Jackson Kayak Takes On Fishing Market With New Brand

Hiking By Brian Norton |

Jackson Kayak owners launched the new brand Blue Sky Boatworks this month. Its twin-hull design grabbed the attention of the kayak fishing and recreation market, and it’s taking the Kickstarter world by storm.

Blue Sky Boatworks’ first molded prototype hit the floor in April 2017. Today, it’s a production reality. Industry veteran Jackson Kayak launched Blue Sky Boatworks from its manufacturing facility in Sparta, Tennessee.

With 21 days still to go, the Kickstarter campaign has already vastly surpassed its funding goal. Blue Sky Boatworks joins the ranks of founder Eric Jackson’s other companies, Jackson Kayak and Orion Coolers, with its new dual-hull design personal watercraft.

Jackson Kayak has a rich history of whitewater kayaking. Founded on whitewater kayaks, the brand expanded to fishing kayaks in recent years. There are currently 19 different sit-on-top, single-hull watercraft in the line.

Blue Sky Boatworks takes it a step further. Eric Jackson launched the new brand to bring double-hull kayaks to the fishing world. The concept was first conceived in 2015, with initial construction finishing up in summer 2017.

The brand claims it makes “a new kind of quiet watercraft” that is “nimble as a kayak, stable as a catamaran, comfortable and customizable as a bass boat.” The results of product development are the 360 Escape and 360 Angler. A 360-degree swiveling seat and catamaran design are the signature components of both crafts.

Jackson Invests in Design Team

Jackson Kayak hired longtime paddlesports expert Andy Zimmerman and his design crew, including multihull specialist Jim Brown, to assist in the project. Conversations about creating this new design began in 2015, and the initial drawing was submitted in late 2016.

In summer 2017, the first prototypes hit the water at Paddlesports Retailer and Outdoor Retailer shows. The boats turned heads.

“A new category of personal watercraft … what could be more exciting! Jackson Kayak loves to innovate, and we come up with a big thing every few years,” Eric Jackson enthusiastically shared about his company’s innovation. “The Angler 360 is one of those big deals.”

Since Jackson’s previous statement, the project has expanded. Enter the 360 Escape and 360 Angler. Both offer a 360-degree swivel seat and Jackson Kayak’s FlexDrive pedal system.

360 Escape

Jackson intends the 360 Escape for recreational pursuits – touring ponds, lakes, and other flat-water venues to watch wildlife and enjoy the exercise. The Escape outfit includes two hatches, 25 square feet of deck space, captain’s chair with trimmable fore and aft steering controls attached, and integrated FlexDrive pedal propulsion system.

Kickstarter pricing for the 360 Escape is $2,499, with retail pricing increasing to $2,999 after the campaign ends.

360 Angler

Blue Sky Boatworks includes the full kit for the 360 Angler model. Upgrades from the Escape are four hatches, 30 square feet of deck space, YakAttack track systems for mounting gear, height adjustment added to the captain’s chair, and two rod holders.

The 360 Angler costs $2,899 on Kickstarter. The price will increase to $3,499 when the campaign is over.

Blue Sky Boatworks Kickstarter Success

Jackson Kayak decided on Kickstarter to fund Blue Sky Boatworks. Donors have poured in, thanks in part to the positive repuation of predecessors Jackson Kayak and Orion Coolers.

And, by participating in trade shows, Blue Sky sparked interest in the campaign into a figurative firestorm.

Blue Sky Boatworks 360 Angler

“We set our goal a little low, WAY below actual R&D costs, beacause we wanted to be 100% sure we would be able to reach it,” said founder Eric Jackson. “We were so excited that we did reach our Kickstarter goal in 45 minutes, and we doubled the goal in the next 3 days, with 26 days to go.”

Today, the funding continues to grow and is on track to exceed three times the initial financial goal. Blue Sky Boatworks’ 360 Escape and 360 Angler will ship in June to pre-sales and dealers.

More information on the products is available on the Blue Sky Boatworks Kickstarter campaign page.

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