Monday, February 28, 2011

The River Connection

The River Connection
Location: Hyde Park, NY
Contact: Marshall Seddon: 845-229-0595

The River Connection connects a broad range of experience and specialized training with their instructional team: American Canoe Association certified kayak instructors; naturalists; geologists and artists. Each member of their team provides a unique and perceptive view to the beauty and function of the waters that surround the Hudson Valley, NY region and abroad.

The River Connection is proud to specialize in putting people, all people, on the water with some of the most highly trained water sport instructors in the Hudson Valley Region. The River Connection conducts the only American Canoe Association certified Whitewater Program and Adaptive Kayaking program for people with disabilities in the region.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

ACA members - choose your magazine

Make the most of this ACA member benefit...

Choose your magazine subscription from Rapid Media...

Choose here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

ACA hosts Texas Meeting

Join the ACA on March 19-20 in Austin, Texas for a meeting and training event.

Red River Division (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma)

Friday, February 25, 2011

From the Cockpit - A view from a new Instructor

Newly certified ACA Level 4: Whitewater Kayak Instructor Dan Shea shares his thoughts about teaching:

"Getting back to the basics of paddling by instructing beginning kayak students has been an incredible experience for me. The job has its obvious perks: Who wouldn’t want to be able to paddle every day? The majority of the students happen to be people who are on vacation, relaxed, open to suggestion and looking to have fun. However, instructing has proven to be more than just an excuse to kayak all the time. Upon starting the job I already knew I loved paddling and being on the water. After a summer of instruction I discovered the pleasure of introducing people to the sport. As an instructor I see people whose initial interest and curiosity surpasses that which I possessed when I began paddling. This enthusiasm is motivating to say the least, and has made the job extremely rewarding."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Green River Adventures

Green River Adventures - Saluda, NC

A grass roots business, owned and run by paddlers
10% discount on merchandise
Show current ACA Membership Card at store

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bahamas Sea Kayaking

Exclusive 'Members Only' Backcountry Paddling Opportunities

That's right, if you're an ACA member, you can join the ACA staff on this incredible excursion in 2011.

In cooperation with the host organization, you will be able to paddle with representatives from the ACA National Office, creating a better connection with those working daily on your behalf. In addition, a percentage of each registration fee goes directly to support the on-going efforts of the ACA on behalf on all paddlers to fulfill our mission of Education, Stewardship, Recreation & Competition.

Sea Kayaking in the Bahamas

Paddle the beautiful Southern Exuma Cays, the most beautiful place on earth, on our kayak adventure! Seven mile paddle days between secluded beaches await adventurists and relaxers alike. Snorkeling, shelling, fishing, and bird watching are just some of the daily activities that await you on the adventure you'll remember forever.

This excursion is a guided island to island sea kayaking adventure in the Exuma Cays. First and last nights' lodging, dinner the night before and all meals and beverages while camping are included, as well as boats, camping and snorkeling gear, round trip airport transfers and internal transportation, and services of O.I.E staff.

Dates: June 11-18, 2011

Cost: $1,395.00 per person

Registration: Contact Out Island Explorers ( / 256-365-5686)

Monday, February 21, 2011


CKAPCO - Canoe Kayak and Paddle Company
Location: Vienna, VA

ACA Instructor and Trainer certifications in Kayak or Canoe as well as skill development classes for beginners through advanced paddlers. CKAPCO also offers ACA and BCU Skill and safety Assessments, as well as full and half day trips just for fun! Top end boats and gear provided. CKAPCO is proud to be the first ACA Pro School! DC and Baltimore Metro locations.

Find Instruction

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Choose Your Rapid Media Magazine

ACA Members - if you haven't already, make sure you choose which magazine you would like to receive as your ACA Member Benefit from Rapid Media.

Choose (or change) your subscription here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Choose to make a difference

Werner Paddles Healthy Waters Initiative:

  • Touring
  • Whitewater
  • Outrigger
  • Stand Up
  • Canoe & Raft

    Register your Werner Paddle online and Werner will make a donation to the ACA's Stewardship program in your name.
Learn more...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Restop - ACA Member Discount


The leader in personal sanitation for outdoor enthusiasts
15% discount for online orders
Contact the ACA National Office for discount code

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Midwest Collegiate Canoe & Kayak Race!

News Release

In conjunction with St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, the ACA announces the 2011 Midwest Canoe & Kayak Collegiate Championships.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Western Canoeing

One of Slickrock Expeditions favorite western canoe trips, this is a 100-mile excursion down the fast-flowing Wallowa-Grande Ronde River as it winds through the remote Blue Mountains of Oregon and Washington. Western Whitewater describes the Grande Ronde as “one of the most scenic river trips in the Pacific Northwest.” And Oregon River Tours says, “There are few river trips in Oregon that can surpass the Grande Ronde as a wilderness experience.” The Wallowa-Grande Ronde flows north out of Oregon’s Elkhorn and Wallowa Mountains ("the Oregon Alps"), in the northeastern corner of the state, enters Washington, then curves east and joins the Snake River, at Heller’s Bar, on the Idaho border. The Grande Ronde’s water is clear and fast, with a whitewater rating of Class II-II+. While paddling and camping through beautiful western canyons up to 3000’ deep, we’ll see the landscape various dramatically from lush green forests to treeless rimrock. On past trips we have seen deer, elk, bear, bighorn sheep, moose, coyotes, river otters, and eagles.

We’ll canoe the river for 5 days, coming out at Heller’s Bar, then settle in for a comfortable night and breakfast at the Reflections Inn B&B, along the Clearwater River, in Idaho. As a “paddling extra,” on the last day we’ll canoe a beautiful Class II stretch of the South Fork of the Clearwater, then drive to Boise along the scenic Salmon and Payette Rivers. Trip starts and ends in Boise. Cost includes transportation from Boise, boats and all paddling gear, all camping equipment, food, shuttling, and the final night and breakfast at the Reflections Inn. Sign up and bring your clothing; everything else will be ready to go when you arrive!
Dates: July 3-10, 2011

Cost: $1,675.00 per person

Registration: Contact Slickrock Expeditions ( / 828-293-3999)

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine's Day Gift

Give your sweetheart a gift that might save their life...

Wear It! while boating on any body of water.

Oh yeah, flowers and chocolate too...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Paddlesport Courses

Looking to learn how to kayak? What about refreshing those canoeing skills? Considering taking a paddlesports safety & rescue course?

Contact any ACA Pro School about upcoming course offerings this spring and summer.
  • Canoe Kayak & Paddle Company
  • Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Potomac Paddlesports
  • The River Connection
  • University of MN - Duluth
And, if you're an ACA might even get a discount!

Learn more about ACA Pro Schools

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Florida Canoe Instruction

2011 Florida Freestyle Symposium March 18th -21st in Yulee Florida

FreeStyle Canoeing is the "art and science" of precision paddling. FreeStyle Canoeing emphasizes smooth, efficient technique and precision boat control. FreeStyle techniques can be applied to all canoeing situations, from touring to whitewater. Freestyle instruction has been referred to as "Obedience Lessons For Your Canoe".

The Florida Freestyle Symposium is first and foremost about teaching. We will be offering classes from beginner level to advanced. If you are new to canoeing and still fighting to go straight or you're an expert looking to for that special edge, we've got classes for you. In addition to offering the complete ACA Freestyle curriculum ( Levels 1 through 5), we will be offering afternoon enrichment classes in the following topics.

• Heeling and Kneeling (how to confidently heel and pitch your boat to the rail)
• Classic Form (A review of classic FS technique)
• Touring Technique (Commonly known as hit and switch)
• Forward Stroke including the inside circle and X inside circle (advanced forward technique)
• Canadian Style paddling (just how it sounds)
• Creekin Freestyle (use of FS technique for navigating streams)
• Make Every Stroke Count (To be practiced on a buoy course)
• High Kneel Thrust (technique to enhance pitch and heel)
• Paddleography (How to develop an Interpretive FS routine)

Instruction will be by some of the best paddlers and instructors in the country. All are ACA certified. Classes are small with no more than 5 students per instructor.
On Saturday evening there will be a Giant Slalom Competition where freestyle maneuvers will be used to navigate a slalom course. On Sunday evening there will be an Interpretive Freestyle Exhibition, where freestyle technique and maneuvers will be combined with music in a manner similar to long program figure skating.

Low cost bunkhouse style accommodations as well as camping are available on site. A catered meal package is also available. Motels and restaurants for those that prefer, are a short distance away.

Combined with evening social activities and pre/post event trips being organized by some of the participants, the Florida Freestyle Symposium is excellent way to jump start the canoeing season.

For more information, go to, or contact Marc Ornstein by email at dogpaddle @

Monday, February 7, 2011

Collegiate Canoe Racing

Information about the ACA's Collegiate Race Series is now online.

There are two upcoming races this spring:

  • The Southeast Collegiate Canoe & Kayak Championships
  • The Virginia Collegiate Canoe & Kayak Championships

Friday, February 4, 2011

San Juan Islands Excursion

Almost 3,000 miles away from home, I tossed my luggage on top of Outdoor Adventure Center’s shuttle van at Seattle’s SEATAC airport and opened the side door to get in. A smiling but somewhat bewildered face greeted me from inside the van, paused, and said “Hey, I know you!”. From that point, I knew this was going to be a fun trip.

That smiling face belonged to Martha Muckleroy whom I had met for the briefest moment two years prior while giving her an impromptu shuttle on North Carolina’s Tuckaseegee River. My ‘river karma’ was being repaid through this fantastic opportunity to be a part of ACA’s first sponsored “members-only” paddling excursion; this one to the San Juan Islands of Washington state’s northern coast. Martha was accompanied from Texas by Camille Bunting. Anne Kaiser, Colin Mullen and Dara Fee had flown in from New York. Howard and Maya Higgins joined us from New Mexico and Kurtis and Rose Schultz form Washington rounded out the guests for our upcoming adventure.

Blair and Kathy Corson of Outdoor Adventure Center in Redmond, Washington ( met everyone at their airport connections the first day of the trip and whisked us all to the waiting ferry from Anacortes, Washington to our first evening’s camp at Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island.

The second day dawned over our camp providing an amazing view of the islands that would continue to enthrall us the remainder of the journey. As a group, we selected our kayaks for the week: a mix of single and triple fiberglass and Kevlar® Northwest Kayaks. Blair and Kathy handed out gear bags and other other essentials for the trip in between preparing and serving breakfast and lunch for the day as we all packed into our boats and prepared for the journey ahead. Departing the island right on time to catch the favorable tide (which Blair calculated for us every day of the trip) we set off for Clark Island State Park. As we passed Obstruction Island and turned north toward the Peapod Rocks we got a taste of the San Juan’s swift currents and current rips where we had the first of several encounters with small pods of Dall’s porpoise. The choppy water gave the whole group a little thrill for the day. It was nice to be with a group of experienced paddlers: a benefit of being on the ACA excursion.

After 14 miles, we arrived at Clark Island along a wide gravel beach that was typical of the landings we’d have throughout the trip. Our campsites were relatively private and strung along the beach, just inside of the high-tide mark in the shelter of low brushy cover. We unloaded the boats, pitched tents and quickly set about relaxing for the evening with camp chairs and a fire on the beach. Sunset painted an incredible picture of snow-capped northern Cascade mountains in the distance across the strait. Bald Eagles, a common site in the San Juans gave us a show with their aerobatics and deft fishing skills.

We launched on day three across one of our most exposed crossings. All of the boats handled the slightly windy conditions admirably and the experienced group had little problem in the conditions. Weaving in and out among islands, we had numerous occasions to stop and watch harbor seals sunning themselves on small rock outcrops. With 10 miles behind us, we arrived at Sucia Island State Park with the current at our backs and coasted into Fossil Bay. The flooding tide allowed us to inch our boats closer and closer to shore over the next hour and finally, with only yards remaining, we unloaded our gear and set camp along a narrow peninsula that gave us stunning views across the large strait from which we had just arrived as well as the coming sunset over Little Sucia Island to the west. Sucia was going to be our home for the next day and a half so we all felt a welcomed calm fall over us. No camp to break, no boats to load, nowhere to go...unless we wanted to.

Following a great breakfast the following morning, everyone chose their own path for the day. A few hiked the island's narrow, rocky trails through old-growth northwest forest; stunning in its damp greenness. Others decided to hop back in boats and circumnavigate the steep, rocky shoreline of the island with multiple cuts, channels and off-lying islets. The boaters were treated to an intertidal zone filled with colorful starfish, giant bull kelp, chitons, and limpets. Pigeon guiillemots flew from rocky roosts along the cliffs, flashing their stark black and white plumage and bright red feet. A few enjoyed the greatest luxury: A day to sit in the grass and read a good book undisturbed for a few hours. The day off' was greatly appreciated by all of the travelers.

That evening, Blair initiated a shellfishing excursion, walking the group to Sucia’s East Sound harbor. We were quickly able to collect a sampling of Pacific oysters from the rocks and headed back to Fossil Bay to try our hands at some clam digging. After some wallowing in the mud and quite a few laughs later, we decided oysters on the half-shell could be the night’s seafood delight.

On Thursday we embarked on another crossing around the northwest side of Orcas Island, through President Channel and to the peaceful harbor of Jones Island State Park. This 13-mile paddle was fairly slow-paced and we all took advantage of the opportunity to maneuver around and socialize. The group recognized by this point that we were in prime Orca sighting territory at this point and we kept vigil for the much anticipated sighting. Blair and Kathy, the consummate guides, were in contact with the whale-watching services by cell phone getting updates on the location of the pods of whales that circle the San Juans. We knew we were getting close but weren’t yet sure when/if we’d spot the whales.

The campsites on Jones Islands were right on the beach. Unlike sites before though, they were also about 25 feet straight up a relatively steep bank from the gravel shore. With the gear and food of a dozen people to move, we knew we needed more efficiency than before and formed a “bucket brigade” with everyone forming a line up the bank and we had the gear transferred in a snap. Once settled, we hiked across the island park to its south shore for an ampitheater-like panoramic view of the sound. Settling on the warm grassy bank everyone lulled between a nap-state and a lookout for pods of Orcas in the sound before us. Strong currents along the shore 50 feet below us provided a regular parade of harbor seals and river otters cruising along enjoying the same sights and a seafood smorgasbord provided by these rich cold waters.

Friday Harbor was originally slated as the destination for the final leg of our journey. As we made a leisurely float through the channel separating San Juan and Spieden Islands, Blair checked in a last time with his buddies with the whale watching boats and discovered that a detour for the day might result in us crossing paths with the Orcas at last. Rather than turning south and down the eastern side of San Juan toward Friday Harbor, the group opted to take a longer paddle of about 16 miles for the day and go around the western side of San Juan Island and into the Haro Strait, within a mile of the Canadian border. Almost as soon as we entered the strait, Blair heard the first “blow”. We all froze and listened intently. Within seconds we all began to hear the intermittent sounds of Orcas blowing in the distance and finally began to see the tell-tale high black dorsal of a male Orca and soon shorter finned females across the strait, about 3 miles distant, in Canadian waters. No one moved. Everyone watched...seemingly as one appreciating the majesty of these creatures and the realization that we’d now experienced what we’d all been quietly hoping for. The whales kept their distance and we swept slowly southward with the current. Passing the Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse later in the afternoon, we finally came ashore in Deadman Bay. Unloading and packing into the waiting Outdoor Adventure Center van, we started driving back to Friday Harbor for the night. Not a hundred yards down the road, Dan Velasco, who had come to pick us up, glanced back and said “Look!”. A pod of Orcas swam up the coast right through the path we had just paddled, a hundred yards off the coast. A young whale in the pod made several breaches, flinging itself well clear of the water, giving us one last thrill for the trip.

After a welcome night in a soft motel bed in Friday Harbor, we all boarded the ferry the next morning, bound for the return to Anacortes. As the ACA representative on the trip, I polled the group on the ferry about what ACA could do to make membership more valuable. We all laughed at the initial answer of: “More Trips!”. Laughter aside, I am taking some other serious suggestions back to ACA about what could make the organization more beneficial in the long run and on the ground with clubs who represent the heart and soul of ACA. Many of us on the trip were instructors and we all had some great discussions and ideas that we’ll work on.

Apr├ęs Paddle

We were a group of guinea pigs. The 2010 San Juans Excursion was a first: A test case of whether ACA sponsored adventure travel would work. I think we all agreed that this model became a shining proof-of-concept. We were an extremely satisfied group of travelers. I asked Blair and Kathy (repeatedly...I had to be sure) whether this seemed like a sustainable model for them and their business. They assured me it was. For these adventures, ACA arrives at agreements with excellent outfitters (OAC is an ACA Pro School) to conduct the trip. ACA promotes the trip and in exchange, receives a donation of part of the proceeds. The travelers, all ACA members, receive the benefit of having these opportunities available. At least for our group, we found this an extremely rewarding opportunity to see the sights and meet fantastic people.

One last plug for Outdoor Adventure Center. In addition to taking the chance of being the first (of hopefully many) ACA Excursion, they pulled this trip off par excellence. Their knowledge of the area and planning for the trip was great. I didn’t discuss the individual meals that Blair and Kathy prepared for us day by day, but consider a sampling: Thai peanut sauce with spinach. Bread with rasberry balsamic vinegar, Tortilla soup and quesadillas, smoked salmon fettuccine (Blair’s dad’s smoked salmon: purportedly the world’s finest!), breakfast omelets, fresh fruit, shrimp cocktails. I have to stop...I’m hungry again. We rarely paused for a break on the water when Kathy wouldn’t be reaching into her day hatch and tossing granola bars to everyone for paddling fuel. Bottom line is we were well pampered during this trip.

If you’re an ACA member looking for a good opportunity to travel and paddle, we think you should really consider one of these ACA-sponsored excursions. They are a good bargain in the competitive market. They stand to put you in a group of dedicated and probably experienced paddlers. They help to give back to ACA...something we should all consider.

See you on the Water.

For the group,
Larry Ausley, ACA Secretary and Board of Directors

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Paddle America Clubs

Reminder to ACA Paddle America Clubs:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Swiftwater Rescue Awards

Photo courtesy of Landmark Learning
Photo courtesy of Landmark Learning
Do you know an ACA Instructor or Instructor Trainer who has saved a life on the river?

If so, consider nominating them for one of the prestigious Higgins & Langley Memorial Awards in Swiftwater Rescue.
The deadline is this Monday, February 7th.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Money for Paddling Clubs

It does grow there...

In conjunction with LLBean, the ACA is glad to be able to provide grants up to $1,000 (that's right $1,000!) to paddling clubs and organizations.
The application is only 2 pages - get yours in soon...