Paddles and Paddling Seminar Recap

Danny doing his thing

Kristian Kolflat, Assistant Austin Store Manager, and Andrew Moczygemba, Store Manager in the Houston Store, report on the recent Paddles and Paddling guest seminar.

Danny Mongno of Werner paddles visited our Houston and Austin stores last week and shared his 22 years of paddling expertise in a special seminar titled “Paddles and Paddling”.  He discussed paddling technique, fit and even had a chance to work one on one with individuals to improve their stroke.

Andrew cites the event as being highly anticipated and well received. For those that haven’t heard, our Houston location recently suffered fire damage and was forced to close for a short period. Despite this, Danny was still able to visit and had about 15 people in attendance.  “People kept calling during the week to make sure that the fire would not stop us from having the seminar,” said Andrew, “And luckily we were still able to – it was a great event.”

Seminar goers listening in

There were a number of helpful tips that attendees were able take away from the event. Kristian lists a few:

  • Use bent shaft paddles when you have existing pain in your wrists or paddle long distances and want something more ergonomically fitting, or are prone to joint pain.
  • The more light-weight the better. Best way to get a feel for how light it is to hold it out in front of you, horizontal to the ground, with one hand in the middle and your arm about shoulder height. Swirl the paddle with your wrist and hold it there for a few minutes. This will give you an idea of how heavy it will be to use all day long.
  • Most individuals should be using low angle paddles. Big bladed and high angle paddles should be used when paddling in heavy wind, current or when aggressive paddling is in the forecast.
  • Make sure to use the proper size paddle for your body height and boat width. Also, make sure you use the proper paddling techniques.

Of course, Danny spoke in much more depth and offered individual help to event goers. Thanks to everyone in attendance and we look forward to putting on more seminars like this in the months to come! To stay up to date on the latest events including our Demo Days and visit Austin, Houston and San Marcos store event pages.

Joseph @ACK

Paddling Expert Danny Mongno to Visit Austin and Houston Stores

Every once in a while our stores are visited by expert guests who come to share their knowledge with our customers and staff. This time, we have experienced paddler and Werner Paddles Regional Sales Manager/Field Marketing Coordinator Danny Mongno coming to both our Austin and Houston locations to present his in-store Paddles and Paddling seminar.

About the Seminar: Paddles and Paddling

The sure fire way to guarantee more fun while paddling is to use less energy. The best two ways to get started are to assure you are using the proper fitting paddle and to learn how to perform strokes more efficiently. In Paddles and Paddling, join kayak instructor Danny Mongno as he starts you on this quest. Starting with the paddle, we will define low angle and high angle paddling, paddle fit options, proper lengths and prescribe the perfect fitting paddle for each individual. From there we will dissect the Forward Stroke and see how, along with matching a better fitting paddle, you can use less energy and have more fun on the water. Whether you are a fisherman, fitness paddler or quietly exploring the waters in your back yard, this seminar will talk to you.

Here are the dates and times for each seminar:

March 14th 6-8pm
ACK Houston Store
5822 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77081

March 15th 6-8pm
ACK Austin Store
9705 Burnet Rd #102, Austin, TX 78758

Danny Mongno

About the Speaker: Danny Mongno

Danny Mongno has been paddling for 22 years, starting working at a kayak shop when he was 16 and has been on the paddle sports “tour” now for 14 years. “Geez, I don’t feel that old! Luckily Werner Paddles has given me the opportunity to do what I love for a living and a day does not go by that I am not thankful or stoked to be a paddler.” It is quite the lifestyle as Danny paddles most every day spending 8 months a year on the road going from event to event.

To view all other ACK in-store events, click the following links: Houston Events, Austin Events, San Marcos Events

ACK’s In-Store Seminar Series Nearing End of 1st Year!

Jerron (ACK Houston) offers his advice on BTB fishing.

It’s coming close to a year now since ACK launched its in-store seminar series. For those that live near one of our stores, hopefully you’ve had a chance to attend one by now. For those of you who are not familiar with our in-store seminars, ACK’s expert store staff has been putting on local, educational tutorials each week on topics based on customer feedback. These seminars are casual, free events conveniently scheduled on Saturday mornings.

Some examples of topics we’ve discussed in the past include Basics of Kayaking, Choosing a Paddle, Loading and Hauling a Kayak, and Outfitting a Kayak for Fishing. While some of these topics are more popular than others, our expert staff puts the same amount of effort into the event whether one person shows up or twenty. These have been particularly good opportunities for Q&A sessions.

So come down and check one out! Our next seminar is scheduled for this Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 and is titled “Places to Paddle”. Our expert staff will discuss lakes, rivers, and creeks in the Austin, San Marcos, and Houston areas that are good for recreational paddling, fishing, and everything else. You can always find an updated list of upcoming seminars for Houston, Austin and San Marcos. And don’t forget, we also offer attendees an in-store discount for attending the event. – Joseph @ACK

Drive By Paddler

Where are they going?

I’ve been making the drive to Houston to visit our store for so long now that I’ve begun to develop stories and relationships with the towns and sites I see. It’s funny the things I notice and don’t notice while I drive. I get to cross the Brazos river when I take the 290 route. When I take the 71 route I get to see the Colorado river. I’m always looking for a paddler during that brief moment that I am crossing but assume people are probably at work. It’s nothing like the view in downtown Austin where it’s pretty much a paddlers paradise in either direction — all the time. Then there is the San Marcos River when I visit our store down in that area. I often see people paddling. Do you look when you pass a body of water? Do you check out kayaks on other peoples roof racks when they pass and come up with stories about where they might be headed? I sure do. – Chris @ACK

2011 Fall Kayak Demo Day Recap

A Colorful Array of Kayaks

Ahh, demo days, a paddler’s dream come true. It’s not often one gets the opportunity to demo over 75 kayaks and attend a variety of outdoor educational clinics in one day and in one place. It’s no wonder we get huge crowds of eager paddlers, curious bystanders and general outdoor enthusiasts year after year. This year was no exception!

While the Houston and San Marcos demo days went on without a hitch, the Austin location event ran into a bit of a snag. We’ve always stood by our “rain or shine” philosophy but this time, we were met with a no water situation due to extreme drought conditions — something we never had to deal with before. Did that stop us? Oh no…far from it.

We tried to change locations to keep the demo on water but due to the short time frame it just wasn’t going to happen. Instead, we opted for an “off the water” demo day at our Austin store parking lot and it actually turned out to be quite a successful and well-attended event! Customers were greeted with vendors on site to answer questions, paddling and camping clinics, food and refreshments, hourly prize raffles and even a face painter for the kiddos. Missed it? Click to view photos of the Austin, Houston and San Marcos events.

We’d like to thank you, our customers, for attending these events. A lot of hard work goes into planning and hosting our demo days but experiencing the enjoyment you get from it makes it all worth it. I also want to offer a sincere thanks to all of our vendors and volunteers for helping us make this one of the most sought after paddling events in Texas.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2012 Spring Kayak Demo Days and Outdoor Expo…until then, let’s hope for some rain!

Roland @ACK

So what’s going on in our stores?

San Marcos Store

We raved about new enhancement and updates to our website in this recent article and through other social media outlets but what about our physical stores? As you may know, we have 3 brick and mortar locations (Houston, Austin and San Marcos, Texas) and are always looking for ways to make your shopping experience a more enjoyable one. Here are a few improvements that are currently being implemented and a few that you can expect to see through the end of 2010.

Austin Location
For those of you that last visited our store over a year ago will notice that we completely renovated the showroom. Well, expect another reorganization soon. While this is not as a dramatic of a change as last year, we are focusing on creating more floor space to accommodate our ever-growing camping gear and apparel categories. We are also making space to showcase more whitewater kayaking accessories than we have in the past.

Houston Location
Ok, maybe it’s not the newest of news but the Houston store now has air conditioning! Houston can be uncomfortable in the summertime with temperatures in the high 90s and even worse 95% humidity. You can now expect a more comfortable shopping experience. I must also mention that we recently hired Travis as a new store associate. He is an avid kayaker and working to get his Masters Degree at the University of Houston. Word on the street is that he owns two Wilderness Tarpons. Welcome aboard Travis!

All Three Store Locations Update:
Reusable Bags – One of the things we pride ourselves on is our focus to maintain an “eco-friendly” business environment. Last year, ACK won the “WasteSMART” award from the City of Austin, which honors those that have focused efforts to reduce waste and buy recycled products. In conjunction with the folks at we are now offering these reusable shopping bags for your shopping convenience. We will be selling them at the stores for 99¢ or you can get one for free when you spend $50 or more.

Calendar of Events – We are currently working on a Calendar of Events for all 3 stores. This means that you can expect to see a variety of in-store events happening soon. Things like brand specific seminars to off-the-water training classes. These classes will be offered on a periodic basis and we’ll be posting a calendar soon so check  back in a few weeks.

Rigged Boat Reference Guide

Rigged Boat Display – We’ve had them in the past but this one will have it all! We are working on a kayak display with a diverse variety of accessories installed. It’s so much easier to understand how a product works and is installed when it is actually on a kayak.

Store Specific Pages – Another thing you can expect to see soon are web pages dedicated to each store. The idea is to create a portal that regional customers can visit for information relevant to their local store. Expect to see news, events, used boat specials, kayak rental fleet and store-specific promotions.

ACK Paddler – Our very own printed quarterly publication. That is all I can say for now.

This is just a small preview of some things you can look forward to in the near future. I invite you to drop by one of our stores soon and, as always, if you have any feedback that will help enhance your in-store or online shopping experience, drop me a note!