April 2021 Monthly Newsletter - ACA

Apr 27, 2021

April 2021 Monthly Newsletter


Dear Members,

I’m pleased to share that we will soon be launching ACA’s new website. This will replace the public-facing pages of our current site, while we continue to use some features of the “backend” of our current platform, such as the member portal and eStore.Many thanks to the volunteers and staff who helped with the new site!

Please know that this is not the end of our website development; it is only the beginning. As members use our new site, we will be collecting data on how it is being accessed and used, and we will track all submitted questions and concerns. These facts will inform and influence continuing improvements to the site. It will never be “finished,” but we are proud to take steps toward this new beginning.

Along with the launch of the new website, we are freshening up our logo and brand colors to look more modern, exciting, and relevant.We hope you will find the new site to be a huge step forward for all who visit “americancanoe.org.”

Thank you for your support. I hope you are having a happy spring!

Beth Spilman

Executive Director


Please join us in welcoming Richard Lauridsen to the ACA’s Safety Education and Instruction Department!Richard came to ACA out of a love for the outdoors and education. After graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a teaching certification, he pursued a Master’s in Educational Administration from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Richard then combined his passion for the outdoors and education into working in the maritime industry where he earned his USCG 25 Ton Master’s License and an American Sailing Association Instructor certification. A true waterman at heart, Richard has already made a name for himself within the Education Department, as he joyfully assists course students, current instructors, and other partnering organizations find the information and opportunities they need to achieve their paddling goals. Richard is also a fluent Spanish speaker!

Join us in welcoming Richard to the team! He can be reached at rlauridsen@americancanoe.org.


Thanks to a grant from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, we are pleased to welcome Reina Kern as the new press officer and communications manager in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games. In her tenure, she will aid the ACA in producing media content and promoting paddlesports across the youth, development, and elite competition levels through various communications efforts.

Reina, hailing from Freehold, NJ, was a two-sport Division I athlete at the University of Pennsylvania and a former Olympics Researcher at NBC Sports. While at NBC, she covered canoe/kayak sprint and slalom, attending the 2019 World Championships for both disciplines to interview the U.S. and international athletes and collect research for the NBC broadcasts before the Olympic Games. Reina’s personal and professional background provides ACA with a unique perspective on sports through the Olympic and Paralympic broadcaster lens. Reina can be reached at press_office@americancanoe.org.

Stewardship & Public Policy

For those who are familiar with our long standing L.L. Bean Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Grant Program, we are pleased to announce a continued relationship with L.L. Bean in light of the evolving strategic direction of their charitable giving programs. In an effort to best support L.L. Bean’s mission, and to build upon the strong existing partnerships the ACA maintains with grass roots non-profit paddling clubs in the United States, we have widened the scope of our stewardship efforts through what will now be known as the Club Fostered Community (CFC) Grant Program. Applications were accepted and recipients selected;grants have been provided to clubs that illustrated intentional goals and efforts at inviting and recruiting new and diverse groups of paddlers through work that supports the ACA’s mission of education, stewardship, and competition. Please join us in congratulating our 2021 recipients:Coal River Mountain Watch Tadpole Project, Diversify Whitewater, Four Corners New Mexico Chapter of Team River Runner, French Broad River Academy, Friends of Red River / Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Friends of the Rappahannock River, ONE More… ONE Less Mentoring Inc., Paddle for Heroes Veterans Non-Profit, Shaka SUP Racing, Small World Yoga, Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA), Trail Life USA Red Fox Area, Veterans Kayak Football Challenge, and the Willamette Riverkeeper. For more information about this program, please click here.


Students in ACA insured instructional courses now have the ability to sign an ACA liability waiver within the Course Management System (CMS) platform. Current ACA members may sign an online liability waiver by logging into their CMS dashboard and scrolling to the “Your Dues and Credentials” section. The “Annual Liability Waiver” link will provide the opportunity to review and sign the waiver, which will then be saved within the members’ CMS profile for twelve months from the date of signing. The option to upload a scan of a signed hard copy waiver is still available. A detailed guide to the full functionality of the CMS liability waiver tool is available at www.americancanoe.org/CMS.

Currently certified ACA Level 4: Whitewater Rafting Instructors and Instructor Trainers who have appropriate experience in up to class IV whitewater and interest in upgrading to the recently approved ACA Level 5: Advanced Whitewater Rafting certification are invited to contact the SEI Departmentfor additional instructions. To review the ACA Level 5 Rafting instructor criteria, please click here.

Do you know of an ACA instructor who has gone above and beyond? Do you have fond memories from a truly exceptional course you completed? Did you recently learn a paddling technique or skill in a unique and impactful way? We want to know about it! Please nominate your favorite instructor for an Instructor of the Month award!

Last month, ACA successfully hosted the U.S. Olympic and National Team Trials for Sprint in Sarasota, Florida. By following rigorous COVID protocols (developed in collaboration with the USOPC), we are pleased to report that everything went exceedingly well. Our world champion, Nevin Harrison, won the C-1 women’s 200-meter event in Sarasota and has been nominated to represent the United States in Tokyo. Five of the selected team members will compete for the remaining Olympic quotas in Barnaul, Russia, May 20-21, while several more athletes will compete at the World Cup in Szeged, Hungary, on May 13-15. Many thanks to Nathan Benderson Park, the City of Sarasota, FL, and volunteers for their help with staging the Olympic Trials.

Complete Sprint Olympic and National Team Trials results can be found here and the 2021 USA Canoe Sprint National Team nominations can be reviewed here.

Extensive COVID protocols were upheld while hosting the team trials for Slalom and Extreme Slalom at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte from April 12-14. Slalom athletes competed in the Olympic Trials in gorgeous weather without interruption, thanks to the assistance of the USNWC staff and countless volunteers. Based on her performance in Charlotte and previously at the 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, Evy Leibfarth has been nominated to the USA Olympic Team. On the men’s side, three canoeists and three kayakers will compete for the remaining Olympic tickets at the ICF World Cup in Prague, Czech Republic, June 11-13.

Complete Slalom Olympic and National Team Trials results are available here, andNational Teams nominations may be reviewed here.

This year’s Open Canoe Slalom Nationals will be held near Missoula, Montana on the Blackfoot River. Three days of competition are scheduled for June 25th through the 27th. Race classes are based on boat length and width, as well as tandem or solo. Age classes include Youth 16 or under, Junior 18 or under, and Master’s 40 or over. There will be Men’s, Women’s and Mixed, as well as a Citizens class for those attending for the first time or never having won a medal. For anyone seeking more information or those who are interested in competing, email Brandon Salayi at beephunky@gmail.com, to receive a registration form. For additional information about the river access and slalom site, please click here.

SafeSport training must now be completed using a new platform. Any training that you may have completed in the past has been saved and transferred to your profile on the new platform. You will have to reset your password when logging in for the first time on safesporttrained.org using the ‘Forgot Password’ link. For those who have not completed training or made an account prior to March 2021, use the instructions provided on our website, here.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a cherished and iconic paddling landscape. It encompasses 1,200 miles of rivers and streams and more than 1,000 lakes. It is one of the most cherished and iconic landscapes in paddling. Its fragile ecosystem and pristine waters are threatened by proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on public lands in the headwaters just outside of the wilderness area’s boundary. The ACA continues to support American Rivers and its partners at every step by demanding the Biden administration act to protect the Boundary Waters from mining by issuing a federal mineral leasing ban, and that Congress pass legislation to forever protect this treasured place. Take action to join them!

The Georgia River Network is developing a Georgia Water Trails interactive application for recreational paddlers in Georgia and has asked for our support by identifying ACA members who might be able to provide more detailed information about a variety of Georgia’s waterways. If you think you have knowledge to support this effort please email ACA Public Policy Chief, Brett Mayer, bmayer@americancanoe.org. Learn more about the Georgia River Network, here!

Outdoor Alliance Comments on Oil and Gas Leasing: the Outdoor Alliance recently submitted comments on behalf of the human powered outdoor recreation community, to express strong support for President Biden’s decision to pause new fossil fuel leasing activities on public lands and waters and initiate a programmatic review. Please read the full letter, here.

Thank you for reading our monthly newsletter! You can find the latest stories and updates from the ACA at www.americancanoe.org/news. For even more paddling fun, photos, and resources, be sure to check out our quarterly Paddle eMagazine!

Have some news to share? Please click here to submit content for consideration.


ACA National Office Staff