Monday, June 30, 2014

Check Out These Paddling 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 is one of the ACA's Club-Fostered Stewardship Grant recipients. The non-profit organization specializes in marine science and outdoor education.

This year's CBFS summer youth kayaking camps include: 

Beginner's Kayaking Camp (ages 13-18)

July 13-18
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: $680 (includes instruction, meals, lodging & materials)

Intermediate Kayaking Camp (ages 13-18)

July 20-25
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: $680 (includes instruction, meals, lodging, & materials) 

Click here to learn more about ALL of the youth programs at CBFS!

Saturday, June 28, 2014


The ACA Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver (WWOCD) National Championships were held last week on the Nantahala River in western North Carolina. Competitors from 13 states raced over three days. Participants--including racers from a number of colleges and high schools--competed in both the 1.5-mile sprint course and the longer 8-mile course through Nantahala Falls.

Some of the winners were Jeff Owen (ME), Charley Brackett (NH), Keith Havens (TN), Ed Sharp (VA), and Kailey Schmidt (NC). The youngest competitor was Tommy Owen (10) from ME and the oldest was ACA Legend of Paddling Payson Kennedy (82) from NC. 

Click here for complete race results!

The ACA would like to give a BIG THANKS to the Nantahala Outdoor Center for hosting the race! See you next year!

Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 ACA National Awards

Nominations for this year's ACA National Awards are due Monday, July 7th.

If you know a paddler or paddling organization that demonstrates outstanding dedication to the sport, nominate them today!

Award recipients will be announced at the ACA Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony at the upcoming Adaptive Paddling Summit.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

You're Invited!

The Two Harbors Kayak Festival will take place August 2-3 in Burlington Bay, MN. We're proud to be a sponsor of this unique, family-friendly event, now in its 17th year!

The Two Harbors Kayak Festival features the nationally renowned Great River Energy 18-Mile Marathon, the Ellen Anderson 10-Mile Race, the Betty's Pies 5-Mile Race (all adult race 16+), and the Youth Sprint Races. 

In addition to the races, the festival features local exhibitors, kayak demos, SUP demos and classes, beginning level instructional family tours, live music, food, and more.

Visit to register today!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tracking Trash Makes a Difference

The ACA would like to congratulate Clean Jordan Lake on a job well done! The North Carolina-based organization was founded in 2009, and since then it has removed more than 180,000 lbs of trash, coordinated more than 3,000 volunteers, and collected approximately 3,400 tires!

Nearly 250,000 citizens depend on Jordan Lake for clean, safe drinking water. It also serves as a popular recreational destination for anglers, kayakers, and swimmers. 

Kudos to Clean Jordan Lake for their hard work. Not only are they exceptional trash picker-uppers, but they also know how to make it fun! Now that's impressive.

Looking for an easy way to keep track of the trash collected at your next clean-up? The ACA can help. Visit our Paddle Green Track Trash website for more information.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We're Hiring!

Want to work at a place where paddling is part of your job? The ACA is currently looking for a Membership Coordinator to join our National Office Staff in Fredericksburg, VA. Put your passion for paddlesports to work!

Click here for more details.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Online registration opens TODAY for the ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit

Click image to enlarge
Today is the day! If you're planning on attending the Adaptive Paddling Summit this fall, act fast -- space is limited to the first 100 registrants.

Online registration will open today, June 23, at 12pm EST.

Click here to register and we'll see you in September!

Friday, June 20, 2014

ACA National Awards - Nominations Now Open!

Each year, the ACA National Awards honor those individuals and organizations who exemplify outstanding leadership, service, and dedication to paddlesports. But first, the nominations!

If you would like to nominate a paddler for an ACA National Award, now is your chance. Please visit for more details. 

Award recipients will be announced at the ACA Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony at the upcoming Adaptive Paddling Summit.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Registration Opens Next Week for ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit!

Click image to enlarge
Registration goes live on Monday, June 23rd, for the ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit. Space is limited to the first 100 registrants, so act fast and sign up while you can!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Waterproof Cards Make Tracking Trash a Breeze

Click the picture to learn more about this new tool for paddlers

Hey there, friend. We just want to say you are doing a great job! As a paddler, you don't rely on gas, oil, or anything but your own human strength to propel you through the water, and that is simply awesome. You and your boat are non-polluting partners for life!

Our waterways desperately need more help from environmentally-responsible outdoor enthusiasts like you. By joining the ACA's Stream to Sea Initiative, you will start making a bigger difference today. 

It's as easy as these 3 steps

  1. Take an ACA Paddle Green Bag with you every time you paddle.
  2. Pick up the trash you see along the way. (Discarded water bottles, cans, and plastic bags are just a few examples of some common items that pollute our rivers, damage and kill wildlife, and eventually end up in our oceans.)
  3. Later, when you are back on land, fill out one of our new Stream to Sea cards (pictured above) and easily upload this data using our simple online Track Trash form. 
Join the movement to clean up our nation's waterways. Streams, rivers, lakes, oceans--they all need our help more than ever. 

Thank you for helping us put an end to marine debris once and for all!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

7th Annual Ridgway River Festival

Don't miss the Ridgway River Festival on June 28th in Ridgway, Colorado!

Come out and enjoy a day of fun for the whole family. Activities include a White Water Rodeo, Kids Eddy, live music, and so much more. 

Full details on the ACA Calendar

See you there!

Monday, June 16, 2014

ACA Instructor Earns River Heroes Award for Inspiring Stewardship Work in Illinois

Captain Mike at this year's Calumet River Clean-Up. (Photo by Erik Sprenne.)
The following guest blog post was written by ACA Coastal Kayaking Instructor, Michael Taylor (a.k.a. Captain Mike), about his June 7th clean-up on the Little Calumet River in Chicago, IL. Mike is President of the Calumet Waterway Stewards, an organization supported by the Illinois Water TrailKeepers and the ACA. On June 2nd, 2014, Mike received a prestigious River Heroes Award at the River Rally Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. He recently published a book, "City Paddler," which is available on Amazon here

Volunteers carrying trash out of the Little Calumet River. (Photo by Erik Sprenne.)
On the North side of the river bank I spotted something unusual; I didn't know what it was, but I knew it did not belong there. It looked like a plastic barrel of some sort and it was buried deep. I jumped out of my kayak to wrestle the unnamed object out of the mud. I soon realized it was not a barrel, but a base for a basketball hoop. In fact, it wasn't just a base, but the entire hoop of the steel rim and plastic base. I've cleaned out my fair share of marine debris, but this was my first basketball hoop. 

The weather was perfect and the current was slow this past Saturday. It made for a perfect day of paddling and an even better day for a river clean-up. This year we split our annual clean-up into two groups to cover the entire 7 miles of the targeted parts of the water trail. 

There was more junk in the river than we could accommodate in our boats. Two shopping carts, lodged deep in the mud, were irretrievable despite our best efforts digging with shovels. We recorded their GPS location so we could return better equipped to pull out the carts--they would not stay in the river.

The event was an introduction to the river as much as it was a river clean-up. Most of the participants had never paddled this river before, so it was exciting to open their eyes to a nice slow moving river, the ideal environment for beginner paddlers. On this particular day, we were fortunate enough to see turtles, herons, and other unique birds and wildlife that populate the waterway. It is my hope that the more people we can get on the water, the more they will appreciate and try to protect the Little Calumet River from pollution and other threats. 

This year, one of my goals was to increase local community involvement in the clean-up. However, most of the participants still came from out of town. Out of about 70 participants, only about 20% were from the local area. Tom Eckles joined us from Northwest Lake County, and Erik Sprenne came from Indiana. My challenge for next year will be to better engage the African American communities on the south-side of Chicago and in the southern suburbs in this community-focused clean-up effort. These folks all share a stake in the success and use of this river that flows through their communities. 

I plan to begin my outreach now in order to increase local participation next year. I'm working hard to garner the support of local goverment, churches, and other organizations to get the word out. Next year's clean-up will again be held on the first Saturday in June. Mark your calendars!

The ACA admires Mike for his work as a devoted river steward and recently certified ACA Instructor. On June 10, Mike received a letter from Illinois Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly. She congratulated him on the publication of his ebook and recent ACA certification, saying, "As one of the very few African Americans with such a certification, you offer a positive role model for minority youth who are interested in environmental causes, careers or pursuits." We couldn't agree more. Congratulations, Captain Mike. We're proud to call you a member of the ACA Instructor family. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

20% Off Life Jackets for ACA Instructors

MTI Adventurewear is now offering a 20% discount to all ACA Instructors, just in time for paddling season! 

MTI makes the kind of life jacket that you'll love to wear. We're proud to partner with them to keep more paddlers safe on the water.

For more information about this discount, or to order, please contact

"We believe that if we can keep pushing our life jacket designs to a high level, more people will choose to wear their PFD... MTI has over 20 years of experience making life jackets, 20 years of always asking, 'How can we make it better?'"
-Team MTI

Thursday, June 12, 2014

3 Great Ways to Celebrate Your Local River

June is National Rivers Month! Show your local river some love by hosting on-water events or clean-ups in your area! 

Short on time to give? Consider making a tax deductible donation--any amount helps--to the ACA Stewardship Department so we can continue protecting waterways nationwide, on your behalf.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Job Opening at the ACA

Do you love paddlesports and the outdoors? Are you a highly motivated self-starter with great ideasWe're currently looking for a talented Membership Coordinator to join our National Office Staff in Fredericksburg, VA. Do what you love for a living!

Please click here for a full job description. 

Committed to the cause. Paddlesports forever! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

ACA Awards - Nominations Now Open!

Every year, the ACA recognizes those individuals and organizations who exemplify outstanding leadership, service, and dedication to paddlesports. 

The seven prestigious ACA National Awards are as follows:
  • Legends of Paddling 
  • Excellence in Instruction
  • Sanctioned Event of the Year
  • Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation
  • Joe Pina Volunteer of the Year
  • Stroke of Achievement
  • J. Henry Rushton
If you would like to nominate a paddler for one of the honors above, please visit for more details on how to submit your nomination. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 7, 2014.

Award recipients will be announced at the ACA Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony at the upcoming Adaptive Paddling Summit.

Monday, June 9, 2014

New ACA Competition and Education Specialist

We're pleased to announce that Sarah Fields has joined the ACA National Office Staff as our new Competition and Education Specialist.

A graduate of Northern Michigan University in the Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management program, Sarah has joined the ACA staff as an intern for the summer of 2014. Her primary focus will be the ACA's Collegiate Race Series. In addition, she will assist with special projects in both the Education and Stewardship Departments.

Learn more about Sarah...

Friday, June 6, 2014

And the winner of the ACA App Photo Contest is...

Kalynn Rose! She captured this beautiful scene at Lake Crescent in Washington state. We're excited to feature her photo on the loading page of the new ACA app--due out this summer! 

Thank you to all those who submitted photos for the contest! You guys are all winners in our boat. We'll be sharing some of our other favorite submissions on Instagram, so stay tuned. 

Paddle often, and paddle safe. 

2014 ACA Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver (WWOCD) National Championships

The ACA WWOCD will take place June 16-19, 2014. 

Hurry and register online before June 13th to receive a free T-shirt! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Congratulations to June Kokatat Instructor of the Month, Ethan Talley!

An ACA Level 4: Whitewater Kayaking Instructor from South Carolina, Ethan Talley enjoys using paddling as a means to explore the natural world. 

Click here to learn more about Ethan and his adventures!

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Put a Sail On It!

Want to try something new this summer? Check out all the canoe sailing events coming up! To find one near you, go to the ACA Events page and select "Canoe Sailing" from the drop down menu.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2014 ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit

(Click image to enlarge)

This fall, we invite you to join us for the first-ever Adaptive Paddling Summit in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Highlights include:

  • Exciting events for paddlers of all experience levels
  • High quality educational sessions
  • Special presentation by Ann Yoshida--the first adaptive paddler on TeamUSA Canoe/Kayak from Hawaii
  • The latest in adaptive equipment demonstrations
  • And more!

Please visit to learn more about the Adaptive Paddling Summit. 

Registration will be available in late June, and space is limited to the first 100 registrants.

Monday, June 2, 2014

ACA Educators Receive Prestigious Higgins & Langley Awards

The Higgins & Langley Memorial and Education Fund announced the 2014 Higgins & Langley Memorial Awards, which honor outstanding achievement in the technical rescue discipline of swiftwater and flood rescue. Awards go to swiftwater and flood rescue experts worldwide in several significant categories, including the Outstanding Achievement Award, Program Development Award, Special Commendation Award, and Swiftwater Rescue Incident Award. 

ACA Level 5: Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Trainer Educators, Robin Pope and Sam Fowlkes, both received Special Commendation Awards, recognizing their extraordinary efforts in organizing and hosting the first American Canoe Association River Rescue and Safety Conference in October, 2013. The intensive, three-day, on-river training featured a series of workshops presented by some of the most respected names in Swiftwater Rescue, including Slim Ray, Les Bechdel, Charlie Walbridge, Aaron Peeler, Mike Mather, Walter Fenton, and Jim Coffey. Participants included more than 100 recreational paddlers, certified paddlesport instructors, and emergency responders from 22 states and three foreign countries. 

In addition to founding the Swiftwater Rescue Conference, Robin and Sam both volunteer countless hours serving on the ACA's Swiftwater Rescue Committee, Safety Education & Instruction Council, and Board of Directors. 

They will receive their awards on Friday, June 6, 2014, at 7:30 PM, at the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) conference in Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

Congratulations, Sam and Robin!

ACA Job Opening - Membership Coordinator

Put your passion for paddlesports to work!

The ACA is currently looking for a Membership Coordinator to join our National Office Staff in Fredericksburg, VA. This position requires creative thinking, attention to detail, and experience in membership management or non-profit administration. Applications are due June 27th, 2014.

Please visit for a complete job description.