Casting for a Cause- Chris’s Story

I got the opportunity to fish the Casting for a Cause tournament for the second year in a row last week.  The word tournament might be featured in the name but the event is far more than a tournament.  The people that come to this event are there to support injured veterans.  As the child of a Purple Heart Recipient from the Vietnam conflict this hits home for me.  The opportunities that CFAC and Heroes on the Water provide veterans is amazing. Continue reading Casting for a Cause- Chris’s Story

“ACK” as well as “Your Kayak Fishing Gear Headquarters” are Now Registered Trademarks of MSP Holdings, LLC.

ACK Logo

ACK now holds two new trademarks that expand the brand and development of its core business.

Austin, Texas (July 1, 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces their registered trademarks “ACK” and “Your Kayak Fishing Gear Headquarters” through the United States Patent and Trademark Office of the Department of Commerce. After taking on more and more kayak fishing products and accessories ACK has become a one-stop shop for all things kayak fishing thus “Your Kayak Fishing Gear Headquarters” was born.

Peter Messana, CEO of ACK, explains “choosing ‘ACK’ was simple because customers started to abbreviate Austin Canoe & Kayak and it took off.  ‘Your Kayak Fishing Gear Headquarters’ came about with the rising popularity of the sport and the continued refinement and development of ACK as the leader when it comes to providing knowledge, products, and participation in all things kayak fishing.”

ACK.com carries a large variety of kayak fishing gear that caters to kayak fishermen at all levels. Whether you are upgrading your gear or just starting out with the essentials ACK can help outfit your next kayak fishing adventure.

All kayak fishing gear and other outdoor products are available now at www.ACK.com.

 

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

 

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Dayvee Brower-Warrell at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

 

 

 

Dell Children’s Hospital Fishing Event

 


Dell Childrens Hospital Fishing Event ACK Dell

 

 

 

 

 

 

_DSC4965Two weeks ago ACK was able to participate in the annual Dell Children’s Hospital Fishing Event hosted by Cody Greaney, TJ Greaney and Chris Roberts from the Texas Outdoor Zone at the Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, TX. This event has been held for the past 6 years and continues to grow rapidly each time. The main purpose of the event is to introduce the children in the hospital to the world of fishing and get them outside when they may otherwise not have the opportunity. This year there was a catfish pool where the children were able to go fishing, a Cabella’s tent complete with fishing rods to giveaway, and of course our own ACK tent with 2 kayaks and a kiddie pool filled with mini kayaks. Each kayak had a number that corresponded with a bucket filled with prizes. The grow-in-water bugs were by far the fan favorite!

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Around 9 am the kids and their families started filing out and their happy smiles were enough to wake everyone involved right up! They excitedly went for the various games and the catfish pond to collect their prizes and trophies. When they would make their way to the ACK tent they_DSC5523 would carefully choose their kayak and gleefully pick from the bucket of prizes matching the number they chose. Princess tattoos, ninja turtle bouncy balls, and grow-in-water bugs were all the rage at the ACK tent! Their faces were priceless as they walked away with their new toys to join the other tents including Cabella’s for fishing rods, The Kids Outdoor Zone for bracelets and Yo So Cool FroYo for a tasty treat. After all the fishing festivities, a few Navy Seals came in and parachuted down to the event where the children were able to try on their helmets and pose for pictures.

Watching the children learn to cast a line and see their faces as they caught a catfish was easily one of the best parts of the day. There isn’t anything much better than making a child’s day and the Dell Children’s Fishing Event was definitely _DSC5226one of those events that accomplished just that.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating next year, please contact Cody Greaney at cody@texasoutdoorzone.com. 

 

Wanderlust: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the nations most loved national parks. With its towering walls, seemingly fathomless depths, and the clear blue Colorado flowing below it is no wonder that almost five million people visit this national treasure every year. The Grand Canyon originally began as a Forest Reserve in 1893 then became a National Monument before finally being declared a National Park in 1919, shortly after the creation of the National Park Service three years earlier. Its humble origins make this National Park even more appealing to those seeking for a destination rich with American history and natural wonders.

Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon chasm runs 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide and was formed by the Colorado River. It took the Colorado River somewhere between 3 and 6 million years to form the canyon and is continuously being altered by the constant state of erosion, while the river itself flows west through the canyon and is on average about 300 feet wide, 100 feet deep and flows around 4 miles per hour on any given day. The Grand Canyon National Park covers 1,900 square miles of the Grand Canyon and contains 277 miles of the Colorado River. Fun fact: it is populated by five Indian tribes: The Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Palute and Hualapai. Havasupai Falls, named after its namesake tribe, is one of the most popular hiking destinations of The Grand Canyon with its crystal clear blue waters and rumbling waterfalls that are sure to amaze.

Not only does the Grand Canyon offer one-of-a-kind sights, it is also home to a large range of outdoor activities that can appeal to outdoorsmen and city-slickers alike.  Feel like Grand Canyon Sunrisehiking? You’ve got tons of options depending on the length of your stay. You can take a few hours to enjoy the rim and Sky Walk, an entire day to explore some of the depths, or a few days to venture to the bottom and enjoy all of the Grand Canyon’s watering holes, Indian dwellings, animals, and ancient rock formations. On a multiple day excursion, you have the benefit of not only going on a beautiful and challenging hike, but also the chance to enjoy camping along the way. If you are more  of a day tripper, be sure to catch the sunrise or sunset. It’s life changing.

For all our kayakers, you can do some Colorado River kayaking that is 100% life changing. These guided tours are for advanced kayakers, however if you are a newbie and feeling a little wild, you can take a support raft to your destination. Kayak and rafting tours are available from local tour companies that offer a wide range of options for any trip you could dream of. Check out a few of these options and choose which touring company is the best fit for you.

Ultimately, The Grand Canyon is guaranteed to appease that need for adventure and the outdoors in one fail swoop. Hiking, camping, kayaking, shopping, photography, and the most beautiful sunset you can imagine are all waiting to be explored at one of America’s favorite outdoor travel destinations.

 

Happy Hunting with Avery Outdoors

Hunting is one of those outdoor activities you wouldn’t expect to require a lot of gear. You have your hunting rifle, a bag, and a way to travel discreetly (we prefer a kayak). However, this is not the case. Hunting effectively requires an arsenal of gear that make it not only easier to hunt but also more comfortable. This is where Avery Outdoors hunting gear comes into play. When you buy an Avery Outdoors product, you can rest assured you are purchasing a quality product that will assist in making your hunting trip the most comfortable it can be. Do you prefer to stand, crouch, and kneel the entire time? Or does a comfortable and discreet stool sound a little bit more pleasing? Do you travel to your favorite spot via kayak or canoe? These are all things to consider when gearing up for your next hunt.

To help you better navigate ACK’s selection of Avery Outdoors hunting products we have compiled a list of a few of our favorite items for you to consider. If you know what your favorites are feel free to check out our entire line here.

Avery Outdoors Folding Floating Shotgun CaseAvery outdoor floating gun case

The floating shotgun case is a necessary bag if you like to hunt on the water. The buoyant closed-cell foam walls will keep your gun afloat if it slips out of your kayak and the water resistant exterior will not budge keeping your prized possession safe. The case also comes in a variety of patterns to suit any environment you plan on hunting in. Overall, this attractive case is not only effective and protective but also discreet, compact, and affordable.

Avery Outdoors Floating Blind Bag

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Avery’s flagship bag has been a fan favorite for years. This floating bag has nine compartments to maximize organization and storage as well as a seam-sealed inner compartment to keep your important items safe. The amount of space allows you to easily carry your shells, gloves, camera, choke tubes, phone and your other favorite hunting items while the quick access port and multiple pockets lets you grab them at a moments notice. If you are looking for a smaller bag that will ensure that your items are protected from the elements look no further, the Avery Outdoors Floating Blind Bag has you covered.

Avery Outdoors Trac-Loc Push Pole

Avery outdoors push pole

The Avery Outdoors Trac-Loc Push Pole is a kayak hunters dream. This push pole is a must have for navigating waterways while hunting and fishing due to its 3 length options, rust-proof aluminum design, and DuraGrip handles. It gives you the ability to handle different depths of water with ease with its original 51″, second extension at 76″ or full extension at 115″ while being sturdy enough to seamlessly push off logs, soft ground, hard ground or any other condition you encounter while on the water. The Trac-Loc push pole is easily stored and transported and was made to work with the Avery Outdoors 3-in-1 Paddle Attachment and Avery Outdoors Marsh Foot Attachment (both sold separately). These attachments assist in navigating shallow waters and overcoming barriers with little effort. If you are a Diablo Kayak fan, the paddle attachment is great when you choose to switch to stand up paddling!

Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat

Avery Outdoors Marsh SeatThe Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat provides a comfortable perch that is easily transported while on the move. With its sink proof retractable marsh foot and adjustable height you can feel good knowing that you don’t run the risk of falling too deep in the muck or peeking too far out out of cover. Our Austin store manager, Justin Fees, is an avid hunter and swears by his marsh seat. He explains, “When I was in college kneeling down and crouching in awkward positions for hours didn’t bother me. Now, 10-15 years later, comfort is key and this marsh seat provides just that.” The seat adjusts between 27″ and 37″ in height and comes complete with a DuraMax covered padded seat for optimal comfort and customization. If you are looking to optimize your comfort while hunting then the Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat is the accessory for you.

Want to watch a product feature video on the above products? Click here.

Ultimately, when choosing your hunting accessories you have to keep in mind comfort, safety, and utility. All of Avery Outdoors hunting products have something different to offer and provide different comforts while out in the wild. Check out the other Avery Outdoor products we have here to fully outfit your next hunting adventure. Happy hunting!

-Dayvee @ ACK

 

Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) Strives for Exceptional Customer Service

ACK Logo

Free Upgraded Shipping joins Price Matching and Custom Packages to enable ACK to effectively meet customer needs

Austin, Texas (June,11th 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces the launch of Free Upgraded Shipping – the latest enhancement for exceptional Customer Service.  Upgraded Shipping joins streamlined Price Matching and Custom Packages to add to ACK’s customer service options.

Customer service is always the driving force behind ACK’s decisions and the latest upgrades to the shopping experience follow this mantra.  “This is very exciting for us. We always strive to process and ship fast, now this enhancement allows us to deliver equally as fast” said Steve Messana, President of MSP Holdings, adding “The upgraded shipping is automatic and seamless to the customer, if the qualifying shipment will take 4+ days (business days) to reach the customer we automatically move it to FedEx 3-day Express Saver, allowing ACK to reach everyone coast-to-coast in 3 days or less.”

Joining the Upgraded Shipping enhancement is a new Price Matching feature. Price Matching allows the customer to checkout at the price they found online, there is no need to call or email, just place the order with the competitor’s price and if approved the order ships out the same day. After the customer presents the competitive price, the Customer Relationship Managers do a quick search to confirm the lower price and happily match it. ACK is proud to match any competitor’s price, PERIOD. Chase Goble, Customer Relationship Manager, explains it like this, “If we can go to the site, it is the same product, we can add it to a cart and the price is less, we’ll match it.”

The last of the enhancements are the Custom Packages, which now allow the customer to pick the products of their choice to create a one of a kind package. The previous packages were pre-defined leaving the customer with little choice. Now, with the Custom Package option, customers pick the items they’d like to include in their package and enjoy great savings while doing so. One of the most popular packages is the Kayak Package where the customer now has the freedom to pick their favorite kayak, PFD and Paddle; just one of the many custom packages offered.

These enhancements are only the latest in many upgrades to ACK.com. Peter Messana, CEO of MSP Holdings, LLC sums it up best “We never stop listening to our customers and building features that meet their needs. Our team is focused on being the best Outdoor Retailer and we continue to enhance our website to do just that”.

 

The new features are currently live at www.ACK.com.

 

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Dayvee Brower-Warrell at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

Father of 10 For a Day

Around the last week in April I received a phone call from Thomas, the owner of Diablo Paddlesports, about helping out for a local children’s event. He told me they would be working with Generation Outdoors to teachGeneration Outdoors & ACK fatherless kids how to kayak and fly fish. The amount of kids that had rsvp’d for the event was growing in numbers by the minute and both Thomas and Generation Outdoors were worried that they wouldn’t have enough kayaks and adults to help staff the event. Of course I couldn’t leave them hanging and gladly gave him the thumbs up. The second we hung up I penciled it into my calendar and set about getting my hands on some rental kayaks and games. 

The morning of the event I woke up excited to start the day. I was unsure of what to expect and was anxious to meet the kids. Continue reading Father of 10 For a Day

Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) Introduces New Search Engine to Power ACK.com

ACK.com now features best in-class search results through the power of Google and GroupBy.

Austin, Texas (May 20th, 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces the launch of a new search engine powering ACK.com. The new search engine is powered by the Google Search Appliance (GSA) with middleware software from GroupBy.  The selection of search providers was based on the need for faster and highly relevant search results that could be used throughout the site for navigation as well as search results; on both desktop and mobile devices. ACK.com maintains a fully responsive design allowing customers to experience not only a flawless shopping experience, but also a seamless search experience no matter which type of device they are using.

The new search engine gives ACK customers dynamic, real-time search capabilities while browsing the site. The search box presents suggestions through Search-As-You-Type technology that suggests the best relevant search terms as well as the best matched brands and products.  This improvement is just one of many to come for ACK.com; Jeremy Arntz, ACK Development Manager, puts it best: “This initial integration is a huge leap forward for ACK, but is just the beginning of what can be done with the Google Search Appliance.” He adds, “There are many exciting things we have planned for the future that are made possible by this enhancement.”

“The Google Search Appliance along with their partner, GroupBy offers a combination of two powerful systems that provided us a means to achieve enterprise class search capability, usually reserved for much larger companies.” said Peter Messana, CEO of MSP Holdings, “Search is key to any ecommerce company, providing the means to find the item fast is what our customers want and we never stop working to meet their needs.”

Some key features of the GSA and GroupBy’s Searchandiser include Dynamic Navigation (filtering), Search-As-You-Type, Results Biasing, Redirects, Spelling, Suggested Search and Site Navigation of Categories.

“We are very proud of having such a great specialty brand like ACK as one of our clients. ACK’s multi-channel experience, which offers the same service, selection and expertise whether in-store or on-line is a key strategy for GroupBy and Google. We look forward to our continued work with ACK as they continue to grow and innovate in their market space. Said Roland Gossage, Managing Partner, GroupBy Inc.

This new feature is currently live at www.ACK.com.

 

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Dayvee Brower-Warrell at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

About GroupBy, Inc

GroupBy Inc. provides industry leading commerce and media software solutions that help companies better connect with their customers by providing a more relevant user experience.  This improved experience drives more targeted site traffic, increases revenue and overall customer satisfaction.  Groupby’s solutions provides industry leading features for search, navigation, merchandising, search engine optimization (SEO), and Search as you type (SAYT). GroupBy has offices in Canada, United States, China, and Trinidad & Tobago.

For more information, visit: www.groupbyinc.com Call us +1-647-558-4678, or email team@groupbyinc.com

 

 

ACK Presents: 10 Fun Facts for Earth Day

Earth Bait

Happy Earth Day!

Today is about celebrating the beauty Earth has to offer and realizing that we can all make a difference when it comes to preserving and taking care of the environment we live in. Did you know that the average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year? In fact, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times.

To prevent ACK from contributing to all this waste, we’ve implemented streamlined warehouse processes including the  eco-friendly mobile technology and our Ugly Box initiative to re-use old boxes (like Girl Scout cookie boxes!) and greatly reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills. We also keep recycling bins throughout the office and encourage all our employees to utilize them when they can. If we all took a little time to reduce, reuse, and recycle the things we use every day we can work in cohesion to keep our world fishing, hiking, kayaking, camping and traveling ready for generations to come. So in honor of Earth Day today I thought I’d share 10 fun facts about this amazing planet we call home.

10 EARTH DAY FACTS

  1. The first Earth Day was April 22nd, 1970
  2. Over 75% of waste is recyclable but Americans only recycle around 30% of it
  3. Earth is the only planet known to support an atmosphere with free oxygen, oceans of liquid water on the surface, and life.
  4. Depending on where you are on Earth, you could be spinning through space at over 1,000 miles per hour
  5. We have 3 deadly lakes: the Nyos, Monoun, and Kivu. All are located in Cameroon, which borders Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each are crater lakes that release carbon dioxide explosions causing passersby to asphyxiate on the poisonous gas
  6. Oceans cover some 70% of Earth’s surface
  7. Antarctica contains about 70% of the Earth’s fresh water and 90% of its ice
  8. The Great Lakes of North America- Michigan, Huran, Erie, Ontario and Superior-contain 21% of the world’s freshwater supply
  9. The lowest lake in the world is the Dead Sea. It is 1,371 ft below sea level
  10. The highest lake in the world is the crater lake of Ojos del Salado at 20,965 ft above sea level

Now get outside and enjoy some sunshine on this beautiful Earth Day!

 

ACK.com and the “Heartbleed” Bug

Security is a top priority for us and with the transactions we handle it is the utmost importance as Credit Card information as well as other personal information is something that our customers trust us with.  If you haven’t heard of the “heartbleed” bug, it is essentially a bug that was recently discovered that allowed someone to see encrypted traffic  ( you can read all about it here: http://heartbleed.com).

I just wanted to take a moment and assure you that we have patched our servers and taken the necessary precautions, however, this bug has been in existence for over two years and impacted over 75% of the servers out there, even the likes of Google was vulnerable up until yesterday.  What exactly does this mean?  Well, over the years had someone known about this they could have been stealing all sorts of personal data.  Presently there is no indication that hackers used this vulnerability but the longer companies take to patch the more likely they will.  You can tell if someone has patched their servers by visiting this site and putting in the URL: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/

Rather than write a blog about what to do it is easier to link to others, this link will give you a quick sense of the issue and what passwords you should change.  Keep in mind, if a site you use hasn’t patched their servers, changing your password would be futile.  http://mashable.com/2014/04/09/heartbleed-bug-websites-affected/

Additionally, I wanted to also use this opportunity to remind our customers that we do not store any credit card information on our servers.  We are able to re-charge your card on future orders by holding what is known as a token, should someone gain access to our databases they would still not be able to access your credit card information.  Additionally, we employ some of the industries toughest standards and maintain PCI Compliance (Credit Card Industry Rules on Security) when it comes to security in our infrastructure and we have come a long way from one itsy-bitsy server to the 10+ servers that run ACK.com.   We rely on only the best hosting companies to host our servers in what is known as a managed environment, thus ensuring we are always up to date.

If you have any questions or comments please drop them below.

Peter @ ACK