Monday, October 31, 2011

Ramping it up!

Wintergreen Adaptive Sports (WAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing recreational opportunities, including kayaking and canoeing, to people with disabilities. This year, the ACA awarded WAS with a grant under our Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program to help increase access for students with mobility challenges by constructing a boating platform in front of a ramp used by students with wheelchairs, crutches, or canes.

The ramp and platform face Lake Monocan at Wintergreen Resort in Nellysford, VA, where much of the kayak and canoe instruction is done. WAS was able to leverage funds provided by the ACA through grants awarded by the National Water Safety Congress and Disabled Sports/ USA.

WAS’ new boating platform allows students with disabilities, and particularly those in wheelchairs, to come down the ramp directly onto a stable, solid platform. The platform provides students and instructors secure and stable footing to teach, stage, and launch boats, while also protecting Lake Monocan’s bank and shoreline from erosion.

The ACA is proud to have been able to contribute to this project and to WAS’ mission.

Learn more about our Club Fostered Stewardship Program or apply for a grant today!

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Occoquan River Trailhead!

The Prince William County Park Authority, with the assistance of the Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, has developed a new Trailhead to the Occoquan River below the Lake Jackson Dam. This new trail will provide easier access to the River for canoeists, kayakers, and fishermen. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for 29 October at 10 AM.

A one-time shuttle service to move paddlers from the Bull Run Marina Parking Lot and the Riverview Estates HOA site, back to the Occoquan River Trailhead is being planned for that day to ease traffic congestion. Canoeists and kayakers are requested to register for this opening event by calling Ed Dandar, PWTSC project officer at 703-791-6158 or

Come out and be the first to open this new Occquan River Trailhead!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Members Only Cumberland Island Backcountry Excursion

Come join ACA Pro School Geneva Kayak Center and Ryan Rushton for a coastal kayaking trip around Cumberland Island; Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island. Cumberland Island boasts 9,800 acres of protected wilderness.

Dates: April 3 - 8, 2012

Monday, October 24, 2011

5th Annual Trash Bash

The Sebago Canoe Club has long demonstrated a commitment to caring for the health of our waters and fostering stewardship. A six-time recipient of the ACA's Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program grants, the Sebago Canoe Club held their 5th Annual Trash Bash this year and had record attendance. The shoreline cleanup of Paerdegat Basin in Brooklyn, New York, both engaged members of the organization, public, and youth groups to clean up the area, as well as educating them about the importance of issues related to healthy shores and water.

"The debris along our shores comes from many sources and can ultimately be traced back to people who have not been near the water. Trash left on sidewalks and streets becomes shoreline debris after heavy rains wash everything into the sewers, and ultimately out to the water," says Mary Eyster.

This year was worst than most for many New England states and cleanups because of hurricane Irene. The Trash Bash had to be postponed once due to high waters, and the wrath of Irene left a large amount of debris along the shores and above the normal high tide mark.

Among the many items collected, the most common pieces of debris were everyday items like plastic bags and food packaging. In just a few hours, Sebago's volunteers collected nearly 500 plastic bags, more than 300 plastic bottles, and over 1,000 food wrappers.

We would like to thank Sebago for their commitment to protecting Paerdegat Basin and promoting good stewardship practices!

Learn more about the ACA's CFS Program or apply for a grant today!

Friday, October 21, 2011

3 Nautical Miles... the proposed distance from a shoreline where emergency locator beacons might be mandated for all vessels, including canoes, kayaks, and SUPs.

If you paddle in the open ocean or Great Lakes, the ACA needs your opinion on this issue!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ACA Members Only...


...Backcountry Paddling Excursions.

Space is limited, reserve your place today on one of the 4 U.S. locations or 5 international destinations.

2012 ACA Member Excursions


Costa Rica

Cumberland Island, GA

Charleston, SC

Southern Exuma Cays, Bahamas

San Juan Islands, Pacific Northwest

Grande Ronde River, OR


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 2011 Edition of the Focus Released

The latest edition of the SEI Focus is now available online!

This issue's highlights include:

  • ACA Event Calendar User Guide

  • AORE 25th Annual Conference

  • National Paddlesports Conference Recap

  • Members Only Excursions

  • Instructor Audit Information

  • Outreach Surevey

  • Important Dates

Read Now

The SEI Focus is a monthly electronic newsletter from the Safety,, Education, and Instruction Department that provides valuable information to Instructor, Clubs, and Affliliates.

Monday, October 17, 2011

MTI Adventurewear Partners with ACA to Support SUP Summit and SUP Certification Courses

MTI Adventurewear partners with the ACA to provide inflatable belt pack life jackets to support the inaugural SUP Summit and Level 1 & 2 SUP Instructor Certification Courses.

SUP is one of the fastest growing segments of paddlesports. According to a recent OIA study, over 1,000,000 people tried SUP in 2010, and those numbers continue to grow.

Matching a grant to the ACA from the US Coast Guard, the Fluid packs from MTI were used for the on-water segments of the SUP Summit. "The ACA is uniquely positioned for effective out-reach to bew paddlers and the paddling community through their network of instructors" said Lili Colby, owner of MTI. "Promoting safe boating is core to their instructional message. MTI believes that the best way to encourage life jacket use is through education from the retail showroom to the on-water classroom. We feel the ACA instructor is a great role mode and "SAFE SUP" evangelist."

Learn more about the ACA and MTI Adventurewear.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Paddlesports - Public Policy

ACA Chief Operating Officer - Chris Stec
The ACA is proud to announce that Chief Operating Officer Chris Stec has been appointed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to serve on the National Boating Safety and Advisory Council (NBSAC).

NBSAC provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary, Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) through the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard on matters relating to recreational boating safety. Such matters include all new regulations and standards issued under Title 46 United States Code. Subtitle II. Part I. Chapter 131, and Title 46 United States Code, Subtitle II. Part B. Chapter 43. NBSAC is responsible for specific assignments and may conduct studies, inquiries,
workshops and fact finding in consultation with individuals and groups in the private sector and/or with state and local government jurisdictions.

This is a significant step for paddlesports to be represented at this level of our federal government.

"The ACA is honored to be able to represent canoeists, kayakers, rafters and stand up paddleboarders. Having a 'seat at the table', is an important part of informing regulators about the needs and best interests of the paddlesports community." - Chris Stec

One part of the ACA's education mission is to provide information to both the paddling community and various government entities who have a role in either regulating or providing access to waterways. To this end, the paddling community now has a direct, online tool to convey your local or regional public policy issues, as well as provide input and suggestions on paddlesports related issues.

For more information about this paddlesports public policy tool, please click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Race at SUP Summit

ACA SUP Summit competed in the Inaugural KFC Mayor's Cup on Saturday October 1st in Louisville, KY. Despite cold weather and windy condition summit attendees and ACA staff got on the water with the rest of the competitors to help promote paddlesports and SUP. ACA Instructor, Trainers and Educators took some high honors in the race.

SUP Mens:

1. Charlie MacArthur - 40'27.08''

2. Josh Hall - 41'46.50"

3. Keith Keller - 43'18.07"

4. Chris Stec - 53'01.09"

5. Trey Knight - 58'42.60"

SUP Womens:

1. Kristen Beck - 63'01.16"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Girls at Play and the ACA

Girls at Play in an organization that is dedicated to inspiring women and enhancing their lives through kayaking and yoga retreats, classes and trips. The ACA is excited to have the Girls at Play team going through a certification course.

For more info about Girl at Play go to

Monday, October 10, 2011

ACA Staff in Falling Creek Camps News

ACA Executive Director, Wade Blackwood, Chief Operating Officer, Chris Stec, and Education and Outreach Coordinator Trey Knight were featured in the news blog of prominent western North Carolina boys camp, Falling Creek Camp. All three ACA members worked on the canoe and kayak staff at Falling Creek, no surprise there.

Read the news article here.

Falling Creek Camp is a leader, not only in the camp industry, but in paddlesport education for youth. Their feature paddling program, Huck Paddling Expiditions, is lead by professional paddlers that have featured program creator Jez Blanchard, as well as Andrew Holcombe, Nick Troutman, and ACA's own Trey Knight. This program teaches participants about all aspects of paddlsports including swiftwater rescue, education, instruction and trip planning.

Friday, October 7, 2011

International ACA

Did you know...

the ACA has members and instructors in 21 countries around the world?

This weekend, the ACA is hosting the 2nd annual Europe Paddlesports Conference in Germany.

Thanks to event organizer and ACA Instructor Trainer Raphael Kuner of RaffTaff.

Europe Paddlesports Conference

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ACA at AORE Conference

ACA is proud to offer 3 Pre-Conference Instructor Certification Workshops and 2 Post-Conference Instructor Updates at the 25th National Conference for AORE.

Pre/Post Conference Workshops:
  • Level 2: Essentials of River Kayaking
  • Level 2: Essential of River Canoeing
  • Level 2: Essentials of SUP
  • Level 1-3 Canoe Instructor Update
  • Level 1-2 Kayak Instructor Update

The ACA will also be presenting an educational session on managing risk while afloat. This presentation will be tailored for paddling trip leaders and focus on on-water paddlesports program management.

For more information about the AORE National Conference or to register go to the AORE Conference website at

Saturday, October 1, 2011

National Paddlesports Conference

Over 100 paddling club members, instructors, instructor trainers and stand up paddleboarders are in Louisville, KY this weekend at the ACA National Paddlesports Conference and SUP Summit.

In addition, there's the inaugural ACA sponosred KFC Mayor's Cup Race and the ACA annual membership meeting.

Check back on the ACA Water Blog on Monday for the announcement of the 2012 National Paddlesport date and location.

Think paddling in November in warm weather...