Friday, January 31, 2014

Two Thumbs Down: VA 'Freedom to Float Bill' Sinks in the Senate

Virginia Senate Bill 629, also known as the "Freedom to Float Bill," was defeated by the Senate yesterday (10-Y 30-N). 

The ACA believes this bill was a smart approach to allow non-motorized vessels to use non-tidal rivers, streams, and creeks for the purpose of recreation. SB629 would have allowed paddlers to float on drainage areas of at least seven square miles. These paddlers would not have been held liable for civil or criminal trespass for travel upon non-tidal rivers, streams, or creeks within this strict drainage area solely for recreation. 

We have been an outspoken advocate for SB629, and we're sorry to report its defeat. The ACA is proud to support the best interests of paddlers and the waterways they cherish across the country. Our ongoing public policy involvement is driven solely by members like you.

History of SB629.

The ACA's update on the bill.

Contact your Senator.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Safe Sea Kayaking - DVD, CD-ROM & Teacher's Guide

Decide to Return: A Strategy for Safe Sea Kayaking explores the conscious decisions and unconscious choices that we make every time we leave the shore. Sometimes these choices mean the difference between a safe outing and disaster.

Kate and Jack experience a gamut of hazards on their brief outing. Some are courtesy of Mother Nature but others they've brought upon themselves. This DVD will give you practical information and food for thought so you'll be prepared for your next sea kayaking adventure.

Follow Kate and Jack as their skill, preparedness and equipment choices shape the day. Will their decisions seal an unpleasant fate or enable a safe return?

Also included is a CD-Rom containing a teacher's guide in PDF format and a Power Point presentation to be used in conjunction with the video. Both answer viewer questions, provide group discussion points and explain in more detail the accident process theory. These invaluable support materials will make Decide to Return a worthy part of any outdoor training program. 

ACA members don't forget to login to your account to receive your member discount on your purchase.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sugar Island - A Spectacular Member Benefit!

Getting to Sugar Island is an Adventure

Sugar Island offers all ACA members the opportunity for an exceptional paddlesport camping experience. Arriving at the island is as much a part of your trip as your stay. The island is located approximately one mile from the Canadian mainland. You can paddle out to the island, or you can have the unique experience of using the water taxi offered by the Misty Isles Lodge in Gananoque, Ontario!  

The 35-acre island is primitive, with no modern amenities but is a wonderful place for families to enjoy a paddling/camping vacation. Sugar Island is a pristine, pure environment with crystal clear water, clean air, and beautiful night skies.  

Sugar Island is privately owned by the ACA and is available to all members for year-round use. New ACA members receive 2 FREE nights of camping! Take advantage of this great ACA member benefit and make your reservation today!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014: Less Trash, More Class

Congratulations to the Arkansas Canoe Club for completing the first Track Trash data collection form of the year! Keep up the stellar work!

Want to help? Visit the ACA's Track Trash website for more info. Thanks for making the world a better place to paddle.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Did You Know?

ACA insurance covers kayak fishing! 

If you are a kayaking group or organization with a fishing component, your group may be eligible to participate in the ACA insurance program.

Ready to learn more? Visit our website, or contact the ACA Insurance Department today!

Friday, January 24, 2014

What Kind of ACA Member Are You?

ACA membership is as diverse as the paddlers we serve. For starters, there are many different membership types. You can join as an individual, family, instructor candidate, organization, and now there's even a membership type specifically for outfitter, livery and guide services. 

Like the others, this membership category comes with its own set of perks. Here are just a few of the reasons to become an outfitter, livery and guide member of the ACA:

  • INSURANCE - You'll get access to a broad selection of exclusive insurance products, all at a special rate.
  • PROMOTION - All outfitter, livery and guide members receive recognition across the ACA's different social media networks, Water Blog, and Journal of Paddlesport Education monthly enewsletter.
  • RAPID MEDIA SUBSCRIPTION - You'll get a free 1-year subscription to each of the 4 Rapid Media magazine titles. 
Visit our website to read about ALL the benefits to this newest type of membership, and please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions. We'll help you decide which type of membership is best for you!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Latest on SB 629 Virginia Stream Access Bill

ACA Executive Director Wade Blackwood and Stewardship Coordinator Greg Rolf have spent the past two days at the Virginia State Capital with Senator Stuart to discuss the Virginia Stream Access Bill (SB 629). This afternoon, the House passed the bill and it will now move to the Senate floor. Stay tuned for more updates on this paddler-friendly legislation.

Blackwood testifies before the Agricultural, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Are You Ready to Challenge Yourself This Winter?

We're excited to be one of the sponsors for this year's Winter Challenge Off-Road Triathlon! For the past 10 years, the Winter Challenge has drawn athletes from all around the Southeast to the pristine rural environs of Dome Farms, just outside of Springfield, South Carolina. 

The 23-mile race consists of a 7-mile trail run, 6-mile kayak, and 10-mile mountain bike and draws a wide assortment of competitors, ranging from fierce triathletes to first-timers. Ultimately, the challenge comes more from how hard you push yourself and less from the difficulty of the course itself.

Top 3 things to expect from this one-of-a-kind race:
  1. One of the most unique and beautiful settings you've ever raced on. Dome farms, situated on the Edisto River Swamp, offers countless miles of diverse off-road trail, plus a 75-acre pond where you'll get your paddle on.
  2. Competition and camaraderie. The fellowship of the Winter Challenge and the post race festivities lend themselves to camaraderie found at few other venues. Stick around and make a few new friends. 
  3. You will have a good time, guaranteed. We go to great lengths to ensure that both newcomers and alumni have one of the best days of their season. It's because of this that we see the same people coming back to race the Winter Challenge year after year. 
Learn more at or check it out on Facebook at

Look for ACA prizes at the event!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Paddler's Best Accessory...

Better than a purse. Better than a murse, even. It's the new ACA Paddle Green Bag! 

Made with environmentally-friendly dyes. Abrasion-resistant. Durable. Stronger than ever. Our new Paddle Green Bags are sustainable AND stylish. You'll be the coolest paddler on the water. Get yours today!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The 2014 Winter Stew News is Out!

In this issue:
  • Environmental Stewardship 
  • NOAA Marine Debris Program 
  • Deschutes Clean-up
  • Clean-up Data from 2013
  • Project Baseline
  • Stewardship Spotlight
Read it online here.

Want to be featured in the next ACA Stewardship Newsletter? We accept submissions through our website! Please contact our Stewardship Coordinator if you have any questions, comments, or feedback regarding the newsletter. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Grant for Green Paddlers

Since 2002, the ACA has partnered with L.L. Bean to sponsor the Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program--and we're thrilled to continue this partnership in 2014!

CFS grants are available for projects that utilize volunteers in efforts to:
  • protect, maintain, and restore recreational waterways 
  • provide for or improve public access
  • enhance safe navigation 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Announcing the 2014 Alabama Cup Racing Series!

The ACA is proud to be one of the sponsors of the Alabama Cup Racing Series, consisting of the following events: 

Locust Fork Invitational- February 1-2, 2014

Mulberry Fork Canoe & Kayak Race- March 1-2, 2014

Locust Fork Classic - March 22-23, 2014

Come out and meet other paddlers while testing out your skills! Courses consist of about 25 gates set on class II/III rapids approximately one hundred yards long. Each event also features a raffle, silent auction, food, live entertainment, awards banquet, environmental education, and more. 

Read more about it and register here. See you at the starting line!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Go Outside and Play!

Virginia Outside and Virginia Fishing Adventures offer day and overnight mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, and adventure travel camps for kids starting as young as six years old.

They offer day camps in Richmond, Fredericksburg/Stafford, and Northern Virginia. 

For more information, please visit 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ACA National Water Trails Survey

Opinionated paddlers, we want to hear from you! Please take a few moments to participate in the ACA's National Water Trails Survey. 

Your feedback is valuable and has the potential to impact your future paddling experience. Both surveys will close on February 9, 2014. 

Thank you for sharing your opinions with us!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Introducing the All-New ACA Paddle Green Bag!

Abrasion-resistant. Durable. Made with environmentally-friendly dyes. The ACA is proud to present its new paddle green bag--now stronger than ever!

Get yours today.

And when your Paddle Green Bag is too worn to collect any more trash, simply send it back to the ACA for our Second Life Recycling Program.

New Members-Only Kayak Fishing Excursion

Daydreaming about summer? Start planning an adventure! Sign up for our new Kayak Fishing Excursion scheduled for July 26-August 2, 2014.

This trip will take you to Sugar Island, Ontario and the famous West Brand of the Ausable River in upstate New York--the scenery in this area is spectacular to say the least. During the 8-day excursion, you'll enjoy fly fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, paddleboarding, and even canoe sailing.

Please visit our website to learn more! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Interested in Presenting at the Inaugural ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit This Year?

The ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit will take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 15-17, 2014.

We are currently accepting proposals from individuals, paddling clubs, and organizations who are interested in presenting at this summit. Please submit your proposals through the ACA's convenient online call for presenters form.

Geared toward professionals and enthusiasts working to bring paddlesports into the lives of individuals with disabilities, the ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit will include:
  • High quality educational sessions
  • The latest in adaptive equipment demonstrations
  • Opportunities to refine best practices, network, learn, and have fun!
Learn more and mark your calendars. Online registration will be available starting May 1, 2014!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Florida Canoe Symposium

Looking to improve your paddling skills? Sign up for the Florida Canoe Symposium scheduled for March 21-24, 2014. The FCS offers courses in a range of skill levels, all taught by ACA certified instructors. 

Learn more about the Florida Canoe Symposium and reserve your spot today!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Giving Up Just Isn't an Option

This is a guest post by Natty Cordon, a disabled whitewater kayaker from Bath, England. 

I guess it's not often that people get to achieve their wildest dreams as a result of their worst nightmare. I'm pretty lucky in that respect. 

In 2010, I injured my right leg and my life changed forever. Unable to walk on my leg now, I use elbow crutches to get around. 

Natty having a look at the 70 footer on the Middle Palguin in Chile.

The nightmare for me was seeing people do all of these things that I couldn't do anymore. Up until my accident, I had lived for sports. When that was suddenly taken away, it felt like my body was holding me back from being myself. 

I quickly realized that although I had to learn how to live in a different way, I was still the same person. I needed adventure in my life. I started kayaking. 

My first time paddling on whitewater gave me the sense of adventure and independence I had been longing for. It's hard to me to describe the freedom I feel when I'm on the water. It just feels right. I am no longer defined by my disability. My kayak becomes a part of my body and I can excel.  

Dropping in on the 70 footer on the Middle Palguin.

I didn't realize what I was doing was that different, until people started telling me how inspired they were. I have such an awesome group of paddling friends. I just feel like part of the team. We all help each other to achieve our dreams. I just need a little more help than most people do.

When I first came out of the hospital after my accident, if someone had told me that in a few years time I would be shooting a 70 foot waterfall in Chile and featuring in the same race winners table as Evan Garcia, there's no way I would have believed it. 

I now know that if I whole-heartedly believe in my dreams, anything is possible. 

I can't wait for my next adventure. 

Natty Cordon sustained a life-changing injury in 2010 at the age of 20. Today, she lives for whitewater kayaking, a sport that liberates her from her disability. You can find out more about Natty on her website:

Want to share your story with other paddlers? Email 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Adam Tremper - Staff Update

Competition Coordinator Adam Tremper has been accepted into nursing school and will be leaving the ACA Staff.

His last day is today, so please wish Adam well.

The ACA family wishes him all the best in his future endeavors and we know we'll see him out on the river in the near future!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Congratulations to January Kokatat Instructor of the Month, Hunter Yarborough!

Hunter is an ACA certified whitewater canoe and whitewater kayaking instructor. He can be seen paddling and instructing all over Western North Carolina, his favorite place to paddle.

Learn more about Hunter...

The ACA would like to thank Kokatat for sponsoring the Instructor of the Month program. Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized? Submit a nomination here!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Go Green!

Over 6,000 paddlers participated in a waterway clean-up this past year and removed 231,322 pounds of trash from waterways. Keep up the good work, paddlers!

Click here to find out how you can help track trash with the ACA. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Make This Headline Your Own

Submit 1-2 paragraphs telling us what paddling means to you, and we'll feature our favorite responses right here on the ACA Water Blog. We want to know what motivates you to pick up your paddle and get out on the water.

Please email all submissions to: 

Don't forget to include a picture or two!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Thanks for being a part of the ACA in 2013. Your support made a world of difference.

Cheers to the new year ahead!

If you haven't seen it already, check out our recap of 2013 here