Eric Jackson on the Past, Present, & Future of Paddlesports (Ep.195)

Eric Jackson is a visionary, iconoclast, designer, founder, and one of the most successful and influential kayakers in history. In our conversation, Eric provides a masterclass on the history and evolution of paddlesports — and even if you’ve never paddled a day in your life, Eric’s insights into the sport that he played such a seminal role in shaping offer numerous lessons for how to grow — and preserve the best aspects of — other sports, communities, and industries like skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, trail running, etc.


  • When did you first paddle a boat? (3:43)
  • What was the sport like when you started? (5:30)
  • Key moments in modern kayaking? (13:35)
  • The visionary gene (20:20)
  • Product Design (31:30)
  • Community: Growth vs. Intimacy (38:09)
  • Best ways to increase participation? (44:12)
  • Where would you like to see boating be in 10 years? (50:36)
  • Eric’s hearing loss & hearing aids (59:12)
  • Apex Watercraft (1:13:43)


2 comments on “Eric Jackson on the Past, Present, & Future of Paddlesports (Ep.195)”

  1. This was just absolutely fantastic! Thanks for reaching out into the kayak world for one of these episodes, could not have picked a more influential human being. Would love to know more about what’s going on at Jackson Kayak, the Apex Watercraft news was a revelation to me for sure. Knowing that Emily has a large role in Jackson Kayak and Dane is still boating for them, I’d really like to know more about how the family’s relationship continues with the company. Sure sounds to me like Eric could possibly be cooking up some boats that might directly compete for market space, but I guess that remains to be seen? In any case, phenomenal episode with a phenomenal guest and I am highly looking forward to the next Jackson episode!

  2. Thanks for the interest in doing this podcast with me Jonathan! Blister is doing a good job outfitting and educating the outdoor enthusiast! You spent quite a bit of time with me on this one! Keep up the hard work and even better, the hard playing!

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