Friday, September 28, 2012

ACA Annual Membership Meeting

ACA Annual Membership Meeting

Join fellow paddlers from across the country (& Europe) at the ACA Annual Membership meeting as part of the 2012 National Paddlesports Conference & SUP Summit.

Nothing like the warm weather of Charleston, SC in November...a little sun...a little beach...a little paddling!

2012 ACA Annual Membership Meeting

Thursday, September 27, 2012

CRS Southeast Registration Open Now!

Fellow Paddlers!

The ACA would like to inform you that registration is now open for this years Collegiate Race Series Southeast Championships. This race is taking place in Dillsborro, North Carolina on October 6th and October 7th, 2012.

To register online, click HERE!

Additional infromation on the event is located on the ACA website at the CRS Southeast Championship Webpage or contact Trey Knight at 

We hope you will join us out on the Tuckaseegee River!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Membership Benefit - Support of Amateur Paddlesports Competition

2012 College Race Series - Kayak Race
The ACA is committed to developing and promoting athletic competition paddlesport at the local, regional and national levels.

In order to maintain consistent rules and safety standards for paddling events throughout the U.S., the ACA provides governance for several non-Olympic paddlesport disciplines through the National Competition Council and various National Activity Committees.  The ACA uses the term "discipline" to refer to the type of paddling activity, which is determined by the type of paddle craft and the waterway on which it is used.  

Through an extensive network of local volunteers, and partnerships with other organizations, the ACA sanctions over 200 races and produces 6 National Championships each year.

For detailed information about competition in the different disciplines, please visit our Competition webpage.

Canoe poling

Canoe Sailing

Open Canoe Slalom

FreeStyle Canoeing

Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Competition

For a race near you, visit the Competitions Calendar.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stewardship Coordinator - Cate Huxtable

Stewardship Coordinator - Cate Huxtable

The ACA announces that Stewardship Coordinator Cate Huxtable has moved on to pursue other opportunities.

While at the ACA, Cate managed the ACA’s L.L.Bean Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Grant program and conducted a Paddle Nation project for underserved youth in Charleston County, SC. In addition, she was instrumental in developing the ACA’s Paddle Green Festivals across the country. She also served as the policy chief for the ACA on the Outdoor Alliance.

She will be missed, but we wish her all the best in her future endeavors both on land and on the water.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The 2012 Boating Safety Educator of the Year Award Goes to....

2012 Boating Safety Educator of the Year Winner Joe McCullough

In 2011, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) teamed up with and created the Boating Educator of the Year Award. The award recognizes individuals in the boating education field who go beyond to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough, and exciting. Three regional finalists are chosen. 

This year, two of the three of the regional finalists for the award are ACA instructors!

Congratulations to ACA Instructor Dana Smith of Cleveland MetroParks in Ohio and Joe McCullough of Alaska's Department of Boating for being two of the top three finalists for this national award!

Joe McCullough was announced as the winner of the 2012 Boating Safety Educator of the Year Award at the 53rd annual NASBLA Conference held on September 10, 2012 in Mobile, AL.

Congratulations to Dana and Joe! The ACA appreciates and thanks you for all you do for the paddlesport community!

Dana Smith and Joe McCullough at the 2012 NASBLA Conference

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kokatat - ACA Instructor of the Month

ACA September Instructor of the Month - Beth Wiegandt with her family.
 Kokatat - ACA Instructor of the Month - Beth Wiegandt

Beth Wiegandt is an ACA Level 4: Whitewater Canoeing Instructor Trainer and Level 2: Essentials of River Kayaking Instructor.

She has been paddling, teaching, and leading trips on the water for 24 years.  She was intrigued by paddlesports when she was a camp counselor, hearing about all the fun and excitement that week-long adventure paddlers had on the river.  That program pulled her in and she hasn't looked back! River canoeing has become her passion, and she loves to spend a day (or 2 or 3!) playing in waves and holes in her Esquif Zephyr.

Beth's husband Steve, also an ACA canoe and kayak instructor, and his family taught her to paddle.  There have been many mentors along her paddling journey, but having his support has enabled her to grow in skills and now be inspired by their daughters as they paddle more technical rivers, together as a family. You may find the Wiegandt family on their favorite hometown runs: the Balcony Falls section of the James River and the Ripplemead to Bluff City stretch on the New River.

Beth, enjoying another day on the river near her home in southern Virginia.

The ACA would like to thank Kokatat for being the exclusive sponsor of the ACA Instructor of the Month program.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cliff Jacobson: ACA Legend of Paddling Recipient Shares His Love for Paddling

Cliff Boundary Waters Canoe Area
With 16 books in print and hundreds of articles penned, Cliff Jacobson is the most published paddling author of the twentieth century and 2003 ACA Legend of Paddling Recipient. Jacobson was recently interviewed by Falconguides, a publishing company, in which they asked him about the memorable "firsts" in a career highlighted by bestsellers and decorated with awards. The following are excerpts from the interview that illustrate Jacobson as a humble man who has passion for the outdoors and the heart of an adventurer. 

How did you first get into canoeing? What drew you in and kept you coming back to it time and time again?

It began in 1952 at the age of 11 at a rustic Boy Scout camp set deep in the Michigan woods. The canoes were wood and canvas - and magical! The canoe was a ticket to the wild in wilderness. Yes, one could hike to remote places, but it was faster and easier by canoe. On a long backpacking trip you'll travel super light and "rough it," but a canoe will "smooth" the way. 

The canoe has a beauty and grace that is unmatched by other watercraft. The same canoe that  can carry you on a picnic down a placid river can float you to the Arctic Ocean.

Tell me about your first multi-day expedition. What did you learn and take away from that first trip?

It was a 21-day trip from Folyet, Ontario, to James Bay (300 miles) via the Groundhog, Mattagami, and Moose Rivers in Ontario. It rained for 17 days, the river was flooded, the bugs were horrendous, the rapids were frightening, and the topography wasn't pretty at all. Of all the northern routes I've done, this is my least favorite and one I would never do again. But it was very adventurous. It tested my skills and it encouraged me to keep learning. I learned that there are few second chances on these northern rivers. Doing things sloppy or merely "good enough" is not GOOD ENOUGH!

Is there a particularly memorable trip that always pops up first when reaching back into the memory bank?

Yes, the Hood River (Province of Nunavut, Canada), north of the Arctic Circle. I've done it twice: On the first trip (1984), we encountered nearly 100,000 caribou, some so close you could touch them with a paddle. On the second trip(1992), Su Harings and I were married at Wilberforce Falls on the Hood River. It is the only recorded wedding at this spot. 

The wedding day: Wilberforce Falls, Hood River, August 12, 1992

Wilberforce Falls

How did it feel to be inducted into the American Canoe Association's Hall of Fame?

It was quite an honor, naturally. I remain surprised through because, frankly, I don't consider myself an expert canoeist. I'm decent but not in the league with today's top paddlers. Good judgement, more than paddle skill, keeps me out of trouble. 

I know you're an avid outdoors man with many pursuits. If you could impart one piece of advice to the next generation of avid outdoors men (and women) looking to make this their lifestyle and work, what would that advice be?

My advice is to always remember that "skills are more important than things." You can get by with mediocre gear if you know what you're doing. If you don't, you're in serious trouble, even with the best gear. Learn first, buy second!

To learn more about Cliff Jacobson and his many books, click here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Canoe Sailor Newsletter

The latest edition of the Canoe Sailor Newsletter has arrived! Written by the National Sailing Committee, Canoe Sailor Newsletter is an up-to-date publication for what's going on in the canoe sailing world. 

The current edition includes:

  • Upcoming canoe sailing championships
  • Canoes, sails, and parts for sale
  • Results from recent canoe sailing races
  • And much more!

To view the latest edition, click here.

For additional information on canoe sailing, including future Canoe Sailing National Championships and canoe sailing resources, click here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Membership Benefit - Stewardship Support

Kayak clean-up
Like many in the paddling community, the ACA shares your concerns about the health of our paddling environments. The ACA is focused on maintaining and enhancing both the water quality and access points for waterways for paddlers at the local, regional and national levels.

ACA promotes Stewardship of the paddling environment in several ways:

  • We work for clean and healthy waterways, by supporting aggressive enforcement of the Clean Water Act, and sensible land use policies that will not adversely affect our nation's lakes, rivers and streams
  • Support the development and promotion of watertrails
  • We support the efforts of volunteers from local paddling clubs, by giving them the tools to undertake stewardship activities on their local waterways
  • We partner with L.L. Bean to provide funding to local paddling clubs for volunteer-driven stewardship activities through the Club Fostered Stewardship Program
  • We educate individual paddlers on their environmental stewardship responsibilities, and provide resources to local paddling organizations to assist with this education program.
To learn more about the many ways the ACA works hard to make our waterways more paddle friendly visit the Stewardship section of our website.

Monday, September 17, 2012

ACA Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & the NOC

The ACA Open Canoe Slalom National Championship is coming to the Nantahala River October 5-7.  The Nantahala Outdoor Center is helping to support the event this year's event in many ways.  One of those ways is to help promote the event on their website event's page.  To read more about the event, click here. Whether you are looking to race or just for a fun weekend in the mountains watching some of the best canoer's in the country you can't go wrong at the Open Canoe Slalom National Championship weekend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Journal of Paddlesport Education - Spetember Edition is released

The ACA is excited to announce the next edition of the Journal of Paddlesport Education. This re-invented publication is a collaborative effort from the SEI Department and ACA volunteers. This new format includes peer reviewed professional articles as well as articles, updates and other information from the Safety, Education and Instruction Department of the ACA National Office.

Check out the Journal of Paddlesport Education page on the ACA website to learn more!

Read now on Issuu or the PDF version!

Highlights in this issue:
  • The Progressive Vector Pull
  • Kokatat Instructor of the Month
  • SEI Department Update - New ACA Pro School; REI Outdoor School
  • National Paddlesports Conference Update
  • Rescue for River Runners and Essentials of SUP Videos
  • SEI Department Spotlight - Skills Assessments
  • Upcoming Outreach
  • Featured eStore Items
  • SEI Online Resources
  • Important Dates 
  • And More!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eli Crispell - ACA Staff

Eli at home in a sea kayak

Tomorrow, Friday, September 14th is ACA Staff member Eli Crispell's final day at the ACA National Office.

Over the past year, Eli has worked diligently on the Advanced Boating: On-Water Safety Training Grant from the U.S. Coast Guard organizing a range of courses from coast to coast. 

Upon his successfull completion of this grant program, he has taken a position as the Outdoor Adventures Coordinator at Boston College.

We truly appreciate all he has done for the ACA and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

Contact Eli.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Membership benefit - Discounts on ACA eStore Purchases

ACA Office and Store
Did you know that ACA Members receive a 10% discount on all ACA eStore purchases?  Simply sign in to your account and click on the ACA eStore link to view our merchandise which ranges from educational materials to clothing.  Check out our 2 newest items below.

Women's ACA KoreDry shirt
This loose-fitting women's short sleeve shirt offers UPF 50 sun protection, dries quickly and protects against wind chill.  Wear it alone during warmer days, or as a base layer in cooler seasons.

The ACA KoreDry Women's Shirt comes in Hawaii Blue with a white ACA logo on the left sleeve.  100% nylon.

Men's ACA KoreDry shirt
The loose fit men's shirt repels water, offers UPF 50 protection from the sun and guards against wind chill.  It's perfect for any day out on the water!

The short sleeve ACA KoreDry Men's Shirt comes in Royal Blue with a white ACA logo on the left sleeve.  100% nylon.

Wear your ACA support on your sleeve!  Buy your ACA KoreDry shirt now from the ACA eStore.  Don't forget to sign in and receive your Member's Only Discount!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ocoee I-4; A Different Kind of River

Burt in need of an AIS himself
The following article is from Burt Kornegay of Slickrock Expdeitions, an ACA Level 5: Advanced Whitewater Canoeing Instructor.

Dear Single and Double-Bladed Friends,

If you’ve thought about paddling the Ocoee and wondered whether or not you’re ready to arm wrestle this big brother of the Pigeon, here are four steps you need to take to make sure you're prepared.

Step one: go to Atlanta and get some driving experience. Follow a cloverleaf up onto the sixteen-lane-wide racecourse of Interstate highways that stretch across the city—all I-20, 75, 85, 285, 575, and 675 of them—and spend as much time as you can driving with the millions hurrying home from work at rush hour. You need to have this experience because your first descent of the Ocoee will be partly spent in paddling rapids, but it will be wholly spent trying to survive river traffic that’s as heavy as Friday afternoon congestion at Spaghetti Junction.

Step two: when O-day arrives and you are nearing the river, psyche yourself into the Atlanta-Motor-Speedway mindset you developed during step one. Do this by imagining a green federal highway sign on the shoulder of the road just before you turn into the launch site at the #2 dam. It should have flashing lights and a big white arrow pointing to “Ocoee I-4.” Next, check your watch and, whatever time it happens to say, reset it to Ocoee time, which is always 5 PM.

Step three: while you idle in line with fellow boaters backed up on the concrete entrance ramp, reset your river lingo too. Forget those dozens of fancy terms and techniques you’ve learned on other rivers, like edging, balance, boat lean, vertical shaft, feathering, power face, river left, stern pry correction, underwater recovery, torso rotation, and so forth. The Ocoee calls for elemental urban boating. Go, stop, floor-it and finger is what you need to do.

Step four: forget about holes, pillows, boils, tongues, strainers, pourovers, undercut rocks, whirlpools, and reactionary waves—all those features you’ve learn to recognize in ordinary whitewater. It’s much more helpful, when you embark on the Ocoee, to read the river as a watery construction zone, “Next 5 Miles," because you are going to be faced immediately with single lanes, uneven lanes, sudden or poorly marked lane shifts, soft shoulders, potholes, drop-offs, bumps, rumble strips, and Do Not Enter barricades, with bumper-to-bumper boats pushing through manned by drivers who, to judge by the way they cut you off, are full of river rage.

As for the all-important feature called the eddy, that spot of calm water, that harbor, that place of tranquility on normal rivers where you can pull in to rest and look around at the beauty of nature while chatting with your friends—how quaint! But veterans of the Ocoee I-4 know its eddys for what they are, “Accident Investigation Sites.” You'll start to think of eddys in this way too if your virgin runs of Broken Nose, Double Suck, Double Trouble, Table Saw, Diamond Splitter, Hell Hole, and Powerhouse don’t go quite as well as planned.

We had to make an emergency exit into an Ocoee AIS one Saturday when, right off the bat two first-timers in our group flipped and swam. Once we got boats and paddles and paddlers reunited, and investigated their bruises and bent fenders, both accident victims decided to go back home, having been on the river (or, more precisely, in it), all of 200 feet. Total travel time to the Ocoee and back? 6 hours. Time spent on/in the river? Around 55 seconds.

Finally, if you can’t make it to Atlanta, at the very least drive 70 mph down I-40 West where it twists through the Great Smoky Mountains in the Pigeon River Gorge. Do it during a thunderstorm, right after a rockslide has fallen onto the roadbed. And make it a Monday morning when hundreds of transfer trucks are hauling their 80,000-lb-loads to the big box stores in Knoxville. This experience will help to buck you up for your first drop into a boulder-clogged Ocoee Class 4 while the river’s version of an 18-wheeler, called a commercial raft, bearing a load of SuperWalmart-sized passengers, is bearing down on your stern bumper. The raft will be blood-red, and in the driver’s seat will be a long-haired guide yelling to his passengers, “Paddles to the Metal!”

Take note: until this moment on the Ocoee, it’s your interstate driving experience that has kept you alive. You've not had to use the paddling skills gained from hours of practice on other rivers. But at this live-or-die moment, at this Ocoee time and place, you finally do need those skills. And when you plant your blade to start the forward stroke and build up speed, you suddenly realize that on the Ocoee I-4, a very different kind of river, you had better perform that stroke with flawless execution—not to run the rapid but to stay ahead of that raft.

Burt Kornegay

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kayaking - Now Available for the iPad

In an effort to provide a resource to all outdoor enthusiasts, Kayaking has been developed by the ACA for all current and future paddlers, including recreational paddlers who want to be safe on local ponds or streams, and adventure seekers looking to move on to whitewater or coastal waters. The book also serves as a text for introductory kayaking courses taught at the university level. 

It is now available for the iPad here and the print version on in the ACA eStore.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Member Discounts

Buy your next boat at a members-only discount.

ACA Members can purchase a wide variety of paddle related items at a discount ranging from boats, gear, ACA courses and  more!  

To review an ever-increasing list of organizations who provide these discounts check it out here:  Members Only Discounts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Paddlesport Statistics

Ever wonder how many people paddle a canoe, kayak, SUP or raft each year?

Every week, ACA staff receive requests about statistics in paddlesports.

So, we've created a webpage with a wide range of statistical resources.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Subaru - The Official Car of the ACA

Paddlers everywhere know that a Subaru is the ideal car for getting you and your paddling gear to the water.  

However, did you know that Subaru was the Official Vehicle of the ACA?  Even more important, did you know that YOU as an ACA member are eligible for the Subaru VIP program?  

That's right you could save up to $3,300 on a new Subaru.

To learn more about the Subaru VIP Program visit

To see the ACA Subaru in action check out the Journal of Paddlesport Education outreach section for events near you. 


Monday, September 3, 2012

National Paddlesports Conference on Google+

Can't make it to Charleston this year for the National Paddlesports Conference follow the Conference live on Google+.  Just follow the ACA on Google+ and you can be invited to the National Paddlesports Conference Google+ Event where you will can see updates, photos and video of the conference live in real time plus streaming video of keynote speakers and more.  Find the ACA on Google+ or view the National Paddlesports Conference Google+ Event.

Labor Day

ACA National Office in Fredericksburg, Va

The ACA National Office will be closed today, September 3rd for Labor Day.

We will re-open Tuesday, September 4th at 9:00am EST.

Be safe, and have fun out on the water today!