Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Update from IBWSS

This week, we are excited to be attending the 19th annual International Boating and Water Safety Summit (IBWSS) in Sandestin, Florida. The conference kicked off Monday morning with a Color Guard ceremony followed by a U.S. Coast Guard update. Captain Jon Burton and Captain Tom Boross presented on the National Recreational Boating Safety Program, discussing the national casualty and numbered boat statistics, the reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust fund, and other updates. 

Captain Tom Boross giving his opening remarks for IBWSS 2015.
The day marched on with general sessions and a remarkable presentation from keynote speakers Greg Spooner and Jordan Hanssen of OAR Northwest. Greg and Jordan told the story of an on-water adventure that took them from West Africa, across the Atlantic, through the Bermuda Triangle to Miami, including a detailed account of how they survived a disaster scenario thanks to teamwork, perseverance, and meticulous preparation. 

Jordan and Greg of OAR Northwest telling tales of adventure, disaster, & survival.
This morning, Chris Stec will be presenting on the latest in the world of stand up paddleboards, specifically regarding leash and life jacket wear. Many stand up paddlers are unsure when and where to use these important pieces of equipment--educate yourself so you know how to paddle safe! Then, right after lunch, we'll be heading to Baytowne Beach for some kayaking and SUP instruction followed by a paddling competition at 4pm. 

Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the rest of #IBWSS15 !

Monday, March 30, 2015

ACA Stewardship Initiatives Update

ACA and Outdoors Alliance for Kids signed a letter thanking Senators Mark Kirk and Jack Reed and Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick and John Sarbanes for their leadership involving the No Child Left Inside Act. This bill will encourage the integration of outdoor learning into regular school curriculum, provide grants to school districts, and support teacher training.

Click here to read our letter and check out the other ways that ACA staff, Paddle America Clubs, and volunteers across the country are working on behalf of all paddlers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Paddle Around NYC!

Each summer since 2004, Steve Blumling and Jerry Blackstone have organized a paddle around Manhattan Island: An Annual Manhattan Circumnavigation. In recent years Margrethe Horlyck-Romanovsky and Phil Giller have joined this team. The trip has grown from 17 paddlers in 2004 to 101 paddlers in 2014!

The Circumnavigation is open to all who qualify; club membership is not required; out-of-towners are welcomed. Kayakers can socialize, exercise, take pictures and explore during this 30 mile excursion.

Just in case you need some extra convincing, here are 6 great reasons to race around New York City by kayak!

Careful planning means that the current helps rather than opposes the paddlers. Safety of a large group is enhanced via general marine radio use; a safety boat escort and Coast Guard notification.

Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club joins with other New York area paddling clubs to carry on this annual tradition. YPRC will be the lead sponsor and Sebago Canoe Club (SCC), Inwood Canoe Club (ICC) and the New York City Water Trail Association (NYCWTA) will co-sponsor. The ACA will provide liability insurance.

Join us on August 22, and be sure to also plan for a rain date, August 23.

Please register here:

Got questions or comments? Email manhattancircumnavigation@gmail.com

Thursday, March 26, 2015

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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Did You Survive a Dangerous Paddling Situation? We Want to Hear About it!

As part of an upcoming grant project, the ACA is currently looking for paddlers who are willing to talk about their narrow-escapes out on the water. If you have survived a scary experience while paddling, this is your opportunity to transform that experience into something that could help others. Your stories will be used in an animated memoir-style video to educate viewers about safe paddling practices. 

Please email a summary of your story to Catharine Lloyd, ACA Communications Coordinator, at clloyd@americancanoe.org. 

**The deadline for submissions is this Friday, March 27.**

Thank you, and paddle safe!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bring the Olympic Spirit to Your City!

Attention all ACA-affiliated clubs and organizations! Host an Olympic Day celebration this June to connect the Olympic Movement with your organization. Olympic Day, held annually on June 23, is celebrated by millions of people in more than 160 countries. Commemorating the birth of the modern Olympic Games, Olympic Day on June 23, 1894, Olympic Day’s mission is to promote fitness, well-being, culture and education, while promoting the Olympic values – excellence, friendship and respect – and the three Olympic Day pillars – move, learn and discover – in every corner of the globe.

For more information, check out www.teamusa.org/OlympicDay.

Olympic Day can be associated with a pre-existing event or distinguished as a standalone celebration. Registration is simple and free – to sign up, visit https://olympicday.fusesport.com/registration/205/March/ or click the button below. 

Each event host will receive a complimentary Olympic Day flag and Team USA stickers along with the opportunity to host an Olympian or Paralympian at their celebration.

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Swiftwater Rescue Conference

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

The 2015 ACA Swiftwater Rescue Conference will focus on a series of on-water safety and rescue educational sessions taught by the best of the best in swiftwater rescue instruction. In addition, there will be a range of social functions, including BBQ and mountain music on Saturday night. For those simply looking for an Instructor Update, you can accomplish that too, but there will be so much more available in the realm of on-water rescue!

More info on our website. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring has Sprung

Today is the official start of Spring, and here at the ACA we couldn't be more excited to kick off the 2015 paddling season! Whether you're new to SUP, or you've got some experience under your beltpack PFD, we think you'll enjoy these 10 Tips on How to be a Good Beginner from Katie of the Distressed Mullet. Because aren't we all just perpetual beginners, when you really think about it?

We especially like #4 on Katie's list. Safety and instruction are crucial if you want to have fun on the water. A great way to find ACA certified instructors near you is to download our free app, Paddle Ready and use the "Find Instruction" feature. Give it a try and let us know what you think! 

Thanks for all the advice, Katie. Truer words were never spoken: "It pays to take some lessons so you paddle correctly. Paddling the right way means less work. Less work equals more fun...[and] the entire point of paddling is to have fun."

Paddle on.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

ACA Stewardship Initiatives Update

The ACA joined 47 other members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids to thank President Obama for his “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which waves entrance fees to public lands for fourth graders and their families during the 2015-2016 school year.

Click here to read our letter and check out the other ways that ACA staff, Paddle America Clubs, and volunteers across the country are working on behalf of all paddlers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

International Paddling Film Festival in Richmond, VA

On Saturday, March 21st, the ACA will be hosting the 10th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival at the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, VA!

2908 West Cary Street 
Richmond, VA 23221  

Doors: 1:30 pm

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online here or at the door. 

All proceeds will go to the ACA's Stream to Sea Initiative, our flagship stewardship program that promotes and organizes inland waterway cleanups as a method of combating marine debris pollution. 

With 23 inspiring paddling films short-listed for the World Tour, including the ten festival category winners, audiences can expect to see stand-up paddle surfing, hairy whitewater action, sea kayakers exploring remote coastlines, headwaters canoe expeditions, international river travel films, motivating environmental documentaries, grueling kayak fishing battles and hilarious short films capturing the lighter side of paddling life. 

We hope to see you there!

Not in Virginia? The 2015 World Tour is travelling to more than 100 cities and hosted by paddling shops, clubs, schools and theatres. Click here for the full tour schedule. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Congratulations to March Kokatat Instructor of the Month, C.C. Williams!

"I started paddling when I was a student at Frostburg State University (FSU) and the Adventuresports Institute (ASI) at Garrett College in western Maryland. I was fortunate to begin my paddling career in an area with a rich river culture and tons of great whitewater. I also had two professors and ACA instructors that mentored me along the way, Dr. Robert Kauffman (FSU) and Terry Peterson (ASI). I became an ACA instructor because I enjoy kayaking and love the personal connections made between the put-in and the take-out. I continue to renew and broaden my ACA instructor certifications because they help me to provide the best possible learning experience for my students to develop new skills and overcome challenges." -C.C. Williams

Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized as the next Instructor of the Month? Submit a nomination here

Read more about C.C. Williams' on-water adventures in the latest issue of Paddle, the ACA's new e-magazine. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Put a Sail on it

Want to try something new this spring? Check out all the canoe sailing events coming up! 

Click here to read the latest issue of Canoe Sailor to see some photos of the sport, a full schedule of events, and more!

Friday, March 13, 2015

In Case You Missed It...

Have you seen our new e-magazine yet? Paddle is your go-to source for news and views in the world of paddlesports. Issue #1 was just released. Check it out today: www.americancanoe.org/Paddle 

Have feedback on the first issue? We're all ears! Email Catharine Lloyd, ACA Communications Coordinator, at clloyd@americancanoe.org with any comments, suggestions, story ideas, or photos. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Remembering Jon Clark

The ACA would like to send their sincerest condolences and thoughts to the family and community who loved and supported ACA Level 4: Whitewater Kayaking Instructor, Jon Clark. Jon was an incredible contributor to the paddling world, and his thoughtfulness, energetic personality, and generosity will always be remembered and cherished.

A private service is planned, but a celebration of Jon's life will be held at The Nantahala outdoor Center in Bryson City in the spring. Memorials may be made to the Jon Clark Memorial Scholarship Fund so that less privileged children have an opportunity to experience and explore the life Jon so loved. Donations may be sent in care of Leigh Boike, Nantahala Outdoor Center, 13077 Hwy.19 West, Bryson City, NC 28713. ph. (828) 488-7210.

Check Out These Kayaking Camps For Kids!

Each year, Chincoteague Bay Field Station (CBFS) holds summer camps for beginner and intermediate kayakers, ages 13-18, on Wallops Island, VA. In addition to gaining experience in kayaking, campers learn about the diverse barrier island ecosystems in addition to local history!

CBFS was one of the ACA's Club-Fostered Stewardship Grant recipients last year. The non-profit organization specializes in marine science and outdoor education.

Beginner's Kayaking Camp (ages 13-18)

July 12-17
See the shore from a new perspective! Paddle through areas only accessible by kayak and visit our salt marshes, secluded beaches, and more during this week-long adventure. We will cover proper paddling instruction and nautical skills, so this course is perfect for beginners!

Tuition: $715 (includes instruction, meals, lodging & materials)

Intermediate Kayaking Camp (ages 13-18) 
July 19-24
Embark on a week of kayaking that will put you up close and personal with the diverse ecology that the Atlantic coastal shore has to offer, including flora and fauna of the salt marshes, brackish bays, cypress swamps, and secluded beaches. This camp is for the more advanced kayaker. If you have been kayaking before and are comfortable spending the day in a kayak then this camp is perfect for you!

Tuition: $715 (includes instruction, meals, lodging, & materials)

Click here for more information about these great experiential learning camps for kids.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dear Winter, Bye!

Here at the ACA National Office, spring fever is hitting hard. Check out the ACA Event Calendar and start planning your paddling adventures for the upcoming paddling season. 

Here's one date you'll definitely want to save:
The 2015 Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver National Championships will take place July 22-26, 2015 on the Penobscot River in Old Town, ME.
Click here to get more details on this competition.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ACA Stewardship Initiatives Update

The proposed no-wake zone on the Catawba River has been a subject of contention between paddlers and power boaters in North Carolina. ACA has commented on the issue, urging the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to establish the no-wake zone, allowing North Carolina boaters to safely access public waters. 

Click here to read our letter and check out the other ways that ACA staff, Paddle America Clubs, and volunteers across the country are working on behalf of all paddlers.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Motivation

Emily Jackson is a 2x World Champion Freestyle Kayaker, 7x Teva Mountain Game winner, mother, wife, and team manager for her family's company Jackson Kayak. 
In this TED Talk, she shares her secrets to becoming a champion and developing an Uncompromising voice in the world.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Paddler Feedback Wanted

The US Coast Guard has asked for input from sea kayakers regarding the possible removal of sound buoys from the Great Lakes.

A sound buoy has either a bell or gong to alert watercraft to its location, acting as an aid to navigation. According to the US Coast Guard, these buoys are no longer used by watercraft and they would like to save money by removing them and eliminating their maintenance cost. Almost all watercraft on the Great Lakes now use electronic means of navigation rendering the sound buoys obsolete.

In favor of removal: The Coast Guard is a huge supporter of paddlesports and sea kayakers. If we aren't using the sound buoys then practically no one is and we should support the Coast Guard in trying to save money.

Against Removal: If sea kayakers are using these buoys to aid in navigation we need to let the Coast Guard know. Kayakers should not rely on electronic devices for navigation. The type of electronic devices we carry need to be recharged which is not always convenient in bad weather conditions. Rain, fog and wind can prevent us from using our electronic devices. Even cloudy days can effect our ability to recharge our devices. None of these conditions affect sound buoys from allowing us to know where we are.

The Coast Guard is giving us an opportunity to make our voices heard and we encourage all paddlers to do just that. Feedback is being accepted until March 30th, 2015.

Responses can be sent directly to Doug Sharp William.d.sharp@uscg.mil

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Discount Alert for ACA Instructors

North Water Paddle Sports Equipment has been designing specialized safety products for recreational paddlers and rescue professionals for more than 30 years. Don't miss out on their great offer for ACA Instructors! Receive a 40% discount on all regular North Water products and 30% on all custom products.

Visit www.northwater.com today to take advantage of this ACA Instructor discount.

Not an instructor? Check out these ACA member discounts!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ready, Set, Paddle!

We're excited to be sponsoring the 48th Annual Missouri Whitewater Championships! This event is hosted by the Missouri Whitewater Association, an ACA Paddle America Club. All canoe and kayak races will take place on the St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO on March 21-22, 2015. 

If you want to race, please visit www.missouriwhitewater.org to register. This event consists of slalom, downriver, and boatercross races for all ages, kayaks, canoes, and skill levels on class II-III whitewater. Spectators welcome! Viewing and parking are free! We hope to see you there. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Want to Help Clean Up Our Rivers?

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 are in a unique position to 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. 

Click here to learn more about the ACA Stream to Sea Initiative, and become part of the solution. 

Paddle sustainably, paddle often!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Best Wishes, Hillary!

Our amazing Membership Coordinator, Hillary Chesson, has accepted a new job opportunity that will allow her to spend even more time out in the field. We are so excited for Hillary and her new adventure, but we are going to miss her around here!

Please join us in wishing Hillary well and thanking her for all her hard work at the ACA--today is her last day. 

Go get 'em, buddy!