MTI Adventurewear has partnered with the American Canoe Association (ACA) to provide inflatable belt pack life jackets to support the inaugural SUP Summit and their new Level 1 & 2 Stand Up Paddleboard Instructor Certification courses.

The ACA will be hosting the SUP Summit in conjunction with the 2011 ACA National Paddlesports Conference Sept 28th- Oct 2nd in Louisville, KY.  The Summit will bring together all aspects of Stand Up Paddling (flatwater, coastal, surf and river users) with the focus on education and instruction.

Stand Up Paddling is one of the fastest growing segments of paddlesports. According to a recent OIA study, over 1,000,000 people tried SUP in 2010, and those numbers continue to grow.

“We are thrilled to launch the SUP Summit this year” said Chris Stec, ACA Chief Operating Officer. “This is an enormous new market for everyone in paddlesports. I’ve been racking up the air miles to speak at key events like OR and Surf Expo to bring awareness to the opportunities for SUP education and instruction, and there is incredible interest from board companies and retailers. Manufactures like MTI share our mission to promote SAFE SUP and get all those half naked stand up paddlers to wear a life jacket!”

Matching a grant to the ACA from the US Coast Guard, the Fluid packs from MTI will be used for the on-water segments of the SUP Summit. “The ACA is uniquely positioned for effective out-reach to new paddlers and the paddling community through their network of instructors” said Lili Colby, owner of MTI. “Promoting safe boating is core to their instructional message. MTI believes that the best way to encourage life jacket use is through education from the retail showroom to the on-water classroom. We feel that the ACA instructor is a great role model and “SAFE SUP” evangelist.”

MTI has worked over the past 4 years to re-design the standard inflatable belt pack to be SUP specific.

“We want to win the hearts and mind of the SUP paddler by making the Fluid more comfortable and attractive so that there’s no hesitation about wearing it” explained Colby. “Think ski/board helmets. Manufactures built helmet demand by building more comfort and style into what was once a boring and rarely used safety product. Innovative product and on-snow key influencers changed everything, and with increased use came decreased head injuries. In the same way, life jacket companies in the US are working really hard to raise the bar on comfort and style. Retailers and ACA instructors are pivotal to helping to make PFD use follow the curve that the snow sports industry pioneered for helmets.” For information about the SUP Summit and the ACA SUP Instructor Certification courses, please contact Chris Stec at 540-907-4460/

Founded in 1880, the ACA is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition and recreation. The ACA has over 20,000 members, and 300 paddling clubs and affiliated organizations. The ACA sponsors over 1,400 events each year, including 200 races. The ACA education program has an estimated outreach of 800,000 people a year.