Photo Credit: World Paddle Awards | Jens Thybo | Silkeborg
HANK MCGREGOR (South Africa) – Winner of the 2017 Academy Award
Born: 1979, Represents: canoe marathon (K1 or K2), downriver, ocean-racing and surfski, Represents: South Africa
2017: Gold K1 & K2 World Marathon Championships; Gold World Cup Surf Ski; Silver Molokai Surf Ski Race
2016: Gold K1 & K2 World Marathon Championships; Gold Berg River Marathon; Gold Maui Jim Molokai Challenge
2015: Gold K1 & Silver K2 World Marathon Championships; Gold Berg River Marathon
2014: Gold K1 & K2 World Marathon Championships; Gold K1 Hansa Fish River Marathon; Gold Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon; Gold K1 Maui Jim Molokai ChallengeWith 10 World Championship titles to his name,
Hank McGregor is one of the most dominating canoe marathon paddlers of all time. His passion for paddling and commitment to ensuring the development of the sport in his home country of South Africa and beyond make him a deserving winner of the 2017 Academy Award.
Together with this accolade, he was invited to join the Academy, which Hank excitedly accepted. As the only person who has been nominated every year since these awards began (2014-2017), and one of WPA’s greatest ambassadors, Hank spoke about how much the sport and this ceremony means to him.
“When I was awarded the male sportsman world paddler of the year for 2014 I was really humbled and honoured that so many people had acknowledged my achievements of the past and I felt this was something special in the World of Paddle Sports. Now to become a member of this same Academy is the next level of recognition as it’s made up of legends of the different disciplines of the sport of paddling and I hope I can contribute to the great cause of spreading the word of paddling world wide.”
Having paddled competitively for over 20 years, with his results only getting better and better, Hanks passion for the sport and pursuit of excellence cannot be faulted.
“I guess the reason to keep motivated is because I am really passionate about paddling as a sport across the board of disciplines and love the racing element so when you combine those two factors and the love of winning I keep training hard so I am able to race even harder.”
With a long list of achievements, his most memorable moment came this past season when South Africa hosted the World Marathon Championships.
“I think for a long time my most memorable was my first major individual win when I was a junior winning the 1996 World Marathon Junior race in Sweden. I felt it was my first time I really became noticed on an international stage but now I have to say my win this year in my home country in South Africa at the World Marathon Champs in front of my family my friends and home crowd has to be the most memorable.”
Outside of competition, Hank and his wife Pippa are committed to growing the sport in their home country. Through their Euro Steel McGregor Series, they aim to encourage new and young participants into the sport and give current paddlers the opportunity to participate in a fun and inclusive event.
“My wife and I started a kayak series event last year with help of a lot of my personal sponsors and supporters targeting the youth as young as four and five years old and also new comers of our sport.”
“It became really successful so we held it again this year and the numbers have just grown to as much as 250 paddlers on the start line in some of the races. I love seeing the determination on the youngsters faces as they give it their all doing the races.”
“I hope to keep this series going and growing country wide as I believe there are many more world champions in the making.”
The World Paddle Awards is delighted to have Hank McGregor as the newest member of the Academy.