Claudia Kerckhoff Van Wijk can now add a different kind of award to her mantle.

She won the World Paddle Lifetime Achievement award at the World Paddle Awards for the work she has done with Madawaska Kanu Centre. “This goes to a truly remarkable individual who has sacrificed and done so much for paddlesports as a whole during their expansive and illustrious career (lifetime),” the award’s description reads.

“It’s been quite heartwarming and a huge honour,”  Kerckhoff Van Wijk says. She was nominated for the award and chosen to win it by her peers, which she says makes it that much more special.

She says that she has always considered men and women equal in the whitewater paddling world. Kerckhoff Van Wijk says she often compared herself to the men and training with them as well during his competitive days. She adds that has carried over to her personal life. “Anything that you put equal effort into makes you equal,” Kerckhoff Van Wijk says she tells her two daughters.

Kerckhoff Van Wijk says being able to transfer her athletic career over to her business career has been a great pleasure. “We are able to bring people into the river that otherwise would not normally have that experience and that is so powerful,” she says.

For more information the Madawaska Kanu Centre, click here.

Written by: Mathew Reisler