CEO Blog – November 23

Today, Thursday 30 November, officially marks the start of the 2023 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth, WA!

My thanks to the hard working and highly engaged Host Organising Committee (all of whom seem to be racing in the event!), PA Sport Operations Manager Annabelle White, Event Director Jason Wright and all the volunteers that have worked tirelessly over the last 12 months in bringing this event together. 

My thanks to all our sponsors, and particularly to Major Sponsors, City of Stirling and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in WA. 

I am excited to see over 500 Australian and International paddlers on our west coast over the next few days, competing in the Championships. I wish everyone the very best of luck and urge you to enjoy the fantastic Western Australian hospitality.

To follow all the action out of Perth over the next week, be sure to like Paddle Australia on Facebook and Instagram, follow the official Facebook event and find out more on the Championships website.

The Championships follows hot on the heels of the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week. Congratulations to all the winners, and to Cory Hill and Jemma Smith on winning The Doctor and to Dean Gardiner, Yanda Morrison and their team on the 20th Edition of the globally renowned race. 

Looking back at the month that was, a major highlight was the announcement of Jess Fox being selected for her fourth Olympic Games! Jess was just the second athlete to be selected for the Paris 2024 Australian Olympic Team and will make history as the first Australian canoe slalom athlete to compete at four Olympic Games. I extend my sincere congratulations to Jess, her coach Myriam Fox, and the broader high-performance team.

I was also delighted to see London 2012 Olympic gold medalist David Smith appointed as the new Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Head Coach for Canoe Sprint this month. Having spent some time in the lead up to Tokyo as part of the national program, Dave returns to Queensland in a very different role. Having successfully led the paddling program for the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI), his recent experience makes him ideally suited to leading the pathway for developing Queensland based athletes. I wish Dave all the best in this new and important role.

Finally, after working more recently as part of the Project Steering Group, I was very pleased to see the Australian Sports Commission’s launch of the ‘Play Well’ Australia’s Sport Participation Strategy. We know sports play a massive role in Australian culture and its communities, and this strategy will enable us to really drive lifelong involvement in sport, break down some of the barriers to participation, and create opportunities to advance sport participation in Australia.

As we look ahead towards the end of the year, the domestic national season begins today with the PA SUP, SUP Foil and OC1 Mayor’s Ocean Cup running concurrently to the Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth. The 2023 PA Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 will also take place in West Lakes, SA from 8-10 December.

With Summer here, I remind everyone to stay safe on our waterways and enjoy the warmer weather on your paddling craft of choice.

Phil Jones

Paddle Australia CEO

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