Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
As a board member of the American Canoe Association, this is a question I am often asked: Why join the ACA? And looking back on it over the years it is a question, which I begrudgingly admit, at times I have struggled to find an answer for. So during the board meeting last week in Savannah while sitting through budget presentations and votes on changes to educational curriculum I tried to take time and really reflect on this, and in essence ask myself, "why am I in the ACA?"
1. Advocacy. Whether you know it or not there are municipal, state and federal agencies every day making decisions on issues which can impact you the paddler very profoundly. Things such as federally mandated life jacket wear. It seems a new standard is being discussed to mandate life jacket wear for all boaters on boats under 26' in length and all paddle craft. Now as an ACA instructor I am very much a proponent of life jacket wear anyway, but do we want it to be mandated? Another issue that has been coming up more and more frequently lately is mandatory boat registration similar to the system in Ohio right now, where its mandatory to register every boat you own. How many canoes or kayaks do you own? Do you want to pay additional money to register them all? What if the money was going to paddler programs around the state? Mandatory boater education is the third big change that seems to be gathering more steam at the national level. Imagine having to take a class in order to canoe or kayak, just like you had to take a driver's ed class to drive. Is this something you would be for or against?
Another area of advocacy that the ACA can represent paddlers in is advocating on paddlers behalf with boat manufacturers or vendors. Curious why Europe has huge paddling clubs and cheaper club boats to support it? This is an area where we can represent paddlers voices. Have you as a paddler or parent ever noticed that other than the three whitewater boats on the market for "small framed" paddlers (ie kids), there arent any kids size recreational kayaks or youth sized canoes? And we wonder why its hard to get kids involved in paddle sports.
These are all areas where the ACA wants to hear your voice and your opinion and be able to serve as your representative when these important policy decisions are being made.
2. Education, Instruction, Training. I have seen some great club based paddling training programs in my time and I have seen some horrible ones. I have seen some great company or corporate based paddling training programs in my time and I have seen some really bad ones. Inevitably the great ones all have the ACA education guidelines as the foundation for their system. The ACA is continuously reviewing and updating their teaching methods, protocols and updating the curriculum of the kayak, canoe, rafting, and swift water rescue programs on a continual basis. Most of this hard work is carried out by staff member Jeremy Oyen and the hardworking volunteers on the Safety, Education and Instruction Council (SEIC). This is hard and thankless work, but Jeremy and these volunteer council members are continuously working to make sure the material being taught is the best in the country if not the world, and is up to date and relevant. Taking an ACA course provides a strong foundation to begin a lifetime of enjoyment and fun as a paddler. Becoming an instructor is a great rewarding way to use your experience to help others become interested in our amazing sport!
3. Fun. I will be the first to admit, this is one area where we are really trying to improve our reputation and deliver on our promises. Do I have fun as an ACA member? Of course! It never fails that I can be on nearly any river, any where in the country and see someone I know from the ACA. It really makes it feel like you belong to a local paddling club, but one that stretches from coast to coast. I have fun working with other paddlers and seeing their faces light up the first time they ferry across the rivers currents in their kayak, or pull off their first kayak roll! But we need to do more, so within the coming year the ACA more than ever will be emphasizing paddling events, local competitions and other ways to inject the fun back into the ACA. Events and bringing paddlers together to have fun and socialize will be a big big part of this effort, and the ACA will be looking for local members who want to help organize local activities in their areas.
It's these three core reasons why I am an ACA member, volunteer and board member. There are so many more areas the ACA tries to help the paddling community from providing insurance for instructors and member's boats, to member only trips and adventures, to discounts on gear and even Subaru's. But its advocacy, education and fun that makes the ACA what it is to me. Hopefully my sharing my reasons for joining the ACA will help you decide that the ACA is right for you as well. The ACA really is run by paddlers for paddlers. See you on the water!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Recreational Sports Outdoor Program
Location: Duluth, MN
Contact: Randy Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org
Recreational Sports Outdoor Program is dedicated to promoting healthy, active lifestyles and connections to the natural world through personal and professional experiences.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
- Easier navigation
- Enhanced event calendar
- Ability to search for paddling clubs, instructors & watertrails
- Online forms for instructors
- Ability to clubs and divisions to communicate with their members via custom eNewsletters, blogs and forums
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Quality Instruction & Gear
Location: Potomac, MD
Phone: 301-881-BOAT (2628)
Potomac Paddlesports is honored to have piloted what has become the ACA ProSchool Program and to have been recognized by the ACA for "Making the world a better place to paddle." As the only paddlesports program to be both an ACA ProSchool and BCU Endorsed Center, Potomac Paddlesports offers incomprably high-quality whitewater and sea kayak coaching, with special emphasis on the development of beginners and instructors. Paddle with us on the Potomac River or Chesapeake Bay and surf our retail store on-line.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
- Location: Fredericksburg, VA
- River: Rappahannock
Monday, March 21, 2011
Location: Seattle (Redmond), WA
Toll Free: 800-282-4043
Outdoor Adventure Center is THE PLACE to get hooked up, and connected to your latest adventure information. Our desire is to inform, connect, and equip you with paddling, biking, hiking, climbing, and snowboarding in and around the Northwest. Our greatest asset is the depth of our organization. We are three companies in one, a family owned organization: Outdoor Adventures outfitting and instruction company, Outdoor Synergy - Northwest Kayaks kayak design and construction, and the Outdoor Adventure Center adventure shop.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
- Deadline for all proposals is Friday, April 29th.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Location: Westport, MA
Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures provides comprehensive sea kayak instruction, guided tours, environmental education & team building programs, kayak rentals, and unique adventure trips along coastal Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, and The Bahamas & Belize.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Mayor adds canoeing and kayaking to the Mayor's annual Healthy Hometown Event.
“Canoeing and kayaking are great family activities, and are among the fastest-growing recreational sports in the nation,” Fischer said at the news conference. “This will also be a terrific way to get back to our roots as a city born along the river, and an opportunity to enjoy and explore Waterfront Park.”
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
ACA: What got you into paddling?
Sarah: Both my parents are paddlers, so it was probably in my genetic makeup somewhere that I have to be a paddler. I started out riding in the front of a tandem boat when I was young, probably about 1 and a half. One of my favorite things to do was to fall asleep on the front airbag. My dad made me a mini-paddle that had my name on it. It was shock-corded and carabinered into the boat so when I dropped it, the paddle wouldn’t float off.
Besides my parents, I would have to say the sport itself, the people and clubs particularly the Carolina Canoe Club helped interest me in paddling. I really love paddling. The sport really gets me out doing things with some amazing people. I love how beautiful the river is, whether it be in the summer when it feels good to get wet, fall when the leaves are changing, winter when you are bundled in about 15 layers and there is snow on the riverbank and thin ice in the eddies or spring when there are so many rivers running you can’t decide which ones to do!
I consider half of the sport of paddling to be the actual paddling and the other half to be the paddlers. Paddlers to me are the people who I’ve spent the weekends of my life hanging out with, the ones who have encouraged me and the people who knew me before I was off baby formula. I can go to almost any river and run into people like that. By growing up in paddling, I’ve had a constant stream of support and knowledge from a lot of paddlers. As I have progressed, they are there for teaching, encouraging, and hanging out. The sport would not be the same without them. Friendships are made quickly, and mature quickly. It is partly the nature of the activity, the common interests, and every weekend spent together that build these bonds.
The confidence I get in paddling carries over to all of my life, and that’s probably a lot of what has kept me in the sport other than the aforementioned things. Paddling is a way for me to do something I truly love, escape from everyday life, and do something that is all my own but that I share with hundreds of other enthusiasts. Paddling is more than an activity: It’s closer to a way of life.
ACA: What do you consider your personal milestones in paddling?
Sarah: Like everyone, I look at paddling a new, more difficult river as a milestone. I look at more difficult moves on rivers I’ve been paddling all my life as things to challenge me. The first time I caught 7 eddies in the entrance rapid to Nantahala Falls was a marker for me. Accomplishments are also paddling more challenging boats, perfecting moves, making boats perform well, being able to help others with their paddling and returning something to the paddling community.
ACA: What do you like about paddling?
Sarah: I love the people, the traveling, the outdoors, the adventure, the hanging out after paddling the rivers, the silliness often promoted by having a really good time, Mexican food and I’m a big fan of water (though not particularly of unplanned swims). So basically, the life of a paddler: Survive the week, pack Thursday, be ready to jump out of your seat all day Friday, jump in the car in the afternoon and head out. DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE. Get to the campsite and hook up with friends. Set up tent and then hang out around the fire telling horribly embarrassing stories of each other and the time when ______ got swallowed by the mystery move, etc. The next morning you gleefully hop out of your sleeping bag, into the car, grab some carbo-loaded food and head for the river. Gear up. Get in the boats. Then there is the paddling! Such fun! Such adventure! After reaching the takeout, perhaps there is a good spot to view carnage from. This is ideal. There are usually one or two embarrassing stories to be told of “river conquers paddler.” (if I am lucky…one is of my dad) Then, it is back to the campsite to repeat the day tomorrow.
Note: For best health, repeat process each weekend, when possible
I plan to be paddling until I can’t any more. I know there are other paddlers my age who are better than me or paddling more difficult rivers. In the past I didn’t push myself in paddling, which meant that there were others who excelled at a faster rate. I remind myself that it is an accomplishment just to be out on the river or racing and that’s what is important rather than being the best.
ACA: How did you get interested in competition?
Sarah: In 2007 I watched slalom nationals at the Nantahala River and thought they were just about the coolest thing I’d seen in a while. The racers looked like they were having a blast, the boats were pretty and there were women in C1s. I talked to them and told them that I was paddling a big Dagger Cascade. As I left I heard: “Hope to see you in a race soon!”. I wasn’t quite at the level of being able to race yet, but it inspired me to stay in the sport and be a bit more adventurous.
There was a time in my life when I had not really wanted to paddle. A lot of things about the river made me nervous, I didn’t want to go outside of my comfort zone or push the limits. There were others my age who were doing much harder things than I was, and I wasn’t at all satisfied with my own ability. I hadn’t yet learned to paddle by myself, which I believe was my biggest barrier.
In 2009, at the Nantahala Outdoor Center’s (NOC) Guest Appreciation Festival my dad asked what we were looking for. I told him, quite out of the blue, a glass C1. “Okay” he said, and we split up to wander around. Later I saw some friends who asked: “Guess what?”. “What?” “Your dad said you were looking for a raceboat. Well, we had one in the garage and he bought it!” At this point, I proceeded to jump up and down and do a bit of ecstatic screaming. About 20 people turned around to see what was so amazing. “Oh, by the way, its purple and sparkly”.
The boat was an ExtraBat paddled by Scott Strausbaugh when training for the Olympics. Old, edgy and my new, most prized possession. I fell in love with the boat. At that point I threw myself into paddling and solo boating where I had formerly been quite timid. I started going to races, using the miracle of YouTube to watch races and racers, meeting people and training. While I had a lot of people who could teach me a variety of tricks in regular boats, I didnt really know many racers who I could ask to show me the ropes of slalom racing. So I just worked with the new edginess however I was able, treated the poles like suspended rocks and ignored some of the weird looks I got.
I met an amazing woman named Shannon McGuigan. We paddled tandem. She mentioned her desire to paddle in the Open Boat Nationals. We decided we should go together and begin training for that goal.
ACA: Who are your paddling role models?
Sarah: For a start, my dad. He started me in paddling, taught me and encourages me in everything. Second, paddlers whom I have known all of my life. Their experience has taught them to be smooth and to paddle their ability. I don’t want to be the paddler who hurt herself paddling above her limits, making stupid choices and can no longer paddle at age 40.
Wayne Dickert (WAYNER!) with NOC is one of the most all-around amazing paddlers I have ever met. Outside of paddling, he is also one of the best people I have had the privilege of knowing. He has taught me a lot about racing and paddling and leads by example. Thank you so much.:)
Others include; Michelle Kvanli, Jennifer Singletary, Carolyn Peterson, Vann and Laura Evans, Sage Donnelly, Mark Poindexter, Dennis Huntley, Paul Mason, all of my official paddling family (paddling mamas, paddling papas, brothers, sisters, cabana boys, uncles, aunts..etc!), Shannon McGuigan, and so many more paddlers in the Carolina Canoe Club, racers, and people who I paddle with on rivers. I get inspired by everything I see.
I am particularly impressed by Team River Runner. These people volunteer to help disabled veterans get into boats and learn to paddle. I have been on several TRR trips, and talked to the veterans myself.
ACA: What are your competitive goals?
Sarah: I want to always remember why I am out there. For fun. Competition is great, but if I’m not out there to do something I enjoy, just why am I out there? If I’m not having fun, paddling becomes something I either fail or succeed in.
I am extremely privileged to be paddling, racing and doing what I do. Some of the truest words directed at me all summer were :“How many girls your age get to go out and paddle and race C1 and be here at Junior Olympics? You’ve already won” .
In the upcoming year, I hope to compete in all of the races I did this year and in some of the races I just watched last year including Glacier Breaker, US Open, Junior Team Trials, Nationals, Junior Olympics, and Open Boat Nationals. I have a really good time racing my plastic boats in small races hosted by NOC. This year I am on the US slalom cadet team. I would like to be on that team again next year, and also the US Jr. Team for slalom.
I want to keep meeting new people, going new places and progressing to be able to do more difficult courses with better boat control. Eventually I would like to compete internationally and be sponsored. With work, I believe I can make it.
ACA: How do you connect with paddling friends now?
Sarah: Facebook makes planning trips a lot easier. I meet a lot of paddlers first through Facebook. I meet a lot of people by going on trips and through other paddling friendships. Then, there is the typical; drive to the river and find a trip way of meeting new people. When I travel to an event such as GAF, or drive to the Russell Fork for releases in October I will see any number of people I know. When possible, paddlers usually try to camp together or stay at each other’s houses, so that means lots of interaction! I am always meeting new people and building new connections in the sport. A great aspect of paddling, I think.
ACA: Tell us about the boats you paddle.
Sarah: My first solo boat was a Mad River Flashback. A wet boat for most people weighing over 80 pounds, this boat was perfect because it was light, pretty edgeless, and forgiving. I didn’t paddle it much then, but I miss it now. It surfs like a dream.
Dagger Impulse: Though technically my mother’s boat, I somehow ended up in it a lot because I felt safe in it. As I should have. The impulse is a bit of a bathtub, heavy, stable, and once again, not very edgy.
Dagger Cascade: This was my first C1. I got this boat in the summer of 2003. First thing I did in it was the lower Pigeon and flipped coming out of eddies (what!? I lean downstream??). I love this boat. It’s the old familiar for me.
Pirouette S: What!? A kayak!? Do not be alarmed. This boat was given to me by a friend, and is absolutely one of the best kayaks in my opinion. Fast and maneuverable; this boat is a blast to paddle.
Extrabat: 22 pounds, edgy as the devil, purple and very, very, fast. This boat is my race boat for slalom. It is also the most challenging boat I paddle and unlike any others I have. The design is over 20 years old, but nonetheless, still for racing.
Dagger Ocoee: This boat is my favorite. It fits me like a glove, is purple, and enables me to have very good boat control. I love the edges in this boat, the speed (compared to many solo canoes), the rocker and surfing in it! There are no other solo canoes I would rather have.
Dagger Atom: This is probably my favorite C1. With less volume than the cascade and more pronounced edges, this boat is closer to the Extrabat, but with less edge. This is also the boat I get the most offers on. I often have people offer to buy the boat.
Mad River ME: This is my dad’s boat but it is also the one I use for tandem (racing and river running). It was originally designed for canoe slalom, has a lot of rocker, is fast, maneuverable and a very satisfactory boat to make perform in tandem. I also occasionally paddle this boat solo.
I feel I must pay tribute to my heritage. I grew up in the Blue Hole Starburst. This is the boat I paddle tandem with my dad and was my second home for a long time
ACA: In your own words, what would you call your paddling generation?
Sarah: There haven’t been a lot of other kids my age in paddling who I have grown up with or who did the whole “go paddling every weekend 3 and a half seasons” thing. This meant that I spent most of my time with adult paddlers, listening to how the sport has changed since they started to now. More and more, I see others my age, mostly introduced to paddling through their parents.
This generation I believe will not be largely different from their parents. I also meet people in their late teens and early 20s who get into paddling because of a boyfriend or girlfriend. These people do not know of the preceeding generations of paddlers or boats like Mirages or Dancers, or first descents in Grumman canoes by people wearing shorts and nothing else or of a time in paddling when waivers were unknown and gauges were sparse and required a few phone calls to locals to get a reading.
Many new paddlers enter the sport and see it as what it is today. The newest, hottest boat will be sold to them, pretty colored gear, carbon paddle: The works. But they will also question why paddling is the way it is, and wonder why things aren’t a certain way. People who have grown up in paddling perhaps don’t even blink at things these new paddlers are curious about. These new paddlers may rise to being cruise chairs or presidents of clubs and introduce new ideas. But whether boats are longer, shorter, bigger, more edgy or whether there are more canoes or more kayaks, it is still paddling. Water, rocks, gradient.
It might turn out that this generation has a bit more history in artificial courses, or maybe steep creeking. Paddling is always changing and reforming around the center of the sport. New gear can make more things possible! But it is still my belief that every paddler who says they love paddling will fight to keep it pure and simple: Paddling.
River: Russell Fork, Little River of the Smokies, Greenbriar section of the Little Pigeon, Clear Creek
Paddle: Mitchell Carbon Shaft wooden blade and grip
River Food - Pop tarts, pepperoni, apples, cheese, chocolate
Paddling Event - Carolina Canoe Club’s Week of Rivers
Thing to do: Run over small boats. Watch people’s faces as a large tandem boat speeds into an eddy toward them and spins about 4 feet away.
Other Activities: Canoe expeditions, sea kayaking, running, singing, reading, sailing, traveling, backpacking, hiking, camping, horseback riding
Favorite Club - Carolina Canoe Club!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Join the ACA Staff in Savannah, GA this week for the International Boating & Water Safety Summit.
From classroom presentations to on-water demonstrations, the ACA will be representing paddlesports amongst a wide range of boating safety professionals from the U.S. and abroad.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
The American Canoe Association is hositng it's Safety Education & Instruction Council meeting, along with its Board of Director's meeting in Savannah, GA this weekend.
Special thanks to past ACA Commodore Dave Mason for all of his support!
If you're in the area, please join us at the Savannha Marriott Riverfront.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
FreeStyle Canoeing is the "art and science" of precision paddling. FreeStyle Canoeing emphasizes smooth, efficient technique and precision boat control. FreeStyle techniques can be applied to all canoeing situations, from touring to whitewater. Freestyle instruction has been referred to as "Obedience Lessons For Your Canoe".
The Florida Freestyle Symposium is first and foremost about teaching. We will be offering classes from beginner level to advanced. If you are new to canoeing and still fighting to go straight or you're an expert looking to for that special edge, we've got classes for you. In addition to offering the complete ACA Freestyle curriculum ( Levels 1 through 5), we will be offering afternoon enrichment classes in the following topics.
• Heeling and Kneeling (how to confidently heel and pitch your boat to the rail)
• Classic Form (A review of classic FS technique)
• Touring Technique (Commonly known as hit and switch)
• Forward Stroke including the inside circle and X inside circle (advanced forward technique)
• Canadian Style paddling (just how it sounds)
• Creekin Freestyle (use of FS technique for navigating streams)
• Make Every Stroke Count (To be practiced on a buoy course)
• High Kneel Thrust (technique to enhance pitch and heel)
• Paddleography (How to develop an Interpretive FS routine)
Instruction will be by some of the best paddlers and instructors in the country. All are ACA certified. Classes are small with no more than 5 students per instructor.
On Saturday evening there will be a Giant Slalom Competition where freestyle maneuvers will be used to navigate a slalom course. On Sunday evening there will be an Interpretive Freestyle Exhibition, where freestyle technique and maneuvers will be combined with music in a manner similar to long program figure skating.
Low cost bunkhouse style accommodations as well as camping are available on site. A catered meal package is also available. Motels and restaurants for those that prefer, are a short distance away.
Combined with evening social activities and pre/post event trips being organized by some of the participants, the Florida Freestyle Symposium is excellent way to jump start the canoeing season.
For more information, go to www.freestylecanoeing.com, or contact Marc Ornstein by email at dogpaddle @ frontiernet.net
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Dates: August 13-17, 2011
Cost: $1,477.00 per person
Registration: Contact Action Whitewater Adventures ( email@example.com
2011 ACA Excursions