Monday, November 30, 2015

Support Paddlesports While You Shop this #CyberMonday

Did you know that you can support the ACA when you use the ACA's Amazon Smile link?  

Here's how it works:

1) Visit our AmazonSmile link:

2) Shop like you normally would on Amazon.

3) Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the ACA. Simple as that!

(You might want to consider bookmarking the link so you can support the ACA whenever you buy things on Amazon. It's an easy way to support your favorite paddlesports nonprofit, at no extra cost to you.) 

Thanks for your support! Paddle on. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

The ACA office will be closed until Monday, November 30th. We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones! 

Check out this safe paddling playlist
before you head out on the water. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Paddle Often, Paddle Green!

The problem:
Approximately 6.14 million tons of debris enter marine environments each year. 

The source:
80% of this marine debris is land-based trash that enters oceans via freshwater rivers and streams. 

As paddlers, we are in a unique position to make a BIG difference for the waterways we love! Are you doing your part? 

Join the ACA Stream to Sea Initiative today and help stop marine debris at its source. Every time you grab your paddle, make sure to grab a Paddle Green Bag, too! 

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

Don't Miss Out!

Have you read the November issue of PaddleThis issue has info on adaptive paddling grants, updates from our State Directors, upcoming events, and more.

Paddle is the ACA's new eMagazine, and it's published every other month.

Have feedback? We would love to hear it! Please send comments, questions, or story ideas for future issues, to ACA Communications Coordinator Catharine Lloyd at

Looking for previous issues, or prefer to download the eMagazine as a PDF? Visit

Friday, November 20, 2015

Nominate the next ACA Instructor of the Month!

The ACA is proud to partner with Kokatat for the Instructor of the Month recognition program. Winners receive a free Kokatat life jacket as well as recognition in the ACA's eMagazine, Paddle

Submit your nomination today

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Surf & Sun & Fun at the Hobuck Hoedown Paddle Surf Festival 2015

By Hamp All and Barbara Dekeyser

Sunshine, blue skies, a bit of offshore breeze and clean, consistent 3–4’ swell with the occasional 6’ green wall out in the lineup! For both competitors and spectators alike, the weekend of 3–4 October provided the 2015 Hobuck Hoedown Paddle Surf Festival with near perfect conditions on the beach, in the water and around the campfire.

This year, the newly reconstituted festival was organized and run by an all volunteer group of dedicated Northwest Coast paddle surfers. The event brought together competitors from Washington, Oregon, California and Canada in a truly North American Pacific Coast event and is now non profit (all profits are donated to Makah Nation youth programs). The festival still features the highly competitive paddle surfing that consistently makes the contest an exciting event for everyone in attendance.

New this year was the inclusion of a highly competitive stand–up paddle board division (SUP) and an overall “Battle – King of the wave” event open to any competitor and any craft.

Also a first was the Skookum division, encouraging newer paddle surfers to compete in an open, relaxed and encouraging event at a reduce price.

The Skookum division provided enthusiastic competition in challenging conditions first thing Saturday morning. As a result, Skookum was easily as exciting as the more established competitive classes like High Performance Kayak (HP), International Class (IC), Whitewater (WW), Waveski and Sea Kayak (SK). Skookum saw outstanding surfing leading to first through third place medals for James Manke, Hunter Vincent (at 12 years old, the youngest competitor in the festival) and Dave Crocker.

The Sea Kayak, SUP, WW and Waveski divisions all provided incredibly competitive and beautiful to watch surfing in every class, with stand-out performances on the wave by Chris Bensch, Costain Léonard and Travis Young (SK), Glen Pearson and Jason Bennett (Men’s SUP), Ayu Othman (Women’s SUP), Jeremy Beninger, David Brigg and Jeffery Steelher (WW) and Travis Boothe, Ken DeBondt and David Brigg (Waveski), resulting in medals for each of them.

The perennially competitive IC and HP classes were as entertaining and inspiring to watch as always, with extremely aggressive and fluid paddle surfing by all competitors in challenging beach–break conditions. This year Paul Guinea expertly surfed his way to wins in both HP and HP Masters against an extremely fierce field including medalists Zack Boyd, Hamp All and Dan Ward while in women’s HP Ayu Othman surfed with style in an extremely tight win over new competitor Jen Bailey. In the equally combative IC Division, Chris Bensch surfed beautifully to pull off a win despite strong competition from Zack Boyd and Jeffery Steehler.

In the “King of the wave” event, long time North West Coast surf paddler Hamp All held off exceptionally determined surfing by Zack Boyd and Chris Bensch in smaller Sunday conditions to win the first medal in this new division and the Kayak Scramble distance race around the offshore rocks was dominated by Jamie Klein with a determined effort by Costain Léonard achieving a strong second place finish.

Two final awards were given during the weekend. The first, the memorial Ellen DeBondt award, is designed to recognize the spirit of aloha of Joyce resident, surf paddler, local outdoor athlete and friend Ellen DeBondt (tragically killed in 2011 by a DUI driver). The Ellen Debondt award was presented by unanimous vote of the event committee to Jen Bailey in recognition of Jen’s spirit of aloha, her contributions to the local surfing community and her welcoming approach to surfing.The second award, a one–time “Best Dressed” prize donated by local paddler and previous Hoedown organizer Bill Walker, was given to David Briggs in recognition of his exotic and patriotic attire.

The Saturday night catered dinner was a blast as usual, with many laughs, stories and fun. Exceptional fresh seafood and veggies were provided by Linda’s Woodfired Kitchen in Neah Bay, local lore and tribal stories were provided by Makah Elder June Williams and a fun raffle enabled by sponsors’ donated prizes helped raise funds for Makah Youth Programs.

On Sunday afternoon, after a sunny and warm awards ceremony, the tired and sun–baked crew of surf paddlers headed out from beautiful Neah Bay back toward their daily lives, knowing that they had helped raise $1000 for Makah Youth Programs while making new friendships, and with memories of amazing surf paddling, maybe a few sore muscles, and large smiles.

The 2016 Hobuck Hoedown is currently planned for 1–2 October 2016. Check after January 1st 2016 for news.

Many, many thanks to the Hobuck Hoedown paddle surf festival committee and all volunteers for their passion and dedication in supporting this festival as well as to sponsors; including the American Canoe Association (ACA), Adventures through Kayaking (Port Angeles, WA), Alder Creek (OR), Fluid Moves Surf Kayak Training, Kayak Academy (Issaquah, WA), Kokatat Watersports Wear, Olympic Outdoor Center (Port Gamble, WA), Olympic Raft and Kayak (Port Angeles, WA), P&H Sea Kayaks, Snapdragon Design and Sound Bikes and Kayaks (Port Angeles, WA).

Full festival results are available at

Monday, November 16, 2015

New Safety Video Emphasizes the Right Life Jacket Fit for Kids!

The importance of wearing a properly fitting life jacket when in, on and around the water is paramount, especially when it comes to our most precious cargo –our children. During this past summer, boating and life jacket experts from around the nation came together with “one voice” about the importance of properly fitting life jackets on children, by creating a simple but comprehensive video on fitting life jackets to children. Losing a child to drowning is simply unfathomable, but the pain is real for many. 

“Like everyone, children can be unpredictable around water - particularly if they are suddenly immersed, says Bernice McArdle, Executive Director of the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA). “That’s why it is imperative to purchase the right product for children and ensure that they have it on and understand how it will work in the water before heading out.” 

Knowing how a life jacket should fit is not as easy as one might think. How tight should the jacket be? Does it matter how long the jacket is? Where should the crotch strap be placed, and why does it matter? Do you know if it’s fitting right in the water? This short video demonstrates the proper fit and the reasoning behind it, as well as how to make adjustments so the child is completely comfortable in the water, in a fun, engaging way. 

“This video is also an excellent primer for all who put life jackets on children ,” says MariAnn McKenzie, Marine Board’s Boating Education Coordinator and Project Lead for the video . “It’s important that everyone that participates in boating and water activities knows how to fit a life jacket properly on children. This video will educate on what to look for and how to make sure the life jacket fits just right so no one has to worry once they’re out on the water having fun.” 

It’s the hope from boating and water safety experts that this educational video is shared by anyone who is involved in teaching children including; life guards, camp leaders, swimming program instructors, marine patrol officers, boating safety educators, boat rental facilities, and other educators.

Life jackets are the best investment for you and for children’s safety. According to the video, “Remember life jackets got your back, but only if you wear it.”

The Oregon State Marine Board encourages parents and educators to share this important video on their social media channels and websites:

About the PFDMA:
The PFDMA is an industry association dedicated to increasing life jacket wear in all appropriate activities: through education, product innovation, standards development, and enhancing communication between members and stakeholders.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Black Friday is Approaching...

Whether you plan to avoid the stores this Black Friday and go outside instead, or you want to get some shopping done and then go outside, just remember that you can support the ACA when you use the ACA's Amazon Smile link.

Here's how it works:

1) Visit our AmazonSmile link:

2) Shop like you normally would on the site.

3) Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the ACA. Simple as that.

(You might want to consider bookmarking the link so you can support the ACA whenever you buy things on Amazon. It's an easy way to support your favorite paddlesports nonprofit, at no extra cost to you.) 

Thanks for your support! Paddle on. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

Thank you to all the men and women who serve. We salute you. 

The ACA Office will be closed today, and will reopen Thursday, November 12, at 9am ET.

Monday, November 9, 2015

November Issue of Paddle Just Released

Check out the November issue of PaddleThe ACA's eMagazine keeps you informed about the latest happenings in the paddlesports community.

Looking for previous issues, or prefer to download the eMagazine as a PDF? Visit

Friday, November 6, 2015

New Adaptive Grants!

The ACA Adaptive Paddling Program and the USACK Paracanoe Program are working together to create more opportunities in the adaptive paddling world!

As part of our partnership, the ACA and USACK have recently received two grants targeted specifically for individuals with disabilities (including one grant that has an elite level Paracanoe competition focus) with total grant funding of $272,593.85.

We are currently looking for local paddling clubs across the country who are interested in either starting or expanding their adaptive programs and learning how to organize a seasonal or year-round adaptive program for their community.

We are excited for the opportunities that these two grants present for paddlers of all abilities, but also for the possibility of finding a few individuals who might be interested to compete on a national and/or international level.

If you are interested in learning more about these grant projects, please contact Joe Moore

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015 ACA State Director Conference

The second annual ACA State Director Conference is coming up this weekend in sunny San Diego, CA! ACA staff and volunteers will gather for a weekend full of paddling, networking, knowledge-building workshops, and collaboration. 

As a national non-profit organization, we are always looking for new ways to bridge the gap between the grassroots efforts of paddlers in each state and the national scope of the organization. Last year, we initiated the ACA State Director Program with three main goals in mind:
  • Facilitate communication between paddlers and the ACA National Office
  • Foster community responsibility in protecting and preserving paddling environments
  • Assist others with acquiring the necessary skills to safely enjoy local waterways
  • Promote paddlesport competition at the local and state level
To learn more about the ACA State Director program, and find out how you can get involved, please click here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

So America's Best Conservation Program Expired. Now What?

By Tania Lown-Hecht, Communications and Public Engagement Manager for Outdoor Alliance.

A month ago, Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund expire. The LWCF is one of the best tools we have to protect access to recreation and create new parks and open spaces across the country, and as we said when it expired, we will continue working to ensure the Fund is eventually reauthorized. What’s been going on since September 30?

  • LWCF is getting a lot of attention in Washington. Many public lands champions in Congress are working hard to get the Fund renewed. Last week, President Obama even dedicated his weekly address to discussing LWCF and advocating for its reauthorization. LWCF has fans, and they are vocal!

  • Champions of LWCF are looking for creative ways to get it passed in an especially stagnant Congress.
    - In the Senate, one option is to attach LWCF to a bill that is likely to pass before the end of the year. One of those bills, intended to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), has the votes it needs to pass through Congress. Some members of Congress, including one of LWCF’s best champions, Senator Burr (R-NC), are lobbying for LWCF to be included with the bill.
    - In the House, there will be a hearing in mid-November for an “overhaul” of the LWCF, hastily being assembled by Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT). Based on Rep. Bishop’s past statements about LWCF, supporters of the law have every reason to be incredibly wary about this effort. Rep. Bishop has been, by many accounts, the principal obstacle to LWCF reauthorization, and supporters of the program should encourage their congressional representatives to support this incredibly effective program’s reauthorization without drastic changes.
  • What’s the most likely outcome for renewing the Fund? Although it would be great if Congress decided to introduce the bill and pass it today, we’re hopeful that LWCF will be passed with an “omnibus bill” late in the year. An omnibus bill is a collection of measures (often on different issues) that is accepted with one vote. For better or worse, omnibus bills limit the amount of debate that can happen on a single bill.

What can you do? The best thing to do is keeping making noise—dedicate a Facebook post or a tweet to #LWCF, or write your Congressperson and ask them to get the Fund renewed. Use our tool here to compose a letter to your legislators.