DEAN GARDINER (Australia) - Nominee for the Lifetime Achievement Award
- Born: 1965, Sport(s): ocean racing/surf ski, outrigger, Ironman, represents: Australia
- Results: 9x Molokai winner, surf ski World Cup gold
- Founder and organiser of Australian Ocean Paddler series
Dean Gardiner has been at the pinnacle of Australian ocean racing for more than twenty years. Dean’s career started with a mix of lifesaving, surf ski and Ironman events, before he decided to focus on the longer distance surf ski races.
Since he made the move to ocean racing, Dean has won races all over the word, from the US to Tahiti. Dean won the inaugural surf ski World Cup in 2004 (Cape Town). He entered his first Molokai in 1989 and has competed every year since 1999. The arduous 32-mile race takes place on one of the roughest ocean channels in the world, making those who finish some of the toughest paddlers in the world.
Dean has won the revered Molokai title nine times. His experience and extreme fitness meant Dean could set the race record in 1994, only to reset it again with the current record of 3:21:26 in 1997. Dean is the only man to have won both the Surf Ski and Outrigger Molokai titles in the same year.
Dean is largely responsible for the growth of the sport in Australia, with considerable financial investment as the owner and founder of Ocean Paddler and the Ocean Racing Series, which will comprise of 13 events for the 2017/18 season.
Dean’s passion for the sport has gone far beyond competing; he is also an excellent coach, event organiser, sponsor and mentor. On top of all this, he works for Fire and Rescue NSW.
Dean has achieved a lifetime of excellent results in the sport, setting the bar high at international events and driving the industry in Australia. As a previous nominee in this category, the World Paddle Awards acknowledges the fact that these achievements and contributions to the sport do not diminsih and in Dean's case are ongoing. Consequently, the nominees who finish second in this category each year will be renominated moving forward. The whole paddlesports community will be forever greatful for Dean's passion and committment to the sport and as a result he is a deserving nominee for the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
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