Exclusive interview with Eric Jackson – 4 times Freestyle World Champion

Friday, 27 March 2009
Eric Jackson, 4 times World Freestyle champion, husband, father of three, and businessman turned 45 years old in March.  The Freestyle World Champion talks to ICF about his future plans, competitions, and life.

At 45 years old, you’re still a young man – what are your future plans?

To win my 5th world championships this summer for starters.

Only Richard Fox (5 times World Slalom Champion) and Jon Lugbill  (5 times C1 Slalom World Champion) have won 5, and slalom is now every year. Freestyle is still bi-annual.

So do you call it quits after you win the 5th world champ?

Or do you plan to beat their records?

Retiring from competing? What a dumb idea!

How do you train for competitions?

Paddle alot!  Play at home on waves, holes, waterfalls, rapids, etc. until I am so tired!

Do you cross-train?

Sure- I play (American) football, we play disc-golf and run the course, we play ping pong to focus mentally, etc

What are your favourite Freestyle moves/ tricks? What moves to do wish to improve?   

I love the McNasty most, because it is the most gymnastic of the moves and is easily combined with a blunt before hand for additional challenge and the feeling of a routine like a round-off full twisting front or backflip on the floor.   Awesome.  I hope to improve my righty Pan Am, Lefty Back Pan Am,  Righty Air Screw, and every other move, before worlds.

Who is your rivalry? 

Nick Troutman is my training partner and rival at home.   We go head to head every day.  Stephen Wright as well, but we don’t compete while training as much.   For international competitions, Peter Czonka won the world cup making him the top rival but we won’t meet up again until the worlds!

When you’re not competing or training what are you doing?

Working on Jackson Kayak and playing with the family

You’re a family of kayakers; do you hold your own family championships for fun? Who wins?  

We have the “world championships” almost every day with  Emily (daughter and junior freestyle world champion), Nick (2008 Thun Finals winner and Emily’s fiancé), Dane (son), and me.   Nick and I win the most of them, with Dane also winning some, and Emily places above last a lot, but hasn’t beaten us yet for the win.   She competes well in the men’s class, however!

You’re a husband, a father, a successful businessman, a 4 times world champion, how do you balance your multiple roles?  

Priorities, unwavering list of an order of things.

Kristine (wife), Kids, my paddling, business, All other things fall after those, always.

What is your hidden talent?

All games, being lucky, and singing of course

 [laughs] not really, but I imagine being a rock star

You said your hidden talent is singing…and you’d like to be a rock star.  What would you call your rock band? What would your style be? (Spiked coal black hair, leather, and chains?)  

Think Metallica for sure.

What music do you play on your iPod?  

All of the good stuff, of course –  Guns N Roses,  Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith,  Metallica, Eminem, Eagles, Nirvana, Jet, Madonna, Offspring, etc.

What song gets you pumped up and ready for competition?

Guns N Roses- “Welcome to the Jungle” is a favourite.

Ok, we all have some things that we are not good at. What are some things that you are not good at? 

Singing, cooking, cleaning, yard work, walking slowly, keeping in touch.

You claim that Rock Island, TN, USA is the best place to call home. Why? 

Warm weather in the winter and the best freestyle training in North America or Europe all winter (I believe).    Low population (less than 1,000), beautiful landscape,  most beautiful training spot in the world (massive waterfalls in background).   Low cost of living, low government influence (no laws to worry about really).  

We are looking forward to seeing you at the World Champs this year! 

Thanks, and it will be fun!!!


The 2009 ICF Freestyle World Championships will be held 31 August in Thun, Switzerland.

For more information, please refer to the ICF’s website for updated information.

Photo by Trevor Clark, Aurora Photos


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