Tony Lunt, Co- Founder of Jackson Kayak recently donated a large amount of kayaks to be distributed to our southeast region. Even in the time of COVID when we are paddling a little less often and in smaller groups, this is a huge win. We are so grateful for Tony’s generosity. We asked Tony a few questions about the kayaks and the donation that you can read below.
What is your involvement in the industry/sport of kayaking?
I have been paddling since 1970 and have stayed involved in the sport ever since.
I founded Jackson Kayak with David Knight and Eric Jackson in 2003. The company became #1 in whitewater after three years and has maintained it’s standing in the white water world by continuously making the best quality kayaks in the industry.
What is the history/story of the donated kayaks?
Since the inception of Jackson Kayak, I have been collecting most of our boat’s models. All generations and most models are part of this gift. The donated kayaks are a good history of the kayaks designed and built by JK. Most of those kayaks went down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, some twice. The fun and excitement those kayaks brought is unmeasurable. The Villain surfed the first mountain wave in Lava Falls in 22,000cfs of mostly mud. I personally did a complete backward flip on wave #10 in Hermit in the Super Hero. Didn’t plan to. That big wave did all the work. The two first generations of Zen’s and FUN’s were paddled from Salt River Canyon in Arizona to the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho. The All Water is a good flat water/expedition kayak. Only used it once. All boats are sound (the Antix is missing its plug) and ready to paddle safely. All those kayaks ended up either hanging in my barn or stacked in a back room gathering dust. I decided that they needed to be given away (I could have sold them) to the right people, they would continue to bring joy and happiness to be back on the water with a thrilled paddler. Now, you continue their history.
Why did you choose TRR for the donation?
I asked around. I wanted a good home for all of them where they would be appreciated, used often and not end up again in storage. More than one person recommended your organization for the gift. When I checked you out, I saw right away that TRR would not only give my boats a good home, but also used them respectfully and properly. When I saw the pictures on your website of our kayaks, it was obvious that you enjoyed them and teaching how to use them safely.
What is your favorite river/body of water to paddle on?!
I enjoy my local river, the Upper Salt River Canyon when it runs in the Spring. I don’t know how to qualify how I feel about The Canyon. The scale and complexity of the geology and geography, the size, noise and intensity of its big water, the quiet of its side canyon, the massive rock permanently over your head, the magic that exists below the rim…
I also enjoy the small class II+ rivers of western Europe. There is this river in Belgium that has no road and man made structure for 15 miles. It may not be a big deal in the US, but in high density and small countries, it is a rarity. This river snakes through deep dark conifer woods that exhales a sense of wild mystery.
Jewells like the Selway in Idaho. Class III – IV technical creek high up in the old growth cedars. The clearest river water I ever saw. Of course, the Middle Fork of the Salmon., the drainage just south of the Selway. Pine country with amazing geology, fun rapids and good times.
I could go on. The point is: Get on a wild river and enjoy it!
Take good care of those boats and they will give you years of great times!