Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Makes You Boat?

Paddling is very important to many people around the world. It brings people together through mutual experiences and a shared love. It important to recognize why we boat and face the challenges that boating brings us. Here is an excerpt from a blog by Sarah Ruhlen that addresses this subject.

"It's why I'm here. I will not be complacent. I can't be indifferent to this thing, these rivers and mountains, these people, have composed me. I am their symphony, whether they are aware of writing me or not. Their presence frees me of regret, frees me to love myself with no particular struggle. How could I not, when I find so much of them in my reflection?"

To read her full blog post, please follow this link: "What am I doing here?" 

For information about the ACA and to register for classes, please follow: www.americancanoe.org

Thursday, October 20, 2016

President's Award #1

We are pleased to announce that one of our Presidential Awards goes to the Los Angeles Kayak Club! This award is given to individuals for outstanding service to the ACA on a national level. 

Paul and Katherine Macey founded the Los Angeles Kayak Club (LAKC) over a decade ago and have consistently supported and led the organization to promote paddling in Southern California.  The LAKC has successfully maintained ACA Paddle America Club (PAC) status for many years and runs its annual ‘beginner trips’ on the Kern River through the ACA. 

Katherine and Paul are exemplary paddlers and stewards of the community.  They generously promote and lead kayaking activities, and both emphasize how community is a key to kayaking.  The Macey’s rally support for the annual Kern River Festival, have competed in Kayak Polo competitions around the world, and have truly build generations of kayakers, including Alex Morris and Bryant Burkhardt, two individuals serving on the California ACA State Director council.

This year, recognizing their contributions to the Los Angeles area, the Macey’s received a community award from the Los Angeles Mayor’s office! 

Katherine and Paul typify the generosity and philanthropic personality that sustains the kayaking community.  Katherine and Paul Macey are receiving the award for their generosity and leadership in supporting and building paddling communities. They use the ACA’s PAC structure for many activities and promote ACA membership, safe paddling, proper instruction, and good stewardship and community.

Thank you so much for all that you two do for the paddling community! 

If you would like more information about ACA Awards, please follow www.americancanoe.org/Awards

Thursday, October 13, 2016

J. Henry Rushton Award

ACA is proud to announce that the J. Henry Rushton Award goes to California Aquatics! This award is presented to an organization for outstanding achievements in advancing paddlesports and the mission of ACA. 

California Aquatics exposes tens of thousands of new paddlers to kayaking and stand up paddleboarding every year while maintaining consistently high standards of safety and training by using innovative blended teaching techniques including video, simulators, excellent instructors and equipment.

California Aquatics is located on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, California. The company trains and outfits hundreds of novice kayakers and stand up paddleboarders daily. Ken Williams, the owner, has developed a unique, innovative, high quality program of safety and training for new paddlers in a high volume environment. This blended program integrates on-site video, online education, instructor led on-the-water training as well as beach simulator training. 

In 1976 Williams started training high school students in scuba diving for the school districts in Los Angeles and Orange County, California where there had previously been fatal accidents. Williams developed a strong training program to ensure safety and consistent quality while handling a large volume of students. He has drawn on his experiences to apply these lessons to paddling and developed an efficient "certification course" that provides safety, fun, and 100% proof of non-omissions. Seven days a week hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds, most of whom have never paddled before, gather through word of mouth to learn from California Aquatics. 

Ken Williams and the staff at California Aquatics have developed a terrific system. Over the course of a year they do an excellent job training tens of thousands of new paddlers annually to basic ACA standards. 

If you would like more information about our annual awards, please check out: www.americancanoe.org/Awards

Monday, October 10, 2016

Stroke of Achievement Award

We are happy to announce that our Stroke of Achievement Award goes to the Nantahala Racing Club! This award is given annually to a club for superior performance and program development. 

Founded in 1989, the Nantahala Racing Club (NRC) is a non-profit organization that was originally conceived to provide a support platform for canoe and kayak athletes training for the Olympics. However, today the NRC is committed to engaging youth and families in whitewater sports. Specializing in slalom, freestyle, and downriver competition, NRC develops and supports athletes of all ages and ability levels through a variety of training resources and events. 

By using whitewater-based exploration and competition the NRC encourages connections with the outdoors, promotes continuous self-improvement and empowers youth participants to expand their horizons. 

The NRC is made up of a collaboration of members who are whitewater athletes, volunteers and
enthusiasts. NRC members believe in the intrinsic value of outdoor sport. The NRC believes that excellence is worth pursuing, and they work as a team to develop and grow paddlesports in the United States. 

One of their most successful programs is the Nantahala Kids Club. The NKC is a six-week program designed to get kids active and engaged in the outdoors through introduction to paddlesports. The focus is on learning basic whitewater safety skills, and building a supportive community of strong, confident, healthy kids. Participants are encouraged to advance at their own pace, while coaches provide individualized instruction and lead group games and exercises.

Thank you to the NRC for all that you do for the paddling community!

For more information about the ACA Awards, please visit www.americancanoe.org/Awards

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Promotion of Safe Paddling

Photo from "Educating and Legislating For Safer Paddling"

As cooler weather approaches, in the back of every experienced paddler's mind is the preparation for submersion in cold water. Appropriate clothing is simple enough to find once the paddler is aware of the protocol in their paddling areas, but novice paddlers can get into trouble with inadequate preparation. Below is an excerpt of an article by Richard Shrubb on this issue. 

Richard Stefanski, a marine inspector at the New York State Marine Sercices Bureau, says that despite present USCG regulations and state and local laws governing life jackets, "the biggest problem is paddlecraft users not wearing their life jackets and ending up in the water."

Drowning mat be the result of cold water. "A lot of the paddlecraft fatalities are in the winter months when you wouldn't expect people to be out, when the water is very cold," adds Stefanski.

To read the full article please follow this link: boatingtimesli.com/NY/saferpaddling

To find and register for an ACA Skills Course please follow this link: www.americancanoe,org/FindCourses

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation Award

We are very happy to announce that our Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation goes to Friends of the Pecatonica River Foundation! This award is given annually to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to paddlesports by protecting America's waterways.

The Friends of the Pecatonica River Foundation (FPRF) was founded in 2009 to improve the quality of the Pecatonica River in Illinois and to acquire and develop access points for paddlers and conduct paddling instruction and events. The group has worked with county, state and Federal agencies to acquire land for non-motorized boat launch sites, picnic areas, and hauled tons of trash from the river. They also developed two postcard booklets showing historic pictures of the river and town to raise funds to continue their river restoration and access efforts!

FPRF are encouraging use of the river by providing free monthly canoeing and kayaking instruction and also holding an annual competitive event.

The organization’s efforts have resulted in a significant increase in the use of the river during the last seven years. The National Park Service Department of the Interior, has recognized one of the developed access sites, called Atten’s Landing, as part of their Rivers and trails Program which was the only such project in Illinois.

If you would like more information about ACA's Awards, please follow this link: www.americancanoe.org/Awards