Midwest Paddle League 2022 End of Season Wrap
End of Season Wrap
by Harrison Withers
Midwest Paddle League Board Member
The Midwest Paddle League’s motto is Community First, Competition Second. It’s our purpose and mission to build a sense of belonging through paddle sports. In the 4 years we’ve been in existence, we’ve seen people meet and connect at events and slowly but surely form bonds that carry outside of those events. Local paddle groups have formed, couches have been shared, and relationships have grown beyond paddling. That’s the kind of success we want above all else. On the competition front, we run a series of events, rank paddlers across series, and recognize paddlers for excellence in competition, but also in contribution. Every year we recognize new paddlers at their first event, rookies of the year, paddlers of the year, and volunteers/organizers. The whole idea is that the league is something bigger than a single event, that it all adds up to an experience that is welcoming and inclusive and invites more participation, more camaraderie, and more love for paddle sports and each other.
1st place winner receiving paddle trophy
In 2022, we planned 11 events across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. For the most part, all those events went off without a hitch. We did have to cancel the Ohio River Paddlefest due to lightning, but in our 4 years cancellations have been very rare. We had record numbers of participants this year and an incredible amount of new faces. 2022 saw the return of a race on Belle Isle, which was at one time the crown jewel of the Midwest racing scene and with well over 100 paddlers, is poised to be so again.
We are super grateful to Little Bay Boards for their support in 2022. Not only did they donate a board that helped us raise over $6k, but they also got involved in the 45 North and Mona Lake races by proving hand-crafted trophies that were absolutely incredible.
Wood Paddle Board donated to Midwest Paddle Leauge End of Season Raffle
Fin Trophies being made by Little Bay Boards for Paddle 45’s 2022 race winners.
So what do we have planned for 2023? All 11 races from last year will be back! All dates are preliminary, but keep an eye on facebook and the website for final dates.
If you haven’t been to one of our events yet, make a plan in 2023! Where else do you get to meet up with 50 or more paddlers and share the stoke together. There is a class for every board and typically 1 mile, 5k, and 10k distances. And just because some yells go, doesn’t mean you have to race. Go at your own pace, who knows, you may surprise yourself. One thing is guaranteed, you will have fun and you will be a welcome addition to the community.