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How else would you celebrate your 50th birthday if you were EJ than by ripping up the Nile - in any craft imaginable - with friends and family? That's what the Jackson Kayaks founder did March 3 to celebrate his big day...
EJ started off the celebration with a big beach party at Nile Special. "We were surfing air mattresses, rafts, duckies, sit-on tops and boogie boards, and even swimming, all with a cooler of Nile Special on hand," he says, adding that the festivities even included a round of Frisbee golf around the Hairy Lemon.
"Everyone paddled some kind of craft other than a kayak up to Nile Special for multiple rounds of surfing," adds Jessie Stone, one of several paddlers on hand for the celebration "It was incredibly fun and an incredibly good work out. The whole day was about games and playing as many of them as possible on and off the water."
Then they took their kayaks to the wave, surfing, flipping and spinning their way into EJ's second half century. Joining him for the party were Nick Troutman, Dane Jackson, Steve Fisher, Stone, his wife Kristine, as well as "some Russians, Swedes, and a bunch of random girls," he says.
As for keeping up with the youngsters - or rather, them keeping up with him -- he says he still feels like he's at or near the top of his game. "Physically, I think I still have the advantage in endurance, strength and power, but technically they just keep progressing," he says. "And on a wave, both Nick and Dane are better than I am right now. Dane is the best in the world by far, so the bar is set high."
Adds Stone: "I really hope I am doing even some of what he is doing when I'm 50 -- I guess I have four years to train for it. I definitely drank a lot of the Nile that day. Lots of fun was had by all."
After the wave session, it was onto a booze cruise on the river for an even bigger celebration of all things EJ.
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Labe / Elbe - old river in Central Bohemia.
Kuba Labe / Elbe - old river in Central Bohemia.