The International Canoe Federation has announced it is launching a new virtual paddle challenge which will cater for paddlers from beginner level through to the elite, following the success of its 5k competition last month.

The ICF will have three new partners for the challenge – charity partner Peace and Sport, international canoe and kayak manufacturer, Rotomod, and media partner kayaksessions.

The new challenge will follow the same guidelines, but this time participants will have the choice of either a 5k or 2k distance. It is hoped the project will encourage paddlers of all ages and ability to get active, following months of Covid-19 restrictions.

The ICF is thrilled to partner international organisation Peace and Sport for the challenge. Peace and Sport is currently running community programs all over the world using sport to help educate, integrate and socialise communities, often in developing regions.

It will be the first joint project between the ICF and Peace and Sport under a long-term partnership expected to be formalised shortly.

All participants in the new paddle challenge will have the option to donate to Peace and Sport, to support projects in countries as diverse as Mali, Haiti and Timor Leste. Everyone who makes a donation will be in the running to win fantastic weekly prizes.

Leading international kayak manufacturer, Rotomod, will provide weekly prizes, while one of the world’s most authoritative online and print canoe voices, kayaksessions, will be the official media partner. 

Hundreds of people from all corners of the globe signed up for the 5k challenge, with participants completing the distance on a variety of crafts, including canoes, kayaks, SUP boards and, for those unable to get outdoors, indoor ergos.

ICF event organizer, Hoichan Kwon, said people will have the chance to challenge themselves and their friends.

“We were thrilled with the response to our 5k challenge, but realised for many paddlers the distance was a tough ask,” Kwon said.

“We hope the shorter distances will appeal to not only the recreational and beginner paddlers, but also the more experienced participants looking to challenge themselves over what they may consider “sprint” distances.

“Having Rotomod and Kayaksessions as our partners for this challenge is a great boost. We are looking forward to channeling their enthusiasm and passion for all things canoeing to help make this a fantastic event.

“And Peace and Sport is a great fit for this project. The organisation is doing fantastic work around the globe, promoting the role sport can play in delivering development, peace and harmony in communities with conflict.”

We hope the shorter distances will appeal to not only the recreational and beginner paddlers, but also the more experienced participants

Peace and Sport president and founder, Joel Bouzou, said the partnership with the ICF will help raise funds and also awareness of important projects his organisation is carrying out around the world.

He also hopes other sports will be inspired to embark on similar endeavours.

“We are thrilled to be the ICF’s charity partner for the Paddle Challenge,” Mr Bouzou said.

“This event is not just about the performance, it is also about getting mobilised for solidarity. Participants will have the opportunity to make donations and become change makers.

“Every contribution, no matter the amount, will support our daily peace-through-sport activities for children in France, Jordan and Burundi. This fundraising initiative is an example for other sport organisations willing to engage in social development and peace.”

All participants will be required to register for the challenge, and then post their times on the official event website. Competitors can use any craft officially recognised by the ICF, and can complete the distance on a lake, river, ocean or on an ergo.

This fundraising initiative is an example for other sport organisations willing to engage in social development and peace

Fantastic prizes will be on offer in a random draw each week for all competitors.

All entrants must follow local Covid-19 restriction guidelines, and should only paddle where it is safe to do so.

Peace and Sport brings together and develops partnerships between the peace (NGOs, UN agencies, academics), the sport (Olympic family, international federations, national Olympic committees, athletes) and the political worlds with the aim of implementing and ensuring the sustainability of field programs, maximising the use of sport for development and peace and leading social transformation in every area of the world affected by poverty or social instability.

Rotomod is considered one of the world’s leading manufacturers of canoes and kayaks, catering for all classes of paddler. The company is particularly recognised for its innovative designs and the reliability of its products.

Kayaksessions produces both an online and print version magazine, and covers all aspects of canoe, kayak and SUP activity. It is a leading voice in industry trends, recreational advice and elite level competition.

More details and the official entry form for the ICF Paddle Challenge can be found here