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.
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.
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.