Friday, August 29, 2014

Design a Life Jacket to Win 10k

The BoatUS Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition is your chance to create the life jacket of your dreams! Unconventional designs are encouraged, and participants can submit either a theoretical design or a working prototype. 

All entries are due by April 15, 2015. The top prize is $10,000. More info on the competition here

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Calling All ACA Members in The Midwest!

You are invited to join your fellow ACA members at the annual ACA Midwest Division Meeting on September 14, 2014.

The Midwest Division Meeting will be held just prior to the ACA Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony which kicks off the inaugural Adaptive Paddling Summit in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  

You are welcome to attend all of these events, or if you would just like to attend the Midwest Division Meeting, you can definitely do that. Please contact Midwest Division Chair, Ivan Bartha, at for more information.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why You Should Give SUP Yoga a Try

Yoga on a standup paddleboard, aka SUP Yoga, can sound intimidating to some, or more like extreme fitness to others. But having taught SUP Yoga to all levels, beginners included, SUP Yoga is truly accessible to everyone - you included. Here are a few quick reasons why you should get on board.

The only prerequisites to SUP Yoga are: if you can stand up, if you can paddleboard, and if you can breathe, then you can do SUP Yoga. Everything else you attempt in a typical SUP Yoga class flows from how you approach these three tenets.

While standing up in itself seems to be the hardest part - once you get over this one step and learn to relax your body and ground through your feet - you'll amaze yourself what you can do on a paddleboard.

Some feel more comfortable signing up for a SUP 101 class beforehand. The good news is SUP is very easy to learn, and with proper guidance, you'll be underway in well under an hour.

Once you are comfortable on your paddleboard, trying out your favorite yoga poses feel totally natural. And these inherently balance-focused exercises work to get everyone comfortable - regardless if you practice yoga or not.

Breath is important because it helps keep you present and relaxed. A tense, fearful body will not have as enjoyable an experience as someone who is aware and tuned-in to their breath. Most of the apprehension stems from the fear of falling in. The most important lesson in SUP Yoga: It's totally okay to fall. It means you're trying. And it's great to try new things even if we're not performing at some hard-to-reach level.

Plus, being outside on a floating yoga mat refuels your connection with nature. SUP Yoga may be one of the best ways to exercise your body and mind. And here’s one more reason to give it a try - it’s a lot of fun!

About the author:
Mary Lou Cerami is a level 2 SUP instructor certified through the American Canoe Association (ACA). Mary Lou is on the collaborative team for SUP Yoga Certification with the ACA, and is available for instructor trainings in the Midwest. Mary Lou teaches SUP Yoga and Intro to SUP classes on Chicago’s Lake Michigan with Kayak Chicago. Her goal is to promote the link that paddling shares with yoga and its benefits. Learn more about Mary Lou Cerami at

To learn more about the new ACA SUP Yoga program, please visit

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Welcome New ACA Staff Member - Hillary

Hillary joined the ACA's Membership Department in August of 2014. Originally from Chincoteague Island, Virginia, Hillary has long held an appreciation and respect for the outdoors. Prior to joining the ACA, Hillary worked as a kayak instructor and eco-guide for SouthEast Expeditions on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and as an AmeriCorps VISTA Environmental Educator on Jekyll Island, Georgia.


Hillary is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and enjoys surfing, gardening and sittin’ on the porch. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sanctioned Event of the Year - StreamSweepers

A big congratulations to StreamSweepers, winners of the 2014 ACA Sanctioned Event of the Year Award!

StreamSweepers is a youth training and job corps for college-aged youth in Virginia. The group navigates by canoe while performing river health diagnostics and cleaning up all kinds of trash from local waterways. Read more about their work here

Each year, as part of the ACA Annual Banquet, a series of prestigious national awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, service, and dedication to paddlesports. 

This year's Annual Banquet will be held as the kick-off event to the ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit in September 2014! We hope to see you there. 

Stay tuned as we announce more winners of the 2014 ACA National Awards in the coming weeks.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Increasing Access to Virginia's Waterways

Today, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is dedicating a new canoe-in campground at Caledon State Park located on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National History Water Trail. 

This 3,000-mile water trail traces the English explorer’s famous voyage. The campground helps fill a critical need for public access to the Potomac River from Virginia.

Looking for your next adventure? Use the ACA's Water Trail Directory to find great places to paddle near you.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Defines You

A year and a half ago, kayaking instructor Taylor Dwyer fell and crushed her ankle while running to help a fellow paddler who she believed was caught in a low head dam. This is her inspiring story of recovery. 

At some point in our lives we all take pause at a crossroads, as if a subconscious sign on the way toward our goal alerts us, "Pain, Fear, and Inadequacy ahead." Turn left for a freshly groomed trail through the valley. Continue straight to the summit at your own risk, trail condition potentially treacherous. Pain, fear, and feelings of inadequacy have the ability to put any one of us at a true standstill. They are forces that attempt a shift in who we once believed ourselves to be and what we once believed we could accomplish.

I was well on my way to building my life's goal of becoming a well rounded and globally reaching female kayak instructor. I had my paddle dipped in every form of teaching near and far; from able bodied to disabled, veteran to cancer patient and survivor. Always with a heart and passion keen towards empowering fellow young adult women, and a brimming ambition to work alongside women in developing countries.

A year and a half ago I fell and everything I knew changed instantly. Running to help a kayaker I believed was caught in a low-head dam, I stepped in a hole on the trail. Crushing, killing, and ultimately needing to remove part of the medial talar dome and cartilage in my ankle. My grand ideas for life transformed into a year of pain management and undreamed tutorials of the "System," fighting tooth and nail for worker's compensation, food stamps, and disability. I was 80% crippled, 100% dependent, and at a complete loss of how to move in any direction let alone forward. I turned away from kayaking due to pain and shear fear of losing the mobility I had. I felt I had lost all sense of self and my ability to give back to the world.

Nearing a year of chronic pain, I saw a shift in my medical team, their welcoming smiles stayed the same but their eyes spoke far more truth, I had stopped healing. I dedicated my time to research and discovered a doctor performing trial stem cell surgery on ankle injuries. With a spark of hope I contacted my doctors and each sent in a separate request for consideration. Within two months I was denied each time. I believe "rock bottom" can be better substituted with "broken in spirit," and that I was.

This June I was able to make my way to Jackson, WY. A place whose grandness has always made me and my troubles feel refreshingly small. I spent a full day of sunlight under the Tetons, still, and fantastically content. In the midst of day dreaming I had a great moment of clarity, and I became wholly aware of something I had never been mindful of before. I saw the Tetons for their story and thought of how many storms they must have faced in their lifetime. With every season the Mountain's weather and each ferocious wind that calls to them to crumble, they stand elegantly and refuse to be defined by a storm. Recognizing that they have been changed, they acquire their new edges to reflect light in even more stunning and complex ways than before.

I realized that pain and fear of pain was threatening to define who I am. Staring at the Tetons I made one of the most prominent declarations for my life, "Pain does not define me." Though this season has changed me, I will stand, and I will find a way to make these new dimensions beautiful. I choose the path potentially treacherous as I know the view will be worth it. I got back in a kayak on my last day in town and with a trusted crew, we made our way down the full, brown waves of the Gros Ventre River. My skills had become rustier than a nail in King Tut's tomb (had they used nails) but with each face full of spring run-off and every squirrely "turn and burn" my boat made, I felt my cup-of-soul filling and undeniably beginning to overflow again. A couple weeks after returning home I underwent stem cell surgery on my ankle, becoming patient (n=200) the last person accepted into the trial as it closed for publishing.

Following my initial denials for consideration, I kept researching and by wild Grace came across that particular doctor's personal email address. I signed my email, "I want to go bold, I'm your girl." Now I'd say, "the rest is history" but thankfully this story is still being written. I don't know what the future holds but what I do know is that when strength, adventure, and faith lie in the deepest nooks of your soul, you will never be without.

Love & Wave Trains

Taylor Dwyer

---I want to say Thank You to Chaco for saying, "Yes." I reached out for help at a critical time, in significant need of creativity, and was met with great support and enthusiasm. I was introduced to Chaco's very own Dr. Gerhard Rill, who spent a week with me innovating an incredible pair of shoes and orthotics, shifting, shaping, and adding tread to my brace, and speaking into me indispensable words of encouragement. It was from this trip to see Dr. Rill in Grand Junction, CO that I was able to go on to Jackson, WY. I'm grateful for the amazing souls I've come in contact with through each unexpected turn in my 25 years, cheers to each of you. 

Source: Chaco | Blog

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ACA Members - Increase Your Reading Pleasure!

Subscribe to all four!
When you join the ACA, or renew your membership, you receive a FREE print or digital subscription to one of the 4 quarterly magazines from Rapid Media. Can't decide on just one? You don't have to. ACA members receive additional print or digital Rapid Media subscriptions at a reduced price. 

You have 4 great magazines to choose from:
  • Canoeroots - the canoeing and family camping magazine
  • Adventure Kayak - the kayak touring and expedition magazine
  • Rapid - the magazine with a whitewater focus
  • Kayak Angler - all things fishing related

Take advantage of this exclusive offer from Rapid Media - a valued partner of the ACA and paddlesports.

For a full list of ACA Member Benefits, click here!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Are You Making These Paddling Mistakes?

Whether kayaking on a lake, rafting down a river, stand up paddleboarding in the ocean, or canoeing down a stream, millions of Americans participate in paddlesports each year. 

Did you know that canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards were involved in 20% of all boating casualties last year? We want to bring that number down to zero!

If you haven't seen our new animated videos, check them out. One is directed at stand up paddleboarders, and the other is for kayakers/canoeists

The videos offer a fun way to educate yourself about safe paddling practices (and hopefully you'll get a good laugh in the process). If you have feedback, we'd love to hear it. Please email, or comment on YouTube. Thanks!

Padde safe, paddle often.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rushton Award - MTI

Please join us in congratulating MTI, winner of the 2014 J. Henry Rushton Award!

From the very beginning of the company outside of Boston in 1991, MTI was founded with the main purpose of building life jackets for paddlesports. You can read more about MTI's dedication to our favorite sport, here

Each year, as part of the ACA Annual Banquet, a series of prestigious national awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, service, and dedication to paddlesports. 

This year's Annual Banquet will be held as the kick-off event to the ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit in September 2014! We hope to see you there. 

Stay tuned as we announce more winners of the 2014 ACA National Awards in the coming weeks.

Friday, August 15, 2014

ACA Elections - Vote!

Dear ACA Members,

As a member of the ACA, you have the option to participate in elections concerning the governance of the Association.

On behalf of the ACA Board of Directors, I would like to encourage you to vote for the following: six at-large Directors, and the two appointments from the Sugar Island Board of Trustees. 
You have the option to vote online, or download a paper ballot and mail it in. Detailed instructions can be found at

Please note, to vote online, you will need to log-in to the ACA website. If you have forgotten your password, there is a ‘reset your password' prompt at the bottom of the webpage at the above voting link, or you can contact the ACA's Membership Department.

Deadline: All ballots must be received (electroncially or via mail) at the ACA Office by September 8, 2014. You can also cast your votes in person at the ACA Annual Membership Meeting which takes place at the upcoming Adaptive Paddling Summit in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The ACA is your organization, so please exercise your right to vote.

See you on the water,

Anne Maleady
President, Board of Directors
ACA | Canoe - Kayak - SUP - Raft - Rescue

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Here Sharky Sharky Sharky

We love Shark Week! Here are some things you may not know about these predators of the deep:
  • In the U.S., there are only 5-15 shark attack fatalities confirmed annually
  • You're more likely to be struck by lightning than bitten by a shark
  • While sharks kill fewer than 20 people a year, between 20 and 100 million sharks die due to human fishing activity
Discover more shark facts

Still afraid of the big bite? You can always get one of these for your boat. 

Paddle on!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kayaking Cleanup Brigade to Combat LA River Trash

LA River Expeditions, a leading force in promoting river-based recreational boating and environmental education for the Los Angeles community, is expanding its river stewardship with a new volunteer-based "Kayaking Cleanup Brigade (KCB)." A first-of-its-kind effort on the river, the cleanup crew will pluck and pull refuse and other garbage while in their kayaks as they scour the two Recreational Zones establishes over the last few years: the Sepulveda Basin and the Glendale Narrows. 

Ever since LA River Expeditions has been involved with the first guided kayak outings on the river in 2011, the group's founder, George Wolfe, has noticed how much citizens have wanted to join in its restoration. "Not one of our kayak group outings goes by where we don't have people asking how they can help," he explains. "The Cleanup Brigade is now the answer to that question."

David Salper, a staff member who is managing the fledgling group, also sees how "people really want to make a difference, especially as they hear more about the river's improved prospects for revitalization. A lot of awesome folks come on our trips who are eager to roll up their sleeves and help out. As a city, we really need to galvanize that energy--volunteerism is a powerful tool. This will be good for the community, good for the wildlife and good for the environment in general."

LA River Expeditions' work is part of a broader effort for the LA River, which includes Mayor Eric Garcetti's focus on funding a revitalization plan, as well as the continued contributions of groups like Friends of the LA River (FoLAR) and Heal the Bay with their annual riverside cleanups. The KCB will continue their riparian stewardship program to the end of the 2014 kayaking season in the Sepulveda Basin (Sept. 14) and they anticipate expanding their role next year. 

"The Los Angeles River was the life-source that attracted our city's first settlers," said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who's been a tenacious river steward for many years. "And bringing out river back to its beginnings is a critical part of moving LA forward. That progress takes do our part to clean this river and encourage our fellow Angelenos to do the same."

For more information on how to join or support the Kayaking Cleanup Brigade, contact David Salper at:; please put "KCB Support" in the subject heading. 

George Wolf and the LA River Expeditions won the 2010 ACA National Green Paddle Award for Waterway Conservation. You can learn more about their great work at

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

3 Easy Steps to Improve Your Paddle Green Game

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 rad. 

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. 

Take your paddling stewardship to the next level with 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! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Green Paddle Award - Paddle Without Pollution

Please join us in congratulating the Paddle Without Pollution crew, winners of the 2014 Green Paddle Award! 

PWP's primary mission is to restore and protect the health of the rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands of Pennsylvania. Learn more about their work here

Before PWP & after PWP. (Click image to enlarge.)
Each year, as part of the ACA Annual Banquet, a series of prestigious national awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, service, and dedication to paddlesports. 

This year's Annual Banquet will be held as the kick-off event to the ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit in September 2014! We hope to see you there. 

Stay tuned as we announce more winners of the 2014 ACA National Awards in the coming weeks.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Congrats to August Kokatat Instructor of the Month, Marcel Bieg!

"I owe so much to paddlesports: my character, passions, personality, relationships, and even my life."
-Marcel Bieg

Learn more about Marcel and his dedication to paddlesports.
Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized as the next Instructor of the Month? Submit a nomination today!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

This is How You Justify Your Splurges on

Amazon Smile is the same Amazon site you know, with one difference--it donates a portion of proceeds to the charity of your choice. 

The ACA is registered through the site, so all you have to do is start shopping from our personalized link and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the ACA.

We recommend bookmarking the above link so you can easily access it every time you need to make an Amazon purchase. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Visit the ACA Booth at Outdoor Retailer

If you find yourself in Salt Lake City, Utah, this week, please drop by the ACA Booth (number 38077) at Outdoor Retailer. 

We're located on the main floor of the Salt Palace in the paddlesports section, near the stairs.

Staff members will be there Wednesday through Saturday to answer your questions and we'll have plenty of ACA swag to hand out!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Stroke of Achievement Award - Bronx River Alliance

Please join us in congratulating the Bronx River Alliance, winner of the 2014 ACA Stroke of Achievement Award!

The Bronx River Alliance works hard to protect the Bronx River corridor through community collaboration and outreach. Read more about their work here.

Each year, as part of the ACA Annual Banquet, a series of prestigious national awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, service, and dedication to paddlesports. 

This year's Annual Banquet will be held as the kick-off event to the ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit in September 2014! We hope to see you there. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

ACAers Recognized Among Top Adventure School Alumni

Blue Ridge Outdoors just recognized 16 outdoor alumni from the South's best adventure colleges, and half of the alumni mentioned are ACA members and instructors!

Check out the full article on BRO to read more about how Ben, Kelsey, Shanna, Keith, Adam, Hailey, Corey, and Leah are making waves in the world of outdoor recreation. 

Congrats to all!