May has been yet another busy month for Paddle Australia (PA), marking the return to international competition for many athletes, as well as the hosting of a rescheduled and relocated 2022 PA Canoe Sprint Championships. 

With the Olympics the only international competition in which some of our canoe sprint paddlers have competed since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, our team made a welcome return to the world stage and left no stone unturned in the first ICF World Cup in Czech Republic, winning five medals across the regatta. Special mention to dual Olympian Aly Bull who won gold in the women’s K1 1000 event.

Less than a week later, the canoe sprint team were joined by our para-canoeists in Poznan, Poland for World Cup 2. With some very challenging, windy conditions causing significant delays in the event program, the sprint paddlers all backed up well with the team securing a total of eight medals, including two gold. 

Many congratulations to all the athletes who wore the green and gold with pride. It was a very promising start to a shortened lead up to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The sprint paddlers will now return to Australia for a training block on the Gold Coast before the World Championships in Canada in early August, whilst the para-canoeists head to the UK for training and more competition.

As our canoe sprint paddlers headed home, they almost crossed in the air with our canoe slalom athletes as they headed to Europe, with their first World Cup set to get underway on 10 June. I wish them the very best of luck for the coming months, and I look forward, as I know many do, to following their progress closely from here in Australia.

Back at home, the 2022 PA Canoe Sprint Championships in Adelaide rounded out what has been a busy competition period for our paddling community. After the delay to the competition earlier this year and a change of venue from Sydney, it was great to see our sprint community together again at West Lakes in Adelaide and what a terrific competition it was. It was great to see so many young athletes participating. A special shout out to the parents and coaches of these young athletes who have worked so hard through what has been a particularly challenging time for all sports, but junior sport in particular.

Off the water, representatives of PA, our State Paddle Associations, Discipline Technical Committees, and other key stakeholders were able to get together around the table for the first time in over two and half years. 

This month we also celebrated National Volunteers Week and National Careers Week. It was great to shine a light on some members of our paddling community, and the fabulous work they continue to do to make our sport great. It was also exciting to unveil the first, research phase of our National Volunteer Strategy, which aims to inform the overall strategy to improve recruitment, recognition, and retention of volunteers in the sport (click here to read more).

Until next month, and as always, stay safe when exploring our beautiful waterways!

Phil Jones

Paddle Australia CEO

Previous articleEight medals for Australia at Poznan Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup
Next articleLangley and Burdett to tackle River Vézère at 2022 ICF Wildwater World Championships