CEO Blog – February

With an event-heavy start to what will be a very big year for paddling and Paddle Australia, it’s safe to say that 2024 is well and truly in full swing!

On behalf of Paddle Australia, I’d like to start by extending my heartfelt congratulations to Tim Anderson and Tristan Carter who have been selected to compete at Paris 2024. After exceptional performances at a range of international events over the past 12 months, including multiple top 10 finishes, Tim and Tristan were selected for their first Australian Olympic Team earlier this month. To read more about their selection, click here.

Following the 2024 Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships, February saw us return to the Penrith Whitewater Stadium (PWS) for the 2024 Canoe Slalom Australian Open. The event attracted talent from far and wide, and I congratulate all who took part and especially those who finished on the podium in both the Canoe Slalom and Kayak Cross events.

In mid-February, just two weeks after the Australian Open, we were back at Penrith, this time with the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) playing host to the 2024 Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2 and Oceania Championships. Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls did us proud, performing exceptionally and securing numerous podium finishes.

With all this talk of competitions, I am reminded of the large number of people, mainly volunteers, without whom we simply could not run the competition program that we do. This year has been particularly challenging, from the oppressive heat at the PWS, to the poor water quality at SIRC, which meant that we were unable to use start gates and that boats had to be held by volunteers lying on the pontoon, to a fierce storm which saw the officials quickly and efficiently get athletes and volunteers off the water and to safety. I am sure that I speak on behalf of all the competitors in expressing my sincere thanks to everyone, from the members of our hard-working technical committees through to our dedicated officials and our willing and able volunteers. What you do is recognised and very much appreciated – a big thank you!

It has been so good to welcome so many international athletes back to our shores through January and February, especially those from the countries of Oceania. As we travel down the ‘green and gold runway’ towards 2032, we look forward to building even stronger relationships with our pacific neighbours. A particular thanks to Maree Burnett and Danielle Woodward, President and Secretary General of the Oceania Canoe Association for their leadership and collaboration.

The events calendar shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, with the Canoe Slalom, Canoe Sprint, Canoe Polo, Canoe Marathon and SUP Australian Championships all on the horizon and following in quick succession, and nearly all being the basis of selection for Australian teams to compete internationally later in 2024. If you have not done so already, I encourage you to submit your entries and join us at an upcoming event in your chosen discipline. I wish all competitors well at the various Championships.

If you are coming to SIRC for the Canoe Sprint Australian Championships please consider helping out as once again, pontoon starts again look to be the order of the day!

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

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