Quitting the ACA

Wonder what people think of this. Does he have some valid points or is it mostly sour grapes?

I see some of his points, like whether there’s really quality control of the instructors. The ACA is a big organization that seems to have rules and regs primarily for keeping itself relevant.

So I got a lot out of aca instructor training. My motivation was that I wanted to be more effective with wv wildwater assciation members (an aca paddle america club) in a class I and II clinic setting. I did that for about ten years. and found it worthwhile Dues including special committee fees for instructors are now up $70. I never minded recertifying and always found it valuable (did it twice) but ultimately i simply got tired of paying annual dues. I had some issues with club insurance for my last club clinic which was unfortunate since I started well ahead of the clinic doing the prep work and talking on the phone with whomever I could get to answer the phone from the aca. It still got botched (the insurance) but nobody got hurt so in the end it worked out. I still may go back and take recertification courses but in some ways I feel I’m in a better position liability wise by actually not being certified and by losing the instructor label. Now I belong to several paddle america clubs (aca individual clubs) so in a way I’m still indirectly helping fund the aca organization through their affiliates when I pay their dues. I’m a big believer that different people can bring different things of value to the table. Being self taught, paddling before there was a curriculum, I have my share of bad habits. Instructor training helps with that awareness and minimizes what I might pass along that is not part of best practices. I learned a lot from Chris Wing, Robin Pope, Scott Fischer, and Beth Weingarten, my instructor trainers.


Pity party :joy:


I am an ACA member, and I think I always will be. They support paddlesport and provide a format for training and training trainers - good things. I didn’t watch the whole video, but this guy clearly has beef, so it is probably best that he walked away. That doesn’t mean I am going to.


OMG an imperfect organization?

Why would someone make a video like this?

He’s a whining, vindictive, ignorant child. Period


I got about four minutes in and gave up. He did something someone didn’t like and someone said a bad thing about him so he’s mad? Does he ever get to the point? I gave it a shot but, my remaining time on this earth is more important than listening to whatever his grievance is.

Any size organization that takes on any responsibility has to have rules and structure and if you don’t like it get on the board and affect change. Every organization is going to have personal conflicts. Deal with it as a mature adult or move on.


He projects himself that way a lot in his videos: the industry icon who has been victimized in one way or another. Maybe that’s harsh, but there’s an undertone of constant disagreement with something.

But sometimes even a complainer can have a point and I wonder if he has a legit point about the bureaucracy beef aside. I listened to my club members explain what goes into achieving L3-I status and I wonder if it’s worth the expense and effort particularly if the number of people willing to pay for instruction is very limited.

In the climbing world it can take 5+ years of training and apprenticeship to get a certification just for One discipline. But there’s money in guiding and a reason for the bureaucracy. I don’t see that in paddling.

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I am with @RC51Mike - watched a minute or two and gave up.

Anyone who could make it all the way through mind posting a summary of the grievance?

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I never joined ACA in the first place. No regrets!


Some people seem to need conflict. It makes them feel alive or important, or smart or something. And if they aren’t fighting about something, they’ll find (or invent) a new villain or grievance to attack. Kinda pitiful when you think about it. Like @RC51Mike, I choose not to live that way and I paddle to get away from that :poop:

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Round two :laughing:

PaddleDog52, you’re famous!

I wish he would return to his short skills instruction videos. Those had value. His new format is him just venting about different issues. He may have good points but it comes across as whining.


For those that didn’t watch, he basically has a beef with ACA related to certification, him being treated unfairly and whether the process produces skilled coaches. Also not happy with the insurance coverage, that it might not cover everything in a catastrophic accident. So he quit. But in latest video someone reached out to him to discuss.

Tune in next time to As The Kayak Turns.


Just want to be truthful.

He’s pissed because I commented on his paddle float video. I comment on all flat water rescue videos. They make people over confident about their ability to get back in if they capsize. Probably 3-4 videos show rough water on all of YouTube I have seen.

The other guy commenting says why he chose not to be an instructor. He’s not qualified to be one he can’t even do a decent forward stroke. I’m not qualified be an instructor but I do know who else isn’t.

He’s got books and begs for “Koffey” money all the time. GMAFB

If he builds a long fast hull like he says I’ll definitely check it out. Definitely some nice workmanship.

Who makes a video in their car driving down the street - talk about distracted driving. Hope he isn’t on the road near me…


Are you referring to “I used to work at REI and NOLS but they stopped calling me” guy?

I don’t know when it became fashionable to talk about the dirty laundry instead of just doing the activity. The “problem” with Social Media is people feel the need to produce content even when they have nothing creative to share, so they just ramble about their gripes or “look, I carry a bucket in my van” to hold wet stuff.



As far as I can tell, Joey learned how to repair composite kayaks and was doing that as a side job until the pandemic, and then took advantage of the pandemic boom to make it a full time gig and get into boat building, guiding, instruction. Now that demand is drying up and he can’t live his dream anymore, he’s getting bitter. I recall a thread here last year about another of his YT videos where he complained that sea kayaking is dying.

I have not done anything with the ACA but did with another organization. Without commenting on this person’s response to all that happened, he has two points that are not unique to any sports training organization.

I remember this incident. Bottom line was that paddlers got on the water unprepared for the situation they encountered. Can be argued whether the leaders of the event should have spotted it first - but once people start capsizing that is academic.

The two things he brings up are things that I have encountered elsewhere. One is simple human error or hubris - taking paddlers into a situation that turns out to be more than it should have been. More often than not additional checks would have solved the problem. But coaches and regular paddlers, myself included in my personal paddling, eventually go out making assumptions that turn out to be incorrect. I am still here to admit my errors but it doesn’t mean I did not screw up.

The other one is an unfortunate and also very human concern about standing in a group. I and my husband in earlier years with another training organization encountered less than great decision-making with some coaches. In most cases it was a coach that was far less familiar with an area than Jim and I were. They assumed that their rating meant that their judgement was better than ours. Overall they were right more often than not. But not when it came to proposing rescue practice in the middle of a boating channel because the markers were not read correctly. Got lucky, a lobster boat came thru just as I was trying to stop the group.

Another time we were on the reciving end of a phone call with a more senior coach basically looking for something bad about a more junior one. There had been some controversy about how a training weekend was run and some coaches had ganged up on this guy. Honestly nothing happened, no offical complaints and everyone had a wet and tiring weekend in a new place. We declined to get involved but felt badly for the person that seemed to be at the bottom of the heap.

So is this kind of stuff enough to cause someone to walk away from an organization? On a personal level I can see it. Whether this video is having the desired effect, maybe not.


I was so pissed off that I called him. To his credit he absorbed a whole lot of passion and profanity. He explained some of his ACA concerns in detail. His main concern is instructor competency. I told him I have the exact same concern with Red Cross certified lifeguards (is it too easy to get certified? are the required skills comprehensive enough? are the spot checks on skills rigorous enough? are there no behavioral expectations at all?).

I told him I don’t doubt that his concerns are valid. He understands how I feel about folks using unprofessional behavior (like putting eff ewe videos on YouTube) to address unprofessional behavior; in my past an engineer could get a same day written performance review for trying to take the organization hostage around an issue/concern. He called it “shock and awe” and said “it’s working”. I said that still doesn’t justify fundamentally bad behavior and doesn’t count the collateral damage caused by eff ewe videos floating around the internet. He also tried a couple arguments that I didn’t buy like “everyone loves my videos but you” and “I’m putting myself on the line” (hero argument).

I give us both credit for completing our conversation. I learned that he might be doing more than whining. I won’t be watching any more of his videos (I’ll confess I couldn’t watch the whole video in the OP) and I will be renewing my ACA membership.