Inaugural winners of the World Paddle Awards

Congratulations to my fellow finalist Steve West winner of the Media Ambassador at last night’s World Paddle Awards in the stunning Augsburg Rathaus Goldener Saal.

WPA Winners. Photo courtesy of Klick-foto24
WPA Winners. Photo courtesy of Klickfoto-24

It was an exceptional night; a real privilege to be surrounded by so many inspiring people, so passionate about Paddlesport. Congratulations to all the winners also to the World Paddle Awards faculty and Augsburg hosting team for such an incredible event. We were all inspired by the winners. Eric Jackson talked about finding paddlesport as “a worthy purpose”. We were all moved by the Expand & Extend Nepal, both in light of the devastating earthquake and what they are doing to promote equality for girls through paddlesport.

Expand & Extreme Paddlesport Professional winners
Expand & Extreme Paddlesport Professional winners. Photo courtesy of Klickfoto-24
Richard & Jess Fox
Richard & Jess Fox. Photo courtesy of @gregiej

These WPA cause me to reflect back to standing on the banks of the river Dee for the Llangollen International with Jennifer Munroe. [Jennifer was Richard’s mother, Jessica‘s grandmother. It was wonderful to see her husband, son, daughter and granddaughter in Augsburg last night]. Together we were writing old fashioned press releases to fax to the media to gain some precious column inches. It was a real catch 22; needing sponsors to attract media and media to attract sponsors. It is poignant to be here in Augsburg 25 years later for these first World Paddle Awards surrounded by sponsors and media.

Roger,  and Richard Fox
Roger, Daphne and Richard Fox. Photo courtesy of @gregiej

Augsburg has such a rich history in paddlesports. Few people appreciate that the original Eiskanal pre-dates the 1972 Olympics and was the site of the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in 1957. For both 1972 and 1985 the slalom course started above the top sluice and ran for more than 600 metres. I was here for the 2003 World Championships to see Fabien Lefevre successfully defend his K1M title. Augsburg has continued to be very innovative across many paddlesports and we were made exceptional welcome in the city.

I am very honoured to have been among the finalists and on the podium! You can revisit my Twitter feed from last night and follow the canoe slalom races this year @gregiej on Twitter. My World Cup preview will follow early next month on Sportscene.

Final word. The WPA are supporting Kanu Nepal-Hilfe raising much needed funds to support the region. Well done. WPA has today announced that nomination for 2015 awards will commence this September.

World Paddle Awards tonight in Augsburg

Tonight (May 9th) the inaugural World Paddle Awards ceremony kick-off in Augsburg at the stunning Augsburg Rathaus Goldener Saal. As many as 400 people are expected to attend this star studded event, with the finalists, nominees, faculty and sponsors.

Alongside the Eiskanal with Nick Harding
Alongside the Eiskanal with Nick Harding

This is highly poignant for me realizing the journey over the last 25 years desperately trying to engage the media with press releases to publish a few column inches in print media.

Today we have engaged sponsors and media supporting this fantastic event. See the World Paddle Awards website. I will report on these inspiring awards ceremony and look forward to listening to the winners.

ECA event poster
ECA event poster

It is an exciting weekend in Augsburg with the ECA Wildwater Sprint & Boater-Cross race on the Eiskanal. Qualification is today and finals tomorrow.