2018 Jackie Dillon - Australia

jackie dillon canoe kayak waveski australia world paddle awards nominee 2018 lifetime achievement

Jackie Dillon (Australia) – Nominee for the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award

Born: 1957, Sport: Waveski

Jackie Dillon, at 61 years of age, continues to push the boundaries with respect to athletic performance, support and dedication in the extreme sport of waveski surfing.

An athlete from a very young age, Jackie first rode a waveski following a serious knee injury at the age of 20, and spent the next 20 years developing her skills. Then at nearly 40 she stepped into national and international waveski competition.

She quickly rose to the top tier level in the sport and the following results chronicle a stellar career:

Runner-up World Waveski Open Women’s division – 1999, 2001 and 2011.
First place World Waveski Womens Grand Masters champion 2014, 2016
First place World Waveski Womens Veterans champion 2018
First place World Waveski Womens Tag Team 2018
First place World Waveski Womens Surfing Cup Ocean Spirit Festival Santa Cruz Portugal 2014 and 2015
First place NZ Waveski Women’s Open 2007 – 2011 inclusive
First place series 1 of the Association of Waveski Surfing Professionals 2008

Australian Womens Waveski Champion 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2011 and 2012

Jackie was also keen to make a contribution to the sport of waveski beyond being a competitor and, within 3 years of commencing competition, she joined the World Waveski Surfing Association (WWSA)  Committee.

Jackie applied her skills as a business and finance executive, business owner, registered nurse and competitor to develop the governance and competition aspect of waveski surfing. Her 18 year tenure on the WWSA started with being Secretary 1999 – 2007, and then International Technical Contest Director 2007-2009. Her contribution culminated in being elected as  President of the WWSA 2009 – 2016.

  • During this time the WWSA developed as a professional organisation and implemented a range of governance manuals including reviewing and developing the Constitution and Governance policies. 
  • She brokered an agreement with the International Surfing Association (ISA) and adapted the ISA competition rule book to suit waveski surfing. The WWSA Competition Rule Book has since been continuously refined to reflect the development of the sport over time.
  • In 2011 after much lobbying the WWSA was given associate membership of the International Canoe Federation (ICF).  The membership has seen a staggering growth in the profile of the sport with a number of canoeists venturing onto waveskis.  In 2014 the WWSA reviewed its Governance Manual and Competition Rule Book to enable the organization to participate in the  2017 Sport Accord Beach Games. Unfortunately the Beach Games were cancelled however the ICF congratulated the WWSA with its efforts to be Olympic Games and Para Olympic Games ‘ready’.  The Governance manuals and competition rule book are freely available for all member nations to use and adapt which has been positively received by existing and emerging waveski nations.   

Other activities led by Jackie:

  • Development and recalibration of the Age Divisions used in international competition including allowances to optimise opportunities for both young competitors and older age groups through to Veterans.
  • Development of womens events in international waveski  competitions enabling awards to be recognized for age divisions.
  • Development of accreditation status and 4  tier endorsement for member countries. This has been ground breaking for member nations to grow and develop credentialled national competitions enabling athletes to be awarded seeds for World waveski events.
  • Development of the inclusion of the adaptive waveski division  enabling disabled waveski surfers to participate in both the abled bodied and adaptive divisions at the World Waveski titles.  The profile of disabled waveski surfers continue to increase and it is anticipated that more athletes with disabilities will grow.  
  • Associate membership of the ISA 2002 -2004. (Non voting and non participation in competitions).  Membership of the ISA enabled the WWSA to adapt the ISA competition rule book for waveski surfing. 
  • Growth of WWSA from an initial 4 nation membership to 2018 where there are over 13 national members each with a growing development base.
  • The growth and development of women in waveski surfing has been phenomenal, no less influenced by Jackie’s commitment to ensure women are supported and nurtured in a somewhat male oriented and dominated sport.  Jackie assisted in the development of the ‘Young Ones’ an initiative by Waveski Surfing Australia which enabled young athletes under the age of 18 years to be assisted financially and to be provided with equipment.  The results of this initiative has seen 4 of the recipients of scholarships compete internationally with one of the recipients winning the Junior Womens World Titles. 

Jackie has also provided financial support, waveskis and equipment to waveski programs in Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland and Australia, enabling young athletes to grow and develop in the sport.  The results have influenced the potential of younger athletes who might otherwise not be able to afford waveskis and paddles. 

Other Positions and Citations

  • Jackie was elected President of Waveski surfing Australia from 1997 – 2002 and during this time she oversaw the implementation of first aid and safe water rescue practices being introduced across all waveski surfing events throughout Australia.  The result of this practice was used as a benchmark for international waveski events and to this day competition debrief and safety issues are at the forefront of all events. 
  • Awarded Australia Sports Medal 2000 for services and performance in the sport of waveski surfing.
  • Nominee and finalist Western Australia State Sports Star of the Year Award – 2000 and 2001
  • Runner up Masters Western Australia Womens Sport Star of the Year Award 2002,2003

Western Australia

  • President of the Western Australian Waveski Association 1999-2003
  • Committee member of the WA Womens Sports Foundation, and assisted in a State Government review on fostering the participation of women in sport.
  • Jackie also provided scholarships to Western Australian junior program and again the results were to be seen with recipients winning world junior and cadet titles during 2000-2003. 
  • Jackie oversaw the implementation of a very successful program for women and youth in sport in Western Australia in 2000.  These programs were part of the campaign  ‘Time out for Busy Mums’, ‘Have a Go Day’ and was televised on the local television station ‘Just Add Water’.  

Through her leadership and vision Adaptive waveskis were able to participate in the World Waveski Surfing titles in 2016 against able bodied athletes and as well compete in their specific adaptive division. This has resulted in a proliferation of adaptive waveski riders around the World.

She was also awarded the Santa Cruz Ocean Spirit Award in 2016 for services to Waveski Surfing.

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