Australian Ocean Racing Series director Dean Gardiner believes the decision to launch a new stand-alone national championships will spark new energy in the domestic racing scene and drive further interest in downwind competition.

The initiative was announced today, with the Shaw and Partners 20 Beaches to double as the inaugural ‘Australian Championships of Ocean Paddling’ held by Gardiner and Oceanpaddler.

The Perfect Boat for any Paddler

The new direction comes less than a year after the AORS again agreed to partner with Paddle Australia.

Under that agreement, the AORS was to be used as Paddle Australia’s national championships, and also provide the basis for Paddle Australia to select its representative team.

However The Paddler understands the relationship between the two parties has since broken down, resulting in the partnership coming to an end.

The Perfect Boat for any Paddler

“Most of the paddlers currently doing the AORS love the fact that a National Champs is decided over a series rather than a one off,” Gardiner says. 

“There are some paddlers out there that also like training for one big race, so we have decided to make the Shaw and Partners 20 Beaches that event this season.”

The move adds even more significance to the 2024 Shaw and Partners 20 Beaches, which this year, will celebrate its 30th running.

Under the new title of Australian Championships of Ocean Paddling, several of the Olympic kayakers and surf ironmen and ironwomen supported by Shaw and Partners and Race One have expressed a desire to compete.

The Perfect Boat for any Paddler

Today’s announcement from Oceanpaddler also included that the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week, to be held in Perth at the end of the year, has also added the title of the ‘World Series of Ocean Paddling’.

Further details of that are yet to be revealed, however The Paddler understands that it’s the start of a long-planned initiative led by Gardiner.

Although the 2024 World Series will only be contested over the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week, preliminary discussions have been held with race directors around the globe to expand the format in 2025.

The last World Series offered to paddlers was in 2019, held by the World Surf Ski League.