Following an extraordinary year for all, the 2020 British Canoeing Virtual Awards provided a chance to celebrate the great spirit of the paddling community throughout the challenges of Covid-19. The awards recognised paddlers, clubs, coaches, leaders, volunteers or individuals who gave up their time and went the extra mile during Covid-19 making a significant difference to their community through their contribution.
Any member of the paddling community was welcome to submit unlimited nominations for each award and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit a nomination.
We are pleased to present the following individuals with the 2020 British Canoeing Virtual Awards…
The Digital Award - Best lockdown video/photo - sponsored by Towergate
This award was for the best paddling related digital piece showcasing how the nominee continued to love and embrace paddling during the summer lockdown.
Winner - Olivia Moore
During the first phase of lockdown, eight-year-old Olivia Moore’s mental well-being took a hit. As the reality that there would be no paddling adventures or escaping the stresses of daily life through paddling for several weeks sank in, Olivia’s confidence began to take a hit.
It was at this point that the World Back Yard Rolling Competition began sweeping across social media and Olivia was given the reason she needed to get back in her boat each day.
Throughout April, Olivia spent every day trying to improve her on-land rollover technique, posting regular updates on her Facebook page. With hardly enough strength to rock the boat, let alone roll the kayak over, Olivia demonstrated her drive, passion and love for paddling by diligently practicing her rolls each day, with a beaming smile.
Engagement Award - sponsored by Igloo Energy
This award is in recognition of an individual or group of people who have gone above and beyond to engage paddlers and keep motivation high during lockdown.
Winner - Lynne Marie Dale
Throughout the summer Lynne volunteered her time to put on socially distanced, Covid secure paddling events covering canoeing, kayaking and SUP with Black Dog Outdoors. Black Dog Outdoors is a small, volunteer led organisation that supports people to improve their mental health and well-being by getting them outdoors and active for free.
Best Use of Lockdown - sponsored by Jaffa
This award recognises an individual or a group's outstanding contribution, commitment and time during lockdown.
Winner - Ben Broadbent / Abingdon Canoe Polo Team
Abingdon Canoe Polo Team wanted to maintain engagement with the sport and keep their team spirit high during lockdown, whilst also improving their coaching knowledge. To do this, the team wrote a coaching handbook which they have used to help plan the delivery of sessions to less experienced paddlers in the club. This involved weekly Zoom calls to discuss the content for each chapter and edit sections of drafted copy.
Ben Broadbent said: “We are a group of sixth form students from Abingdon who have enjoyed playing Canoe Polo for the past four years. Last year we completed our paddlesport instructor award and since September have been running ‘intro to canoe polo’ sessions twice a week for younger students at school.
“During lockdown we wanted to keep our team in contact and prepare for these sessions, so decided to create a coaching handbook to help us develop our coaching skills and structure the sessions. We have really enjoyed the project and are looking forward to (hopefully) completing our Canoe Polo Coach Award training to develop it further.”
Best Creative Activity - sponsored by Vow Nutrition
This award recognises an individual or a group who inspired others with their creative achievements since lockdown began in March.
Winner - Jordan Wylie
On the weekend of the 26 July 2020 Jordan, 36, from Blackpool, Lancashire began an official world record attempt to complete a full circumnavigation of Great Britain on a Stand Up Paddle board in aid of Frontline Children.
Throughout the build up to the challenge Jordan spent countless hours doing media rounds, both nationally and internationally, to raise awareness of the challenge, SUPing and his overarching message of “dream big, embrace the spirit of adventure and do it safely”.
Jordan is continuing on his expedition and regularly keeps his social media followers updated with weekly short films, regular blog posts, podcasts and various social media updates.
To learn more about Jordan’s world record attempt please visit www.thegreatbritishpaddle.com
Lockdown Hero - sponsored by Peak UK
This award recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond during Covid-19.
Winner - Sarah Jane Coombes
Sarah runs the British Canoeing affiliated club ‘Blue Therapy Paddle Community’ based in Southend, Essex. Throughout 2020 Sarah provided the community countless covid-secure paddling activities to suit all abilities, from complete novices to more developed SUPers. In doing so she created a near 1,000 strong community of paddlers in a small town with a population of around 10,000 people.
Not only has Sarah helped so many paddlers, but she has juggled this whilst managing the Southend Coastguard team during its busiest year on record. Southend became the second busiest Coastguard station in the UK (out of approx. 350 stations) throughout 2020 recording over 240 incidents.