PaddleNSW Life Members

Life Member #11: JOAN MORISON OAM

Joan’s life-long commitment to canoeing began in the late 1940’s when Joan joined Bruce Morison to convene a meeting that established the Youth Hostels Association Canoe Club. The club provided the opportunity for YHA members to experience canoeing up to 1974.

Joan was instrumental in forming the state peak body back in 1949, to enable the establishment of the national body shortly afterwards. All this was in preparation for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. The Morisons and YHA members conducted the first NSW Canoe Championships under the auspices of the NSW Canoe Association.

Joan’s involvement with canoeing crossed all disciplines and facets of the sport at local, state and national levels.

With a background of club and state canoeing administration, Joan was elected to the honorary position of Secretary-General of the Australian Canoe Federation in 1983. Her vision and enthusiasm for canoeing consolidated the establishment of the first national office in 1986 and her subsequent appointment as the National Executive Director.

Joan worked tirelessly to establish a sound financial base and efficient management procedures, which moved the organisation of canoeing from the kitchen table to a respected sporting administration. This was a period of extensive growth for canoeing and the result at international level confirmed the credibility of the organisation.

Joan was held in high regard by the Australian Sports Commission and took every opportunity to initiate development proposals and attract increased financial support.

The establishment of the national training centres for Flatwater (Gold Coast) and Slalom (Tasmania) were a direct result of her persistent lobbying to the government.

When Joan stepped down from full-time working 1988, she directed her energy and enthusiasm unto a myriad of voluntary canoeing activities.

From the organisation of state and national events, to the conduct of Board of Canoe Education courses, coaching individual paddlers and competing in canoe marathon events, to working at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Joan has always been in the midst of the action!

In 1992, Joan was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) for services to the sport of canoeing. In 1981 she was awarded Life Membership of NSW Canoe Association and in 2003 became a life member of Australian Canoeing (now Paddle Australia).

Life Member #23: LYNN PARKER

Lynn started paddling in 1981 when the family joined the River Canoe Club (RCC) touring rivers in NSW and Victoria. Paddling has always been fun, including the very funny inaugural freestyle competition (The Plastic Pig Rodeo at Goolang Creek about 1997), slalom competitions from Club to the Nationals and Lynn became Australian Women Vets champion in 1999. But on-water activity wasn’t enough, so Lynn took on judging, officiating and volunteering for State, Nationals, World Cups, Sydney Masters and the Sydney Olympics, mostly in slalom but often in any discipline as she accepted more and more administrative roles.

It started in Club world, where Lynn led RCC as President 95 & 96: kept it rolling as Secretary 2001 – 2013: Training and Safety Coordinator 2012-2015: Vice President 2015 onwards. Lynn was keen to preserve the Clubs traditions, club history in print and digital format, including archiving more films at the National Film library and organising Clubs birthday milestones, etc. Becoming a Willow Warrior – and returning numerous rivers to their former glory was an easy extension to ‘getting out there” to paddle. RCC Life membership was awarded for services in 2006.

Gaining a Paddler’s Proficiency Award was the first contact with the Board of Canoe Education and the State Federation in 1983. With an education background, Lynn’s had a natural and influential involvement with the development of products and resources to assist a paddler, an athlete, the competition and environment we paddle in.

Joined NSW Canoeing management as the RCC Delegate in 1995, then the NSW Canoeing Board in 2003, soon becoming organisation secretary and Office volunteer, administrator for government compliance, insurance and membership and eventually personnel manager for employing staff one day a week.

In her Education and Training Coordinator role Lynn won substantial grants to train-up at least one qualified Coach and Instructor for each Club. The accreditation systems were put in place, with courses run across NSW for Clubs and the Industry. The first Educators Conference for Club and Paddle Sport leaders was held. Lynn set up the PaddleNSW Club Awards, DSR support for young athletes and coaches. Managed the safety review for delivery of canoeing in Sport and Recreational camp venues in NSW.

As the administrative Chair of Education for decades, Lynn still continues to operate the accreditation system of a National Training Provider; moderating Assessors, organising and processing Awards applications for Courses for Clubs, industry, schools and the public, across NSW and ACT. Delivery has extended to internationally recognized Swift Water Rescue Technician training and instruction for paddlers of Pack rafts and inflatables.

The Waterways Guide Website and PaddleSafe APP was born out of a need to update the NSW Canoeing Guide, a previous publication by NSW Canoeing. The revision commenced in 2010 and now the Waterways Guide Website has extended nationwide. Paddling destination information is crowd sourced by the recreational community. After PaddleNSW received another successful grant, this time from NSW Police and Emergency Services, there is the PaddleSafe APP, a companion to the website for hand held devices and an electronic Float Plan to aid trip planning, emergency procedures for safe outcomes. These resources enable a reach far beyond PA’s membership.

Summary of Service:

  • PaddleNSW delegate to the NSW Olympic Council since 2008
  • PaddleNSW Chair of the Education and Recreational Committee since 2008
  • PaddleNSW delegate to Australian Canoeing Recreation Committee 2014–16
  • On 22nd April Lynn Parker was awarded the Order of Merit by the NSW Olympic Committee for 2015 for her significant contribution to sport.
  • Premiers Award finalist for volunteer week 2014
  • PaddleNSW Board member 2003-2018

Lynn has been instrumental in the governance of state paddling for numerous decades and that outstanding commitment has cascaded for the greater betterment of our paddling environment Australia-wide. She was deservedly awarded Life Membership of PaddleNSW in 2016 and Paddle Australia in 2019.

Paddle NSW Education Paddlers Waterways Guide

Life Member #24: TIM HOOKINS

  • Founding member of re-modelled PaddleNSW in 2008
  • Chair of PaddleNSW 2013-2015
  • Holder of a Hawkesbury Classic record
  • Regular Paddler at the Fish River Marathon in South Africa
  • President of Lane Cove River Kayakers 2005 – 2007
  • Secretary LCRK 2007 – 2008

Tim has been administering paddling for quite a while. It seems that over the years many people have recognised his managerial talent and guided him into roles of importance, starting at club level and progressing up to roles in PaddleNSW and also the National Open Water Committee.

From 2005 to 2008, Tim had starring roles on the Lane Cove River Kayakers committee, both as president and secretary. It was then, in 2008 that the former NSW Canoeing broke ranks with Australian Canoeing over untenable financial matters, and dissolved the association. A steady hand was needed to guide the process of re-forming the state peak body and Tim, along with some others (including Lynn Parker and Tony Hystek) stepped up to the plate to commence the long and time-consuming process of creating PaddleNSW. Tim even proposed the name PaddleNSW, which showed great foresight.

At that time the PNSW committee were fulfilling roles as both committee members and day to day managers, and with a lot of hard work they accumulated enough funds to place the new PaddleNSW on a very secure financial footing. The committee were having meetings often once a week, and long into the evening; an enormous workload but one which Tim managed with no complaint, even though he had a very successful ‘legitimate’ business to run at the same time.

During these formative years, a new constitution was adopted based on the model recommended by the Dept Fair Trading, and so we moved from a ‘presidential’ model to a board model. Tim stepped in as Chair from 2013 – 2015 while at the same time promoting his first love of Ocean Racing to the broader paddling community.

He formed Harbour Racing, as a similar racing series to the successful PNSW Marathon Series. This was more difficult due to the lack of potential event hosts, but through hard work and persuasion a great series of events was born, and is now one of the jewels in the PaddleNSW event calendar. This then branched out to an even more ambitious Ocean Racing series, quite successful for a few years till the burden of management by a small committee became too much.

Tim was part of the inaugural ICF World Ocean Racing championships in Portugal, also being team manager on that occasion. He was very proud that Ocean Racing was now legitimised with World Championship status.

Life Member #25: TONY HYSTEK

Tony is still a wonderful paddler and has won many races and series over the decades, including the PNSW Marathon Series, Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (fastest on handicap), and podium finish in the iconic Yukon River Quest.

Life Member Tony has committed thousands and thousands of hours to the betterment of the boating and paddling industry on behalf of others – and every single one of those hours is provided as a volunteer. Some of those many contributions and achievements are listed here….

  • PaddleNSW Board Director – 2008 to 2021, Chair for 6 of those 13 years. Tony was a member of the Maritime Safe Boating Committee for many years, and hardly missed a meeting during that time. He was awarded Life Membership of PaddleNSW in 2018.
  • Championed the need to engage recreational paddlers, encouraging membership and the development of safety resources: Paddle Safe (DVD) was commenced by Tony as a mechanism for including with each boat sale, and eventually handed to Maritime where it became a National Resource. Supported the development of the Waterways Guide website and PaddleSafe APP.
  • As Myall Classic Race Organiser/Director for almost a decade, Tony ensures maximum safety measures are in place for 300+ paddlers at the event.

Tony is passionate about the paddling community and about training fellow paddlers to have the best possible technique to improve race times and be injury free. Not only does he dedicate dozens of hours each and every week coaching at club level to get more and better paddlers on the water, Tony is also an extremely strong advocate for safer and cleaner waterways. PaddleNSW leads the way nation-wide in the environment field – championing Clean-Up campaigns and educating thousands of paddlers to protect our waterways.

The advocacy doesn’t stop at national and state level for Tony. In 2005 he joined Lane Cove River Kayakers (LCRK) and has been hugely influential in that club ever since. Tony created the LCRK Wisemans BBQ tent with volunteers assisting boats and paddlers making the experience safer and supported for paddlers (e.g the stopover had many paddlers helping ensure boats ready, paddlers in good condition, food given etc).

  • As the club grew with the new facilities the realisation for improved safety on the water during time-trials became paramount.
  • Worked toward consistent safe navigation (stay right), all paddlers in life jackets and safe lighting system on boats for night time trials so that passing boats could tell the direction of travel to avoid collision
  • designed and delivered deep water self rescue workshops and ran them for the club, now written a manual and is conducting instruction for other clubs and making the manual available to paddling community as a whole
  • coaching clinic for introduction to K boat paddling – improved stability and boat handling on the water for paddlers
  • keeping the pontoon and facilities safe by maintaining and improving access for paddlers
  • runs free club coaching every Tuesday and Friday mornings with focus on technique to make people confident and stable in their boats. Stable boats means less rescues by other volunteers.
  • Skills training: Ran morning workshop for LCRK paddlers instructing on deep water re-entry to boat after capsize, and deep water re-entry rescue
  • worked with maritime to establish safer navigation of Lane Cove river with rationalisation and removal of unnecessary ATON’s so that night time navigation didn’t have obstacles in the way.