The highly anticipated Paddle Australia 2022 Canoe Marathon Championships were held on the Gold Coast over the weekend.
It was the first canoe marathon national championships since 2019, after the last two editions were canceled during the height of the COVID pandemic.
Through windy and rainy conditions, the event saw athletes from the Under-10 category through to the 70+ category converge on Coomera Lake for the three day event.
With many athletes securing national titles over the weekend, one name that consistently appeared in the first-place position was Josh Kippin.
The WAIS paddler won both the shortest 3.4km Open K1 event and the longest 29.6km K1 event on the weekend.
“It felt great to claim the gold in both events after being out of competition for the last couple of years,” Kippin said.
“I think the break has done my body and mind a lot of good and I’m stoked to be back racing and staying as the national champ.”
Kippin also stood on top of the podium with Brendan Rice in the Men’s 29.6km K2 event on Sunday.
“All three victories were special for their own reasons, but in the K2 with Brendan the two of us work so well together that moving the boat fast just feels easy, that was especially helpful in the tough side choppy conditions.”
Kippin said that the challenging conditions over the weekend made for some interesting racing, but couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Marathon community who were happy to be back racing after a three-year hiatus.
“The toughest part of the weekend really was the wind which resulted in side chop conditions for the whole long course K1 and K2 races, that makes you unstable and it can be hard to relax and put full power down,” he said.
“The tougher the better for me though, it’s fun in its own warped way, that’s marathon!
“It was excellent to have the community back together again and to catch up with old friends on the water, see the progress of the next generation coming through and have the atmosphere that you only get at big competitions.”
Tokyo 2020 Canoe Sprint Olympian Jaime Roberts also stood on the podium twice, winning gold in the women’s K1 short course on Sunday and silver with Jane Pankhurst in the 25.9m K2 on Sunday.
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medallist Susan Seipel won gold in the Non Selection 11.1 km Standard Course KL2.
At every Paddle Australia Canoe Marathon Championships there are a number of trophies awarded.
The Frank Whitebrook Trophy, starting back in 1984, is awarded to the state or territory who amass the most points over every race during the event.
It came down to the very last race of the program for the trophy to be decided, with NSW the winning state for 2022 on 308 points. Victoria finished second on 302, followed by Queensland on 208.
The Halford Challenge Trophy is also awarded at each Paddle Australia Canoe Marathon Championships. Graham Halford first presented the Interstate Challenge Trophy in 1998, and in 2013 the then Australian Canoeing Marathon Racing Technical Committee renamed the trophy to the Halford Challenge Trophy in recognition of Graham’s contributions to the sport of canoeing, in particular canoe marathon.
The trophy is scored across international boat classes in Open Men and Women, Under 23 Men and Women, Under 18 Men and Women, and Masters 35 Men and Women.
Western Australia won the trophy this year with 46 points. Victoria finished second on 28, ahead of New South Wales on 22 points.
Dating back to 1991, the Coulthart Trophies are awarded to the best performing Under-16 male and female paddlers across both classes. Queensland’s Thomas Kerkow-Hill and Sarah McDonald received the awards this year for their impressive results on the Gold Coast.
See all results HERE.
A special thank to Paddle Queensland, especially Scott Sharples and Andrea Wood, for organising and hosting the championships.
A massive thank you to all the volunteers and officials who sat through the wind and rain adjudicating the athletes as they paddled the course.