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!