The Reno-Tahoe Blog will occasionally feature entries from athletes sponsored by Reno-Tahoe, America’s Adventure Place. Jay Kincaid, professional kayaker, has been paddling over half of his lifetime, and is back to blog about his life as a professional kayaker living in Reno, NV. As 2003 Freestyle Kayaking World Champion, 2001 U.S. National Champion and three-time U.S. Point Series Champion, Jay is the most proud of the many first descents he’s done on rivers and waterfalls in his native Oregon and in California.
Before coming to Jackson Kayak I had worked for another kayak manufacturer for the better part of ten years. A lot of things had changed during that time and in the end the only thing that kept me there was the friends that I had made along the way. The truth was, and is, that those friends will be part of my life regardless of who I work for, but that didn’t make telling them that I was leaving any easier. When I finally called Robin Culver with the news it actually took me about five phone calls that day before I could get it out of my mouth. She, like all of my friends with Dagger was very gracious and supportive upon hearing the news, as I knew that they would be.
At that point in my kayaking career the move to Jackson Kayak was really a no-brainer for me. EJ, the Jackson family and myself had been friends for years. I loved to paddle with Eric, and just as much loved to compete against him. For us the two have always gone hand in hand. Everyday that we are on the water together it is “game on” as I believe that for both of us that kayaking with out competition would somehow be very different. I trusted and believed very much in Eric’s fresh ideas and philosophies regarding kayak design, the future of our sport, and business in the paddle sports industry in general. So, when the time was right for me to come aboard, I did so jumping with both feet despite what anybody else thought that I should do.
The truth is that I have never worked for a more professional and friendly group of people in my life as I do now with Jackson Kayak, and that is saying something as I have been doing this a long time. We have what I believe to be the best product in the world, and even more importantly at the best value. Jackson kayak is a 1 percent for the planet company and is surrounded by people who are more then willing to give what they have so that others might have the opportunity to live better lives. It makes me very proud to be part of a company with great people, great product, and great values.
Team Jackson Kayak, meaning the company as a whole, as well as the athletes making up what is traditionally thought of as a team is something awesome to be part of. It is the first time in all my years of kayaking that I am surrounded by a group of people who genuinely want everyone to do well.
Stephen Wright will come down to the water to help me with my competition ride knowing full well that his help might result in him being outscored, and that is inspiring to me. The amazing thing is that everyone on the team is like that, like a true team should be.
A lot of people; acquaintances, old team members, media, and friends, questioned me when I made the move to Jackson Kayak. Eight months later I don’t hear those questions anymore. I am now in what I believe to be an enviable situation, and I look at the company that I work for and what we are doing and can only smile.