One day in the Austin Store

ACK Austin Store

As the second part of my on-boarding process here at ACK, I was tasked with working a half day at the Austin Store location.  Much like my day in the warehouse, I was excited about this as it was going to be a new experience for me.  As a long standing ACK customer prior to becoming an employee, I had been in the store many times. I went in frequently for new ideas and products to outfit my Diablo Chupacabra so I figured this day would be a breeze.  I would come to find that things were definitely different on the staff side of the store experience.

As I started my day, things were normal and familiar until I received the section by section walk-through of the entire store. For me this was like a kid in a candy store.  I got to look at how every section of the store was built and why.  It’s truly about customer experience.   I understood the layout from a customer perspective but it came together a little more when I looked at it from the staff perspective.  Normally I would browse through products I normally need/use but the walk-through opened my eyes to many new products.

After the store walk-through I was introduced to the install service section.  I had always known this was there but never went in.  I came in at a good time as one of the team members was right in the middle of installing a rudder on the back of a Chup.  This was perfect for me as this is a pending project on my list.  The install team was good!  They were quick, precise and obviously had done this many times.  Next to the service area was the layaway section of the store.  I never knew ACK had layaway program or I would have taken advantage of it a long time ago!

Next, I received a tour of the rental and boat storage.  I never knew this section of ACK existed. This is where I learned about their huge stock of rental inventory. I got excited when I saw which boats were available to rent.  I have a long list of boats I’ve been wanting to try, one being the Hobie Pro Angler.  I’ll be taking this one out very soon!

The rental section wrapped up my tour and now it was time to work the floor.  As customers came in I did my best with the kayak knowledge I had to give them a good experience.  I walked several customers through kayak models and features.  This was probably the best part of the day.  I got to talk about kayaks with people who love kayaking; it doesn’t get much better than that.

While working the floor I got to experience  the expertise of the store staff.  When talking to customers they were able to dissect exactly what the customer’s needs were and point them into a kayak choice that made sense.   I was impressed!

The rest of my time flew by.  I thoroughly enjoyed working the store.  When I was engaged with the customers, it didn’t feel like work-  it felt like I was talking kayaks with some long time friends I had never met before.  I guess that is one of the many great things about kayaking and the ACK community. Ultimately, I think my experience working for a half day at the Austin store allowed me to learn the ins and outs of what makes ACK so different from other outdoor retailers as well as a little extra knowledge in customer service.



10 Reasons To Go Paddling

At ACK we love paddling for a number of reasons- but we don’t want to focus on why we are obsessed!

We took to our Facebook page and asked all of our customers what makes them want  to go out

Werner SUP Paddles
Werner SUP Paddles

paddling and got some great answers. Y’all answered with everything from waking up to getting excited about the weather hitting 55 – so we thought we’d share a few with you.

Here are some of our favorites:

  1. A bad week at work! Plus a beautiful sunny day!

  2. A good 6 inch rain

  3. When I’m out on the water all of the BS in life disappears for a while

  4. Rain, snow, sleet, hail and even sun makes me want to go paddling

  5. Work!

  6. Good weather and good friends

  7. Owning my first kayak I bought at demo day

  8. Just being out there. Fishing is fun but the joy of paddling makes it special

    Sunset Paddle
    Post-Work Paddle
  9. It’s such a peaceful and relaxing time that I get to share with my husband/wife and no other distractions

  10. Fishing!

  11. The “itch”

Of course we cant forget about some of the smart answers y’all sent in like “I don’t need no stinkin’ reason!” and “Why would you need a reason?!”

We have to give it to them though- a paddler never needs a reason to get out on the water.

ACK Supports Local Paddlesports Community With 8th Annual Spring Demo Days Event

Demo DaysAustin, Texas (March 11th, 2013) – Outdoor retailer Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC., announces its 8th Annual Spring Demo Days & Outdoor Exposition. A total of four events will be held in locations based around ACK’s physical stores with Austin and North Houston (Spring) on April 5th and 6th, and Houston and San Marcos/San Antonio on the 12th and 13th. In addition to providing over 90 kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards to test-paddle, this expo will also offer informative and educational clinics for attendees.

Catering to outdoor enthusiasts ranging from the seasoned angler to the novice paddler, ACK Demo Days creates a platform for anyone interested in paddlesports to ask questions, receive product guidance, try out different models and expand their knowledge about the sport. Educational clinics will be held throughout the day by knowledgeable ACK staff members and select industry manufacturers, covering topics such as “How to Paddle”, “Fly Fishing from a Kayak”, “Paddling Safety” and “Basecamp Basics”.

“There is no such thing as an all-around, perfect boat for every paddler.  Each kayak has its own strengths and downfalls depending on where and how you plan to paddle,” explains ACK Company President, Steve Messana. Continue reading ACK Supports Local Paddlesports Community With 8th Annual Spring Demo Days Event

Record Breaking Numbers at KATS Lake Austin / Lady Bird Lake

Re-posted from

Kayak Fishing Lady Bird Lake

Not only was Saturday’s tournament the biggest KATS event ever held (94 competitors), it also produced some healthy limits for many and one Lake Austin big bass for Larry Martin (a KATS newcomer). His 26 inch bass has, for now, secured the Fishscale’s Biggest Bass Replica of the Season for 2014, and it will be hard to beat. Larry says he caught the bass on Lake Austin using 8 inch watermelon red lizard.

Ladybird Lake (formally know as Town Lake) was covered in kayaks along the banks and near structure on Saturday amidst the crowded waters of scullers, rowers, and recreational paddlers. Trail runners in the area reported seeing kayak fishermen from one dam to the next on the lake, while a good number also headed towards the various sections of Lake Austin.

Left to right: 1st place winner Sean Mecredy, 2nd place winner Ryan Herzog and 3rd place winner Rodney Bronson.
Left to right: 1st place winner Sean Mecredy, 2nd place winner Ryan Herzog and 3rd place winner Rodney Bronson.

This third event of the season has really mixed things up in the leaderboard and overall standings making this one of the most competitive and interesting seasons yet. Sean Mecredy took first place in the Pro division with 97.25 inches for grand winnings sum of $1,366.75. In second, Ryan Herzog earned $745.50 with 96.75 inches also placing him at the top of both the overall series leaderboard and King of the Fish. Third place went to Rodney Bronson with a 96.25 inch stringer for $372.75. Daniel Peters took 4th, and Kevin Hebert fifth, with close limits.

In the Social Division, Larry Fisseler placed 1st with 81 total inches earning a $379.50 ACK gift card. Kevin Tijerina took second for $207 ACK dollars with 77.5 inches. In third, Chris Ordner won $103.50 ACK dollars with 73.5 inches. See the full results here.

Larry Martin’s big bass out of Lake Austin earned him a whopping $680!

Thanks to C-Hunts Ice House on Burnet Road for allowing us to use their space and for providing excellent service! The Local Mobile Yokel (hot dogs and grilled sausages) was there to make sure no fishermen/women would go hungry.

A big thanks to all of our 2014 sponsors, and Patron Sponsors Bending Branches, Malone, and Ocean Kayak! The next KATS event is coming up fast – on February 22nd anglers will battle it out on Lake Wood near Gonzales, Texas.

Customer Appreciation Week at Your Local ACK Stores!

We Want to Show Our Appreciation

ACK Houston's Customer Appreciation Display
ACK Houston’s Customer Appreciation Display

ACK Customer Appreciation Week is being held this year at every ACK store location from November 29th through December 8th, 2014. We want to thank everyone who has helped us get to where we are today by offering raffle items, rental coupons, discounts and more during the Customer Appreciation Week. We understand everyone is busy this time of year getting ready for the holiday season and hope we can help make things easier!

How It Works

Each store location will have several accessories that will be raffled off at the end of the event on December 8th. Customers will receive raffle tickets when they make an in-store purchase during the appreciation week. We will also be handing out 2 for 1 rental coupons to everyone that comes into the store. To make things even sweeter we will be offering discounts on accessories* during the event.

Seminars and clinics will be held throughout the 10 day event at each store location and they will cover thing susch as  places to paddle, cold weather kayaking, kayak fishing, kayak camping, accessory installations and more. See this week’s schedule of events for each store:

For more details or to make sure items you are looking for are in stock, contact the ACK store near you

We couldn’t exist without all of you!

Thanks from ACK!


* Hobie products are excluded from all discounts, raffles and giveaways

ACK Austin Paddling Seminars Revamped for Fall

Join our next ACK Austin Paddling seminar!
Join our next ACK Austin Paddling seminar!

Got cold weather blues? ACK Austin Paddling Seminars are just what you need!

With the Winter season slowly approaching the ACK Austin Store will be looking to take every one’s mind off of the rainy cold weather that would keep them off the water by holding several informative and fun paddling seminars. Here’s what you can expect to see coming to our Austin store location:

  • Kayak Fly Fishing Seminar w/ Thomas Flemmons of Diablo Paddlesports, 11/9
  • Hunting from a Kayak, 11/16 & 11/17
  • Cold Weather Kayaking, 11/23 & 11/24
  • Fishing Beyond the Breakers with Jerron Wosel (ACK Merchandising Team & BTB Expert), 12/5

So what are these Austin paddling seminars all about?

Thomas showing off a fly fishing catch.
Thomas showing off a fly fishing catch.

The first on the list is the Fly Fishing Seminar with guest speaker Thomas Flemmons of Diablo Paddlesports. Thomas is the owner of Diablo Paddlesports, a local Austin kayak manufacturer, and is an avid fly fisherman. He has fished some of the most popular bodies of water across the country. The seminar will focus on casting techniques, choosing the right flies, gear, and fly fishing techniques from a kayak. As an added bonus the first 15 people that sign up at the seminar will be entered in a raffle for a half day kayaking/fishing outing down a local central Texas river with Thomas and Justin Fees (ACK Austin store manager). The seminar will be held Nov. 9th, 2013 at 1pm at the ACK Austin Store. Sign up for the seminar (and raffle) will start at 12:30 pm the day of the seminar at the check out in the store.

The next seminar, Hunting from a Kayak, will be held Nov 16th and 17th at 1pm. It will be offered both days so you wont have to cancel your other plans. The seminar will focus on choosing the right gear, hunting from a kayak techniques and safety.

The third big seminar, Cold Weather Kayaking, will be held Nov. 23rd and 24th at 1pm. This will also be the same seminar offered both days. In it, our store experts will go over how to select the right clothing, choosing the right gear, safety and places to paddle. This will be a great seminar for those of you who don’t want the let the winter season keep you off the water.

Jerron landing a shark offshore the Texas coast.
Jerron landing a shark offshore the Texas coast.

Our 4th seminar for the Fall season BTB or Beyond the Breaker Fishing will be given by Jerron Wosel. Jerron has spent years fishing offshore off the Texas coast, Florida Coast, as well as of the Coast of Baja California and serves as the buyer for ACK’s kayak fishing gear (plus a whole lot more). With his knowledge and experience he will be discussing techniques, gear, where to fish and safety. This will be held on Thursday Dec. 5th at 6:30 pm at the Austin store. Store hours will be extended until 8 pm for the event. There will be pizza, drinks, and raffle prizes for everyone that signs up (rsvp) and attends the seminar.

Where to learn more:

Find one you like? See details about each of the events on our ACK Austin calendar of events. To RSVP, call or email the store to RSVP at (512) 719-4386 or Keep an eye on the Austin store event calendar for any other Seminars and events that will be added in the near future. See you there!

Come Join ACK for National Hunting and Fishing Day!

National Hunting and Fishing Day!
National Hunting and Fishing Day!

Get the Kids Outside With this Free Event!

This Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day and to celebrate we’ll be joining up with the City of Round Rock and Kid’s Outdoor Zone for another weekend full of paddling. This free event is geared towards getting the kiddo’s excited about being outside, and we’re pumped to be a part of it!

Austin store manager, Justin Fees, along with Customer Service rep James Everhart and myself will be out manning a kid’s paddling area, making sure proper safety techniques are being followed. We’ll also have some stuff for the parents to look over while their kid’s are on the water!

RSVP and find more event details on the Facebook event page. Hope to see you there!


Kayak Fishing Personalities Converge for ACK Demo Days in Austin

Meet Big Names of Kayak Fishing at ACK Austin this Weekend

I was scrolling through the list of representatives that we have coming to our ACK Austin store this weekend for Demo Days when I realized how many awesome people we have coming together for this event. If you’re a local Austin paddlers who is looking to further your kayak fishing knowledge and skills, you won’t want to miss this event. Here are some of the people you can expect to see:

Fil (far left) at the Aransas Pass event earlier this month.
Fil (far left) at the Aransas Pass event earlier this month.

Captain Fil Spencer will be here representing Ocean Kayak, Necky and Old Town Canoes and Kayaks to discuss how he utilizes their line-up of different models on the coast. Fil has been a big presence in the IFA Kayak Fishing Tours over the past couple years, placing 3rd in the recent Aransas Pass event and grabbing up the biggest redfish. He’ll be showing off his personal rig, talking about the new Predator kayak and answering any questions you might have about kayak fishing.

Thomas showing off a fly fishing catch.
Thomas showing off a fly fishing catch.



Husband and wife team, Thomas and Megan Flemons,  run the show at local Austin kayak manufacturer, Diablo Paddlesports, and kayak fly fish in their free time. They will both be out showing off their lineup of ultra stable kayaks, including their new roto-molded Amigo kayak which has been generating some buzz since it was announced a few months back. Thomas will even be holding a “Fly Fishing from a Kayak” clinic Saturday at 10:45 and Sunday at 1:30 PM.


Angler Prostaff Ryan McDermid showing off a recent catch.
Angler Prostaff Ryan McDermid showing off a recent catch.

Native Watercraft’s Tom Jester along with angler prostaff Ryan McDermid and Jose Jimenez will be on site and talking about how models like the Manta Ray, Ultimate, Versa Board Angler, Mariner and Slayer serve the different needs of kayak anglers. Don’t expect to see their new Slayer propel or Ultimate FX yet since those aren’t released until later in the year, but they’ll be able to answer any questions you might have about the new models.


Joe Poole at giving a clinic at San Marcos earlier this year.
Joe Poole at giving a clinic at San Marcos earlier this year.

Wilderness Systems angler prostaff Joe Poole will once again be on the scene. Joe has been a favorite resource for Demo Day event goers regarding kayak fishing for many years now and operates his GoinCoastal kayak fishing charter service in Corpus Christi. He’ll have his personal rig to show off and will hold Kayak Fishing clinics both Saturday at 1:00 PM and Sunday at 12:45 PM. His clinics have been known to draw a crowd and are not to be missed for those getting started!


Cully & Ester from Hobie Kayaks will be on hand to discuss the Pro Angler, changes coming to Hobie models for 2014 and how the Hobie Mirage Drive makes kayak fishing easy. Cully and Ester are long time Hobie veterans and have participated in a wide range of trade shows and events, including the Hobie Fishing World Championships (as staff). See the video below from the beginning of this year where Cully discusses the Pro Angler:

You can also expect to see representatives from companies like Feel Free, Scotty and Optic Nerve who will be sure to have some products on hand that will interest anglers. Hope to see you there!

IMPORTANT: Changes to ACK Austin 2013 Fall Demo Days

Low Water Levels Forcing Change for ACK Austin Fall Demo Days

Unfortunately, the long season of drought here in Austin has left the Quarry Lake where we traditionally host the ACK Austin Demo Days with very low water levels. As a result, we are re-locating the event to our ACK Austin store for a dry demo.

But don’t fret! It may be a dry demo but it will still be a lot of FUN!

  • Score Great Deals on New & Used Kayaks and other accessories!
  • Dry-Test 90+ Boats
  • Attend Clinics like “How to Rig or Kayak” and “Kayak Fishing 101″  (Full Clinic Schedule)
  • Chat with Vendor representatives from manufactures such as Hobie, Ocean Kayak, Thule, Scotty and many MORE!
  • Enter for a Chance to Win Amazing Raffle Prizes
  • Plus, enjoy plenty of smiling faces, food and beverages.

The event will still take place the weekend of September 14th and 15th and will go on during normal store hours:

Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday: 12 pm – 4 pm

Note: This only affects our ACK Austin Demo, not our San Marcos, Spring or Houston events. Austin event goers will still have the opportunity to travel south the nearby San Marcos event on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd to paddle at the Texas Ski Ranch. See information about all of the ACK Fall Demo Days events.

Changes to the Clinic Schedule

Being off the water has forced some changes to the clinic schedule for our Austin location. Paddling Basics and SUP Techniques will no longer be offered and in their place we will be offering clinics on Hobie Basics and a How to Rig Your Kayak with Scotty fishing products.

ACK Austin will also feature some additional camping clinics that you won’t find at the other events including Hammock Camping and Kayak Camping Basics. See the fully updated clinic schedule.

Not our First Dry Demo

Two years ago, we had a similar situation arise and were forced to put on a dry demo event at our ACK Austin store. The result? Still plenty of information and lots of fun! See pictures from the event below and put your mind to rest – our ACK Austin Demos are still not to be missed!