flow data from the COE gage at Riverside Park there was a peak of 8909 cfs at 6:00 a.m. on January 5; another peak of 15263 cfs at midnight on January 7; and then the highest peak of 18338 cfs at 8:00 a.m. January 9.
While most of us just stood with our mouths agape, local Kern paddlers Evan Moore (son of Sierra South co-owner Tom Moore) and Johnny Chase jumped on the river and got in some epic runs. Both are very accomplished, elite kayakers who have paddled internationally. On January 5 they paddled Brush Creek and then the Upper Kern down through Chamise Gorge, Upper Salmon Falls and Lower Salmon Falls, Sock 'em Dog and Fender Bender. On January 9 they did a "Bridge to Bridge" (Johnsondale Bridge to Kernville Bridge) in 2.5 hours, with a stop a Corral Creek. They did it without portages and commented that 17,000 cfs was "'kinda pushy... really fun." Now the they're are off to Patagonia for more amazing paddling. Here's a video from Evan during the Bridge to Bridge run.
The big snowpack and big water has already piqued interest in 2017 paddling season, which should be the best in many years. Following is a video posted by Ivan Rodriguez of KERO 23ABC, with some comments by Sierra South co-owner Tom Moore.
Last season we had the best whitewater in five years, and with all the snow we're getting this Winter the 2017 paddling season is looking even better! In 2016 we had more than 1,000 guests rafting with us over the Memorial Day Weekend. Over the 2016 season our kayak instructors taught more than 100 students -- new paddlers and paddlers refreshing their skills. Our tubing season floated guests down the river from just after July 4 until Labor Day Weekend. We want to thank all those who came out and played on the Kern with us, in rafts and kayaks, on stand-up paddle boards and inner tubes. Make 2017 awesome, and enjoy a trip on the Kern River! Make your 2017 Raft Trip, Kayak Class and SUP Class reservations today! Historically, late May to early July are our busiest dates.
Check out the big selection of New and Used Kayaks on Sale! Get a new boat for the 2017 kayaking season! Bring in your old kayak and we will sell it for you. Really, how many dinosaurs do you need in your garage?
Evan Moore, Sierra South kayak instructor/raft guide, and son of co-owner Tom Moore, recently competed in the hardest extreme kayak race in the world -- the North Fork Championship -- and crushed it! Three races on the North Fork of the Payette River in Idaho, with the premier race on the notorious class 5 Jacob's Ladder. Racing for the first time in the NFC, Evan placed 7th out of 99 to qualify. In the Boater X he pulled down a 4th place, and then finished 10th in the grand finale on Jacob's out of a field of the 30 best extreme kayakers on the planet. We are so proud of our homegrown talent.
Our world-famous Lickety-Split and Lickety-Blaster raft trips are far and away the two most popular and most affordable Class 2-3 whitewater rafting runs available on the Kern River. Both are full of enough excitement to challenge just about everyone from young tykes to grandmas and grandpas. Looking for more adrenalin? Try our Upper Kern and Forks trips.Make your 2017 raft trip reservations today!
Learn to kayak! Our proven teaching method takes you through a gradual progression that maximizes the fun. We've designed our introductory and beginning classes for those who have never river kayaked before, or who have played around with kayaking some, but have not had formal instruction in the fundamentals of river kayaking. We also offer a 5-day total immersion learn-to-kayak class and Private Instruction. Our Kayaking School page has all the details on these, and other whitewater and lake touring kayak classes!Make your 2017 Kayak Class reservations today!
You've seen them at the lake, river, beach and on TV -- learn to paddle a SUP! It's fun and a great way to get an on-the-water workout! We offer a 2.5 hour Intro to SUP class and a more extensive SUP 101 class. We also have 4 Hour, Full Day, and Overnight SUP rentals.
ALL DAY Tube Rental: Shuttles all day, helmet and life jacket - Minimum Age/Wt: 6/50 lbs. - Price: $30 - Reserve online or call 1-800-457-2082!
One-Time Tube Rental: 1 trip down, 1 shuttle, helmet and life jacket - Minimum Age/Wt: 6/50 lbs. - Price: $25 - Reserve online or call 1-800-457-2082!
Shuttle: Departures will be every ½ hour from the Sierra South store starting at 9:00 am weekends and 9:30 am weekdays. Sunday through Friday shuttles end at 2:00 pm. Saturday shuttles end at 3:30 pm.
Guided: If customer would like a guide to accompany them the cost is $50 for one trip. (One guide for up to 8 people.)
One-Time Shuttle Only: $5/person per shuttle.
Note: Renters must wear PFD and shoes. Tubes can only be used in conjunction with our Shuttle and on the Lickety-Split run. No alcohol!