About World Kayak – A little History
World Kayak began in the early 90’s with Eric EJ Jackson and has taken a number of forms over the following decade. Within the first few iterations of WK, EJ began a longstanding discussion with James McBeath (Former partner with Liquid Skills, Kayak Futaleufu, Kayak International… and web marketing guy). Over the next 10 years the conversation continued, spanning the sport, its status, its difficulties and, most importantly, it’s solutions.
2007 saw the discussion take a turn with the hiring of Colin Kemp and the creation of a ‘Beta Program’ involving three key programs. These three initiatives, the ambassador program, the web portal and camp initiative, were launched in June of 2007 and quickly found success.
Its mission: Recognize weaknesses in our sport’s growth and quickly answer to them with programming on a global scale.
Our first program, the ambassador program, was aimed at finding regional representation for WK programs, starting with the web initiative. 28 ambassadors were brought aboard from key paddling regions in the US and Canada. The ambassadors began posting news, events and blogs for each of their regions in an effort to consolidate regional paddling information; a model that was to start in North America and work its way across continents. We are now in 80 regions and a growing number of them international… Serbia, Indonesia and soon China are just some of the more recent hook ups. The ambassadors are our eyes and ears into the region. With them we identify what they need to develop and work with them in doing so.
We have, in 2009, embarked into the Educational realm. In the end, the kayak educator is the key gateway to our sport. Educational programming was developed over a full year and via best practice. We deliver educational programs globally helping shore up and improve the new paddler’s experience within our sport. WK has also developed a full line of advanced boating curriculums (Freestyle, creeking, slalom, kayak polo etc.) that allow for more diversification and answer to some existing needs.
Today the team is 3 full time members strong with James, Colin and a new helping hand in Lee Hart (2010). Our principal programs are developed and being delivered via a growing ambassador network that will reach all global paddling regions within year 2 of it’s existance. These programs are not only being led by the ambassador network, but will be strategically and logistically supported by committees formed from leaders in our industry.
World Kayak now has become a source for grass roots development. Every region is different and our growing list of programs are there to help any and all willing to get their regions more active and stronger. We are beginning to solidify partners in all levels of development and continue to develop programming aimed at growing our sport’s numbers. In 2010 you will see partnerships in the development bridging many levels of the sport… check out the overview by clicking on the link below to James’ review…