The World Paddle Awards (WPA) were started because there has never been an institution and international event that celebrated the most remarkable men and women from the world of competitive paddlesports along with their extraordinary achievements. Simply put, the WPA aims to celebrate and tell the world about YOU – the athletes, coaches, volunteers, media, event organisers, manufacturers, and so on – and the incredible feats you have accomplished or service you have provided during the past year(s).
Additionally, the WPA would like to make competitive paddlesports more 'showbiz' and 'red carpet' – to shine the spotlight on our 'rockstars'. Sportscene.tv was the world's first professional platform that provided the different paddlesports and the athletes with daily media coverage and exposure. Within two years it has become the largest website for competitive paddlesports. The World Paddle Awards is a logical extension of this success and drive to elevate paddlesports in the global sports marketplace.
The Awards - Academy and People's Choice
The most important element for the WPA was the awards themselves. The WPA must reflect the diversity of our community and recognise the incredible contributions that people across the globe make to our sport. Historically the sport had a strong tendency to focus on the Olympic disciplines and male athletes only. This is something the WPA want to help change by establishing seven different awards for men and women (athletes, teams, support staff, media, industry and so on).
Development of the WPA Academy
Another important component of this process is the composition of the Academy itself – the people who will make decisions about the awards. The Academy is responsible for doing the following:
- Establish a sound concept, solid infrastructure and transparent process to communicate, nominate, vote on and present awards
- Establish an organisation with good governance practices and grow the number of people who want to be involved
- Develop more opportunities and resources to recognise, expose and celebrate success in our sport and community
- Make the Academy a genuine reflection of our diverse community: the different paddling disciplines, demographics, parents of athletes, fans and enthusiasts, (retired) athletes, media, manufacturers, volunteers, and so on
- Define and develop the greater cause that can be achieved for our sport and community, which goes above and beyond the celebration of success.
It will take time to develop such an Academy but at the time of publishing this article a diverse group of more than 20 people, who are excited and honoured to support this initiative, have already been found. The Academy is not only a group of people who vote for the Academy Award winners. Over time we also would like to develop their reason of being together under the umbrella of the World Paddle Awards. Below is an official description that explains the ambition and cause of the WPA and the Academy.
All Academy members have agreed to honour the Academy’s core values:
- Respect, encourage and empower diversity. This includes diversity of thought, and a broad and open-minded look concerning all the different paddlesports, people, cultures and achievements;
- Recognise that united, we stand, grow, become stronger, and move forward on the water;
- The cause of the WPA is the focal point for participation in the Academy and supercedes personal agendas, politics and lobbying;
- Every Academy member will or might have his or her specific background and history featured on this website.
Official description of The Academy
A unique association of the greatest living sporting legends and other figureheads, the Academy embraces the principles of using sport to help bring positive social change and unite the different paddlesport disciplines and cultures. Academy members offer their time, expertise and passion to support the work of WPA year round, and share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, build bridges, and bring the paddling community together, to improve the lives of people and communities around the world.
The members of the WPA Academy vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners in all seven categories.* Although the Awards bring attention to those at the top end of our sport, it is also intended to feature and benefit athletes at the grassroot-level and in lesser known paddlesport disciplines..
Meet our Academy members.
* Academy members cannot be nominated for or win an Award.
Besides the Academy vote we do have the People's Choice where the general public and fans select their favourites online from the nominees as presented on the WPA website. The highest score is the sum of all likes and Google+, which you find at the bottom of each nomination.