Photo Credit: World Paddle Awards | Jens Thybo | Silkeborg
DENNIS NEWTON (Great Britain) - Winner of the 2017 Foundation Award
Born: 1978; Disciplines Freestyle, Extreme, Tourism and Recreation; Represents: Great Britain
Dennis Newton is a true example of the importance and value of volunteers that make paddlesports so incredible. Winning the 2017 Foundation Award at the World Paddle Awards overnight for his outstanding commitment to Whitewater and Freestyle Kayaking, Dennis’ passion, love and commitment to the sport is unparalleled.
“I used to think running whitewater was about escapism, now I know it’s more than that. There is no escaping daily life, what the sport does is help bring a new positive perspective, creativity and confidence; what I learn and experience on the river affects my daily life and my daily life affects my success on the river. Running challenging lines or throwing down tricks on the river, is still very much what keeps the fire burning within. Immersing yourself in the moment can have profound lasting effects. I can’t stress how much my sport enriches my life and that of others. This may be true of other sports, but the real attraction is the whitewater, whether it be freestyle, extreme racing, creek-boating or expeditions - there is always a challenge, there are always new experiences and hurdles to overcome.”
With over 25 World Championship medals and 30 European Championship medals, Dennis is by far one of the most medal abundant coaches in paddlesports.
“As a coach it’s often the competition results that naturally get the media coverage, although the moment of winning is often in large a celebration of the journey. And the journey for me is often full of memorable moments, sometimes training performance milestones, and quite often just enjoying amazing rivers and destinations together.”
With the athletes, coaches and support team all pushing each other to make the most out of each day, Dennis believes the future of this discipline is looking bright.
“I’m really excited about the direction of paddlesport. Extreme river racing and freestyle have really captured the imagination of spectators and the paddling community, leading to international competitions that combine these disciplines such as the WW Grand Prix and more recently Unleashed - with a huge fan base both within and outside the paddling community.”
With his eyes firmly set on the future, he has set some big goals for the sport in the UK including developing further performance pathways, building Freestyle hubs, introducing a Freestyle Academy and continuing the already successful Sweetwater Coaching Athlete Support Program and more.
“There is still a huge amount of work to be done. I aim to continue promoting freestyle globally, supporting new initiatives and national governing bodies to provide quality experiences and increase participation in paddlesports across all ages and abilities.”
However, none of these milestones can be achieved without a great support network, something Dennis is truly thankful for.
“There are so many people that have helped and supported me throughout my career in a myriad number of ways - to you all a massive thanks. Without the incredible support of my wife Lisa Carter, family and friends, it wouldn’t have been possible and all the success I have had would not have had the same meaning. I would also like to give a special mention to my good friend Andrew ‘Jacko’ Jackson - we have worked together on many projects other the years and pushed each other to better ourselves, it’s been a great journey.”
It is regularly said that there is a team behind every athlete, but in Freestyle Kayaking it is more commonly known as there being ‘Dennis’ behind every champ. The World Paddle Awards congratulates Dennis on being awarded the 2017 Foundation Award for his commitment to the sport and it’s future development.