The oldest sporting organization in America has adopted the Surfski into the fold. The American Canoe Association board of directors have unanimously voted to include the surfski within the program.
This is a significant step forward for the ski in many ways, not the least of which impacts the potential to greatly enhance popularity.
Kenny Howell, back from the 2016 ACA National Paddlesports Conference reporting on the session:
The ACA committee for Safety, Education and Instruction (SEIC) unanimously approved our proposal for surfski as a unique discipline within the ACA! This is a great leap forward, and I could hardly contain myself these past few days. It opens up so many new possibilities for the sport we love, and we will soon be able to offer ACA sanctioned surfski skills courses, assessments, and instructor certification workshops. Stuff like this just doesn’t happen every day. We had an excellent team composed of several ACA instructors and instructor-trainers from across the USA who helped craft the curriculum and instructor criteria. The heavy lifting was done by Chris Hipgrave (GM of the Nantahala Paddlesports School, ACA whitewater instructor and surfski competitor), Ben Lawry (ACA multi-discipline Instructor Trainer and competitor in many paddle disciplines), and yours truly. At the final committee meeting, which was open to all ACA members, I read the attached letter of intent to help explain our reasons for pushing for a new discipline. We showed Joe Glickman’s movie about surfski as I read the letter, which was a nice touch as it forced the audience to watch the movie instead of staring at me while reading the letter!
The ACA Board of Directors still needs to sign off on the surfski discipline, but this appears to be a formality. Some admin details and finishing touches remain before we can move forward, but we are well on our way! In the long run, I believe this bodes well for surfski in America. It will help grow the sport safely, and now we have a voice within a great organization. The ACA is America’s oldest sport organization, founded in 1880, with thousands of members and dozens of affiliate clubs nationwide! It’s mission includes not just paddlesports education and instructor training, but environmental stewardship and protection. Other disciplines within the ACA umbrella include River Kayaking, Coastal Kayaking, SUP, Rafting, Prone Paddling, and of course Canoeing.
Looking forward to a healthy dialogue on surfski education with all our paddling brothers and sisters.