When Rob Lesser accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award from Canoe & Kayak magazine at this year’s outdoor Retailer Summer Market tradeshow in Salt Lake City, he was quick to praise today’s younger generation of paddlers for carrying the torch. That was just one of many highlights at this year’s show as the 2013 Canoe & Kayak Awards presented by Verizon brought the industry together for one heckuva gala evening….
The event celebrated the past year’s most inspiring paddlers, photographers, filmmakers, philanthropists, adventures and expeditions as voted on by readers and other paddlers.
Cinematographer Scott Lindgren presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Lesser, highlighting such accomplishments as his first descents of the North Fork Payette and Grand Canyon of the Stikine. In accepting the award, Lesser, 67, gave a call out to today’s generation, congratulating Ben Marr for his first descent of the Stikine’s notorious Site Zed rapid.
“I can’t say how impressed I am with you, the current generation,” he said, also crediting his Stikine partners John Wasson and Bob McDougal. “You’re raising the bar so high.”
He also gave a nod to Canoe & Kayak magazine, saying he had his first photo published in it in 1976.
In other awards news, four Midwestern canoeists took home the Expedition of the Year Award for a four-month, 2,600-mile trek across Canada’s Northern Territories, from the Pacific Ocean to Hudson Bay, winning a $2,500 expedition grant from Shred Ready for their next adventure. On hand to accept was team member Steve Keaveny, as well Winchell Delano. The Spirit of Adventure award went to Dominique Liboiron for a canoe trip he took to bring his uncle’s ashes to New Orleans from Saskatchewan.
The popular Paddle with Purpose Award was handed out by Jason Craig to First Descents, accepted by the organization’s Sarah Hubbard. France’s Nouria Newman, 21, winner of the 2012 Whitewater Gran Prix in Chile, won Female Paddler of the Year, presented by Kokatat’s Lisa Kincaid, and Tommy Hilleke handed out the Male Paddler of the Year award to Evan Garcia.
In the photography department, Marr accepted the Achievement in Filmmaking Award. Male Paddler of the Year on behalf of filmmaker Steve Fisher and the film ‘CONGO: The Grand Inga Project; and Darin McQuoid won the Photo of the Year Award presented by Body Glove Footwear for his shot of Shannamar Dewey in Japan’s Nishizawa Canyon.
For a complete list of results and photos, visit www.canoekayak.com