Wesley's Wild World of Kayaking & the Jackson Action Wagon (JAW)

News, Info, & Events from my kayaking life

JK Rockstar 4.0 vs 2016 RockStar

The Jackson Kayak RockStar 4.0 is completely redesigned from the 2016 model. Check out all the spec comparisons and features by clicking on the image below:

More info and photos at: http://jacksonkayak.com/blog/kayak/rock-star-4-0/


Say Hello to the All-New JK Rockstar 4.0

The all new Jackson Kayak RockStar 4.0 is here!!! #JKRockStar4

Press release: http://jacksonkayak.com/blog/2018/06/15/jackson-kayak-launches-all-new-rockstar-4-0/

All 3 sizes coming to the Jackson Action Wagon – JAW soon for FREE demo!

Who’s excitted to demo one from the J.A.W. soon?

2018 JAW Fleet Rolls into Action!

Are you ready for FREE Jackson Kayak demos in 2018?  They’re here now!

Check out the full fleet on the Jackson Action Wagon page: http://worldkayakblogs.com/wildwildwes/the-jaw/

You can see more photos of the new fleet on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1635588816520176.1073741840.615362971876104&type=1&l=72679975dc

Schedule your FREE demo soon! :-)


NoliFest Winning

The 4th annual NoliFest 2018 was packed with more fun than ever before!  River trip shuttles for all on the Gorge and Lower Nolichucky River, SUP racing, river attainments, SUP joisting, vendor fair, One Wheel endure race, fireworks, great bands and good food where some of the highlights of the event.  We also pulled off the first ever Nolichucky Gorge enduro boatercross whitewater race on Friday evening called #beatnightfall!

The Jackson Action Wagon had a great demo event at the festival.  Thanks to all who came out to join us in these big booming fun times!

Congrats to our lucky winner of the Jackson Kayak Mixmaster the J.A.W. raffled off during the event!!  We ended up raising a total of $685 in the JK MixMaster raffle. Here is the planned distribution on the funds:

$300 to Green Bridge Landing – Doe River access & community park currently under development by the APE’s and IDEAS Groups with the Carter County Parks and Rec Board.

$385 to Camp Bays Mountain – This is about the funds needed for one camper scholarship, so NoliFest sent a kid to summer camp this year!

WIN a JK MixMaster at NoliFest!

The Jackson Action Wagon is giving away brand new 2018 Jackson Kayak Mixmaster 7.5 (Bluegrass color) at NoliFest this year!

Where: USA Raft – 2 Jones Branch Rd, Erwin, Tennessee 37650

The J.A.W. is proud to partner with USA Raft on Saturday (April 14th) at this event to give away JK’s hottest new whitewater design in a raffle to benefit Camp Bays Mountain & Green Bridge Landing! :-)

All proceeds raised in the raffle will be split to help the camp and community park.  The new camp is in Kingsport, TN and they are launching their first summer camp program this year for children of our area – http://www.campbaysmountain.com/. The community park under development is a new river access site on the Doe River in Hampton, TN.

Drop by the NoliFest Info booth to purchase tickets during Friday & Saturday of the event!


Check out all the announcements of event sponsors, bands, demos and more at:



How to Vertical Seal Launch

Do you have this skill in your tool bag?

Often on creek style runs we find the most efficient and safest way to launch into the river is off a vertical ledge into a deep pool.  This act can seem really scary at first if you have never tried it, so make sure you find a safe place to practice it.  The Sinks on the Little River in the Smokies is great place to learn this skill.  The cliff is a solid 12 feet drop to a nice deep and calm pool.

Photo by: Ryan Horn

I had a couple of first timers with me on recent trip on the Little River, so we took some time to practice this skill after a lap on the Meanies and the Sinks.  It was a reminder to me from the tourist watching us in amazement, who thought we were crazy, that this is an important skill to have if you want to be a well-rounded creeker.

Knowing how to perform this maneuver will help eliminate the spookiness of dropping off a cliff in your kayak and ultimately be a safer way to enter than river than trying to scurry down a step river bank while trying to handle your kayak.  Here’s my step by step suggestions on how to do a vertical launch with success:

  1. Checking your landing zone.
    • Look for obstructions and flow conditions of the surrounding area.  Is the flow going into an undercut wall?  Is there a rapid right below the drop you need to be prepared to run?  Make sure it deep enough for a plug based on the height of the drop (good rule of thumb is pool needs to be half as deep as the height of the drop).
  2. Find a safe staging area.
    • Make sure you launch place has a stable place to get in you kayak without worry of sliding off the cliff without having your backband set and your spray skirt on.
  3. Set your launch point.
    • Wiggle down to the edge of the cliff with your bow overhanging the drop and find the balancing point of the edge of the drop in your boat (This is typically about the point where your thighs are crossing the precipice).
  4. Prepare Propulsion.
    • Hold your paddle in one hand vertically on one side of your boat chocked against a rock on the lip of the drop.  Use your other hand to find a good grip at the edge of the cliff to help push off of at launch.
  5. Bomb Away!
    •  Give a quick push off the lip with your bare hand and paddle on each side of you simultaneously while letting your bow start to drop.
  6. Control Flight.
    • This is the hardest part of controlling fear while in freefall.  Concentrate on trying to lift your legs to your chest by crunching your chest forward in the cockpit.  This will angle the boat to land at more of a 75 degree angle to the water and activate your creek boat’s rocker to land upright.
    • Don’t lean back on your stern at this moment or you will fall over on your head, because this action drops your bow even more.
  7. Style the Landing.
    • Gain control of your paddle in low neutral paddle position below your chest at landing to help with bracing if you need it at landing.  Make sure to keep the paddle low below your shoulder line, so it doesn’t happen to hit you in the face when you first impact the water.  Your PFD will take the hit and you want even notice it when you keep it low.

Find you a safe place to give this skill a go or two.  Some future day on a new creek run you’ll be happy you have this maneuver in your tool kit. ;-)

What Jackson Kayak would you like to paddle in 2018?

The Jackson Action Wagon’s is starting its 12th year of spreading kayaking fun by providing FREE JK demos on the traveling showcase trailer. :-) I am now taking suggestions for what JK whitewater, fishing/hunting , recreation/touring or kids kayaks you would like to see stocked in the 2018 J.A.W. Fleet.  Take a look at all the current products we are offering this year with the link below and let me know your thoughts by 2/23/2018:

I’m already planning stocking all sizes of the Antix (S,M&L), Nirvana (M&L), and Mixmaster (7.0&7.5).  This leaves me with about 3-5 more spots for boats on the JAW, so let me hear your suggestions to help stock the fleet!  I plan to pick-up the new fleet at the factory toward the end of March, so stay tuned for new JK demos coming to the Tri-Cities soon!
Click on this link to send me a comment for JK suggestions on the J.A.W. Facebook pole: https://www.facebook.com/JacksonActionWagon/posts/1562466453832413
You can also contact me direct at http://worldkayakblogs.com/wildwildwes/contact-me/.  Thanks for any input you give!

Jackson Kayak MixMaster is Here!

Are you ready for some slicey fun?  #JKMixMaster

Both sizes of Mixmaster are now at the JK factory and both will be molding within a week from now.  MixMaster 7.0 size is currently in production.  MixMaster 7.5 size should be molding next week.  Both sizes are now available for order.

Promo video will be released in about a week from now…  Get stoked!  Get your orders in.

Both sizes coming to the J.A.W. in March for FREE demo!

Kokatat Outercore Habanero Liner Review

The best piece of cold gear I’ve used for my winter warmth!

Product website: https://kokatat.com/product/outercore-habanero-liner-inuhab

The Habanero is not your average onesie.  This new one-piece liner is full of technical paddling specific features to match up with all Kokatat dry suits and most other current dry suit designs, including Kokatat’s Switchzip suits.  I’ve also found great use of this liner as a mid-layer for alpine skiing.

You can use the liner as base-layer or mid-layer thanks to the high quality fabric construction.  The main fabric is a 4-way stretch 90% polyester 10% spandex with heavyweight recycled Polartec® PowerDry®.  The fabric of the underarms, cuffs, neck and ankles is a 4-way stretch 92% polyester 8% spandex with lighter weight Polartec® grid fleece ensures unrestricted movement at our pivot point while paddling.  The Velour back of the liner provides extra warmth and superior moisture transportation compared to other liners I have tried in the past.  This combination of fabrics makes for a nice breathable, but seriously warm suit!  I’m a warm natured big guy, so I don’t even think about putting on this liner unless it is at least in the 30’s.

The jersey face of the fabric enables smooth layering with other garment with its smooth finish.  The suit features flat-stitch seams throughout for comfort of wear.  The jersey face and flat-stitching make for a durable suit that can withstand the test of time and washing.

The liner has several great features in comparison to other onesies on the market:

The entire suit is contoured to fit your body better with the body mapped design.  This makes for a warm comfortable trim fit with no extra bulk.

The long front entry zipper is easy to get in and out of when dressing.  There is no need to ever worry about stretching out the neck with this suit entry system.

The second waist zipper acts as a drop seat for rear relief option.  There is also a flap fly for front relief option.  This relief system is compatible with all Kokatat dry suits (including SwithZip).  It also keeps you from having to remove your dry suit most the way off and freezing to death when having to go #2 in the wild.

The zippered chest pocket located on the left front of the liner is a handy for carrying small items.  You never have to worry about losing items in this pocket, since it has a zipper and typically under another layer.  I like to place my skull cap in it when there are days I’m not sure I’m going to have to wear it.

At the end of the wrist cuffs you will find a pair of thumb holes.  This feature help keep the sleeves in place when layering over the liner with your dry suit.  This also make the cuffs act as a toasty half mitt to keep you warm while at camp or loading your boat at the take-out.

Laundering the liner is super easy.  Wash it when it smells.  Throw it in a machine warm water wash all zipped up and hang dry.  Make sure not to use any fabric softener or bleach in the wash. Don’t iron it either… Really, who would do that anyway?

If you’re looking for the perfect liner suit to compliment you dry suite, look no further!  Kokatat has nailed it with this design.  It has superior warmth, does not limit any articulation and breaths well if you start to perspire in it.  I highly recommend checking it out at your local Kokatat dealer and try on your size.  I think you’ll see why it’s my new favorite piece of winter gear!

#SURFBETSY Elizabethton Whitewater Park Presentation

Things are progressing even better than anticipated to launch the #SURFBETSY whitewater project in my hometown of Elizabethton,TN!

We need a great show of support from the paddling community at this meeting on February 17, so please make every effort to attend and be a part of it.

When: Saturday, February 17 at 2:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Where: Bonnie Kate Theatre, 115 S. Sycamore, Elizabethton, TN

What: this will be a presentation on the benefits of bringing a Whitewater Feature to Elizabethton. Guest speakers will begin the discussion to be followed by a presentation by the consultants from River Restoration from Carbondale, Colorado. We will also be showing videos of local whitewater kayaking runs.


Event website: http://regions.worldkayak.com/tri-cities/2018/01/05/elizabethton-whitewater-park-presentation/


To get the latest updates on the project check out this post: