Saturday, May 30, 2015

Happy Stewardship Saturday!

Today, we're highlighting the great work of Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR), a nonprofit conservation organization in Fredericksburg, VA. FOR was formed in 1985 by citizens concerned with the health of the Rappahannock River. Originally focused on the river where it flows through Fredericksburg, Virginia, FOR now works to conserve the entire watershed of the Rappahannock, from its headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains to its terminus where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

As one of the ACA's 2015 Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Grant recipients, FOR is using its grant funding to work with the City of Fredericksburg, the local Girl Scout Troop, and community volunteers to install a proper “soft launch” for paddle craft at the campground at the confluence of the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers. The confluence is owned and managed by the City and protected by a conservation easement; it is also among the most popular stopping points for overnight paddle trips on both the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers. The current area where paddlers put in and take out is nothing more than a mud slide. The new low-impact soft launch will eliminate erosion, provide a long lasting slide for paddlers, and expand public access to the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers. 

Please visit to learn more about Friends of the Rappahannock and what you can do to help support their conservation efforts.

Through funds provided by L.L. Bean, the ACA's Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program has provided nearly $130,000 to over 135 different stewardship initiatives since its inception thirteen years ago. 

Inspired to start your own local stewardship project? Apply for the CFS grant next year! Get more information here. Or just order yourself a Paddle Green Bag and take it with you the next time you hit the water. 

Stewardship Saturday is an ongoing theme of the ACA Water Blog where we we shine a spotlight on organizations and individuals who are working hard to make the world a better place to paddle. Want to be featured? Email ACA Communications Coordinator Catharine Lloyd at to tell her about the stewardship work you are doing in your local community.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Paddling Life

This article by Cindy Scherrer of Shellback Paddle Experience was originally published in the May 2015 issue of Paddle

Steve and Cindy Scherrer
Steve and I have been paddling enthusiasts for more than 30 years. Paddling has also become our pursuit of a “career” and creating more paddling enthusiasts is our mission. We were self-taught whitewater kayakers in the early days simply because we didn’t know anyone and there wasn’t much information available. We understood our limits and recognized the skills we needed to learn to advance and stay safe. Through chance encounters on local rivers and a popular paddling club, we met people and paddled as much as we could get away with. As the sport grew so did our circle of friends and our skills.

Steve is a natural born teacher/thinker. He’s got to figure it out and then test it on whoever is around, usually me. We opened a kayaking shop close to our home which was on the Sandy River. It turned out to be a perfect place to teach people a few skills. The evolutionary process was set in motion. Store sold equipment, store owner gave lessons and (surprise) store owner got to spend time on the river guiding trips. 

Our business was growing at a healthy pace as was kayaking. We decided to pursue a more systematic approach to our instruction program. Steve had the opportunity to get certified as an American Canoe Association whitewater kayak instructor in 1992. This was the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the ACA and getting the opportunity to work with many gifted trainers and educators. It was just what we needed to create a sustainable culture promoting paddlesports education.

Over the next 23 years Steve continued the journey through the ACA Instructor certification process to earn upper level certifications in various disciplines. They include: Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Trainer, Advanced WW Kayak (L/5) Instructor Trainer Educator, Advanced Open Water Kayak (L/5) Instructor Trainer Educator, Stand Up Paddleboard (L/2) Instructor Trainer Educator.

After we sold the store I became certified as an Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor. We had the opportunity to travel and teach in different areas of the country working for Confluence Watersports. This was a great opportunity to cross pollinate by experiencing regional differences in paddling which contributed to our ability to stay current with trends and styles. We taught at kayak symposiums, worked demo events, and consulted for boat design and equipment development. It was great to be able to continue working with our many friends we had made over the years in the industry.

When Steve tried SUP he was immediately hooked by the freedom to move around and the challenge of it. It took me longer to be swayed. I thought a sea kayak was a much more efficient and worthy vessel. Once he was certified as an instructor and I once again the guinea pig, using his guileful charm and superior teaching methods he won me over, hook, line and sinker! So much so that I also became an ACA L2 SUP Instructor Trainer.

Last year we decided it was time for a change and we left our positions with Confluence and decided to keep spreading the ACA instructional message. Through Shellback Paddle Experience we plan to travel around the country specializing in ACA SUP teaching and training. We’ll see old friends and meet new ones, still chasing that paddling lifestyle career!

Visit and click on their Calendar to see where Steve and Cindy are teaching near you!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Timelapse Video of Whitewater Park Cleanup

On the weekend of May 16th and 17th, a total of 83 volunteers turned out to clean up the Wausau Whitewater Park in Wausau, Wisconsin. The event was sponsored by the ACA affiliate Wausau Kayak/Canoe Corp, who offered a free recreational release for volunteers who helped clean the course. 

Check out the time-lapse video of the event below. 

While the volunteers at the Wausau Whitewater Park were able to make a 2 hour cleanup look like 20 seconds, there are still a lot of rivers out there that need some tender love and care! Gather a crew and your Paddle Green Bag, tackle some trash on your favorite waterway, and tell us about it by sending your #stewardship stories to our Stewardship Coordinator at!

For more information on how to paddle green, visit:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ACA Member Paddling 1000+ Miles to Raise Awareness for Ocean Health

By Zane Havens, ACA Stewardship Coordinator

When we heard that a member of the ACA was proposing an outrigger canoe journey of over 1000 miles, we were intrigued. Long distance paddling can be both exhilarating and stressful; with exposure to the elements, long periods of exhausting activity, and extreme psychological strain all working against the paddler, it is certainly no simple feat. However, when Margo Pellegrino, wife and mother of two, told us she was attempting this paddle in order to bring attention to the environmental issues currently affecting our waters, we really paid attention.

And this is exactly what Margo Pellegrino wants. This journey is just the first part of her Big Apple 2 the Big Easy project, an expedition by outrigger from New York, NY to New Orleans, LA along inland waterways. During this project, Margo will be traveling with her documentarian, who will record their experiences and their encounters with those who are directly impacted by river and ocean health during their voyage, bringing a voice to watersheds around the country.

Margo was kind enough to answer some of our questions about her project and provide insight into what she hopes to accomplish with her effort. 

ACA: The goal of Paddle4Blue is to bring attention to the environmental issues that impact our world’s watersheds. In our country alone, there is a surfeit of different threats to our waterways; which of these issues are you going to focus on for your Big Apple 2 The Big Easy journey?

MP: I’ll be focusing on run-off issues (like last year’s toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie), the issue of plastics and other contaminants in our waterways, and the need to protect our waterways with the creation of new Clean Water Rules and by individuals taking responsibility and action.

ACA: As you make your way across the country, do you plan on stopping in cities and towns along the way to speak and educate people about your message? Are there any places in particular that you are excited about stopping in? Is there a place where you are announcing your “tour schedule”?

MP: I’ll be announcing my tour schedule online via my website, and on social media. Our folks in Blue Frontier’s DC office (as well as the logistics manager traveling with me and partnering organizations such as Earth Justice and local organizations) will also do media outreach. I’m excited about the whole journey, but I’m especially excited about being in new waterways and seeing the mighty Hudson up close and personal beyond NYC. Plus, the big city aspect is thrilling—Chicago and especially Detroit. Talk about water issues—Detroit is loaded with them!

ACA: This isn’t the first time that you have paddled a long distance for an environmental cause. What is the hardest part of the journey? What makes it all worthwhile?

MP: What makes it worthwhile is when even one person comes up to me and says, “Wow, I never really thought about that before.” Also, when I get to meet folks who have been “in the trenches” working on their local issues for years; I LOVE being able to share their stories with others. Their stories become part of my presentations later on. The hardest part without a doubt is leaving my family.

ACA: You are doing all of this on a very limited budget. How do you house and feed yourself during the journey?

MP: I’ve been doing some fundraising to cover expenses, but I’m not fancy, so the budget is minimal (a good thing, as I’m a lousy fundraiser). Of course, this journey would not be possible without the help of volunteers willing to host me and my logistics manager. It’s also a great way to share stories and information; it really is the best way for us to understand what makes an area so special, and my hosts become part of the stories I share with others. We are even happy to just camp in a yard, never mind have a bed! 

ACA: If you could choose one overarching goal of your journey, what would it be? What would you like to accomplish? 

MP: Ha! I don’t have simple goals—I want the whole kit and caboodle! I would love for folks to see the value in their waterways and why we need to keep them clean. Part of the value is that our waterways and ocean are amazing playgrounds, no matter your fitness level or what you paddle. I think that when people value a resource, they are more naturally inclined to protect it. Part of the problem (and why I’m doing what I’m doing) is that folks don’t know how degraded our waterways are; they don’t even recognize that the problems are out there to begin with! Once they understand, they really do start to care. Who doesn’t want clean water to drink and paddle/play in?

If you are interested in helping Margo Pellegrino by hosting her during this incredible journey, or if you'd like to see where she is paddling now, please reach out to her by visiting 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

You've Never Seen Canoeing Like This Before

The ACA is excited to announce that Fredericksburg and the Rappahannock River will be the site of the 2015 ACA Canoe Poling National Championships. The competition will have slalom and wildwater events in classes from beginner to advanced. Competitors will travel from as far away as Maine, New York, Missouri and Texas to attend the event.

The Virginia Outdoor Center, located on Fall Hill Road, is the primary event sponsor.

The races will be held Saturday June 6th with practice and free skills clinics occurring on Friday afternoon, June 5th.

Canoe poling, which was recognized as a competitive sport by the ACA in 1965, has a long and colorful history. Early man used saplings to propel dugouts up and down streams long before the paddle was invented, and voyageurs used wooden poles to help them navigate wilderness rivers before there were any roads. This paddlesport discipline combines both the history of the sport with highly skilled competitors.

This year, the Canoe Poling Nationals are part of the inaugural Rock the River FXBG event. This all-day, stewardship-focused festival features environmental educational programs from local conservation organizations, on-water paddling instruction, river clean-ups, a running race, ultimate Frisbee, and a riverfront beer and blues festival.

The ACA National Office, located in downtown Fredericksburg, is proud to bring this unique event back to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day - Office Closed

The ACA National Office will be closed today in observance of Memorial Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 26th at 9am EST.

If you're getting out on the water this long weekend, have fun and be safe

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Stewardship Saturday

Welcome to the long weekend! This Stewardship Saturday, we're highlighting the great work of the Colorado River Alliance. As one of the ACA's 2015 Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Grant recipients, Colorado River Alliance is planning to use its grant money to form a new volunteer group to assist with their annual cleanup that draws an average of 800 volunteers each year. 

The Lake Travis Cleanup is the largest and oldest water-based cleanup in Texas. This 20 year-old event has removed over 105 tons of trash from 10 shoreline and 10 underwater sites in Lake Travis, which is part of the Texas Colorado River. For the 21st Annual Lake Travis Cleanup, the Colorado River Alliance will enhance the effectiveness of its environmental and social impact by engaging the paddling community in the Austin area to form a new volunteer group: The Lake Travis Cleanup Paddling Pioneers. 

With the support of event Partners, this volunteer group will muster approximately 100 canoes and kayaks (with 1-2 persons per vessel) to remove litter from the shoreline and shallow water areas within ten parks. 

Through funds provided by L.L. Bean, the ACA's Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program has provided nearly $130,000 to over 135 different stewardship initiatives since its inception thirteen years ago. 

Inspired to start your own local stewardship project? Apply for the CFS grant next year! Get more information here. Or just order yourself a Paddle Green Bag and take it with you the next time you hit the water. 

Stewardship Saturday is an ongoing theme of the ACA Water Blog where we we shine a spotlight on organizations and individuals who are working hard to make the world a better place to paddle. Want to be featured? Email ACA Communications Coordinator Catharine Lloyd at and tell her all about the stewardship work you are doing in your local community.

Friday, May 22, 2015

TRUSTing Your Paddling Crew

Blog post by Kelsey Bracewell, our very own ACA Safety Education & Instruction Coordinator. Kelsey is an ACA Level 4: Whitewater Kayaking instructor who has spent many years paddling and teaching on the rivers of the southeast.

'Ladies on the Lower Gauley' event in Summersville, WV.
Paddling clubs/groups are a great way to get connected to other local paddling enthusiasts, to enhance skills and experience by way of other paddlers or instructors, to form deeper connections with the waterways nearby, and to build friendships that can transcend into other areas of life.

Just like other communities that form around outdoor living and sports, paddling groups are an experience all their own; traditions, habits, superstitions, frequenting favorite local spots, and secret club handshakes become common practice of those “in the know.” It is quite a special honor to be accepted into a close knit group of paddlers, and it can be an immense learning and growth experience once dialed in to the knowledge and skills that are exchanged in active paddling groups.

Especially for paddlers who recreate in high intensity venues such as the ocean surf zone, open coastal environments, whitewater rivers, and remote wilderness locations, building and maintaining trust between paddling group members is crucial. In the case of an emergency or extreme situation, the trust and skills of each group member often are put to the test.

Kelsey paddling on the Potomac River, VA with other ACA Instructors Mike Aronoff, Davia Wilson, & Stefan Greene.
Here is a brief T-R-U-S-T acronym representation of things to remember when choosing your TRUSTed paddling crew:

Time: How long have you known and interacted with the members of this group of paddlers? Before entering into a high intensity trip, it is important to have a solid foundation built between group members – and quality relationships take time to establish. Make sure that you are comfortable with each person in the group and have an understanding of how they perform under stress.

Respect: Nothing has more potential to ruin a trip than interpersonal conflict. Even if particular group members have disagreements or “don’t like one another,” it is important to have a mutual shared respect for the talents and contributions of each member of the trip team.

Understanding: The members of ‘inner circle’ clubs often spend enough time together that they begin to understand the way each other think, and the motivations that lead to certain actions. For example, in the case of paddling a challenging whitewater rapid, tight-knit paddling crews have an understanding of each team members’ comfort levels, general paddling style, and have some degree of insight into the types of decisions and routes that other members are likely to take. In the case where communication is difficult but effective performance is required, it is important to have an understanding of the inclinations and preferences of each group member.

Kelsey enjoys leading the ACA Office Staff on paddles down our local Rappahannock River. 
Skills: Before embarking on a challenging or high-risk paddling trip, it is essential to vet the skills and experience of each participating member of the crew. An inexperienced group member may hold the group back from fully enjoying the complexities of the chosen paddling environment, but may also be in need of rescue or assistance that can create an emergency situation. For the chosen venue, be sure that all group members are personally prepared to successfully navigate the conditions.

Turns: Just as in any other life situation, sometimes changes must be made. Often times, to achieve a desirable goal, a 180 degree turn must be initiated. If a particular group member is causing excessive disruptions, if an upcoming trip does not look or feel well organized and safe, or any of the above trust components are not present, it might be time to reevaluate your participation in this crew and/or this particular trip. Confrontation or making hard choices is a very challenging aspect of group membership, but it may make the difference between a successful trip and a misadventure.

Mistakes happen, and near-misses create learning opportunities – the key is to learn from those mistakes and continue to incorporate the lessons learned into your paddling endeavors moving forward. If possible, learn from the mistakes of others in your paddling crew; TRUST each other and continue to build each other up in terms of knowledge, skills, experience, and fun paddling memories.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Looking for Paddlesports Instruction?

Our free Paddle Ready app lets you easily search for ACA instructors in your area! Whether you want to give stand up paddleboarding a try, learn how to roll your kayak, or learn some swiftwater rescue techniques, Paddle Ready will set you up with an ACA instructor who can help you reach your goals. 

The app also lets you create float plans and send them to friends, get river levels and weather forecasting, access a library of paddling videos, and so much more.

Download Paddle Ready for FREE on your iPhone or Android today!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This is Why I #WearIt

Guest post by ACA Instructor and Arizona State Director Danielle Keil. Danielle is a Level 3: River Kayaking Instructor, Level 2: Essentials of River Canoe Instructor, and a swiftwater tech for state search and rescue. Her favorite place to paddle is the Upper Salt River in Arizona.

I grew up on the river… I swear paddling is in my DNA. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved putting on my lifejacket, because it meant that an adventure was soon to follow. Cheers to Dad for a good job teaching me the importance of wearing one (having brightly colored marine animals on it didn’t hurt, either). When I got serious about whitewater, I was in that awkward in-between phase where the youth lifejackets were too small, and the adult sizes were too big. Back then I didn’t have many options, so I spent a whole year paddling in a bulky generic type III. Fast forward almost 20 years later, and my lifejacket is one of my favorite gear items.

Since I never had any aversion to wearing my lifejacket, I find it hard to understand why people stubbornly refuse to wear them. With the technology advancements in the last few years alone, lifejackets are more comfortable than ever and come in a variety of designs and options for you to find the perfect one. 

The first thing I tell my students is to shop around and try on as many different types as you can find. Just because sponsored paddler Joe wears lifejacket X, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. While an inflatable belt type may work for SUP, it has no place on the river. Like to fish? There’s plenty of fishing lifejackets on the market tailored for you! Don’t be overwhelmed with all the bells and whistles. Just because it has the fancy outlet to charge your jetpack, doesn’t mean you need it. 

Danielle and her pup Max both Wear It!
After a few years and several lifejackets, I found the perfect one, which for me is my Astral Greenjacket. I wear it for everything; SUP, Touring, Whitewater, even Sailing! Here is why I #WearIt. My lifejacket keeps me afloat should I swim (intentional or not…), keeps me warm when it’s cold or windy, protects me from rocks and the occasional bow of my friend’s kayak, works perfectly as a pillow for overnight excursions/nap time, and has turned in to a carryall for my essentials. At any given time, I’ve the following in my lifejacket:

· Watch
· Whistle
· Chapstick and Sunscreen
· Snacks
· CPR Mask and Gloves
· Prusik cord/ Webbing
· Two locking carabiners
· River Knife
· Z-Drag Chart

· Rubber ducky/inflatable beach ball (I'm a big hit with my friends' kids)
· Small ACA Paddle Green Bag

So, why do you #WearIt?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Boating Advisory Council Meeting May 18-19

ACA Chief Operating Officer Chris Stec, along with Russell Farrow of Sweetwater Kayaks and members of the ACA Florida Executive Council, are currently attending the Florida Boating Advisory Council meeting in Crystal River, FL.

The ACA is routinely asked to speak on paddlesport-related public policy issues at both the state and federal level. In this case, the FL Fish and Wildlife Commission asked us to attend the BAC meeting to talk about a range of paddlesport topics. This BAC meeting is focused on human powered recreation. 

Some of the topics Chris Stec plans to address during the meeting include:
  • Nationwide Paddlesport Participation Statistics
  • Paddlesport Fatality Data
  • Pros and Cons from other states in regards to boat/board registration
  • The ‘knowledge based’ and ‘on-water based’ Standard Development Programs
  • The leash/lifejacket debate associated with Stand Up Paddleboards
Russell Farrow, from Sweetwater Kayaks out of St. Petersburg, will be assisting Chris with the on-water portion of the program on Monday afternoon along with other individuals. The presentations, working groups, and public comment portion will take place throughout the day on Tuesday. 

Russell Farrow (Sweetwater Kayaks) & Chris Stec (ACA).
For more information, please visit:

Main FL BAC Website -  
BAC Meeting Agenda & Minutes -

Monday, May 18, 2015

Camp Cup Challenge 2015

The Camp Cup is a the world's largest youth paddling festival, with more than 150 young paddlers coming together from summer camps from all over Western North Carolina.

The ACA is proud to sponsor this event at the Nantahala Outdoor Center July 13 & 14, 2015. Hope to see you there!

For more information please click here

Safe Boating Week Twitter Party - You're Invited!

Join us on Tuesday, May 19 at 3pm EDT for a #SafeBoatWeek Twitter Party. 

Follow @BoatingCampaign and @americancanoe, and be ready to answer questions to win great prizes! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Happy Stewardship Saturday

It's that time of the week again! Stewardship Saturday is when we shine a spotlight on organizations and individuals working hard to protect our waterways and make the world a better place to paddle. 

Currently, we are focusing on each of our 2015 Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Grant recipients. These organizations are doing great work across the country, and we hope they inspire you to take action in your own communities to improve your local waterways.

Through funds provided by L.L. Bean, the ACA's Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program has provided nearly $130,000 to over 135 different stewardship initiatives since its inception thirteen years ago. 

Today, please join us in recognizing Eaton Rapids Adventure Club, part of the Eaton Rapids Public Schools System of Michigan. The schools provide high school completion opportunities to disenfranchised youth within the community.

Eaton Rapids Adventure Club plans to use its CFS grant funds to organize a clean-up of the Grand River. The participants will complete two basic ACA quick start courses before safely and effectively removing debris from the Grand River waterway using kayaks and canoes. 

Inspired to start your own local stewardship project? Apply for the CFS grant next year! Get more information here. Or just order yourself a Paddle Green Bag and take it with you the next time you hit the water. 

Paddle on, paddle green!

Ready, Set, #WearIt!

Today marks the beginning of National Safe Boating Week (May 16-22), and the launching of the 2015 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, Wear It!

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in 78 percent of recreational boating fatalities in 2014, and 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

The good news is that today’s life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight, and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. Life jackets that use inflatable technologies are cool and comfortable. They may resemble a pair of suspenders or a belt pack. Many inflate automatically when immersed in water. 

Whether you are canoeing, kayaking, rafting, or SUPing, please remember that your life jacket only works if you wear it. It's not enough to just take it with you. Accidents happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. 

The ACA will be sharing advice on safe paddling all week long for #SafeBoatWeek, so be sure to check in with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates. 

For more paddling safety tips and advice, please take a look at the following free resources: 
Have questions about safe boating? Email us, or tweet your questions to us @americancanoe! We love hearing from you. Paddle on!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Paddlesport Fatality Statistics Released

The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics Wednesday, revealing that boating fatalities last year totaled 610 - an increase from 2013 but still the second lowest number of boating fatalities on record.

One hundred and thirty-five(135) of those fatalities were in canoes(75), kayaks(58) and SUPs(2). This is an increase from the 114 reported in 2013.

"We thank our partners for their work in boating safety, particularly for the Wear It! and other key outreach initiatives promoting life jacket use, boating education efforts, and Operation Dry Water activities. Together, we focus on the important role of life jacket use, navigational knowledge and safe, sober boating to prevent accidents," said Capt. Jon Burton, director of inspections and compliance at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters.

To view the full report, please visit

For more information on paddlesports education, instruction, and safety, please visit

We're Wearing Our PFDs at Work Today

It's National Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day, and the ACA team is all about it! 

Join in and show us how easy it is to #WearIt, even while at work! 

The annual Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day is hosted by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) and serves as a kick-off event to National Safe Boating Week, May 16-22. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Tomorrow

Tomorrow, join professionals from various industries and backgrounds for the 6th annual Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day! This is a great way to heighten awareness of different life jacket types that are available, including inflatable life jackets, and demonstrate their comfort and versatility by wearing them to work.

The annual event, hosted by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) serves as a fun, educational element just prior to National Safe Boating Week, May 16-22, the official launch of the 2015 North American Safe Boating Campaign. 

The ACA team at the National Office will be sporting their PFDs all day, and we'll be posting photos to prove it (so stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter for updates!)

Please share your photos using the hashtag #WearIt. 

ACA Staffer T.J. Turner and his dog Rambo know how to #WearIt.

Remembering Legend of Paddling Chick Dermond

The ACA family has lost a friend, competitor, historian, and Legend of Paddling. Russell "Chick" Dermond passed on Friday May 8th, 2015 from heart complications.

Chick was raised in an ACA family. At one point in time he, his father, his mother, and his wife, were all 50-year members of the ACA. His early years were spent as a flatwater racer and began in the wooden "peanut," which was the predecessor of modern kayaks and C boats. A many-time national champion, Chick competed in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics and then attended again as Team Manager in 1972. After ending his career as an Olympic competitor, he turned to committee work. Chick served in a number of governing positions including the U.S. Olympic Committee, the ACA, Sugar Island, and Lake Sebago.

Many of you are aware of his dedication to the ACA and his exceptional knowledge of its history. The Board of Directors and Staff always loved hearing his quick, fun loving humor and were constantly amazed at his extensive knowledge of all paddlesports as well as the ACA’s 136 year existence.

The ACA was an important part of Chick’s life and he liked for people to know about the organization. Two years ago Chick was bothered by the fact that the ACA had a new national headquarters in Fredericksburg, Virginia without any real signage out front. Chick, without prompting, quietly handmade and delivered a beautiful 17’ wood sign in the shape of a canoe which weighs hundreds of pounds. The sign, like his presence is graceful, warm, and long lasting which reminds everyone to take good care of the organization. Although he will be missed, he will always be remembered. 

A Memorial Service followed by lunch at the Church Hall will be held in his memory on Friday, May 22 at 11AM at the Emory United Methodist Church on 106 East Main Street in Hancock, NY.

The family requests, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the ACA’s Sugar Island in Chick's memory:

You can also mail a check:
Sugar Island - Chick Dermond Memorial Fund
c/o ACA
503 Sophia St. Suite 100
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

If anyone needs more information please call the ACA National Office (540-907-4460).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

14th Annual Ohio River Paddlefest

Join thousands of boaters and outdoor recreation enthusiasts and celebrate, promote, and protect the beauty of the Ohio River at the 14th Annual Ohio River Paddlefest Weekend, June 18-20, 2015. The ACA is thrilled to be a sponsor of this event, and we hope to see you there!

Visit our event page for more information & click here to register online today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rock the River!

This is going to be a great event in the ACA's home town of Fredericksburg, VA, benefiting our local Rappahannock River. Watch the video above and visit for more info. 
We hope to see you on June 6th!  

Monday, May 11, 2015

National Safe Boating Week is May 16-22

This stand-up paddler wears an inflatable beltpack PFD.
Who says safety can't be comfortable? 

National Safe Boating Week is the launch of the 2015 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, Wear It! 

The ACA participates in the Wear It! Campaign year after year, and we encourage you to join us in 2015 by sharing your #WearIt photos and spreading the message of #SafeBoatWeek on social media! 

ACA staffer Kelsey Bracewell sporting her PFD during last year's "Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day."

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2013, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. 

New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather. 

Throughout the campaign, Wear It! will remind boaters of the importance of boating safely, including consistent life jacket wear, boating sober, knowing navigational rules and having a proper lookout. 

Stay tuned for more details and follow #SafeBoatWeek to join the conversation about safety + fun on the water. 

ACA staffer T.J. Turner and his pup in PFDs + shades,  a winning combo.

May 15 - Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day 

May 16 - "Ready, Set, Wear It" Life Jacket World Record Day

Follow the ACA on: