Paddle Australia, Paddle New South Wales and the MAKAI Paddlers have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the hosting of the 2020 Paddle Australia Canoe Ocean Racing Championships.
The agreement will see the Championships included within the MAKAI Cup, a downwind Ocean Paddling event, to be held in Ulladulla on the South Coast of New South Wales on February 8 and 9 next year.
The event will determine the National Champions for Canoe Ocean Racing for 2020 and will also serve as the selection event for athletes vying to be part of the Australian Team to attend the 2020 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Portugal in September 2020.
Paddle Australia CEO Phil Jones confirmed that the decision to partner with MAKAI Paddlers was one that was borne out of a recent strategic planning process focused on Canoe Ocean Racing.
“It is important that Paddle Australia delivers a high quality experience for paddlers looking to compete for national titles and be selected for ICF competitions,” Phil Jones said.
“We believe that the event run by MAKAI Paddlers is the best fit for 2020, given the track record of delivering an outstanding competition.”
For MAKAI Paddlers the decision to include the National Championships within its event was an easy one.
“We want to provide the best event possible for participants,” the Club’s President Damian ‘Damo’ Staunton said.
“By partnering with Paddle Australia and Paddle NSW we are able to maintain the character and spirit of the MAKAI Cup while bringing people from all over Australia to be a part of the experience and see why the MAKAI Cup is more than just a race.”
The agreement continues the recognition of the MAKAI Cup as one of the premier events of its type in the country.
“The MAKAI Cup has been awarded both the “Best Event” as well as the “People’s Choice” awards by Paddle NSW over recent years”, confirmed Peter Tate, CEO of Paddle NSW.
“It is a great choice to host the Paddle Australia Canoe Ocean Racing Championships”.
The decision to determine the National Champions as well as ICF World Championships selections from a single event is a change in direction from the 2019 process, when a series of races was used to determine overall results.
“This is an opportunity to get all of the best ocean racers in the country participating at the same time” Phil Jones said.
“We hope that this new approach, using a single event and aligning the age groups with those used internationally, will put the event and selection within the reach of more ocean paddlers. Timed as it is to follow other major ocean races, Paddle Australia is excited at the prospect of this event being a focal point for the ocean racing community in 2020”.
As well as the MAKAI Cup, the weekend will include the Mini MAKAI 10k, a shorter distance ‘out and back’ race suitable for community level ocean paddlers as well as all levels of Stand Up Paddleboarders.
Paddle Australia’s ocean racing paddlers brought home five medals in the open, U23 and junior events as well as eleven medals in the master’s events at last week’s 2019 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in France.
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