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Alpine / June 16, 2016

GoPro Mountain Games: Dane Jackson Interview

Written by: Devon Balet

Dane Jackson is whitewater. Originally from Tennessee, Dane grew up traveling the USA in an RV with his family. Chasing perfect whitewater, Dane was homeschooled by his mother and followed kayaking competitions with is father, Eric Jackson.

At a young age Dane dominated nearly every junior world title and by 2011 he started winning pro-level contests like the IFC Freestyle World Championships. Following in the footsteps of his father, Olympic paddler and founder of Jackson Kayaks, Dane distinguished himself as more than just Eric Jackson’s son.

The paddling prodigy has been featured in countless magazines and has racked up over 80 first-place finishes in freestyle kayaking competitions. I sat down with Dane between events at the GoPro Mountain Games to learn more about the whitewater loving paddler.


Dane Jackson during the SUP Cross.

Dane and the rest of the SUP Cross racers getting last minute details.

Full contact kayaking? That is 8 Ball!

From a family of paddlers, Dane is no stranger to whitewater.

Where is home for you? 

I am from Tennessee, my family and I all have a house that we all live at there, but usually only spend a month there in the winter time. I’ll spend nine months in my RV or I’ll be traveling over seas.


What are your overall thoughts of the GoPro Mountain Games?

The Mountain Games are so much fun it’s insane. In such a condensed area, with so many cool sports and so many cool people and the town is just so welcoming about it. It is such a fun weekend, I wish it was two weeks long.


How many events are you competing in throughout the whole weekend?

Generally I end up doing every kayak and SUP event. So it ends up being the Steep Creek and Freestyle, then the Downriver Sprint. Whatever gets me on the water. I try to do some events off the water but generally I am so busy with the on water stuff that I don’t get elsewhere. I get everything I can.



One place that Dane is very familiar with; the top step of the podium!

It is hard to imagine a competitor that loves water more than Dane as he takes on every single kayak and SUP event at the Mountain Games.

What is next for you after this weekend here in Vail?

Up next I will be heading north to Idaho for the North Fork Championships. It is basically one of the coolest big water races that I have ever done, it is such a fun race. It is definitely the hardest of the year, one of the biggest events and one of the final events before the summer, so I’m excited.


What do you think of the whitewater park here in Vail?

It is definitely a huge advantage to be able to adjust the hole (wave size and depth) even if the water is coming down or going up, because you always end up with a good feature. The Gore is a small creek so the bladders worked out really well and they did it right. People have been trying to do something similar elsewhere and it hasn’t worked out as well. They definitely nailed it here.


Who are your sponsors?

First and foremost Jackson Kayaks, GoPro, Red Bull, Werner Paddles, Kokatat Gear and Picky Bars.


For a full list of results, visit GoPro Mountain Games.

Dane celebrating after securing the win at the Kayak Freestyle competition in Vail, Colorado.

about the author

Devon Balet

Born and raised in Colorado and living in the outdoors with a bike between his legs and a camera in hand, Devon discovered mountain biking after he started working at a bike shop at age 14.

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