Friday, November 28, 2014

If You Plan to Shop Online Today...

Please consider using the ACA's Amazon Smile site, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the ACA.

Not shopping? Please consider making a donation to the ACA. As a non-profit paddlesports organization, we rely on financial support from paddlers just like you. 

Thank you for joining us in making the world a better place to paddle! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us at the ACA, we hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving spent with those you love most. 

After your second helping of pumpkin pie, if you decide to go for a paddle, remember to dress warm and wear a life jacket. We'll see you out there! Or, if that's too ambitious, here are 10 exercises you can do lying down...right before you take a nap. 

As we enjoy this 2014 holiday season of gratitude and giving, we want you--our members--to know how thankful we are for your support. 

As a non-profit organization, the ACA relies on membership dues, grant funding, and support from paddlers just like you to continue our work supporting paddlesports and safe paddling practices. In other words, your generosity makes all the difference. Thank you.

In health, happiness, and paddling,

Your ACA National Office Staff 

(Please note: Our National Office will be closed today and tomorrow, and will reopen on Monday, December 1. Enjoy the holiday!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Design a Life Jacket to Win 10k

The BoatUS Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition is your chance to create the life jacket of your dreams! Unconventional designs are encouraged, and participants can submit either a theoretical design or a working prototype. 

All entries are due by April 15, 2015. The top prize is $10,000! Need we say more?

Get additional information on the competition here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In Case You Missed It...

Over the past few months, the ACA has released three new videos:
Check out these latest additions to our video library today. And if you like what you see, please share them with your paddling friends! 

If you would like to have a copy of these videos for educational purposes, or to embed on your website, please contact Catharine Lloyd, ACA Communications Coordinator, at 

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Black Friday, Make Every Purchase Count for Paddlesports

Amazon Smile is the same Amazon site you know, with one difference--it donates a portion of proceeds to the organization of your choice. 

The ACA is registered through the site, so all you have to do is start shopping from our personalized link and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the ACA.

We're big fans of shopping local. But, if you do have to shop at a big box store like Amazon, we want you to know it's easy to support the ACA with your no extra cost to you!

If you're already using Amazon Smile, we thank you! All of your donations go toward making the world a better place to paddle. We are so grateful for all of your support.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Give Small, Give Big, Just Give

There's Black Friday. There's Cyber Monday. And now there's Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a day when people from all over the world come together to give back. Please consider making a donation to the ACA this #GivingTuesday, December 2. 

Click here to find out how you can donate to a specific paddlesport program area, and see how your contribution will improve Stewardship, Education, Competition, or Adaptive Paddling. 

Thank you for supporting paddlesports and protecting the waterways we all cherish!

Visit to learn more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When Your Boat Breaks...

Rapid Magazine asked boat repair guru Jamie Dors of Paddle Sport Repairs to lay out instructions for how to fix a cracked kayak. If you're the DIY type, you'll really appreciate this tutorial.

Click through to read the full story on Rapid. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Looking for Volunteers for ACA Animated Memoir Grant Project

Personal stories engage us in ways warnings, rules, and statistics cannot. Stories bring abstract ideas into the public awareness. They inspire us to learn through the experience of others and share this knowledge with those we care about. 

As part of a new creative outreach grant project, we are looking for paddlers who are willing to talk about their near-miss experiences and close-calls out on the water. These stories will be used in an animated memoir-style video to educate viewers about safe paddling practices. 

Have you survived a dangerous paddling situation that dealt with any of the following issues?

· Life jacket wear

· Paddling under the influence

· Low head dams

· Marker buoys/Collision with motorized boats

· Bad weather

· Standing up in moving water/foot entrapment

· Paddling out of your skill level

· Inappropriate clothing/gear

· Didn’t file a float plan

If you have a story to tell (or you know someone who does), please contact Catharine Lloyd, ACA Communications Coordinator, at or 540-907-4460 ext 107. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Experience 23 Miles of Pure Racing Bliss

The 12th annual Winter Challenge Off-Road Triathlon will take place on February 21, 2015 in scenic Dome Farms, South Carolina.

The ACA is proud to be a sponsor of this uniquely fun (and freezing cold) event! For those among you who have yet to experience the bliss of your first WC, here's what you can expect:

1. One of the most unique and beautiful settings you've ever raced on. Dome Farms, which is situated on the Edisto River Swamp, offers countless miles of diverse off-road trail plus a 75-acre pond where you will 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 take home a few new friendships! But don't mistake friendship for lack of competition. While many athletes are here to race against themselves, there are more than a few die hard enthusiasts who gas up the race with some serious skills, raising the stakes to a surprisingly high level of competition! Rivalry is always in the air, and getting your name on the Trophy Cup is a matter not to be taken lightly.

3. Never Dull! We at the WC refuse to rest on the status quo, and we promise to keep things fresh and new for the WC Alums. As always, you have our solemn guarantee of a rocking good time.

Find more info and Register at Also, stay tuned to their facebook page for updates!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Congratulations to November Kokatat Instructor of the Month, Anna Levesque!

November Kokatat Instructor of the Month, Anna Levesque, is not only a gifted kayak and SUP instructor trainer, but she is also a big player in the ever-growing SUP Yoga world. We had the opportunity to chat with Anna last week and talk about her latest ventures and inspiring story.

ACA: Anna, you have had the opportunity to paddle hundreds of different rivers, in 12 different countries, win multiple international competitive titles, and start multiple unique paddling businesses. How does the ACA help contribute to your continued success in the paddling world?

Anna: I've been paddling for over 20 years and teaching for over 10 years, and in that time I've witnessed the power of good paddling instruction and the damage of poor paddling instruction. I feel that the ACA holds their Instructors and Instructor Trainers to the highest standards and that is good for students and good for the sustainability of paddlesports.

ACA: You are one of the frontrunners promoting the ACA SUP Yoga Program (we are so excited about this new curriculum), Tell us a little about your SUP Yoga experiences thus far. 

Anna: Last year I launched a new program called Mind Body Paddle here in Asheville. I teach weekly SUP Yoga classes at the confluence of Hominy Creek and the French Broad, and it is wonderful! Practicing yoga on the SUP boards enhances balance, strength, and focus. It is a very peaceful, mindful, active way to be outside and connect with nature. I have an anchor system so that the SUPs don't drift for the yoga portion of class; participants also have the opportunity to improve their SUP paddling skills before and after class. I was excited to participate in the ACA's first SUP Yoga Endorsement training this summer with other amazing SUP and Yoga instructors, and I think that SUP Yoga will continue to grow. If you haven't tried it I highly recommend finding a local class!

Congratulations again, Anna, on your Instructor of the Month Award. Keep up the great work! 

Many thanks to Kokatat for sponsoring our Instructor of the Month program. Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized? Submit a nomination here. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

2015 Swiftwater Rescue Conference

Last year's event was so popular, we're bringing back the Swiftwater Rescue Conference in 2015! 

Mark your calendar. This is one event you don't want to miss.

More info on our website. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Confluence Outdoor

Last week, Confluence Outdoor and its high quality, American-made canoes and kayaks represented South Carolina on AOL’s This Built America editorial series.

Some surprising details include:

  • One of the perks of employment is access to over 100 free kayaks and canoes that team members can take out for free to use on the water.
  • Confluence can make a new prototype in just a day—something that used to take up to six months.
  • Confluence re-uses excess plastic shavings from canoes and kayaks to make other parts.
  • Their CEO, Sue Rechner, was the CEO of Victorinox Swiss Army before joining the company and turning it around.
  • Confluence’s fastest growing kayak business are boats designed for the kayak angler market.
To see more facts on Confluence and the passionate paddlers in the shop, visit http:/// Or, follow This Built America on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Google+.

Confluence Outdoor joins a national movement in This Built America that is devoted to supporting American companies and American-made products. AOL is proud to support the effort along with sponsor Ford Trucks. Through the year, the editorial and video teams will explore 50 states in 50 weeks to bring 50 stories of the people who are bringing back manufacturing to America. The platform is produced in coordination with Man Made Content.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Amazon Smile Let's You Support Paddlesports While You Shop

We're big fans of shopping local. But, if you do have to shop at a big box store like Amazon, you should know you can support the ACA with your no extra cost to you. 

Amazon Smile is the same Amazon site you know, with one difference--it donates a portion of proceeds to the charity of your choice. 

The ACA is registered through the site, so all you have to do is start shopping from our personalized link and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the ACA.

We recommend bookmarking the above link so you can easily access it every time you need to make an Amazon purchase. 

If you're already using Amazon Smile, we thank you! All of your donations go toward making the world a better place to paddle! We appreciate all of your support.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

The ACA office will be closed today, November 11th, for Veteran's Day. We raise our paddles in honor of the millions of Americans who have served as members of the Armed Forces. 

We hope you can get out on the water today. Have fun and be safe! Our office will reopen again tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rolling is Mostly Mental

By Mike Aronoff. 

Aronoff is a L4 River Canoe ITE, L3 River Kayak ITE, L4 Coastal Kayak ITE, L3 Safety & Rescue IT and chair of the Intro to Paddling committee. He is also the owner of Canoe Kayak and Paddle Company (an ACA Pro School) in Vienna, VA.

If you want to learn how to roll a kayak, the first step is finding a good instructor who can teach you how. Download the ACA's Paddle Ready app (for iPhone and Android) and use the convenient “Find Instruction” feature. The new app also contains tons of safety information for you to learn, so you’ll arrive at your first lesson armed with knowledge to impress your instructor…and the confidence to start learning your roll.
Rolling a kayak, theoretically, is very simple: you use the support of the paddle to allow you to flip your kayak upright and then let the body and head follow. So where do the problems arise? First, the roll is counter-intuitive. Since we are air-breathers, it’s only natural to want to bring our head up first to get some air. The reflex of coming up naturally leads to coming up headfirst. Telling someone to come out of the water backside first, followed by the torso, with the head being the last thing out, seems unnatural. Doing it correctly becomes even more difficult when we get anxious and feel as though we are running out of air.

Unless you are already phobic when going underwater, holding your breath for at least fifteen seconds is not difficult. In fifteen seconds, it is relatively easy to set up and try to execute two rolls and still have time for a third setup or a wet exit. Therefore, missing a roll should not be blamed on lack of air. The key mistakes that most beginners see when rolls fail are the following:

1. Head coming up first to get air. Your mantra should be “Head up last.”

2. Rushing to do the roll instead of taking the extra two seconds to properly position yourself in the setup position.

3. A death grip on the paddle usually leads to pulling down on the paddle rather than sweeping it out (if it is a sweeping type roll.) A tight grip leads to having your paddle too deep in the water if you are attempting a C to C roll. A tight grip often translates to a bent elbow, which shortens your reach. Keep your fingers loose on the lead hand so you can really stretch and get your working blade to the surface.

4. Overall body tension instead of being loose. When conditions get rough and you feel anxiety building up, try to let go of some of that energy by exaggerating certain movements. When you feel your trunk muscles tightening up, snap your hips from side to side fast to help ease tension.

5. Negative internal dialogue will hurt. To quote Richard Bach’s Illusions: “Argue for your limitations and they are yours.” If you get nervous and say: “I better not blow this roll” or “I know I’m not going to make this roll” or “I don’t want to miss this roll in front of my friends”, your success is questionable from the start.

6. Think positive. When you suddenly go over, take a normal breath before submerging, get into the setup position and them smile as you visualize yourself finishing the perfect roll. Do your roll in a relaxed manner for success.

There are other mistakes, but the major roadblocks that cause roll failures can be avoided with the right preparation and patience. Conditions can affect a normal roll: breaking waves, pinning against an obstacle, and very cold water (most common), but most times when we miss a roll, we are the cause.

The “Bomb Proof Roll” is a worthy pursuit but we all swim sooner or later. Keep your wet exit skills sharp when your mental game needs help. And PRACTICE!

The ACA’s Paddle Ready app is FREE on the App Store and Google Play. In addition to the unique “Find Instruction” feature, Paddle Ready will also inform your friends and family where you’ll be paddling, let you quickly check the conditions of your favorite routes, and so much more. Download it today!

Friday, November 7, 2014

We Want To Hear From You!

Have something to share? Whether it was the paddling trip of a lifetime, a stewardship event you helped out with, or just something you learned while out on the water, we want to hear about it!

Send your story to and your words could show up right here on the Water Blog. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stewardship Spotlight: Clean Jordan Lake

Editor's note: When this article was originally published in the Fall 2014 edition of Talking Trash, we neglected to mention that two ACA Paddle America Clubs were involved in the stewardship of Jordan Lake and its connecting rivers and streams. Carolina Kayak Club is a sponsor of Clean Jordan Lake’s efforts and was among the first of 14 groups to participate in Clean Jordan Lake’s Adopt-A-Shoreline Program, and Carolina Canoe Club routinely holds cleanups along the Haw River, which feeds into Jordan Lake. The ACA would like to recognize and thank these clubs for their tremendous stewardship efforts!

Article written by Francis DiGiano, President of Clean Jordan Lake

How We Removed 90 Tons of Trash & 3,400 Tires from Jordan Lake 

Our mission statement reads “Restore Jordan Lake to a healthy and vibrant aquatic resource by removing trash from the shoreline and preventing its recurrence.” As a small nonprofit, Clean Jordan Lake (CJL) has no paid staff and relies completely upon volunteers for cleanups and donations of cash, goods and services. As a bare minimum, we need about $2,000 annually to cover rental of a supply storage unit and minimum liability insurance. To raise funds, our website includes on Online Store page where we offer T-shirts, a Simple Pleasures of Seafood Recipe Booklet and an Eagles of Jordan Lake poster for sale as fund raisers. We also have annual donation appeals to 500 on our mailing list.

We have a two-pronged approach to trash removal. For the chronic recreational trash, there is an Adopt-A-Shoreline Program. For stormwater driven trash, we organize semi-annual cleanup events open to the general public and host community service days by corporations, religious groups, schools, universities and civic groups throughout the year.

Our Adopt-A-Shoreline Program is explained at our website and at
. It was initiated by a grant from the Biogen Idec Foundation that allowed us to design and produce an attractive adoption sign that is posted at each site to acknowledge the group. An online map shows the adoption location sites available. Since its creation two years ago, 14 groups have agreed to participate. Their responsibility is to clean the site three times per year for three years. In 2013, these groups accounted for 300 volunteers who removed 5 tons of trash and 200 tires. 

Adopt-A-Shoreline participants
In May 2014, we initiated an Adopt-A-Feeder Stream Program. The idea is prevent trash from reaching the lake’s shoreline by removing it closer to the source. The Town of Apex is financing adoption signs for our first two locations.

We have also reached out to the boating community for help. A BoatUS Foundation grant allowed us to produce a Trash Tips for Boaters sign that the Jordan Lake State Park and the Corps has installed at all of their public boat ramps. On each sign post is a box holding brochures that describe the work of CJL. We need to add brochures quite frequently, a hopeful indicator of interest in our cause.

The major thrust of our cleanups so far has been to address stormwater driven trash along the Haw River Arm of the lake near the dam. Of the 180 miles of shoreline, by far the most trash is along 25 miles of this section of the lake. The Haw River flushes trash off 1,400 of the 1,700 square miles of watershed. Some of this trash moves up-lake during extremely high river flows.

Of the 114 cleanups so far, 55 have dealt with stormwater driven trash. They account for 2,700 volunteers who have removed about 85 tons of trash (that’s roughly 8,500 large trash bags) and 3,200 tires. The largest event attracted over 200 volunteers.

Our semi-annual events are held in conjunction with NC Big Sweep across N.C. in October (CJL is Chatham County coordinator) and with the Haw River Assembly’s Clean-Up-A-Thon in March. These are announced to the 500 members in our, at all other CJL social media outlets and at three volunteer recruitment websites in the region. As an incentive to volunteer, we offer a Trash Treasure Hunt. Unique items of trash are tagged during our prior survey of shoreline. Volunteers finding them are given tickets to be redeemed for merchandise prizes at the end of the event.

In addition, the number of organizations looking for community service opportunities continues to grow. We have hosted eight since January 2014 and four more are planned through October so far. Many groups return each year, including GlaxoSmithKline and Biogen Idec in the Research Triangle Park.

Our success greatly depends on donated services. We are recognized as an official partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps provides two boats and operators for pre-event surveys of trash, ferrying volunteers and trash and other logistical support such as a meet up location at their headquarters. The NC Dept. of Transportation keeps us supplied with trash bags. NC Big Sweep is a statewide trash cleanup each Fall organized by groups in 100 counties. Clean Jordan Lake as the Chatham county coordinator obtains gloves and publicity from NC Big Sweep. Chatham County Solid Waste and Recycling delivers one or two dumpsters that each hold 300 trash bags for our major cleanups. Trash is disposed free of charge. Bridgestone America picks up and recycles tires after each major event. The Wildlife Resources Commission provides permits for our volunteers to enter the Game Lands. So far, these donated services along with the donated labor by volunteers exceed $350,000.

Our trash removal mission can easily be construed as Sisyphian in nature. Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration as punishment by Zeus for his deceit and craftiness. Zeus made Sisyphus roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, enchanting it to roll back down, forcing him to begin again.

For us not to be likened to Sisyphus, we need to prevent the recurrence of trash. That will require us to reach out to the eight counties in the 1,700 square-mile watershed. As a start, we recently produced a 5-min video with funding from the Walmart Foundation that describes why trash is a problem and how counties can help solve it. We will be asking county elected officials and staff for their cooperation in enforcement of anti-litter and illegal dumping laws and for expansion of recycling programs. As important, we will ask for development of public education programs about the connectivity between the local landscape and the downstream shoreline of the lake.

Five years into our mission, it is easy to get discouraged to see trash reappear after our volunteers have worked so hard. But, without our efforts, there would be 90 more tons on the shoreline!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

River Rock Outfitter Grand Opening

This Friday, November 7th, is the grand opening of River Rock Outfitter, the new outdoor equipment store in downtown Fredericksburg. If you're in the area, join us for the ribbon cutting on Friday night to get some special deals and start your holiday shopping a little early. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

This is How You Paddle Green

We love our members! The Hustons (pictured above) frequently paddle the Potomac River near their home in West Virginia and use their Paddle Green Bags to pick up any trash they encounter along the way. It takes a little extra effort to pick up that single-use plastic bottle floating on the water's surface, or the plastic bag washed up on the shore, but these small acts have a huge positive impact on waterways and wildlife. 

An estimated 6.14 million tons of debris enter marine environments each year. And 80% of this debris is land-based trash that enters oceans via freshwater rivers and streams. 

As paddlers, we can make a difference! Are you doing your part? Join the ACA Stream to Sea Initiative today and help stop marine debris at its source. Whenever you grab your paddle, make sure you grab a Paddle Green Bag, too. 

Thank you for being an ACA member! Together, we're making the world a better place to paddle.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Free Rapid Media Subscription for All ACA Members

Subscribe to all four!
When you join the ACA, or renew your membership, you receive a FREE print or digital subscription to one of the 4 quarterly magazines from Rapid Media. Can't decide on just one? You don't have to. ACA members receive additional print or digital Rapid Media subscriptions at a reduced price. 

You have 4 great magazines to choose from:
  • Canoeroots - the canoeing and family camping magazine
  • Adventure Kayak - the kayak touring and expedition magazine
  • Rapid - the magazine with a whitewater focus
  • Kayak Angler - all things fishing related
Take advantage of this exclusive offer from Rapid Media - a valued partner of the ACA and paddlesports.

For a full list of ACA Member Benefits, click here

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Collegiate Race Series National Championships

DATE: Nov 1-2, 2014
(Yep-we're having 2 National Championships this year!)
LOCATION: Fredericksburg, VA
VENUE: Rappahannock River & The Rock Quarry

Students from Warren Wilson College, Hollins University, Albion College, Sweetbriar College and the University of Alabama will meet on the Rappahannock River this weekend to compete in the annual ACA Collegiate Race Series National Championships. 

Over fifty students, faculty and coaches are expected to compete in individual and team events in canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.

Race headquarters will be located at Old Mill Park. Whitewater races will start at the Virginia Outdoor Center and paddle through the rapids to the Route 1 bridge. This section includes several major rapids: First Drop (class II+), Target Rock (class II) and Washing Machine (II).

The flatwater races will go from Old Mill Park to City Dock.

For more information, please visit: