Friday, January 29, 2016

USACK Board Dissolves Partnership with ACA

As of Thursday, January 28th the USACK Board of Directors has decided to end the partnership with the ACA and go another route.

Consequently, the ACA Staff will no longer be providing Membership, Database, Insurance, Website, or Financial services to USACK.

On behalf of the ACA membership, Board of Directors, and staff, we wish all of the coaches, volunteers and athletes training and competing for spots in the upcoming Rio Olympics and Paralympics all the best and fast lines. Best wishes to Team USA!

For additional information, please visit:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Low Head Dams, Also Known as "Drowning Machines"

Paul Malewski and two of his students, in 2016.
When ACA Kayaking Instructor Paul Malewski witnessed a child and his kayak get caught in a low head dam last summer, he knew he had to act fast. 

It was July 2015, and recent heavy rain had pushed the Grand River in Eaton Rapids, Michigan to a level three times higher than normal.

"The little boy was 10. He was a lake paddler and had never paddled in current. The river grabbed him so quick," Malewski said. "Without the training that I had received from the ACA I would not have had the confidence to do what I did."

The ACA National Paddlesports Instruction Program has been acknowledged as the "Gold Standard" of paddlesports education throughout the United States and several foreign countries. We strive to educate as many people as we can about safe paddling practices through skills courses, educational community programs, media outreach, youth programs, and more.

Learn more about the dangers of low head dams

...Then download the free Paddle Ready app to find an ACA instructor near you. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Photo Contest!

Photo by ACA Instructor Matt Hite
Do you love taking photos while you're on the water? We are looking for entries for the "Photo of the Month" feature in the March issue of Paddle! This is a great chance to get your photo out in front of a wide audience.

Here's how to enter:

  • Email all entries by Friday, February 5th, 2016, to Catharine Lloyd, ACA Communications Coordinator, at 
  • Please type "Photo Contest - March 2016" in the email subject line 
  • You may enter up to 5 photos at a time
  • Only high-resolution (over 2MB) photos will be accepted


Photo by ACA Instructor Cindy Scherrer

Friday, January 22, 2016

Picture Yourself Volunteering in Alaska This Summer

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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chasing the Summer in Costa Rica

By Ben Morton, ACA Instructor Trainer Educator and owner of Precision Paddlesports.

Every year, I am fortunate enough to travel down to Costa Rica in December to guide a few whitewater kayak trips through my company, Precision Paddlesports. It's always an amazing experience to visit and work with old friends, share my love for Costa Rican rivers with my guests, and paddle some amazing whitewater. Below, I've listed three (of the many) reasons that Costa Rica should be on your radar for your next winter paddling trip.

The Rivers

There are beautiful rivers throughout the country; north, south, and towards the coasts. The rivers that I generally guide on during my trips are on various sections of the Sarapaqui, Pacuare, and Pejibaye. The Sarapaqui offers great class II, class III, and class IV sections of river that are surrounded by lush farmlands and nature preserves. The sections of the Pacuare that I normally paddle are class III-III+(IV) and are absolutely stunning (blue water, lush jungle, and super fun rapids). The Pejibaye River is one of the closest rivers to Turrialba (where we generally base ourselves in Costa Rica) and offers a few really great sections of rivers. There is a fun class II warm-up run, a class II-III section, and a narrow technical class III-IV section. 

The Landscape and Weather

Costa Rica offers enormous biodiversity within its landscape. While paddling on the Pacuare River, you'll be surrounded by steep jungle mountains. The Pejibaye River offers more gradual and rolling hills, and the Sarapaqui River is generally surrounded my more mellow flat lands. Because Costa Rica is a relatively small country, it's not uncommon to start off paddling in the mountains and by the end of the day notice that the landscape is changing dramatically as you get closer to the coast. Over the past four years, I've chosen to visit Costa Rica in December because this is at the tail end of the "rainy season" and start of the summer. The benefit of visiting this time of year is having solid water levels with really warm air temps (75-85 degrees Fahrenheit). While there is always the chance some rivers have "too much" water in them towards the beginning of December, I'd prefer "pushy" water vs. low water in the later months. 

The People

Costa Ricans are some of the friendliest people in the world, period. One of the reasons I return year after year now is because I've developed such close friendships with some of the Costa Rican guides I work with and other people I see there year after year. It's one of the greatest feelings to be a visitor in a country, but feel made at home by the locals. It's quite normal to be greeted by every Costa Rican paddler and guide going down the river with a big smile and "Pura Vida" (translates to: pure life. It is commonly used as a greeting, farewell, etc, etc). The people in Costa Rica (especially the ones you find on the river) are laid back, happy, and just exude positive energy.

There are so many other reasons why Costa Rica should be on your radar, but the reasons listed above should at least get you scheming about your future winter plans.

For more information about kayak trips in Costa Rica visit And remember the best kayaker is the one having the most fun!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The ACA office is closed today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. We will reopen at 9am on Tuesday, January 19.

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!

Paddle safe.

Friday, January 15, 2016

ACA at Surf Expo

ACA International Paddlesports Ambassador Dave Burden (left) with ACA Education & Outreach Coordinator T.J. Turner (right)

The ACA is currently attending Surf Expo in Florida. 

The show features approximately 2,600 booths of apparel and hardgoods and a full line-up of special events, including fashion shows, awards ceremonies, seminars, and demos.

If you're at the show, we hope you will stop by the ACA's booth #3303 to say hello! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

In Case You Missed it: The January Issue of Paddle is Out!

Paddle is the ACA's new digital magazine that is published every other month, keeping you up-to-date on news in the world of paddlesports!

Visit to read the January issue today.

If you have feedback, story ideas, or photos for future issues, please email them directly to Communications Coordinator Catharine Lloyd at

Monday, January 11, 2016

Don't Miss the 21st Annual Quietwater Symposium

The Quiet Water Society is proud to announce the dates for our 21st symposium. As we begin a third decade of “Outdoor Michigan’s Favorite Indoor Show” we embrace the same principles with the same fervor that prompted the originators of The Quiet Water Symposium in 1995. The 2015 symposium smashed all previous attendance records and with your help we will do it again in 2016. 

The 21st Annual Quiet Water Symposium will be held once again on the campus of Michigan State University in conjunction with Michigan State University’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Week.

More information is available here

Friday, January 8, 2016

Win a Weekend of Free ACA Instruction for Your Group!

Organize a group of 10 or more people for an Earth Day weekend cleanup (April 22-24, 2016) and your group could win a weekend of instruction with an ACA Instructor Trainer! 

The ACA is committed to cleaning up Marine Debris from our watersheds. To date, our members have removed more than 620,000 pounds of Marine Debris! 

Hosting or participating in a Marine Debris cleanup is a great way for people to connect with paddle sports and their watershed. This year, we are asking our members, Paddle American Clubs (PAC’s) and Outdoor Livery and Guide Services (OLG’s) to host a watershed cleanup on the Earth Day weekend April 22nd -24th, 2016.

Interested? For more information, please visit:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nominate Your Favorite ACA Instructor!

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

Monday, January 4, 2016

Surf Expo is Coming Up!

The ACA will be at booth #3303 during the Surf Expo Trade Show January 14-16 in Orlando, Florida. 

If you're planning to attend, we hope you'll drop by our booth and say hello!