Friday, January 30, 2015

How Do You Paddle Green?

For those who know the joys of paddling or love being in or around water corridors, nothing is more important than the stewardship of our waterways. The unique connection between paddlers and the natural world is what drives the ACA’s stewardship program. 

Michelle and Jayson Huston are ACA members who frequently paddle the Potomac River near their home in West Virginia and use their Paddle Green Bags to pick up any trash they encounter along the way.

Here's what Michelle had to say about the photo of her husband above:

"Some of the last accessible water on the upper Potomac (Taylor's Landing) turned out to be an area that's going to take a lot more clean-up effort to make a dent in. With our fish/safety gear, we ran out of room in the boat hauling this load back up river for pack out, sadly. Really impressed with the ACA Paddle Green Bags, though; each weighted a good 60-70lbs and took both of us to lift. We were afraid they'd rip, but neither one even popped a stitch!"

An estimated 6.14 million tons of debris enter marine environments each year. And 80% of this debris is land-based trash that enters oceans via freshwater rivers and streams.

As paddlers, we can make a difference! Join the ACA Stream to Sea Initiative today and help stop marine debris at its source. 

Whenever you grab your paddle, make sure you grab a Paddle Green Bag, too. 

Do you have a Stewardship story to tell? Email for a chance to be featured on the Water Blog and ACA social media. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

ACA Adaptive Paddling Program Keeps Getting Stronger

Following the great success of the 2014 Adaptive Paddling Summit in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the ACA has compiled a promotional video to highlight some of the equipment, venues, and faces of the ACA’s adaptive paddling program.

Since 1990, the ACA has been at the forefront of adaptive paddling issues, technology, and trends. ACA’s Adaptive Paddling Workshops have reached thousands of paddlesports instructors and students across the country by providing cutting-edge teaching methods and equipment modification techniques. ACA Adaptive endorsed instructors can now be found at almost every adaptive sport discipline across the country, and are continuing to make a splash in the paddling community.

For more information on how to get involved in this life-changing program, please visit or contact ACA Education & Outreach Coordinator, Joe Moore:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heads Up South Dakota Paddlers!

ACA Chief Operating Officer Chris Stec will be presenting at the upcoming South Dakota Canoe & Kayak Association Annual Conference this Saturday in Sioux Falls.

Date: Saturday, January 31

Time: 11am – 3:30pm

Location: The Outdoor Campus – 4500 S. Oxbow Ave. Sioux Falls, SD

For additional information, please visit:

Topics Chris will be covering:
  • Adaptive Paddling 
  • Latest in paddlesports education 
  • Updates on Stewardship / conservation opportunities 
For those of you in the area, we hope you can make it! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prone Kayaking Curriculum Discussion

At the upcoming Safety Education & Instruction Council (SEIC) meeting, Instructors and Instructor Trainers will be discussing whether or not to add a Prone Kayaking Curriculum to the ACA's National Paddlesports Instruction Program.

Before then, the SEIC wants to hear what you think on the matter! To make your voice heard, call the ACA conference line on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at 7pm ET and participate in the conversation. 

For more information, and instructions for joining the conference call, please click here

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Water Trails

Whether you travel north or south this year, two new national water trails provide the opportunity to explore and connect to America’s waterways.

Recognizing the achievements of federal, state, and local partners, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has designated the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail and the Huron River Water Trail as the 17th and 18th trails of the National Water Trails System. 

“Expanding water trails nationwide improves the environment and adds value to local economies,” said Secretary Jewell. “The National Water Trail System helps people discover the natural beauty and history of local places and provides fun opportunities for families to explore the world around them.”

Click here to read the full news release from The National Park Service.

Looking for water trails near you? Check out the ACA Recommended Water Trail Directory

Friday, January 23, 2015

Funding For Your Stewardship Efforts

We are thrilled to announce that we will be offering the L.L. Bean Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Grants for the 13th year in a row! 

The CFS Grant Program provides funding to local and regional paddling clubs and organizations that undertake stewardship projects on waterways in their area. The purpose of the program is to encourage paddling clubs to take an active role in protecting and improving the nation's waterways. 

CFS grants are available for projects that utilize volunteers in efforts to protect, maintain or restore recreational waterways, to provide for or improve public access, or to enhance safe navigation. Eligible projects include: cleaning up waterways, clearing in-stream safety hazards, maintaining access areas, erecting signs and controlling erosion, establishing and maintaining paddle trails, acquiring threatened access points, and providing sanitary facilities. Grant amounts range from $100-$1,000.

Applications will be available online starting February 2, 2015, so be sure to check back then!

In the meantime, you can learn more about the CFS Grant Program here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Life Jackets for All!

The Sea Tow Foundation is now accepting applications from non-profit organizations and state boating agencies around the country to host a life jacket loaner program in their local areas. The application and additional information can be found on the front page of the Sea Tow website:

If you know of a boating agency in your area that would benefit from having a life jacket loaner stand and a set of life jackets from the Sea Tow Foundation, please feel free to pass this information on to them. Our goal is to make sure that everyone has access to life jackets that they can borrow for free and will wear while spending time on or around the water. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Alabama Cup Races Coming Up

It is that time of year again! The holidays are over, the rivers are running and the Alabama Cup Races are just around the corner. Race Dates are:
  • Locust Fork Invitational - Feb. 7 & 8, 2015
  • Mulberry Fork Canoe and Kayak Races - March 7 & 8, 2015
  • Locust Fork Whitewater Classic - March 28 & 29, 2015
Visit to register today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NASBLA's Education Standards Panel Welcomes New Members

ACA Board Member Robin Pope has been appointed to NASBLA's National Education Standards Panel for the 2015-2017 term. 

The 15-member panel is charged with reviewing, developing and revising the National Boating Education Standards using open, consensus-based procedures conforming to the Essential Requirements for Due Process of American National Standards Institute. Interest categories are Public, Commercial, State Boating Agency, Federal Boating Agency and Non-Governmental/Nonprofit Organization.

Learn more about ACA Public Policy work here

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you're getting out on the water today, be sure to leave it better than you found it. And don't forget to take advantage of free entry to National Parks!

The ACA office is currently closed and will reopen Tuesday, January 12.

Paddle safe!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dos and Don'ts of Winter/Early Spring Kayak Fishing

In the latest edition of Rapid, our friends at the National Safe Boating Council offer some great tips for paddling in the chilly waters of winter and early spring. Accidents are unexpected and happen very quickly, no matter how much experience you have as a paddler. Educate yourself to stay safe.
  • Do make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. Even experienced swimmers can experience shock within one minute in the frigid water and may lose muscle control within 10 minutes.
  • Do file a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, passengers, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment, and emergency contacts. Download a free float plan template at (or send one electronically with the Paddle Ready app)
...Click on over to Kayak Angler Mag to read the full list of tips!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Adaptive Paddling Summit 2016

Given the success of last year's event, the ACA is planning to host another Adaptive Paddling Summit in 2016! 

We are currently searching for a host city and an outdoor recreation partner to co-host our next Adaptive Paddling Summit. Please click here to view a Request for Proposals.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis and must be received no later than March 31, 2015.

Below are a few quotes from attendees of the 2014 Adaptive Paddling Summit:

"Truly an amazing event for people of all abilities."

"Not only did I connect with adaptive paddling enthusiasts, but I also made a far stronger connection with ACA."

"Best organized event I have attended in years. Re-established value of ACA conferences for me."

"The entire summit surpassed my expectations, I would not hesitate attending another Adaptive Paddling Summit."

"I have pages of notes. I have learned a lot of new information. I can't imagine not attending yearly"

"It was an excellent summit. The best conference I have ever been to."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winter Fitness!

Have you made paddling New Year's Resolutions that you are determined to keep? Check out this article by ACA Instructor Heather Herbeck on how to increase your fitness now for the upcoming season!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Congratulations to January Kokatat Instructor of the Month, April Zilg!

April Zilg is an avid paddler, an ACA Level 2: Essentials of SUP Instructor, and an ACA SUP Yoga Instructor. What started as a recreational hobby in 2009, became so much more when she got into racing. Today April is a top paddler on the east coast, placing first in several championships and in the top ten in the Carolina Cup and the Battle of the Paddle. 

Click here to read more about April's adventures! 

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Discount for ACA Instructors

MTI is now offering a 30% discount on all of their life jackets for ACA Instructors!

Select models that will be of interest to instructors and guides include: FLUID 2.0, SLIPSTREAM, CASCADE, THUNDER R-SPEC

If you are interested in this discount, please contact the SEI Department for an order form. 

MTI Thunder R-Spec

Friday, January 9, 2015

Want to Win $10k? Think You Can Design a Better Life Jacket?

The BoatUS Foundation, along with the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), have teamed up to seek out the newest technologies and design ideas with the “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition” which is now accepting entries! 

“We believe there are some creative folks out there that can help us rethink a 100-year-old design with fresh, out-of-the-box ideas,” said BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston. A $10,000 cash award goes to the winning designer and inventors have until April 15, 2015 to submit their idea to

“Waterway users are always looking for more comfortable life jackets,” added Edmonston. “While current models of life jackets save lives every day, many are still bulky and uncomfortable, leaving boaters reluctant to wear them. This competition hopes to challenge that mindset.”

Entries that embrace new technologies and non-traditional thinking are being encouraged from individuals or groups, such as high school science clubs, collegiate design programs or even boat and fishing clubs. There are no rules regarding types of materials to be used or whether the design meets any current US standards. Entries can be as simple as hand-drawn theoretical designs to working prototypes.

For more information or to enter visit

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Looking for ACA Instruction Near You?

Our new Paddle Ready app lets you easily search for ACA instructors in your area. Whether you want to give stand up paddleboarding a try, learn how to roll your kayak, or learn some swiftwater rescue techniques, Paddle Ready will set you up with an ACA instructor who can help you reach your goals. 

The app also lets you create float plans and send them to friends, get river levels and weather forecasting, access a library of paddling videos, and so much more.

Download Paddle Ready for FREE on your iPhone or Android today!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Surf Expo Starts Tomorrow!

The ACA will be at Surf Expo, January 8-10, at booth #991 in the SUP section near the demo pool. 

Come say hi, learn about the ACA's SUP Program, and pick up some free stuff! See you there!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kayaking with NASA

"'Rocket kayaking' may sound like the latest trendy extreme sport, with mental images of small watercraft transformed into dangerous airborne projectiles. But, for in-the-know paddlers on Florida’s east coast, also known as the Space Coast, hopping into a kayak is simply the best way to experience the sights, sounds, and pure power of a rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral."

Click here to read the full story.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Nine Days in the Wilderness: An Old Man, His Son, And a Canoe

"We all know there’s a last time for everything but so often in life we don’t recognize one as such until long after it has passed—the last conversation I had with Gram, the last time I took Mom out for a drive in the country, the last time I read “The Night Before Christmas” to the kids. This one I do recognize. I’ve pretty much understood all along this will likely be my farewell canoe trip and that has focused my mind. Been paying close attention. Haven’t missed much. My notebook’s full. Long after we’ve hauled out and strapped the canoe back on top of Jimmy’s van, I’ll continue to appreciate what we needed to do to get here. Not just the paddling, but everything else, too. This is a gift, one that in no small way helps ease the loss."

Click here to read Jim Doherty's beautiful account of his "Last Trip to Quetico." 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Chattooga III-IV SUP Descent

ACA SUP Instructors Trey Knight, Ben Moore, Dave Hepp, and Atilla Takats recently took a trip down Section III-IV of the Chattooga River, which serves as the border between South Carolina and Georgia. 

This river is a southeast classic whitewater run that has seldom been attempted by SUP. This is a big move forward in the southeast for whitewater SUP!

Click here for more information on ACA SUP courses.