Presented to the top ACA sanctioned event as nominated by the paddling public.
2016 - Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta
Established in 1986, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is the non-profit organization transforming and revitalizing Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource. BBP’s geographic focus is the 10-square mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. Thanks to the generous support of foundations, corporations, individuals and government agencies, BBP has raised and leveraged more than $150 million for the redevelopment and stewardship of the waterfront.
Buffalo Bayou officially starts just west of Katy, Texas and flows approximately 53 miles east through the Port of Houston and Houston Ship Channel into Galveston Bay and onto the Gulf of Mexico. Ever since the Allen Brothers founded Houston in 1836, Buffalo Bayou has played a critical role in the evolution of the city. But in more recent years, Buffalo Bayou had been a neglected river. Additionally, Houstonians built a perception of the city’s bayous as drainage ditches since a number of the city’s sewage-treatment plants discharged directly into Buffalo Bayou. The water smelled and was not deemed safe for recreational boating or swimming. But in an act that was part joke and part celebration of the bayou, Wayne Walls, a local canoer, and his friends from the Houston Canoe Club created “The Reeking Regatta: The World’s Smelliest Canoe Race” in 1972 with posters and a logo that depicted a paddler wearing a gas mask. Expecting only a handful of people to participate, the first-ever race in 1971 gathered 120 brave paddlers and then grew to 500 paddlers within 5 years – the largest race “west of the Mississippi.” More environmental-awareness and social gathering than official boat race, participants navigated trash and debris in the water and were greeted with beer steins at the finish line at Allen’s Landing.
In the late 1990s, Buffalo Bayou Partnership took charge of planning and executing the annual boat race and renamed it to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta. Now 700-900 participants – skilled and novice paddlers ages 12 and up – in approximately 600 kayaks and canoes, race down a 15-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou. It is Texas’ large canoe and kayak race and is one of the top 5 largest in the nation. The event attracts hundreds of spectators to the bayou’s banks along the recently renovated Buffalo Bayou Park and to the finish line in downtown’s Sesquicentennial Park to see this colorful and uniquely Houstonian spectacle on a pleasant weekend in March.
2015 - Penobscot River Whitewater Nationals Regatta
In the beginning, it ran free. Home to Native American People, fish, birds, wildlife. Dams were constructed in various locations in the 1800-1900’s. The Penobscot River slowly became a series of impoundments, much of its vitality sapped. The migratory fish slowly stopped returning, the birds lost much of their food supply and their numbers declined. Recreational opportunities were diminished.
Take it down and they will come……In the fall of 2013 the two lowermost dams had disappeared, a result of the remarkable work of the Penobscot River Restoration Project, a collaboration of various stakeholders previously at odds with one another. The Penobscot Nation, Hydro Generators, Conservation organizations, and Federal and State Fish and Wildlife agencies cooperated to strike agreements that ultimately led to the removal of these dams. The stakeholders were unified by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust’s vision and determination. Racing canoes are built from fiber reinforced plastic – Fiberglass, Kevlar and resins. Alone, these materials have no utility, the cloth unravels and will blow away in the breeze. The resin has little strength without the reinforcement of the fibers. Combining these materials yields laminates that can be creatively formed for speed, stiffness, resilience and durability. The Penobscot Restoration Trust is the resin, the glue that binds the partners in the project together, resulting in a unity of purpose and accomplishment. And they came: The first spring, 2014, welcomed new runs of alewives, shad, sturgeon. This year even more – hundreds of thousands of alewives and even an increase in Atlantic Salmon numbers. Something else came in 2014: Bashabez Run, the first canoe race on the free-flowing lower Penobscot in modern times. The success of the Bashebez Run naturally led to the formation of a race committee and a bid to host the 2015 ACA Whitewater Open Canoe National Championships. And they came: 162 strong, with boats, paddles, helmets and PFDs. The Penobscot River Whitewater Nationals Regatta marked a number of firsts in Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Competition: For the first time in the history of ACA WWOCD a National Championship Regatta for open canoe, kayak and SUP classes was conducted at one venue. The first time such a competition was held on a 9.5 mile segment of the Penobscot River that had been restored just 2 years earlier to unencumbered free flow after nearly 200 years of dams and impoundments. The event was hosted by the Penobscot Indian Nation a Native American people that calls the Penobscot River their ancestral home. This tribe includes a number of current and former ACA National champions and one individual, Neil Phillips, who played an important role in early ACA WWOC competitions in the 1970’s. It is no coincidence that one of the most popular racing canoes over the last 25 years is the Old Town Penobscot. A design inspired by the handmade bark canoes of the Penobscot people. No less than five neighboring communities and towns border the race course, contributing to and benefiting from the planning and running of the Regatta. The ACA Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Committee gave an unequivocal endorsement of the Regatta by voting to return to Old Town Maine and the Penobscot River for National Championship Regattas in 2016 and 2017. The racers and their families who return, like the migratory fish in the Penobscot, will find a vibrant and welcoming host community.
2014 - StreamSweepers
StreamSweepers is a youth training and job corps for college-aged youth in Central Virginia. StreamSweepers perform river health diagnostics and sweep up tires, plastic, glass and any other garbage small enough to get in a canoe. This incredibly popular project was piloted during the summer of 2013 by the Center for Natural Capital in Orange and Madison Counties of Central Virginia. Recently, the StreamSweepers Advisory Board and the Center for Natural Capital‘s Board of Directors approved Virginia river reaches to be swept by StreamSweepers for 2014. Last year, Sweepers completed roughly 20 miles of river from the Greene County line to Rt. 15 near Orange. This year, 20 miles of the Rapidan River, from Rt. 15 to Rt. 522, and 20 miles of the Robinson River, from Rt. 29 to its confluence, will be assessed and swept. This event is overseen by ACA instructor Beth Seale, a Level 2 Essentials of River Kayaking Instructor who is also teaching the youth how to be safe while paddling on the river during their cleanups and other studies.
2013 - North Fork Championship & Whitewater Festival
North Fork Championship and Whitewater Festival was sanctioned by the ACA. The
North Fork Payette event has strong paddlers, and comes with an even stronger
paddling community. The greater Boise area has long attracted and supported
those most committed to an active outdoor lifestyle. This community comes
together to create the NFC Whitewater Festival. This festival is collectively
made up of businesses and friends who have cut their teeth on some of North
America’s most pristine natural terrain. Many of the businesses in the region
manufacture equipment and gear for most of the recreationalists in all outdoor
water sports. The
Whitewater Festival invited people to enjoy an eventful weekend and watch some
amazing kayaking. Paddlers came from all across the world to compete in the North
Fork Championship, and the river seemed to rise to the challenge. The day
before the event, the NF Payette came up to a challenging and awesome flow –
showing its classic, impressive identity. Mad
inspiring times were placed in the Expert Division early Thursday morning. This
set the tone for how stiff the competition of the NFC in its second year would
be. The endurance and athleticism that were shown throughout the whole event highlighted
kayaking as a legitimate extreme sport and not just a past time. The
second year confirmed that the NFC is here and it’s here to stay. A huge shout
out to this amazing river and all the awesome people that make the NFC happen.We
are excited for this event to continue hosting the highest level of competitive
2012 - Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Nationals
This national championship event was held on the Nantahala River in Wesser, NC and was hosted by Tom Blue, William McDuffie, and Lynne McDuffie of French Broad Canoe Racing, Inc. The purpose of the ACA Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Committee is to encourage, sanction and sponsor amateur competition in ...Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver ... at local, regional, national, and international levels.
2011 - Oregon Members Only Backcountry Paddling Excursion with Slickrock Expeditions
Master guide Burt Kornegay of Slickrock Expeditions, based out of western North Carolina, led a varied group of ACA members on one of the 2011 Members-Only Backcountry Paddling Excursions to a remote river in Oregon. This trip combined tandem canoeing through scenic landscapes, whitewater rapids, great food, and the camaraderie that can only be experienced through a multi-day, self-supported wilderness canoe trip.
2010 - Camp Cup: Alzar School & Dixie Division
The Camp Cup Challenge is a whitewater paddling event involving numerous summer camps from North Carolina and other states. The Camp Cup Challenge is put on by the Alzar School with the asistance of regional ACA volunteers and hosted by the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Nantahala River. The event is an opportunity for young paddlers to meet and develop friendships with like-minded youths, and gives kids a venue in which to build a community of active, engaged, and enthusiastic peers. Event highlights include a beginner-friendly slalom race on the Nantahala Bridge Gates as well as a downriver race through Nantahala Falls.
2009 - Open Canoe Slalom Nationals
This international championship event was held in Wausau, WI and hosted by the great folks at the Wausau Canoe & Kayak Corporation. The purpose of the ACA Open Canoe Slalom Committee is: to encourage, sanction and sponsor amateur competition in "whitewater open canoe” slalom at local, regional, national, and international levels.
2008 - Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Nationals
This national championship event was held on section IX of the French Broad River in Hot Springs, NC and was hosted by Tom Blue and French Broad Canoe Racing, Inc. The purpose of the ACA Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Committee is to encourage, sanction and sponsor amateur competition in ...Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver ... at local, regional, national, and international levels.
2007 - Teva Mountain Games
The Teva Mountain Games are one of the country's largest celebrations of adventure sports, music, and the mountain lifestyle. Professional and amateur outdoor adventure athletes from around the world converge upon the mountains and rivers of Vail to compete in eight sports and 23 disciplines including: x-country, freeride, slopestyle and road cycling, freestyle, 8-Ball, sprint and extreme kayaking, raft cross, World Cup Bouldering, stand up paddle sprint and surf cross, as well as trail, mud and road running, dog comps and the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. In addition to the athletic events, the Teva Mountain Games include a mountain photography competition, adventure film school, film festival, an interactive exhibition and demo area, live music, and mountain lifestyle parties. The Teva Mountain Games are a project of the Vail Valley Foundation.
2005 - Two Harbors Kayak Festival
Two Harbors Kayak Festival offers four separate kayak races: Youth Races, Emma Challenge Tandem Sprints, Betty's Pies 5 Mile race, and finally the Great River Energy Kayak & Canoe Marathon, all with various age groups and boat categories. In addition to the four races there are local exhibitors, kayak & outrigger equipment demos, stand up paddle boarding demos & classes, beginning level instructional tours, kids kayaking, treasure hunt and climbing wall, live music, food, fun, and more! There is something for everyone at this one of a kind paddling festival. The racing portion of the THKF has grown steadily and is the oldest and largest open water race on the Great Lakes. It is well known for its challenging course, stunning scenery and its superb organization. Some great rivalries, stories and friendships have evolved over the years.
2004 - Ohio RiverWay PaddleFest
Cincinnati is the paddling capital of the United States and the Ohio River Way Paddlefest is the largest canoe/kayak paddling event in the Midwest with over 2,200 paddlers making their annual trek down the Ohio river during Paddlefest. It is a celebration dedicated to enjoying the experience of "paddling the Ohio River” one of Cincinnati's greatest natural assets that sits right in our own back yard. Paddlefest is a fun filled family event designed to bring people together to paddle, enjoy the outdoors, listen to great local music and much more for the whole family.
2003 - Ohio Adaptive Paddling Workshop
The Ohio Adaptive Paddling Workshop (APW) is the longest continually running APW in the county. This four day workshop is a great way to learn how to outfit canoes and kayaks for people with disabilities and is an endorsement for any ACA instructor but you do not have to be an instructor to participate in the workshop. This program is run through the hard work and volunteerism of ACA Instructors, Trainers and local sponsors.
2003 - 33rd ICF Flatwater Racing World Championships
The 2003 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships were held September 10–14, 2003 in Gainesville, Georgia, United States at Lake Lanier. Located north of Atlanta, this was also where the canoe sprint and rowing events for the 1996 Summer Olympics took place. The men's competition consisted of nine Canadian (single paddle, open boat) and nine kayak events. Women competed in nine events, all in kayak. This was the 33rd championships in canoe sprint. This event was also the first time women's Canoe exhibition events were offered at the Flatwater Racing World Championships. The ACA was a sponsor of this ICF event.
2002 - Midwest Freestyle Symposium
Welcome to the Midwest FreeStyle Symposium! The MFS offers excellent instruction in a quiet water venue for people wishing to improve paddling and precise boat control skills. Courses are offered in all skill levels and are taught by ACA certified instructors. Student/instructor ratio is limited to 5 to 1. We are located in the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and can provide info on activities such as hiking, biking, historic tours, shopping, etc. for non-paddling friends or spouses upon request. The event also hosts the National Interpretive Freestyle Canoe Championships.
2001 - East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival
Come out to James Island County Park and immerse yourself in a full weekend of the history, technique, hands-on experience, and fun of canoeing and kayaking. The East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival includes lectures, on-water classes, and demonstrations directed to the novice and the experienced paddler. The heart of the festival is four classrooms run simultaneously throughout the three-day event. Refine your skills in a master class presented by many of the leading experts in the paddling world. Learn new strokes, rescues, or rolls with expert instruction and meet other knowledgeable paddlesport enthusiasts. Dozens of commercial exhibitors will be on-hand to give you a chance to try before you buy. At the East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival, you will be able to test boats, paddles, and accessories on the water at the festival site. You will also have the opportunity to speak with equipment designers and manufacturers throughout the weekend.
2000 - Round Valley Roundup
1999 - Round the Island
1998 - Whitewater Open Canoe Nationals
The purpose of the ACA Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Committee is to encourage, sanction and sponsor amateur competition in ...Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver ... at local, regional, national, and international levels.
1998 - Western Carolina Rescue Rodeo
Organized by Chris Bell, teams from throughout the Southeast and beyond participated in six judged events: a rope throw for speed, accuracy and technique;a self rescue incorporating a roll and a swim in class II water;an equipment roundup in which teams race to recover equipment dropped into class II water; a team rescue in class II water; a rescue scenario in which the team encounters a victim of a common river accident playing a scripted role; and a first aid scenario in which the team demonstrates their mastery of skills similar to those taught in Red Cross CPR and Advanced First Aid classes. Though nominally a competition, the competitive aspect of the rodeo is friendly and low-key. The event concluded with a barbecue dinner and raffle. A range of ACA certified Swiftwater Rescue Instructors and Trainers assisted with this event.