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The 2016 National Paddlesports Conference has a great deal in store for you.The conference will provide a extremely wide array of opportunities including; educationally inspiring classroom sessions, stimulating slide shows, open panel discussions and hands front row experiences on  and off the water.


The following is basic information on several of the educational sessions. It includes information on who is presenting, where and when during the main body of the conference.


Surfski Paddling with Epic Expert

Presented By: Kenny Howell

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 10:00-12:00

Location: SeaTrek Dock


The surfski is the fastest, most exciting, high performance paddle craft on the water! If you are interested in paddling for fitness, racing, or simply enjoying the thrill of an extremely efficient hull design, then check out a surfski! You can enjoy surfski paddling on calm water, rivers, and open-ocean. They are safe (sit-on-top and self-bailing), light (about 30 lbs), and incredibly maneuverable with an under-stern rudder.

We teach essential skills such as proper fitting to the boat, body posture, boat handling, remounting the surfki in open water, and use of the wing paddle. This class is conducted primarily in calm water. For this introductory session, we provide stable models such as the Epic V7, V8 and V10 Sport.


Whitewater of the Sea

Presented By: Cate Hawthorne and Jeff Laxier

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 1:00-5:00

Location: Horse Shoe Bay


Whitewater kayaking in the ocean is good, clean salty fun! Experience the pulse of the sea as we enjoy the playful maneuverability of whitewater kayaks to traverse the coastline and play in coastal rock gardens. Reading and working with the water, whitewater strokes for rock garden play, rocky landing techniques, teamwork, group awareness, and rescue skills specific to whitewater kayaks in the ocean will be taught as we journey along the coast and seek out play spots. Whitewater of the Sea is a fun introduction to kayaking in ocean rock gardens.


Waves, Wildlife, and Wonder of Mendocino

Presented By: Cate Hawthorne and Jeff Laxier

Date and Time: Friday November 11, 1:00-2:00

Location: Bay Model Round Room


Journey behind the redwood curtain to experience the waves, wildlife, and wonder of Northern California's Mendocino County. Three hours north of San Francisco, Mendocino County has gigantic redwood trees, quaint coastal towns, craft beers and wines, local artists, live music, and endless possibilities for outdoor recreation including paddling. For the paddler, Mendocino County has it all – sea, river, and surf. Known for its ocean rock gardens and sea caves, Mendocino County also has quiet, meandering coastal estuaries, Class II – IV whitewater rivers, and wilderness paddling on the “Lost Coast” and the Eel River.


In this multimedia presentation, Cate Hawthorne and Jeff Laxier of Liquid Fusion Kayaking take you on tour of their home waters and share the wonders of Mendocino County.


Coastal Kayaking Basic Strokes and Rescues

Presented By: Albert Donovan

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 8:00-12:00

Location: SeaTrek Dock


The Coastal Kayaking Basic Strokes and Rescues 4 hour session is designed to review and improve the basic coastal kayaking skills and safety of intermediate paddlers. This session will lay the foundation for paddling in protected freshwater or saltwater environments within 1/2 mile of shore, waves less than 1 foot, and winds less than 10 knots. The session will cover basic strokes, rescue techniques, and skills for avoiding a capsize.


Participants will receive individualized coaching of the following skills: Proper fit and adjustment of their kayak for effective control and comfort, attaching and releasing the spray skirt, safely entering and exiting kayak, including wet exit, effective use and control of the paddle, performing basic strokes efficiently, with emphasis on stability strokes, performing T-rescue and paddle float self-rescue


Sea kayaks with bulkheads or approved floatation required. Immersion gear appropriate to water temperature required.


How to SUP With Your PUP, Classroom and On Water Sessions

Presented By: Maria Schultz

Date and Time: Classroom Presentation-Saturday November 11, 3:30-4:30

Location: Bay Model Round Room

Date and Time: On Water Session November 12, 9:00-11:00

Location: Bay Liberty Ship Beach


Over the last several years, stand up paddling–SUP–has become the fastest-growing water sport in the world. Everyone from serious athletes to children are learning to SUP–even the family dog! It’s not how far or how fast you go, it’s the company you keep that makes the adventure special. Learning how to stand up paddle with your dog can be a rewarding experience for every paddler, if it’s done with care. Hear how paddling with dogs changed instructor Maria Schultz’s outlook on life, through her journey into SUP, and why all instructors should encourage dogs to get out on the water too!


Maria Schultz needed a new hobby, and the only requirement was that it be dog friendly. Maria and her dog Riley navigated the challenges of learning a new sport together, and in the process discovered a new bond and a passion for the sport of SUP. Maria and her dogs share what they have learned through her 2 books, How to SUP With Your PUP and Paddle Tails, and through 2-day SUP PUP clinics. Hear Maria’s story and learn why every instructor should encourage students to bring along a pup.


Leadership Beyond Group Management

Presented By: Michael Gray

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 1:00-5:00

Location: SeaTrek Dock


“Know before you go” applies to more than skills and equipment before you embark on a paddling outing. Every member of a group brings skills and traits useful to the group. This session deals with inventorying those assets, recognizing them and using them to build a group well before you hit the water.  Learning to fight the urge to jump into situations that may require you to maintain a wider view and let the groups’ assets come to light.  Leadership begins with solid planning and ends with everyone feeling like they brought something to the party. 


An interactive discussion of a leader’s roll in assessing a group’s assets, “building a group”, increasing situational awareness and having everyone feel vital. A good leader is a facilitator, guide, coach and knows when to let the group speak.



Lessons Learned - Implementing Adaptive Kayaking Programs for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Presented By: Jane Bales

Date and Time: Sunday November 13, 10:15-12:15

Location: Bay Model Round Room


Do you have friends or family members with developmental disabilities?  In addition to recreation and physical activity, which is widely known to increase endorphins and counter depression, adaptive kayaking helps those with developmental disabilities improve problem solving, motor planning, sequencing, and social skills, while building courage, confidence, and character.  Join Jane Bales as she discusses how you can implement an adaptive kayaking program for children and adults with developmental disabilities.  Bales will discuss how Kayak New Mexico, Inc. got started, and the lessons Bales and Co-Founder Kelly Gossett have learned while developing programs for those with developmental disabilities.



Practical Navigation

Presented By: Richard Lee Smith

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 8:00-5:00

Location: SeaTrek Dock


This class will focus on navigating from the cockpit.  Learn and practice all relevant aspects of navigation – plotting a course, taking a bearing, following a heading, using ranges, reading charts, managing boat traffic, etc.  The challenge is taking navigational theories and practices outside the classroom and into your kayak.  Learn skills to help you quickly and accurately navigate while under way on a day long journey on San Francisco Bay.  Students must be equipped with a waterproof chart or chart and case, compass (deck and/or orienteering), a watch and a writing device such as a grease pencil or a waterproof notebook and pencil.  NOAA chart 18649 will be the chart required for the class. Those participants with tracking programs on smart phones or tablets are encouraged to bring those devices along.


The class will start when we gather around a giant blanket sized enlargement of the Navigation Chart for San Francisco Bay. After a brief overview of the day’s paddling route and a review of basic navigational principles and nomenclature we will embark on our journey. During the trip we will undertake many exercises focused on experiencing firsthand the various components of on the water navigation. There will be a lunch stop with world class views that also is an overlook for the crossing of a tide race that will happen after lunch. Our journey back will be an opportunity to combine all that we have learned during the morning’s exercises to navigate back to our starting point. Our wrap up will be again gathered around the large chart to review our day and the new tools we have to enjoy paddling even more.

The course is intended for intermediate to advanced paddlers.


Teaching Beyond the Paddle

Presented By: Katherine Clement

Date and Time: Friday November 11, 4:45-5:45

Location: Bay Model Round Room


Native burial grounds, dragonfly life cycles and canoe rescues come together to create a life experience at every program offered by the Outdoor Skills Department with in Metroparks of the Toledo Area. In this presentation find out how to incorporate natural features and cultural heritage into every paddle program alongside paddling skills. 


Learn the advantages and pitfalls of developing diverse paddle programs to attract a wider audience and gain a larger following of returnees. This presentation will be a 1 hour classroom session.


Connecting people with nature and building an outdoor adventure community is the main focus of the Outdoor Skills Department at Metroparks Toledo. With each program Metroparks strive to incorporate nature’s stories and educate participants on the mission of conservation and preservation. This classroom presentation on “Teaching Beyond the Paddle” will cover how to increase numbers in returning participants by including natural features, cultural heritage and variety in programs.


On average, Metroparks’ participants have very little knowledge of the local waterways, let alone how to navigate these areas with a paddle. In order to attract a wider demographic, outdoor skills programming develops general “Try-It” sessions, Eco-tours and American Canoe Association classes.


With each stroke, staff encourages participants to think beyond the physical skills and develop a connection with nature. From paddling up a creek hidden in plain sight to getting level with dragonflies on a paddle board, Metroparks’ programs set the scene for future adventures. By offering an experience on top of skill building, participants create memories that instill a sense of ownership. This stewardship mentality turns single program participants into returning adventurers.


How to Use Social Media Advertising to Attract More Customers & Create Community

Presented By: Helen Todd

Date and Time: Sunday November 13, 9:00-10:00

Location: Bay Model Round Room



You may have Facebook Profile, and Instagram account, Snapchat and Twitter, but how can you reach beyond your friends and family to bring in new customers to your business? Helen Todd, APR (accredited PR professional) and Level 4 Kayak Instructor, L3 Instructor Trainer, will show the nitty gritty details of how to target new followers with Facebook/Instagram advertising. Like a well-placed brace on the water when you need it carefully crafted social advertising doesn’t have to be expensive to get results. In addition, Helen will talk about organic SEO and how your website content can set you apart from the competition.


Specific takeaways include: How to define your advertising audience: geo-targeting, interests, set spending limits, what type of visuals are allowed in Facebook Advertising and what sizes do they need to be, what is a gif, how do I use it and how do I create them?, other free online tools you can use, and videos.


Using Skills Routines to Improve Demonstration and Assessment

Presented By: Randy Carlson

Date and Time: Friday November 11, 2:15-3:15

Location: Bay Model Round Room


Efficient paddling has many different free flowing movements.   Much of the ACA curriculum is focused on teaching these skills but how can we improve the overall flow of a developing paddler?  One way is by matching a continuous flat-water skills routine with the curriculum.  By doing so we can focus on refining more subtle paddling skills during courses and instructor certification workshops. 


These paddling skills go with transitions from one maneuver to the next and managing the right blend of spin momentum and forward momentum.  Examples of these routines will be diagramed on paper and handed out followed by observation of video taped performances and small group discussions to develop stronger demonstration and assessment strategies moving forward.


Fun Balance Games

Presented By: Helen Wilson

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 1:00-5:00

Location: Liberty Ship Beach


Fun, Balance and Games is an excellent way to learn boat control while developing a stronger relationship between the body, the kayak and the water. Throughout the day we’ll play with rescues, balance control and games in flat water. This is a fun class, with an emphasis on laughter and water play. Students will learn to think outside the box while developing necessary balance and bracing skills. Scenarios will be given that, as a group, we’ll find solutions to. This is an excellent class for those hoping to develop confidence in the water while working on necessary skills in a playful way.


Yoga for Paddlers

Presented By: Helen Wilson

Date and Time: Friday November 11 and Sunday November 13, 8:00-9:00

Location: Bay Model Grass Area


Join Helen for this multi-level yoga class. Dress in comfortable clothes, bring a towel or yoga mat, and come ready to sooth your mind, body and spirit.



Simplifying the Roll

Presented By: Helen Wilson

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 8:00-12:00

Location: Liberty Ship Beach


Are you learning to roll and need help?  Do you have a roll and are looking to refine it or learn some different rolls?  Perhaps you teach rolling and are looking for new ideas?  Helen Wilson is world-renowned as a wonderful teacher of the many types of roll.  She uses innovative techniques to encourage you to focus on your body and torso floatation.  She has an excellent way of troubleshooting many common problems found with the various rolls and this class is appropriate for beginners and experts alike.


Kayak Forward Stroke Development – biomechanical principles applied to kayaking for recreational paddlers, a very fundamental approach.

Presented By: Dan Henderson

Date and Time: Friday November 11, 1:00-3:00

Location: Bay Model Projector Room


What really makes a kayak go?  How can I sustain my paddling for longer periods of time, keep up, and explore new more distant destinations?  How do I paddle so my joints don’t hurt?  What's the story on high and low angle?  Kayak forward stroke efficiency is defined as the distance the kayak travels for each stroke.  Dan will outline simple concepts that you can incorporate into your kayaking technique to go farther, and with greater endurance, based on his world renowned graduate level research and coaching experience in kayak forward stroke biomechanics.  This presentation is targeted to the recreational paddler.


Kayak Stroke Development – Biomechanical principles as applied to kayaking technique for coaches and racers.  A technical discussion

Presented By: Dan Henderson

Date and Time: Friday November 11, 3:00-5:00

Location: Bay Model Projector Room

Description: Targeted to kayak coaches, and based on fundamental and mainstream sports science – biomechanics, neuromechanics and exercise physiology – this presentation focuses on the technical principles and development of the kayak stroke.  Discussion includes understanding concepts, building a model, steps in learning, and finding speed.


Motionize Paddle Edge

Presented By: Eric McNett

Date and Time: Sunday November 13, 10:00-12:00

Location: SeaTrek Dock


Motionize Paddle Edge is a new tool for paddlers of all levels that gives personalized real-time feedback, allowing paddlers to improve from stroke to stroke. See how the first peddling tracker can help you improve your stroke, get better boat glide and go further with less effort. During this session, you will be provided with guidance on using Motionize Paddle Edge.


Introduction to Navigation

Presented By: Leo Siecienski

Date and Time: Saturday November 12, 1:00-3:00

Location:Bay Model Round Room


This fun an informative course will take you 360 degrees from compass and chart use to vector solutions.  This class is best for beginning to intermediate navigators.  This is "just a taste" of the magic that is navigation.  If you are looking to put some tools in your toolbox Leo will not disappoint.  Remember, for you advanced sea going folk, Richard Smith is offering an all day course that will take you to the full depths of traveling the surface of posiden's lair! 


Public Policy – What the ACA does for you and how you can help

Presented By: Lou Metzger, ACA Public Policy Chief 

Date and Time: Friday November 11, 5:15-5:45

Location:Bay ModelProjector Room


The purpose of the ACA Policy Chief is to respond to requests for help with environmental and paddling issues.  Your Chief, with the help of all ACA staff, writes letters, advocates for issues with Congress and takes a leading role in promoting national issues, such as our Bridge2Water project and local issues in each of the states.  This seminar will be an interactive exchange in which our recent activities are described and your ideas and help will be solicited.  Come and let us know what additional issues you see and discuss how you might help.


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ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration and recreation.

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