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Adaptive paddling: A creativity pproach to freedom and tranquility

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Paddling is a versatile sport and recreational activity that encourages physical fitness and inspires exploration, adventure and communion with the world. It is a lifelong learning experience hat even people in their nineties continue to enjoy.

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Kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and Stand-up Paddleboarding, “Provide us with opportunities for a wide range of personal and spiritual encounters from the serenity of gliding across a smooth lake, or exploring a meandering stream, to the thrill of paddling a whitewater river, Paddling is a great way to spend an afternoon, a day, or longer with family and friends.”

Unfortunately, millions of “People With Disabilities” were unable to participate in these simple and beautiful pleasures due to their physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This trend began to change for several reasons according to Janet A. Zeller.

Increasingly, people with disabilities discovered paddling as a recreational activity.”

In addition, “Using standard and/or adapted equipment, many people with disabilities can kayak on a "level paddling field" with their non-disabled peers.”

Finally, “For many participants minimal adaptations are necessary to enjoy kayaking. For others, the increasing varieties of adaptations available are making kayaking accessible for even more participants.”

Another important factor is that is that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide supported the “Adaptive Paddling” movement in the United States, the United Kingdom, Asia and various parts Europe.

Some of the groups included the International Canoe Federation and the International Va’a Federation, which led to the formation of the Paracanoe Development Program.

“Formerly known as: paddleability,” the new name of paracanoe was officially adopted in December of 2009 in order to align the sport with the Paralympic movement.”

According to Zeller, “Since 1990, the American Canoe Association (ACA) has been a leader in offering training to paddlesport instructors and program providers in the best practices of Inclusive Outdoor Recreation opportunities.”

In addition, “The ACA Adaptive Paddling Program offers programming to support and enhance the decades strong National Paddlesport Institution Program. Through train-the-trainer programs, the Adaptive Paddling Program teaches the skills and knowledge needed to outfit equipment and modify teaching styles to allow people of all abilities to participate in paddlesport.”

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