From the CEO’s desk

Hello Members and paddling enthusiasts…

In this newsletter edition I’d like to pay tribute to our amazing committee members and coordinators performing outstanding work across NSW and ACT.

We have been privileged for a number of years to lead the nation in environmental issues. Bron Powell and the PNSW Environment Committee do tremendous work, not just during annual Clean Up Australia campaigns, but also advocating for cleaner waterways and more thoughtful and eco-sustainable activity on the water.

Last year we formed the PNSW Diversity & Inclusion Committee, under leadership of Karen Tipping. Just like our Environment Committee, the D&I Committee is the first to be established in Australia, and Paddle Australia is already leaning heavily on our volunteers for LGBTQ projects and other opportunities to make paddling activity more inclusive. PaddleNSW supports and encourages LGBTQ Awareness Training. If interested, please contact me. Appreciation is also extended to Darren Forbes who continues liaising with appropriate authorities to develop our Indigenous Reconciliation Plan.

Suzi Edwards, as Chair of the PNSW Adaptive Paddling Committee, steers our initiatives for programs, for testing, and for building facilities that cater for the needs of para-athletes. We acknowledge the tremendous support from Jake Michael and NSWIS, and also PA’s Anna Wood in this sector.

For the past two years PaddleNSW has focused significantly on female membership, participation and empowering women in leadership roles. We proudly featured seven remarkable women in March during International Women’s Day (Week). See our website if you missed it. Just as proudly, we have majority female representation on the PNSW Board. Vice Chair Naomi Johnson recently organised a free-of-charge Women Leaders in Sport all-day workshop at which 17 athletes, club members and PNSW volunteers enhanced their communication and leadership skills. Mentoring opportunities will follow, as will other workshops for those who were unavailable to attend earlier this month. Please contact me or Naomi if interested in this program.

Some readers will be aware PaddleNSW conducted a thorough and widespread questionnaire last year amongst 300 PAQS instructors, guides and coaches. Superbly led by PNSW Education Coordinator Lynn Parker and PNSW Coaching Coordinator Margi Bohm, the survey gathered industry feedback on how PaddleNSW and Paddle Australia can improve delivery in this extremely important facet of our sport and recreation. Gratitude is extended to PA’s Mark Thurgood and Nicola Bullock who are assisting with initiatives to improve systems and education opportunities. Lynn and Margi are currently conducting monthly webinars amongst our education group (reach out to them if you haven’t received an invitation), and in July we’ll meet in Penrith for a PNSW Education Conference to share ideas and best practice techniques for coaching and instructing. Stay tuned….

Of course the racing and competition fraternity are delighted that events are back in full swing after two years of pandemic disruption. Huge thanks to hosting clubs and the PNSW Paddlesports for planning and conducting all these activities across the myriad of disciplines. I’ve welcomed the opportunity to chat with quite a few competitors and volunteers at the PNSW Marathons hosted recently by BGCC and LCRK, and hope to meet many more of you in coming months. One event which is unlikely to proceed is the Myall Classic. The Tea Gardens event was established by Just Paddlers and ran successfully for many years. When that club suffered diminishing numbers and dissolved, the PaddleNSW Directors stepped in as an interim measure to resurrect the event. Tony Hystek and Bob Turner have done a monumental job from 2015 onwards, however that interim period is over and it appears we have reached the end of an era for the iconic event. Other ultra-marathon events such as the Morison 50, Clarence 100 and the mighty Hawkesbury Classic may flourish in its wake.

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank our PNSW Directors under leadership of Bob Turner for waiving the membership fees of FNCCC members in 2022/23. As you are all aware, Lismore and surrounding areas has suffered not once but multiple times this year from horrific flooding. We hope all those affected return to more pleasant times as soon as possible.

Peter Tate                   

Chief Executive Officer

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