AWA Legacy Award

                                               Legacy Award Framework

Nomination Form - Open year-round - reviewed Nov 30 yearly

2024 Legacy Award Recipients - 40 years of Kananaskis Whitewater 1984-2024 - designed and built by local whitewater enthusiasts!

Bob Smith - The Founder of Kananaskis Whitewater. Bob designed and led multiple builds on the Kananaskis River from 1984 to 1995. He designed the original race course in 1984 and had Parks fund it and donate parking blocks. In 1986 Lafarge donated rock to further expand the work and harden berms and features. Bob attended a river building symposium in Augsburg, Germany and got much of his design knowledge from experience racing in Europe. Bob also designed the original Boulder Run site below the Old Man Dam. He eventually stopped building whitewater parks due to the disappointment of high water & floods wreaking havoc on river work they'd done.

David Reid - David was Bob's right hand man supporting the builds of the time, attending meetings with Parks and working in the river. The original berms were all gravel, but over the years they developed improved techniques with larger limestone quarry rock. He also worked with Bob to convince West Edmonton Mall to allow kayaks to surf for the first time!

John Mahoney - John supported the 1987 build, in particular after a high water event demolished many of the original gravel berms. This build saw the introduction of large rock rock from Lafarge. AWA spent around $12,000 for that build. John's a long-time paddler from southern Alberta who has also supported various river recreation initiatives.

Mark Taylor - Mark started his Kananaskis work in 1995 alongside Bob. After a 1:100 year flood damaged many features in the race course, it needed maintenance. They were also able to add the first new feature outside the race course called Smitty's (in the area of Mountain Wave now). Mark has been part of builds in 1998, 2002, 2008 and the three post-2013 flood builds from 2013 to 2015. Each subsequent build added features further up the river creating the amazing facility we have today. He can tell you that it is fun to be the hero for amazing waves and the villain for breaking them! Every build window is short and we never get everything done that we want to.

Adam Villard - Adam was the Lower Kananaskis River Users Association (LKRUA) president during a couple of builds in 1998-2002. The LKRUA has a membership including commercial companies and non-profits, with the  funds supporting all the builds since that time. 

Jeff Germaine - Jeff has been a long-time board member of the LKRUA and his engineering background was instrumental in the creation of many of the features upstream of the race course in 1998 and 2002. 

Patch Bennett - Patch was also part of the driving team of 1998 and 2002. His experience from rivers around the world were invaluable to the design. He's also easily one of the nicest guys on the river which helps when you're part of a team creating complex facilities!

Chuck Lee - Who received the first Legacy award in 2004 (below) was the main driver of projects between 2008 & 2015 and also worked on a couple of other builds. The two biggest accomplishments on the Kananaskis were creating the river walkway alongside the race course and more importantly rebuilding the whole facility following the 2013 floods. In 2013 nearly every feature on the river was destroyed and Chuck let a major rebuild over three years. In 2013 the race course was rebuilt within a month allowing for the hosting of the National Championships (while the Calgary Stampede gets all the credit for being back up and running quickly, this might be the next best feat). Through 2014 and 2015 the whole river was reconstructed with thousands of tons of rock from Lafarge. Chuck also secured multiple Community Facility Enhancement (CFEP) grants from the Province of Alberta that have benefited river users since the 90s. Chuck also redesigned Boulder Run and ensured the Province rebuilt it after 2013 and continues to improve tht facility as a hub for whitewater in southern Alberta.

Matthew Corbet - Matt worked on the 2015 river project as crew boss and he rebuilt the whole slalom course gate system by hand that summer. He is known for his exceptional feats of strength and the system that he put in place continues to perform almost 10 years later. Matt also supported the Harvie Passage Slalom Course construction in the early days. He has been a voice for the river on the AWA board for a number of years.

Neil Egsgard - Neil was the architect of surfing waves on the Kananaskis. The Alberta River Surfing Association (ARSA) was formed in 2005 and started raising funds as early the 2008 build. In 2014 with another CFEP grant the Mountain Wave was designed a built for the first time. In 2015 the feature was further tweaked to make it the best manufactured wave in Alberta and river surfing exploded. In 2019 a major overhaul saw the Mountain Wave refined into the robust, precise wave that all river users can enjoy! Neil continues to advocate for new whitewater projects including plans for adjustable waves on the Kan, in Cochrane, 10th street in Calgary, Harvie Passage and Lethbridge. His vision is to bring high quality waves to many more Alberta communities.  


2023 Legacy Award Recipients - In honour of our 50th year, we have awarded 5 Legacy awards under the Club Builder category

2023 AWA Legacy Award

Dale & Darryl O’Brien – Edmonton Whitewater Paddlers

Dale & Darryl O’Brien have together contributed significantly to the sport of Canoe and Kayak. With contributions spanning the last five decades, the sum of their volunteer efforts and dedication to several disciplines of kayaking are remarkable and unprecedented. The term “builder” to describe them and their efforts is incredibly suited, as they have built clubs, associations, coaching programs, as well built kayaks, paddles, PDF’s , and all manner of equipment. They created the Edmonton Whitewater Paddlers which has evolved and endured over the past many decades to support and develop both adult and youth recreational and competition paddlers through a variety of kayak disciplines. They introduced the sport of Canoe Polo to Canada in the early 1990, hosted the 2008 World Championships and have played every role possible in the sport. In 2022 Dale & Darryl we're inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame!

Lori Davis & Angie Schroderus – Rocky Canoe Club

This dynamic duo in Rocky Mountain House have led the club for the better part of 20 years. Lori’s has been a cornerstone of the organization and is the technical and on-water instructor guru for the club. Her aquatics and physical literacy background have been a huge asset developing youth and  year-round programming. Angie has been the rock of organization for more than a dozen years with the club being physically located at her place and her trusty blue dodge pulling the massive trailer. Her funding and partnership skills have helped grow the club in leaps and bounds. Between these two, the club saw record numbers of about 300 members in 2019.

Jim Myers – Wapiti Whitewater Paddlers

Jim has been a stalwart member of the Grand Prairie paddling scene for more than 20 years. He helped host the 2018 Alberta Summer Games, has ensured a steady team of youth for the games, and has coordinated coaches for last number of years. He’s an NCCP Instructor trainer and has supported the development of new instructors from Jasper, Grande Cache, GP and Peace River.

Thank you to all the amazing volunteers and club builders who have created the Alberta club community! 

We would like to recognize Chris Goss (EWP) and Mark Taylor (WKC/RMPC) who received the Queen's Jubilee Medals in 2022. Their hard work as coaches, coach developers and club builders for 3+ decades is beyond appreciated! 

Congratulations to Kimberly Daniels for receiving the 2023 Alberta Sport Official of the Year award! Kimberly has been Alberta's chief judge for the last decade, supporting countless provincial, national, and International events. She officiated at Tokyo 202One and was the first openly transgender woman to officiate at the Olympics. 

2010 Legacy Award Recipient

Dan Groeneveld was awarded the Legacy Award for his hard work hosting events, judging and supporting AWA and other boards.

2008 Legacy Award Recipients

The 2008 Legacy Award being presented to Gord and Rena Murrie by Greg Hunter.

2007 Legacy Award Recipient

The 2007 Legacy Award is awarded to Bruce Waldie for the contribution he has made to improving the level and competence of Judges and other Officials in the sport of Whitewater Slalom. Bruce has given countless clinics to those interested in raising their level of awareness of the rules and their expertise in applying them.

"As parents/volunteers, my wife Diane and I got involved early on in our son's paddling career as judges", says Waldie. "However, until Nationals in Chilliwack in the early 2000's, we never had a clear understanding of many of the rules. The organizers that year did a good job of trying to educate officials and for the most part, it worked. However, several very poor calls and decisions were made that year and I complained about them."

"That led to the inevitable retort 'well if you think you can do a better job...', so I decided that I could."

Bruce started studying the rules and even found some inconsistencies that he raised with the International Canoe Federation (ICF). He then began giving judging clinics with the first one on May 9, 2004 at Canoe Meadows. "The weather was awful, it was cold and we had wet snow.
Several people had tents collapse on them overnight. I had to give the clinic inside the AWA tent, but it went well. We had to suspend the practice race twice. We could not see the gates on the far side of the river because of the falling snow!"

Bruce has been able to provide high quality training to over 75 people since then, with many of them coming back for refresher courses. He has been Chief Judge and Chief Official at two National Championships and continues to offer his advice and services whenever he can.

Bruce obtained his IJSL designation (International Judge SLalom) in Prague, Czech Republic in the summer of 2006 after writing a 3 part exam and being a shadow judge at the World Championships. He has now been selected to be one of less than 50 people in the world that will have a new designation of ICF-JSL. He will travel to Beijing China in August 2007 for the Pre-Olympics Test Event, then to Foz do Iguazzu Brazil for the World Championships, and again to Beijing for the Olympics in 2008.

Bruce has been a long time contributor and executive member of the Cottonwood Kayak Club and the Alberta Whitewater Association. He has also been a volunteer referee for Canoe Polo.

Bruce has a motto for all club activities: "none of us could do this without all of us."

Congratulations on this award, Bruce.

2006 Legacy Award Recipients

The 2006 Legacy Award is awarded to the teams of Barry and Brenda Allen, and Laurie and Marian Curson for the contributions they have made to club development in Alberta. Starting in 1988 they formed the Cottonwood Kayak Club (CKC) as a result of strong interest in their area for paddling activities. With a Sport Development Grant they purchased 4 plastic recreational kayaks which were used by adults and juniors to develop kayaking skills.

By 1991, CKC was fielding a junior team in the Alberta Summer Games which did very well. They added 4 Wildwater kayaks to broaden their experience level. The team was awarded an Outstanding Team award by the town of Innisfail.

In 1992 they built a permanent flatwater course for Slalom training, with costs covered through club fundraising. They started a second Junior (development) team. The senior juniors started coaching and helping out the younger athletes. Throughout this all, the Allens and the Cursons continued to coach and organize activities. CKC expanded to winter training sessions at the Innisfail Aquatic Centre.

By 1993 CKC had added Adult and Play Paddle sessions for anyone in the community that was interested. The Competitive Junior team did well again at the Wetaskiwin Alberta Summer Games. This raised awareness of the sport locally through newspaper articles and word of mouth.

After 1993, a trend became apparent. More and more experienced paddlers were coming back to help coach the new paddlers. Parents were becoming involved both as volunteers (judges, fund raisers, etc), and as recreational paddlers. CKC became more than a club, it became a community.

CKC, under the directorship of the Allens and the Cursons, became a club that could become a role model for other clubs in Alberta and even in Canada. With values like community, top down contributions by experienced paddlers, involvement of families in all parts of paddling, fund raising, and so on, who could go wrong?

Even though the Allens have moved to Airdrie and the Cursons are sailing around the world (literally) CKC continues to thrive with the involvement of a new executive that rose from the ranks of involved parents.

CKC has produced a significant number of athletes who have competed at Provincial, National, and International levels. At least 3 of their alumni have been counted in the top 20 in the world. This all happened because of the top down club structure that the Allens and the Cursons fostered.

Thank you Barry, Brenda, Laurie, and Marian. Congratulations on receiving the 2006 Legacy Award!

2005 Legacy Award Recipient

The 2005 Legacy Award was presented to Greg Hunter at the 2005 Nationals Banquet by Gord and Rena Murrie.

2004 Legacy Award Recipient

The AWA Legacy award was presented to Chuck Lee, Pinch-O-Crow Creekers, at the AWA Annual General Meeting - Jan. 24, 2004, held in Cochrane, AB. This is the first time the AWA Legacy Award has been presented. The inscription reads "With appreciation for all your years of commitment, leadership and promotion of kayaking in Alberta". The Alberta Whitewater Association is proud to present this award to Chuck.

Position/Discipline: Old School Whitewater, K-1 river running and surfing, C-1 slalom, C-2 slalom (stern left), Open Canoe whitewater playboating, Open Canoe whitewater tripping,
Club name: Pinch-o-Crow Creekers, Lundbreck Falls
Rivers: Southern Alberta and southeast BC, Castle, Crowsnest, Oldman, Highwood, Elk, Wigwam, Bull and St Mary and the Kan when I have to.

Career Accomplishments:

  • First time in a kayak was in 1972
  • Built my first boat in 1974 was a Mark IV prototype
  • Became an instructor in 1977 and learned to roll in 1978
  • Education Chair for AWA in 1978 and President in 1984-1988
  • Re-enlisted as Environment & Facilities Chair in 1998
  • First race was in 1978 at Provincial Champs - Brierlies
  • National Slalom Team Member 1980 “ 1983 and 1991 in C-1 and C-2
  • Best result Pan-Am Cup Gold Medalist in C-2 Slalom 1982 with Rick Lidstone
  • Most exciting race “World Championship 1991 with John Irving at Tacen, Yugoslavia
  • Best Trip“ World Cup Circuit 1991
  • First decent of the Ram River in 1982
  • Whitewater Instructor in kayak, C-1 and open canoe Instructor Examiner for all levels in all boats since 1979
  • Started the Pinch-o-Crow Creekers in 1997 to find other kids for Brace and Ciera to paddle with. Club has grown to 40 paddlers and each year about 80 people get introduced to kayaking through the club in Pincher Creek.
  • Government of Alberta
  • Coach Canada
  • La Farge
  • AQ Outdoors Logo
  • Jumpstart Badge Logo
  • DeLauretis Wealth Management
  • InMotion Logo
  • Canoe Kayak Canada