The Olympic halfpipe results in Torino were not Gold: Burton, Silver: GNU, etc. It was won by Shaun White of the USA, and second place was Danny Kass of the USA.
My point being (and what a lot of people seem to be forgetting) is that this is not a corporate challenge. It is based on individual and national performances. That's not to say that each company isn't going to celebrate the results of the team members (especially in marketing/advertising). You can be damn sure that Burton has taken full advantage of Shaun, Hannah, & Gretchen's performances to help them sell more gear. But their performance in the competition wasn't about which company they ride for and it shouldn't be that way for kayaking.
As for Jackson buying up competitors from teams that went under, I bet you'll find a lot of those athletes complaining about being picked up by a company that supports what they do (and gives them a chance to make a living doing what they love instead of losing money just to compete) and supports the industry. I'm sure they would rather be with a company that can barely scrape together the funds to put together a team and keep their company in business.
And on the topic of EJ winning, it sounds like he put together the best competition run on the wave for this event. I can't say this for sure because I wasn't there to watch every run (as is the same for most people who are complaining). But from many trustworthy sources (for instance Hobie, who works for Dagger and WAS there to watch the event) judging was both fair and acurate.
After any competition there will be complaints about judging. When you have someone who constantly dominates in comps (like EJ, or Tony Hawk or Shaun White) there's even more complaining for several reasons like jealousy, boredom, perceived favoritism, and people genuinely feeling that it's bad for the sport. But the reality is, you have a certain set of rules you agreed upon before you chose to compete, once you agree to those, figure out the best way to use them to your advantage. Don't just keep doing the same thing expecting to win just because the crowd liked it. They're not judging.
I'm not saying that the rules and scoring shouldn't be altered. I'll leave that up to wiser & more experienced individuals to decide. I will say that I think it's good to give room for scoring to grow and progress as your sport does. It does, to some degree, in skiing (not at the olympic level mind you) where it adapts to what is more important to people in the sport (ie. style, size, technicality). But you don't just alter it to keep someone from winning. And the funny thing is, if you change it up to knock down EJ he's gonna figure it out again and keep winning. Maybe not as often, but he'll still keep winning. He's not a robot that has one fixed run that must be performed exactly the same way every time. He adapts (as all good competitors & kayakers do) and that's why he's been able to have such great results. If you want to beat him you're going to have to be hungry enough to make the sacrifices necessary. You have to train hard year round and give up a lot of other things in your life.
People look at Jackson and are jealous of his life. (I know I am
) Travelling pretty much all year to kayak. Going to exotic places like the Zambezi. Making a pretty good living from something most of us work our asses off just to be able to afford to do each weekend if we're lucky. It's easy to look at that and say why can't I have that? But you're glossing over all the years of hard work and compromises it took to get there. And that's the same for almost any of the guys at the top (at least in adventure sports). EJ just happens to be a very visible part of our sport and that makes him an easy target.
I'm out of breath now, so I'll jump off the soap box and let someone else take over.
And so you don't bother asking, I am not: a Jackson employee, his best friend, on retainer from Jackson Kayak, or anything else you might ask.