by Jacob Walker
We are always impressed by young paddlers who work hard to help buy their own equipment. Kayaking is a big investment at the front end–but one that earns its rewards many times over once you have all your gear. We met Jacob, his sisters, and mom & dad this year. They definitely all have the “bug” for being on the water now. And Jacob personally had a summer full of accomplishments – earning money for his kayak, earning his Eagle Scout Award, and working on becoming a good boater!
So Jacob, you are the proud owner of your own kayak now. What got you interested in kayaking?
In the summer of 2010, I went to Boy Scout camp at Camp Comer. The camp has a large lake and lots of kayaks and canoes to use. I spent all my free time on the lake and tried out all of their kayaks and had a great time. Later that week, I went rafting on the Ocoee and had a blast, so to combine the two was just cool. I did not know that people did such cool stuff with kayaks.
Buying all the gear is a big commitment. How did you do it?
Starting out I was not super sure that I would love to whitewater kayak, so I saved up some money and got some thing that floats in the water and a stick to paddle with. This summer I decided that I was hooked (my whole family is hooked as well!) and wanted something better. My family and I raise hormone free and antibiotic free cows, and we sell the beef at the local farmers market. We saved money to buy a new boat and gear at the end of the summer.
What made you decide on the Wave Sport Project X?
I took a quick surf lesson and decided that I like to playboat more than I like to go creeking. I demoed the Jackson Rockstar, Allstar, Too Fun, and the Wave Sport Fuse and Project X. I liked the Project X because it has great outfitting and it just fits me better. I had a hard time surfing the others but I was surfing the Project X in no time.
Do you have some paddling goals for next season?
Some of my paddling goals for next summer are to have a bombproof roll, be able to do a couple of tricks while surfing and have even more fun!! I would also like to teach kids and help others with kayaking.
Besides paddling and school, what else occupies your time?
I earned my Eagle Scout award in 2011 but I will continue to attend my scout troop so I can help other people earn their Eagle Scout awards. I also like to mountain bike and motorcycle.
Wow-Eagle Scout. That is a big deal! Walk us through the process of earning your Eagle Scout Award.
The process to earn your Eagle Scout is long but simple. I went to scout camp, earned merit badges and did many service projects. There are 5 rank advancements and each one takes about 4 and a half months. Once I completed the last rank advancement I was able to start my Eagle Scout project. For my Eagle Scout project, I built an amphitheater at the local YMCA. I talked to the director and he said that that was exactly what the YMCA needed for their day care program. I did a “adopt a bench” program to raise money. I sent out an email to my family and friends to see if they would “adopt a bench”. After I raised enough money, I went to the Home Depot and Lowes and bought supplies. Then I organized 4 groups of people and we built the amphitheater. Now that it is complete, I will receive the award on Nov. 12.
Do you see any parallels between being an eagle scout and being a good kayaker?
One of the most visible parallels that I can see is to persevere. My Eagle Scout project took me over 8 months to complete and some times I wanted to quit. I kept at it and finished my project. When you are kayaking and miss your roll then just keep working at it and eventually you will get it.
Who is your favorite group to paddle with?
My family of course!!!
We look forward to seeing you and the whole Walker family on the river for many years to come Jacob! We are very proud of your accomplishments. And look forward to the time when you can be a junior instructor here at Endless!!