The Massive Murray Paddle holds important significance within the paddling community, and for the charities and local causes the event supports. COVID-19 has taken a terrible toll on events and races over the past two years, and we felt it was very important not to cancel our event for the second time in its 52-year history.
In consultation with NSW Maritime, local councils and other key stakeholders, the decision has been made not to cancel the 2021 event. Instead, it will be postponed to February 2022.
The Massive Murray Paddle 2021 will now take place from 21-25 February, 2022.
At the same time, we will schedule the 2022 event back to the regular timeframe of 21-25 November, 2022.
Event owner, Shannon O’Brien, said, “We feel that running two Massive Murray Paddles within the one year is a great result for long distance kayak and canoe racing.
“It is also extremely important for the many community groups and charities that are graciously supported by all of our paddling teams.”
The event generates important funds for communities in the region. Between 2016 and 2019, the event has contributed $800,585 to local community causes, and paddlers will now have the opportunity to raise these funds across two occasions in one year. This will be a strong economic driver to the towns the event passes through, which will now total 10 days in 2022. We estimate this will generate over $1 million in economic benefit for the Murray River region, with the average total visitor spend over each week averaging just over $500,000.
Running the 2021 race over these new dates as opposed to cancelling altogether also ensures that the event stays strong and, importantly, allows the major sponsor, Transport for NSW, and the ‘Paddle Safe Paddle Smart’ campaign to continue to have a voice.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 2 September 2021.