Greatest Outdoor Dynasties: The Jacksons

Can you say “good genetics”? These six clans own their fields generation after generation.

Dane and Eric Jackson compete     Photo: lukeurbine/Shutterstock

World champion freestyle kayaker Eric Jackson was six years old when he learned to paddle in Pine Creek, Pennsylvania with his father. “His friend had made a homemade kayak that I was allowed to paddle in easy water,” Eric, now 49, remembers. “I wanted to paddle the kayak every chance I got.” Fast forward a couple of decades, and Jackson was guiding his own kids, Dane and Emily, through their first rolls.

Since then, both kids have gone on to have successful kayaking careers. Emily has placed in the top three in all freestyle events she’s entered since 2006, including wins at the 2012 World Cup Championships and the 2009 Women’s World Freestyle Championship. Dane won three golds at the 2011 Freestyle World Championships and the Whitewater Grand Prix twice.

Eric says the benefits of being a kayaking family are endless. “The time on the water is like no other time you can spend,” he says. “It isn't interrupted by internet, TV, or phone, and the locations you are at are some of the most beautiful in the world.” The family’s next generation is already here: Emily and her husband, kayaker Nick Troutman, had their first child in July.

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