One-on-one with extreme kayaker and Red Bull Athlete Dane Jackson
Dane Jackson is whitewater royalty. Despite being the son of legendary Olympian paddler, Eric Jackson, this Red Bull athlete from USA and three-time world champion has never let his family name overshadow him. He has battled volatile waters ranging from Pakistan’s Rondu Gorge to Uganda’s White Nile. This month, after participating at the Malabar River Festival, the American plans will attempt to become the first person ever to kayak down Chhattisgarh’s Chitrakoot Waterfalls, which is nearly 100 ft tall.
Prior to his stint in Kerala, we catch up Dane. Read on:
* You’ve amassed a sizeable social media following. Do you feel under pressure to regularly upload internet-braking viral videos?
Social media is a big part of staying relevant in just about anything these days. For me, it is cool that even though kayaking is a smaller sport, social media allows me to bring kayaking to a bigger audience. So any time anything gets viral in any way I am always stoked. In short, yes there’s pressure but it's usually good pressure to put out good content.
* You’ve embraced living out of an RV/van almost all your life, does this affect your physical fitness in any way?
I definitely don't go crazy with working out, mostly I just try to kayak as long as I can every chance I get. So that way I’m not only on the water lots—but working the muscles I actually use when kayaking. If I only kayaked an hour a day and then spent lots of time in the gym, I might not end up with muscles in the right places. Before big events like Malabar River Festival, I’m just trying to be on the water as much as possible.
* You seem to be very passionate about cleaning rivers across the planet and fighting river pollution (as seen by your recent activities in Tennessee). How can India, one of the most densely populated countries in the world combat this man-made problem?
I think so many countries and cities focus on making ads and content that shows people how bad a situation is with pollution and trash. Which is helpful, but they never show how the trash ends up there, or show easy solutions to make people want to put the trash where it belongs.
You tell someone how bad the trash in the river is, they aren't just gonna start going farther out of their way to bring trash to the right places. I think it’s about more access to proper dumpsters and recycling for starters, but awareness towards the consequences of the trash in the rivers is a big thing too.
* Looking back on your career so far, what are some of your fondest moments?
Starting to run bigger waterfalls and rivers, as well as winning big competitions in 2011, considered my breakout year. 2013 Spring in Canada, (kayaker extraordinaire) Nick Troutman and I started putting together some crazy combos, making it a super progressive spring.
* We hear that you are planning to be the first to descent down Chitrakoot Falls. Tell us more?
Still planning for the same. Hope it works out well.