Welcome to 2023! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year break and managed to spend some time on the water during the busy holiday period.

The competition season is ramping up, and it was great to see so many paddlers back on the water at the 2023 Canoe Slalom Age Championships in Tasmania, starting the year strongly. Athletes had an amazing opportunity to compete against Tokyo Olympian Dan Watkins.

We have a very busy calendar of national competitions planned from February through to May, and entries for those events are now open. CLICK HERE to find out more and register. We’re excited to be welcoming athletes from around Australia and world back together again.

We’re also looking forward to welcoming ICF President Thomas Konietzko, Vice President Lluis Rabeneda and Secretary General Richard Pettit to Australia next month. The ICF delegation will participate in a number of workshops and site visits as we continue the countdown to the 2025 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Penrith and Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Many of the activities that Paddle Australia undertakes are guided by a large group of hard-working volunteers, all helping to ensure the proper governance of the organisation. The PA Board is ultimately responsible for establishing plans and policies and overseeing compliance. Currently, we are seeking a new director to fill a casual vacancy on the PA Board. If this is something that appeals to you, or you know someone that would be interested in contributing, the details can be found here

I am very sad to report the passing of Phil Coles AM. A Life Member of Paddle Australia since 1981 and an inaugural member of the Paddle Australia Hall of Fame, Phil was a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), AOC Life Member and AOC Executive Board Member and Secretary General. When considering the contribution that people have made to paddling and sport more widely, Phil Coles was a rare leader. He will be sadly missed, and our thoughts are with his wife Patricia, his family and friends. See the tribute to Phil Coles AM here.

We are also enjoying seeing our communities #MyPaddleOz content, and welcome everyone to share your paddling videos, photos and stories across social media, tagging #MyPaddleOz and @paddle_australia. Keep them coming!

Until next month, and always, stay safe on our waterways.

Yours in paddling,

Phil Jones

Paddle Australia CEO

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