Young kayaker and family boat the nation |

Young kayaker and family boat the nation

Scott N. Miller
Eagle County correspondent

MINTURN ” Dane Jackson brought his homework to the Teva Mountain Games. Then again, Jackson takes his homework most everywhere.

Jackson, 11, travels the country by RV much of the year with his family, so schoolwork is done on the fly. And when your family is the Jackson in Jackson Kayak, there’s a lot of time on the road.

After the Teva Mountain Games, the Jacksons will head to Durango, then Salida. The whole summer is like that, because the Jacksons are in demand on the little-boat circuit.

Dad Eric Jackson is a three-time world freestyle kayak champion. The company that bears his name is a leader in the kayak business, and claims to build the world’s only kayaks built especially for kids.

With two kids who have been in boats just about all their lives, that part of the business is a natural.

Emily Jackson, 15, is a strong boater in her own right, and her little brother is as well.

Dane Jackson may be the youngest competitor on the circuit.

“I race with the juniors,” he said. “But there are a lot of events with just grownups.”

He won’t race with the grownups, but he often competes with adults in kayak rodeo events.

For Jackson, traveling from event to event is just something he does.

“I lived in a house until I was 4,” he said. “After that, we moved into the RV for five years. Now, we have a house in Tennesee.”

That house, near Rock Island, Tenn., doesn’t get a lot of use. The family spends winters there, as well as breaks in the kayak season. But there’s still a lot of time spent in the RV.

It’s a different kind of life.

“Most of my friends are a few years older,” he said. And there’s a lot of time spent with adults. But this 11-year-old isn’t pining to live like a “normal” kid.

“I love it,” Jackson said. “You get to see a lot of the world.”

Even if the homework is always waiting.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or

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