(2017 ☆ ARCHIVED) Sandy Robson - Australia

sandy robson canoe kayak australia nominee sportswoman year world paddle awards

SANDY ROBSON (Australia) - Nominee for the 2017 Sportswoman of the Year Award

Sandy Robson is a woman on a mission. Inspired by German canoeist Oskar Speck, Sandy completed the unimaginable voyage from Germany to Australia in November 2016, which took her five and half years. This incredible journey has ensured that her name will go down in history as one of the greatest sea kayakers in the world.

Having first purchased a sea kayak in 1999 to undertake local expeditions as part of her job as an Outdoor Education leader, Sandy quickly fell in love with the sport. Inspired by Paul Caffyn’s book, Dreamtime Voyage, Sandy set off on her first major expedition in 2007, circumnavigating around Australia. However, after 6000kms of paddling her efforts were thwarted after a salt-water crocodile attacked her boat.

Following this, she devoted five and a half years of her life to replicating the voyage of German Oskar Speck in the late 1930’s, who in her eyes completed the most amazing kayak journey of all time. Having paddled over 23,000km through 20 different countries, Sandy concluded her voyage by returning to the northernmost island in Australia’s Torres Straight on the 2nd of November 2016.

Throughout her voyage Sandy achieved many milestones and world records including becoming the first woman to paddle the coasts of India, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea and the first woman to cross the Palk Strait from Sri Lanka to India. This was also only the second ever crossing of this strait by sea kayak, and the first in 80 years. She also became the first person to circumnaviaget Sri Lanka by kayak. 

The adventure, which took her through Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Asia and Papua New Guinea saw her encounter a range of different situations. In her final stage of the tip, which she describes as her most challenging, she experienced a bout of Malaria and had a run-in with pirates. However, upon return these encounters seemed minor when realizing the significance of what she had achieved.

Since arriving back on home soil, Sandy has begun writing her first adventure book, which will include a compilation of stories interspersed with stories from Oskar Specks journey. Whilst her achievements already seem colossal, this book will undoubtedly highlight just how tremendous this accomplishment is. As a result of this incredible feat, Sandy Robson has been nominated for the 2017 World Paddle Awards sportswoman of the year award.

Achievements on and off the water:

  • 2016, Completed Retracing the journey of Oskar Speck from Germany to Australia by Kayak
  • 2016, First Woman to Kayak the coast of Papua New Guinea
  • 2014, First Woman to Kayak the Coast of Bangladesh
  • 2014, First Woman to Kayak the Coast of India (completed over 2012, 13, 14)
  • 2014, Second Person and First Woman to cross Palk Strait (between Sri Lanka & India) by Kayak
  • 2014, World Record - First Person to Circumnavigate Sri Lanka by Kayak
  • 2013, First Woman to Paddle the West Coast of India
  • 2007, Sandy's Long Australian Paddle: A year to paddle as far as she could around the Australian Coast 
  • 2006, Cape-to-Cape, Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste, Western Australia
  • 2002/2003, 10 days 450km Perth to Geraldton, Western Australia

Oskar Speck sandy robson canoe kayak australia nominee sportswoman year world paddle awards


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