It’s about time paddlers get some credit for what they do. That’s why Canoe & Kayak magazine is pleased to announce the first annual Canoe & Kayak Awards presented by Zeal Optics. The awards will honor paddlesports’ most inspiring people, expeditions, and films, as chosen by the paddling community. Make sure you vote online at, and check out the award presentation and celebration Aug. 2 at Pierpont Place in downtown Salt Lake City, coinciding with the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show.

Voting is now open for Male and Female Paddler of the Year, Expedition of the Year and the Paddle with Purpose award, which honors philanthropic efforts by and for paddlers. Polls open next week for Movie of the Year and Reel of the Year. The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award will also be announced at the Aug. 2 Canoe & Kayak Awards celebration.

The nominees represent the diversity and talent in modern paddling, and some devilishly hard choices: How do we choose between such groundbreaking expeditions as the Ellesmere Circumnavigation (1,500 miles over ice and Arctic waters) and the Grand Inga Project (the first descent of the world’s biggest rapids)? Does Freya Hoffmeister’s eight-month, 5,000-mile South American epic trump Adriene Levknecht’s Green Race dominance for Female Paddler of the Year? What male paddler had the biggest year— Boomer, Levinson, Chalupsky? Dane Jackson or Mike Dawson?

How do we choose? The answer is, we don’t. You do.

Go to to meet the nominees, see their stories in words, photographs and videos, and cast your vote.

Special thanks to our partners for their support of the first-ever Canoe & Kayak Awards: Zeal Optics, Kru Vodka, Shred Ready, Necky Kayaks, Body Glove and NRS.

Be sure to follow Canoe & Kayak magazine on Facebook(.com/canoeandkayak) and on Twitter @CanoeKayakMag (#CKAwards) for updates on the Awards and voting.