Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Your Ultimate Winter Paddle Fitness Plan

The winter weather doesn't have to slow you down.

Check out this article by ACA Instructor Heather Herbeck on how to increase your fitness now for the upcoming season!

Monday, December 28, 2015

10+ Reasons to Join the ACA

When you join the nation's oldest paddlesports organization, you're joining a community of people who love what you love! You're also directly supporting safe paddling programs, stewardship initiatives to clean up our nation's waterways, top notch paddlesports education, and so much more. 

As a nonprofit, member-based organization, the ACA relies on support from members like you to fulfill our mission

Here are some other great benefits to ACA membership:

Subaru VIP Program

Public Policy Representation

Gold Standard in Educational Resources

Choice of one of 4 magazine titles from Rapid Media:
-Canoeroots, Adventure Kayak,
Rapid, Kayak Angler

Additional Rapid Media Subscriptions at a Discount

Exclusive Access to:
-Sugar Island on the St. Lawrence River
-Camp Sebago in New York

Support of Amateur Paddlesports Competition

Member Rewards Program
-Discounts on car rentals, hotels, restaurants, phone plans, even Disney World

Reduced admission to thousands of ACA sanctioned events and races each year

Discount on ACA merchandise

ACA Paddle eMagazine delivered to your inbox every other month, covering local, regional, and national paddlesport issues

Pro Deals for certified Instructors

Members Only Discounts

Thanks for your support! If you have any questions about any of the membership benefits above, please contact the ACA Membership Department at 540-907-4460 ext 109 and we will be glad to help you. 

Not a member yet? Join today!

Paddle safe, paddle often. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays & Thanks For All of Your Support in 2015!

On behalf of the ACA Board of Directors and Staff, we hope you have a happy, healthy holiday season.

We appreciate your support throughout 2015 and we look forward to working with, and for you in 2016.

Please note, the ACA Office will be closed December 24th and 25th. We will also be closed on January 1st, New Year's Day.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Gifts From the Heart

This holiday season, as part of our yearly tradition, the ACA Staff all chipped in to make Christmas wishes come true for local children in foster care through the Fredericksburg Department of Social Services "Gifts From the Heart" assistance program. 

We are grateful for the opportunity to help those in need this holiday season. Warm wishes to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Amazing Volunteer Opportunity in Alaska

Beach on northeastern Shuyak Island, AK
For the summer of 2016, Island Trails Network is coordinating a Community Marine Debris Cleanup of Shuyak Island State Park in cooperation with the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the State of Alaska. Shuyak is a scenic state park that has been heavily impacted by marine debris pollution and is the easternmost large island of the Kodiak Archipelago.

Schedule: Every two weeks from 12 June until 4 September 2016, 3-6 volunteers are needed to conduct a marine debris clean up and removal project of the entire shoreline of Shuyak Island. We will access cleanup sites from mobile base camps using sea kayaks, and marine debris will be stockpiled for removal later in the summer. Clean up periods include: a) 12-26 June, b) 26 June –10 July, c) 10-24 July, d) 24 July-7 August, e) 7-21 August, f) 21 August-4 September.

Island Trails Network provides: Travel from Kodiak to Shuyak and back in a commercial floatplane, sea kayak and essential kayaking gear, dry suit (if needed), safety gear and leadership, food and much of the camping gear, & remedial sea kayak coaching as needed.

Volunteer qualifications: Volunteers should be physically fit and able to live and work in remote rustic base camps for two weeks, paddle a sea kayak 2-6 hours every day, and able to work on rocky shorelines. 

(Photo credit: Richard Lampman)
Desirable skills and experience for volunteers include:

1. Competent living and working in rustic camps in the backcountry, especially in bear habitat in coastal Alaska.

2. Have completed multi-day sea kayak trips and are competent paddling a sea kayak in wind and waves (or are able and willing to take some training before coming to Shuyak).

3. First aid and CPR skills with recent if not current certifications.

4. Are willing to paddle and camp, clean up marine debris, & then paddle & camp some more, then hit repeat.

Note: You don’t have to be an expert sea kayaker, but you do need to be competent. We only have a few sea kayaks available, and we need to be sure you can fit and use one of our boats. Feel free to email to arrange a call to discuss the options. 

Fees: To defray the costs of the project we are asking volunteers to make a donation of $500 per person. ITN is a tax-exempt 501c3 organization so your donations are tax deductible.

You provide: 1) a completed application packet for Shuyak, 2) travel to Kodiak, 2) a $500 per person donation, 3) enthusiasm and energy for wilderness camping, sea kayaking, marine debris clean up.

To Apply: Send an email to and I will send you an email with an application packet for this marvelous volunteer opportunity. After careful review of the applications, we will get back to you ASAP.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cut, Bruised, and Happy

By Anna Levesque. Anna is the leading expert on kayak instruction for women and yoga for paddling, including SUP Yoga. She is the founder/director of Girls at Play and Mind Body Paddle and has taught thousands of paddlers in the US, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica. She is an L4 WW Kayak IT, an L2 SUP IT and brand ambassador for Dagger Kayaks, Kokatat Watersports Wear, Werner Paddles and InReach GPS.

"I wish I had started kayaking sooner," is something I hear from my students who are in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Usually said with a heavy dose of disappointment and often because of a swim or some other challenge that arises on the path of learning. I get it. There is a feeling that if only we had started earlier it wouldn’t be so difficult. As we get older, our bodies recover a little more slowly and we perhaps don’t have the same range of motion or strength that we did when we were younger. Or perhaps we feel the strongest we’ve ever been and our mental approach is different – a little more conservative and restrained. There is definitely a contrast between a group of fearless kids zipping by a group of older paddlers checking out the rapid. Not that fear doesn’t happen at all ages, but I know for myself, as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten a little more conservative in my paddling.

Since I started paddling in my late teens/early twenties I had never had that feeling of wishing I had started sooner, until I learned how to SUP surf this year. This new sport hooked me with the fun, the challenge and the sweet feeling of riding a wave. During a week spent in Florida at the BIC SUP ambassador summit, I went out every day whether the waves were choppy or good. Some days I got beat down trying to get out past the break expending a lot of energy and getting swirled around with my board tugging at my ankle. On one wipe out off a wave the fin of my board slashed my bathing suit open and gave me a small laceration on my butt. The board made contact with my face and head a few times – lightly thank goodness. Every time I would emerge from the ocean I would have cuts and bruises, but I was stoked to be out there because, regardless of all of that, it was really, really fun.

About a month later I took a trip to Folly Beach, SC to feed my newfound passion and as I was struggling to paddle out one morning I realized I was having the thought that had I started earlier it would be easier. Then I looked around at the sun rising over the water and took a moment to feel the ocean pulsing underneath my board and what came up was a deep feeling of gratitude for having the opportunity to be exactly where I was. How cool is it to learn a new sport at 41 and to feel so energized and passionate? And not just that, but to have the opportunity to paddle with great paddle surfers who are also fantastic instructors, to have the time and resources to take a trip to the beach and have the physical robustness to be out there. These are things that some people never get to experience in their entire lives. My path through life is perfect just as it is and focusing on the gratitude for the opportunity instead of wishing for something different turned the moment from suffering to stoke.

I would rather be 41, cut, bruised and happy SUP surfing than give up the amazing experiences that have made up my life until now. The sport brings me joy, passion, freedom and adventure that lights me up when I’m out there. This energy transfers to my whitewater kayaking, to my work and to the rest of my life. It feeds my vitality. I’ll never be a pro surfer and may never even get proficient at the sport, but that doesn’t matter because at the end of my life the level of proficiency won’t matter as much as the level of joy that it brought me. So for those of you who are a little older and find yourselves feeling disappointed that you didn’t learn how to paddle earlier, take a moment to express gratitude for the opportunity to be out there and let the joy, fun and excitement feed you. It’ll make your experience a whole lot more fun and you’ll inspire those around you with your awesomeness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Remembering Larry Zuk, 1923 - 2015

By Marilyn Vogel

At the opening of the ACA Annual Encampment, Larry Zuk always said, “Remember those who went before you, and the work they did.”

Despite the rumors, Larry did not invent the canoe or sailing a canoe or buy Sugar Island from the Native Americans. Like many canoe sailors he started in flatwater racing, now called “sprint” racing, went on to whitewater racing, paddling trips, and then settled into sailing a canoe. He was a ground camper at Sugar Island all his life; Lake Sebago was his second home for much of his life.

As a young man after his navy service in World War II, he started the Colorado Whitewater Association in 1954. He took time out of his busy schedule to form the Rocky Mountain Division of the ACA. He went on to become Commodore of the ACA from 1975-1976. As a dedicated ACA leader who provided much service to Canoesport, he was the 2012 recipient of the prestigious ACA Legend of Paddling Award. 

Known for wooden boats he designed and built, instruction and racing, he also wrote extensively about the history of racing and canoeing sailing. When you see the popular cruising ACA sail, a Dragonfly canoe, the instructions to build a simple rig to sail a canoe, remember Larry Zuk. He left the ACA and Canoesport a better place.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Photo Contest Winner!

The winner of our photo contest is Sheila Goss! 

Sheila submitted the photo above featuring her pups Edgar and Gryphon - they look like they are ready for summer!

Thanks for all your submissions.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Grant Opportunity!

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 ACA staff member Kelsey Bracewell at

Thank you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Last Minute Holiday Shopping? Support Paddlesports While You're At It!

Don't forget you can support the ACA, at no extra cost to you, when you shop through the ACA's Amazon Smile link!

Here's how it works:

1) Visit our AmazonSmile link:

2) Shop like you normally would on

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. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Save the Date for the 2016 ACA National Paddlesports Conference!

Save the date! The 2016 ACA National Paddlesports Conference is scheduled for November 11th, 2016, in Sausalito, California.

Please mark your calendar and stay tuned for more information about the conference coming soon!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Photo Contest!

We are looking for entries for the "Photo of the Month" feature in the next issue of Paddle! This is a great chance to get your photo out in front of a wide audience and win some prizes while you're at it.

Please email all entries by Friday, December 11 to Catharine Lloyd, ACA Communications Coordinator, at Please include "Photo Contest -December" in the email subject line. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In Case You Missed It: Stories of Survival

In partnership with the talented folks at Anzovin Studio and the US Coast Guard, the ACA has created an animated memoir-style film that confronts some of the challenging situations that even experienced paddlers face. 

Stories of Survival is a film to watch and share with your loved ones. 

If you are an instructor, and you would like to use this film for teaching purposes, please contact our Communications Department at

Click here to watch the video on our YouTube channel, and please share it with your network!

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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Important Changes to PFD Type Classifications

The ACA recently represented paddlesports in Chicago, IL for two days of meetings pertaining to the upcoming changes to labels for lifejackets.

As the traditional lifejacket Type codes are phased out over the next several years and new devices are brought to market, we will keep the paddlesports community informed and will update all ACA course curriculum accordingly.

For more information, please visit:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Going Paddling? Be Prepared For Anything...

By Rachel Johnson, Executive Director, National Safe Boating Council

You’ve checked everything off your list – life jackets, sunscreen, food and snacks – you’re ready to enjoy the perfect day on the water with friends. Despite being fully prepared, the weather shifts unexpectedly, and pretty soon you find yourself in a lot of trouble, fast. You grab your cellphone from your pocket to call for help, but there’s no signal. Fortunately, your vessel has a registered Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with GPS capabilities, and Search and Rescue forces are alerted and arrive within minutes to help.

Each year, more than 500 lives are lost in recreational boating accidents. While it is very important for boaters to understand the importance of boating safety, such as always wearing a life jacket, staying sober and following navigation rules – having an emergency locator 406 MHz beacon on board their boat or on their life jacket can mean the difference between life and death when it’s critical for Search and Rescue forces to arrive as soon as possible.

The Saved by the Beacon National Safe Boating Campaign, led by the National Safe Boating Council (, shares the importance of boaters owning an emergency locator (406 MHz) beacon and understanding how to use them correctly in the case of an emergency. An emergency locator beacon is used to alert Search and Rescue forces by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest Rescue Coordination Center.

Boaters often prefer an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) over a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), because it is registered to the vessel, not the person. An EPIRB should be mounted in an area on the vessel free of overhead obstructions, yet easily accessible (Category I). It may also be carried in a ditch bag, which is a compact floating bag designed to hold items a boater may need in an emergency (Category II). An EPIRB is waterproof and may be manually or automatically activated. They are specifically designed for a worse case scenario of just you and the beacon in the water. If your EPIRB has GPS coordinates, it can alert Search and Rescue of your position in as little as 2-3 minutes. Owning a properly installed EPIRB is a sound investment for boaters, as it may save your life and the lives of loved ones during an emergency.

A PLB works in the same way as an EPIRB, but is registered to the person, not a vessel, and may be used on land as well as the water. However, PLBs require a little more effort to operate, as they must be manually activated and held out of the water to function properly. A PLB is small enough for boaters to attach to one’s life jacket, however, if it is not attached to your life jacket, you may not have it when you need it the most. The National Safe Boating Council believes wearing a life jacket is a simple life-saving strategy for recreational boaters. Learn more at

Both EPIRBs and PLBs must be registered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at – it is very easy and takes just a few minutes that might become a lifetime of survival. If any of your information changes, you must update your registration (phone, address, marital status, sell your boat).

There are hundreds of stories of peoples’ lives saved by the use of emergency locator beacons. To learn more, please visit Before you go boating next, make sure to purchase, register, and have on board your vessel an emergency locator 406 MHz beacon. You never know when it may save your life and the lives of others.

Rachel Johnson is executive director of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC), a nationally trusted resource for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education, outreach and training. Saved by the Beacon is a national campaign led by the NSBC to help recreational boaters understand the importance of emergency locator (406 MHz) beacons and how to use them correctly in the case of a boating emergency. The campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, please visit Follow NSBC at and

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Do You Know an Instructor Who Deserves Recognition?

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

To view previous winners of the Instructor of the Month award, click here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Download the Paddle Ready App?

In a recent Richmond Times Dispatch article, writer Tee Clarkson reviews the ACA's Paddle Ready app. He touts the float plan feature as his favorite. "With the cold water time of year approaching, these features could certainly be helpful in keeping paddlers safe and those at home without worry," says Clarkson. 

We've recently added some awesome new features to Paddle Ready to make it even better. Download it for your iPhone or Android device, and see for yourself.

We would love to know what you think of the latest updates. Please send us an email at with your feedback, or consider leaving a review in the app store!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Legendary Olympic Coach Bill Endicott Presents ACA Legends of Paddling Award to Kent Ford

At the ACA Instructor Trainer Conference Legendary Olympic Coach Bill Endicott had the opportunity to present the Legends of Paddling Award to an amazing paddler and educator, Kent Ford. We salute you, Kent - for being such an incredible influence and positive force for the sport of paddling that we all love. 

Kent Ford's unique background includes over thirty years of teaching paddling, international whitewater slalom racing, winning world titles, coaching for the U.S. Kayak Team, and working as public address announcer at the last five Olympic Games. Now Kent focuses on teaching recreational boating to a worldwide audience through his company Performance Video. His twenty videos and books have influenced the education of half a million paddlers and have made him one of the most recognized paddlers in whitewater sport worldwide. Best of all, Kent's teaching style is enthusiastic, supportive, and open-minded. 

As an ACA Instructor Trainer, Kent has led programs at most major U.S. paddle schools, as well as in Switzerland, Canada, and Japan. A veteran of over 340 rivers in 28 countries, Kent has been a member of expeditions to the Soviet Union, Costa Rica, Turkey, and Mexico. Kent holds a BS. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and resides in Durango, Colorado. 

A volunteer member of the City of Durango's water commission, Kent advocates for sustainable water policy. His pro-bono video productions on threats to the Dolores and Animas Rivers helped excite advocacy and protection on their behalf. Other recent projects include organizing the Whitewater Symposium, an industry roundtable supporting the health of paddlesports. Kent was recently inducted to the International Whitewater Hall of Fame. One of his more recent projects was "The Call of the River," a documentary film on the vibrant history of whitewater paddling.