Thursday, October 31, 2013

Don't Let Your Day of Paddling Become a Hair Raising Experience!

It's Your Turn DVD

Have you ever had a perfect day on the water spoiled by a close call and some unprintable words exchanged with another boater?  If the answer is yes, then It's Your Turn can improve your paddling enjoyment by showing you how to safely navigate our increasingly crowded waterways. 

The DVD footage clearly shows the need for courteous navigation and the challenges faced by powered vessels in avoiding hard-to-see paddlecraft.  This DVD is a useful tool for both paddlecraft and powered vessels for staying out of one another's way.  Also included is a CD containing "Rules of the Road." 

Buy your copy of It's Your Turn from the ACA's eStore and avoid another horrifying experience.

ACA members, don't forget to login to your account to receive your member discount.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paddle Smart, Paddle Often

Are you up to speed on safe paddling practices? Check your knowledge with these top 5 safety tips:

1. Take an on-water course
2. Wear your lifejacket
3. Practice cold water safety
4. Know the rules of the road.
5. Do a safety check.

Find more important safety tips on our website, and don't forget to look out for the ACA boating safety mobile app, due to be released this spring! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October Kokatat Instructor of the Month

The ACA is proud to announce the October Kokatat Instructor of the Month, Vernon Graham from Boiling Springs, PA! 

Vernon began his paddling journey with a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters in 1971, and seriously began paddling whitewater canoes and kayaks in the early 1990s. Vernon has instructed visually impaired children at a local summer camp and he recently began teaching a crash course in whitewater kayaking at Boiling Springs High School Outdoor Club.

Learn more about Vernon...

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kudos to Landmark Learning!

ACA Instructors, Justin and Mairi Padgett, have just been recognized in the Sylva Herald, a local newspaper in Jackson County, North Carolina. 

The couple founded Landmark Learning in the mid 1990s. Based out of Cane Creek in Jackson County, NC, Landmark Learning offers outdoor education and certification courses in wilderness first-aid, EMT, swiftwater rescue, First Responder, and more. 

The courses--many of which are taught by ACA certified instructors--attract outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe.

The ACA would like to congratulate Justin and Mairi on their continued success, and thank them for their immense contributions to outdoor education!

P.S. Landmark Learning played a key role in the ACA's Swiftwater Rescue Conference that took place this past weekend. Check out our facebook page for photos from the event! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Swiftwater Rescue Conference

The ACA is excited to host the inaugural Swiftwater Rescue Conference on the Tuckaseegee River in Jackson County, North Carolina from October 25-27, 2013. 

The SWR conference will feature a series of on-land and on-water safety and rescue educational sessions taught by legendary instructors Les Bechdel, Charlie Walbridge, Mike Mather, Jim Coffey, Slim Ray, and many others! 

Paddlers will be traveling from West Virginia, Idaho, and various other regions throughout the U.S. and Canada to attend the conference. Local ACA-certified Instructor Trainer Educators Sam Fowlkes and Robin Pope will serve as Co-Chairs of the event. 

Learn more...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

ACA Logo Fleece Vests--a Perfect Fit For In-Between Weather!

Navy blue vest with ACA logo embroidered in white

It's that time of year when the air starts getting chilly, but the sun can still make you feel a little warm. It's too cool for just a shirt, but too warm for a jacket. In other words, it's the perfect weather for a fleece vest! 

The navy blue ACA Logo Fleece Vest has 2 generously sized zip-closure pockets and the ACA logo embroidered on the front.  

Order your ACA Logo Fleece Vest from the ACA eStore today. Members, don't forget to log in to your account to receive your membership discount.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

VA Collegiate Race

This past Saturday, Hollins University and Sweet Briar College participated in the VA Collegiate Race. The two teams raced K1, OC1, and OC2 down the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, VA.

It was an excellent event with everyone looking out for one another on the course. The water level was about 325 cfs which is higher than it has been in the previous two years. 

Hollins was the team champion at the end of the day, but both teams put in a great effort! Special thanks to the volunteers and the Virginia Outdoor Center (VOC) for their support of this successful race.

Official results are as follows:

Sam Hopkins, Hollins, 12:12
Gabi Pendleton, Hollins, 12:34
Emily Dallas, Sweet Briar, 12:35 (2nd Run)
Victoria Wolfgang, Sweet Briar,  12:48
Jessica Michael, Hollins, 12:59
Sienna Hosbrock, Sweet Briar, 13:47
DJ Gallagher, Sweet Briar, 15:01 (2nd Run)
Kayla Deur, Hollins, 25:28

Pendleton/Deur, Hollins, 11:48
Leas/Gilbert, Hollins, 11:52
Dovgan/Hopkins, Hollins, 11:59
Michael/Pedroza, Hollins, 13:18
Adelberg/Harrison, Hollins, 15:13

Emily Dallas, Sweet Briar, 13:16
Devon Dovgan, Hollins, 14:00
Megan Gilbert, Hollins, 17:25
Randi Perdroza, Hollins, 30:06

Nice job, everyone! 

Want to start a Regional Collegiate Championship Race near you? Contact the ACA Competition Department.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Your Opinion Matters - Paddling Education Standards

The National Paddlesports Education Standards were originally adopted in 2009 and apply to education courses for operators of manually-propelled recreational boats such as canoes and kayaks. The standards were developed by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), in cooperation with the ACA. 

NASBLA has recently issued a Call for Proposed Revisions to the National Paddlesports Education Standards, inviting all interested individuals to review and comment. The ACA hopes to encourage more members of the greater paddling community to speak up about this important matter. The Call for Proposed Revisions runs through December 2, 2013. 

To download a copy of the standards, and have your voice heard, please visit the EZ-ESP website

(Please note that as a new user to the site, you'll be required to register so NASBLA can keep you updated on any news or updates regarding the standards.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

South America Paddlesports Conference

This weekend in beautiful Vina del Mar, Chile, the ACA is hosting the first South America Paddlesports Conference.

A range of world class paddlers will be presenting on a variety of topics, from coastal kayaking to stand up paddleboarding.  In addition, ACA Executive Director Wade Blackwood will be on hand to conduct the first election for the South America Division leadership.

To learn more, visit and hover over the 'Conference' tab in the blue, left hand navigation bar.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recap of the WNC River Rescue Rodeo!

On September 29, 2013, the WNC River Rescue Rodeo was held on the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro, NC. Sponsored in part by Landmark Learning and the ACA, the event included hands-on rescue and medical scenarios, boat and equipment rescues, throw rope competitions, and a knot-tying rodeo. Teams of five came to compete from as far away as Ohio, although most of the teams were regional.  

Taking first place by a small margin was Western Carolina University, followed by the Cincinnati Paddlers in second, and Warren Wilson College in third. The winning teams took home over $1,000 worth of prizes and materials, and everyone left with small sponsor gifts and gear from the silent auction.  

Don't miss out on the fun next year--dates for the 2014 River Rescue Rodeo will be set soon with registration opening in the late winter!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ACA Member Discounts

Several Oufitters Offer Discounts to ACA Members

Did you know that a variety of organizations offer members-only discounts to ACA members?  It's true:

  • ACA members receive a 10% discount on instruction from ACA Pro Schools, which are not only located throughout the U.S., but in Europe too!
  • A variety of outfitters located across the country offer a range of discounts
  • Paddlecraft manufacturers also offer great deals on boats to ACA members
Check out these and a variety of other discounts available to ACA members.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New ACA WaterTrail Architect

Please welcome Chris Raab to the ACA staff!

Chris joins the ACA staff as a WaterTrail Architect to work directly with the National Park Service on an outreach project in 2013 and 2014. He will be collaborating with partner organizations to enhance public education of certain watertrails in the National Park system. 

Learn more about Chris...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Catch Every Eddy... Surf Every Wave

A Contemporary Guide to Whitewater Playboating

By ACA Instructor Trainer Educator Tom Foster and Kel Kelly.

What you'll find in this book:

  • Contemporary whitewater playboating technique, for both kayakers and canoeists (both open and decked boats)
  • Specific strokes and techniques unique to each craft
  • Universal technique applicable to all skill levels
  • Contemporary playboating equipment defined in detail
  • Concepts of whitewater paddling
  • River features and how to read them
  • Strategies for playing the river "to the max"
  • Group organization and individual responsibilities
  • The most extensive whitewater glossary in print
  • Everything but the professional on-water instruction
Order your copy of Catch Every Eddy... Surf Every Wave from the ACA's eStore today.  

ACA members - don't forget to log in to your account to receive your membership discount on pricing!

Friday, October 11, 2013

New Outfitter, Livery, and Guide Insurance

The ACA now offers an insurance program designed specifically for paddlesport outfitters, liveries, and guides!

By meeting certain criteria, ACA outfitter, livery, and guide members will be eligible for discounted pricing on their various insurance policies.

Proceeds from this insurance program will benefit paddlers as they will be used to support the ACA’s mission of improving education, stewardship, recreation, and competition for all.

Learn more: 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A New Tradition in Historical Quantico!

Last weekend in the town of Quantico, VA, 42 racers came out to participate in the ACA's 1st Annual Blockade Run 5K Kayak and Sprint SUP Races!

This recreational, all-inclusive competition took place on the historic Civil War site where in 1861 the Union Navy battled against an insurmountable Confederate cannon blockade.

Special thanks to the Town of Quantico and the Quantico Yacht Club for their support of this successful event!

Find more pictures on the Town of Quantico's facebook page, and see race results here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

North Country Canoe Club Seeks Support

The North Country Canoe Club (NCCC), a newly formed nonprofit based out of Minnesota, is raising funds to acquire property on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Wilderness in Ely, Minnesota. 

The group plans to use the property for member camping and canoe trips, plus as a meeting place for groups having reunions. The NCCC is currently trying to increase its membership and raise funds to meet this land acquisition goal. 

Please find more details in their formal invitation letter, and contact Chris Clay with any questions.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Outdoor Nation Grant Report: Empowering Youth of All Abilities

On a rainy day this past July, the ACA worked together with Shake-a-Leg Miami and Florida Bay Outfitters to empower youth of all abilities.

Thanks to funding from Outdoor Nation, 14 Shake-a-Leg high school-aged camp counselors learned ACA instructional technique and basic adaptive outfitting concepts to carry forward for many years. 7 middle school-aged campers with disabilities learned how to be more comfortable in and to have better control over sea kayaks, learning skills that will enable healthy outdoor lifestyles.

ACA Adaptive Instructor Trainer, Joe Moore, said, "It's wonderful to see people smile as they recognize new found potential. "

The ACA was proud to take part in such a meaningful and successful project! Check out the video:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Another ACA President's Award goes to...

Franziska Pokorny was just announced as a 2013 recipient of the prestigious ACA President's Award. 

The ACA honored Franziska with the award at the ACA Europe Paddlesports Conference that took place in Wadenswil, Switzerland (near Zurich) over the weekend. The President's Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the ACA on a national or international level. 

Franzi is a talented paddler and ACA-certified instructor living in Ilanz--a small town in a mountain valley in Graub√ľnden, Switzerland. She has served as the Co-Chair of the ACA: Europe Division and was on the planning committee for the 2013 Europe Paddlesports Conference.

Learn more about her work.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Milo Duffek Receives IWHoF Award

Milo Duffek

Former Chair of the ACA's European Division Raphael Kuner, and ACA Chief Operating Officer Chris Stec inducted legendary international paddler Milo Duffek into the International Whitewater Hall of Fame(IWHoF) last night at the PaddleExpo Show in Nuremberg, Germany.  Also in attendance were IWHoF Board of Governors Risa Shimoda, Pam Dillon, and 2013 ACA President's Award winner Virgil Chambers.  

The following description is courtesy of the IWHoF website.

Year Inducted: 2013  
Sport: Slalom Racing
Years Active: 1951-1966
Home Base: Geneva, Switzerland

Champion Accomplishments:

  • Silver Medal in K-1 1955 World Championships
  • Established sportsmanship through international exchange and instruction
Other Accomplishments:
  • Popularized the turning draw stroke now known as the “Duffek”
  • First racer to introduce flatwater training techniques to whitewater
  • Qualified for 1948 Olympic Games in K2 1000 meter event, but Communist party refused to allow him to compete.
  • 27th place K-1 Slalom 1953 World Championships
  • 4th place K-1 Slalom 1959 World Championships
Milo Duffek was one of the first paddlers to escape communist Czechoslovakia for the west, setting the pattern of frequent international migration that is central to the paddlesport community.   Historian Bill Endicott writes: “Duffek never won a gold medal.  In Merano Italy at the Worlds he won something even more precious: His Freedom.” Duffek’s daring defection happened during the 1953 World Championships in Merano, Italy…. His trip from communist Czechoslovakia was heavily guarded.  Endicott describes the event: “He was the favorite to win, but if he had won he would have been the center of attention.  So he had to deliberately throw the race, deliberately miss a gate so the attention would be diverted from him that evening.” Milo’s guard got drunk in the festivities that followed the Worlds, and Milo escaped with the help of the Swiss team. He had traded his chance to be World Champion for a new life and freedom.  From his new home in Switzerland, Duffek shared his paddling expertise with a fast-growing audience in many countries, including teaching the roll, surfing, and even eddy turns to an unfamiliar audience in the US. Clinics he taught overseas helped establish many other centers of whitewater sport, and established a pattern of international exchange in paddling.

Rock the Boat Film Screening in L.A.

The award-winning documentary film, "Rock the Boat," will be shown this Saturday, October 5, at 7 PM at the Lone Pine Film History Museum in Los Angeles, CA. Admission is free. 

The film's producer/director Thea Mercouffer, and ringleader/ film star George Wolfe will be attending and participating in a short conversation following the film’s presentation.

The next morning, Sunday, October 6, Thea and George invite all those who are interested to join them on a late-morning paddling trip (via canoe or kayak) down the Owens River. The seven-mile paddle will start at Elna Road, just below Tinemaha Reservoir, and end at the Aberdeen Station Road. For information, please call 760-878-0011.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

President's Award

At the 6th annual ACA National Paddlesports Conference this past weekend, the ACA honored Virgil Chambers with the President's Award, recognizing his outstanding service to paddlesports on a national level.

Virgil was the National Safe Boating Council's first Executive Director. Under his leadership, the NSBC tirelessly served the recreational boating community by elevating boating safety to new levels of professionalism and excellence. 

After nearly 20 years with the NSBC, Virgil retired from his position as Executive Director on September 30, 2013. 

Learn more about Virgil's achievements on behalf of boating safety.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Track Trash Data Collection

The Stream to Sea Initiative collects data through the ACA’s online form, Track Trash Data Collection (TTDC).  TTDC helps individuals, groups, clean-up crews, waterway organizations, and paddlers  document the marine debris they remove.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 Midwest Outdoor Experience

Are you looking for something fun to do this weekend? If you're in the area, check out the Midwest Outdoor Experience (formerly GearFest), Oct. 4-5 at Eastwood Metro Park in Dayton, Ohio

The event features outdoor activities, competitions, music, craft beer garden & food, camping, exhibitor village, exciting demos, and more. Whether you're a hardcore outdoor enthusiast or you just want to try some new activities but don't have all the gear, the Midwest Outdoor Experience offers something for all ages and ability levels. Admission and parking are free.

Come solo, or bring the entire family. And don't forget Fido--this year's event is more dog friendly than ever! 

See the 2013 Midwest Outdoor Experience Event Schedule for more details, and read about how the event is striving to be completely Waste Free in 3