If you’ve been around the Australian paddle community for even a short while, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Vesely family.
With their name becoming synonymous with ocean racing in Australia, the Vesely family continue to make their mark on the sport through their ultimate passion, dedication and commitment to kayaking and its community.
Having won numerous national titles and represented Czechoslovakia in sprint kayaking, Mario Vesely moved to Australia at the age of 18, eventually setting up base in Sydney and establishing his business, Learn To Paddle Now.
Now with three children of his own, each of whom are involved at a high level, Vesely is thrilled to share his passion with those closest to him, noting it has also been incredible to see the paddling community reach new heights over recent years.
“The sport of paddling and the Australian paddle community is absolutely everything to me and my kids, it’s our whole life,” said Vesely.
“We get up at 4:30am every morning, go paddling, come home and do some gym or some running, rest and then go out for another paddle in the afternoon. It’s very demanding for the kids, but it’s something we can all do together, and we love it.
“It has also been wonderful to see the sport grow more generally over my time here. Years ago it was just me and my kids doing ocean paddling, and now we’ve got maybe 400 people on and off who come with us to paddle.
“The sport is so unique, and I think it’s wonderful that we’ve got so many people who had never paddled before who came to us at Learn to Paddle Now, sat in a surfski and are now going to compete at the Worlds with us, that’s exciting,” he said.
With his children Nicci, Ziko and Carlito all competing for Australia in their respective age groups, Vesely is excited to attend the 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships to support them.
“I’m very proud of my kids, they have a big chance to do very well at the world championships,” said Vesely.
“Our training is usually mostly related to sprint kayaking, but we have been doing lots of ocean water paddling in the lead up. I’ve been driving the kids out to the course even when there’s strong northerly or southerly winds, giving them the walkie talkies, and watching them go out together.
“They will all be racing singles and doubles at the World Championships, so we’re very excited to see how they go. I just want them to be wise, enjoy themselves and hopefully bring home the medal,” said Vesely.
Vesely is adamant that paddling provides an array of physical, mental and emotional benefits, noting it is not just the sport but the community itself that makes it so great.
With the upcoming event in Perth attracting paddlers from all over the world, Vesely and his children are looking forward to spending time with the Australian and international paddling community, and to the learning opportunity that will come from paddling in a large fleet.
“Last time I checked there were nearly 500 entries and the number was still growing. I think there will be so many more who register this last week as well,” he said.
“We’re matching registration numbers for last year in Portugal, which I think is incredible seeing Australia is quite far away from most other countries.
Join the Vesely and Learn to Paddle Now family at the 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth from November 27-December 3. There is still time to enter, with registration for the landmark event open until November 20.
For more information or to enter, visit the event website here.