SHAW AND PARTNERS PLEDGES TO FUND ELITE PADDLERS’ RACE WEEK QUARANTINE
First and foremost, Earl Evans is a paddler.
After discovering surfski just a few years ago, the support of his investment and wealth management firm Shaw and Partners has revolutionised the sport.
So the impending announcement of the WA Race Week, which will be televised tomorrow night at 7:30pm AEST on the Boothcast video blog, has him excited.
“It’s phenomenal, just phenomenal,” he says.
“I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s the grand daddy week of ocean paddling.”
The Paddler understands that announcement will mark a huge shift in the iconic event’s storied history.
But it won’t be the only detail that will grab the attention of the paddling community.
Amid global uncertainty due to COVID-19, Evans will also reveal how far Shaw and Partners are willing to go to in order for the world’s biggest names to take part.
If international visitors are forced into a 14-day quarantine at their own expense upon arrival in Australia, then Shaw and Partners will foot the bill.
“If Hank [McGregor] or the Rice boys [Sean and Kenny] or any of the top paddlers send me an email asking for financial help, we’d do our best to make it happen,” Evans says.
“If any of the top international paddlers decided to make the commitment to do it and isolate, we’d be prepared to put up quite a bit of the funds to make sure they came.
“It is such a big week, such a lot of prize money on offer and with so much prestige, I think there’ll be a few pros that will want to do that.
“We want the best possible week we can have.
“Genuinely we’d do it, 100%.”
It’s a bold declaration, but one that is all part of the vision event organisers have for this year’s WA Race Week.
“The week is for the mug punters like me as well as the professionals,” he says.
“We all get the mingle and mix throughout the week.
“It’s the best.”
The WA Race Week will run from November 21 to 28 and again include five races that combine for a cumulative point score.
The prize money is set to reach new heights, with the $150,000 that has already been announced set to increase even further.
“We’ll have big names all coming in from across the country,” Evans says.
“Olympians, ex-Olympians, ironmen and ironwomen as well as hardcore paddlers all battling it out in front of the surfski community.
“We’re going to see some of the best paddling in the world.”
There is one obvious hurdle.
Currently there are interstate travel restrictions within Australia, as well as event limitations due to COVID-19.
But Evans is confident they won’t stop the week-long festival of paddling from going ahead.
“We’re planning as if it’s full-steam ahead,” he says.
“We’ll work through it and it’ll all be done in the right way and we’ll follow whatever rules are in place at the time to make sure the event is on.
“It’s happening very, very quickly. We didn’t know what we were dealing with a few months ago, we actually know what we’re dealing with now.
“It’s the start of June, and we’re talking about the end of November.
“We have to plan these things. Plan for the best and hope for the best.”