Staff & Board


Scott Sharples, Executive Officer
Contact Scott:

Scott has over 10 years’ experience in the South East Queensland sporting landscape and joined Paddle Queensland in November 2019. Prior to joining Paddle Queensland, Scott held senior management, marketing and communication roles within the media industry spanning over 14 years.

Scott is actively involved in Queensland’s sporting landscape as a participant, coach, official, volunteer and provides insight, guidance, resources, assets, board and committee oversight, as well as strategic and financial management advice to member clubs through challenging situations.

Scott has Diploma of Business Administration, Management and Operations and is responsible for the general management, governance and staffing of the office to support the promotion, development and growth of paddle sports across Queensland to ensure our vision of ‘More people paddling, More of the time’.

Andrea Wood, Sport Operations and Events Manager
Contact Andrea:

A dedicated paddle enthusiast involved in canoe sprint and canoe marathon for 27 years, paracanoe specialist for 12 years and outrigger canoeing for 15 years. Andrea developed and coordinated the successful paracanoe program within Australia from it’s inception, establishing a pathway, coordinating the program and liaising with Paddle Australia, Sports Australia, Paralympics Australia, officials, coaches and volunteers on best practice for paracanoe in the training and racing environments and joined the Paddle Queensland team in January 2022.

As the Sport Operations and Events Manager, Andrea is responsible for delivering State, Regional events / championships for both Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines and actively support driving engagement and participation in non-Olympic disciplines (Canoe Polo, Freestyle, Marathon, Ocean Racing, Wildwater, Outrigger Canoe and SUP).

Board of Directors

Chair: Julian Norton-Smith
(read profile)

Henry Friend
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Justin Appi
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Steve Belcher
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Rhonda McSweeney
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Annie Bryce
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Sarah Roach
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Director Profiles

Julian Norton-Smith (Representative Director)

Julian has 20 years of experience as an elite sportsman, he has worked as an elite level coach/manager for 16 years. He has a Bachelor of Business Degree majoring in Marketing and Sports Management. Julian further, has extensive experience in athlete development, relationship building, strategic planning, brand marketing, project management, stakeholder engagement, contract negotiation and media relations. He is very proactive in event management, grant/sponsorship application writing and developing elite sporting programs. He also has experience running events for Paddle Qld (state ocean racing championships) and the #PPMG2016 open water swimming event.

Julian has 10 years of experience as head coach / manager at two of Gold Coast’s top surf clubs and lead Qld’s state teams. He forms strong partnerships with key personnel to ensure the highest quality of services to clients and the bodies he supports.

Henry Friend (Representative Director)

Henry is a leader, company director and engaged stakeholder within the Manufacturing industry. His business acumen is demonstrated through company growth, strategic execution and commercially oriented solutions. He is currently studying a Master in Business Administration (MBA) at Deakin University and a Diploma of Governance with the ICDA. Henry is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Henry is an enthusiastic whitewater paddler and has been privileged to journey through rivers across Australia and the globe. His favourite paddling memories include paddling the remote Herbert (FNQ) and Franklin rivers (TAS), organising the Snowy River Extreme Race and developing his skills in C1 and Squirtboating. As such, he is a strong advocate for recreational paddlers to the PQ Board.

In 2018, he was nominated as a Queensland Youth Volunteer of the Year in recognition of the support he provides to the paddling community. Henry also serves in a non-executive capacity for other non-for-profits.

Henry is currently on the PQ Board, having completed one term (2 years) on the Board.

Justin Appi (Representative Director)

Justin has a broad background in the IT sector having held a number of leadership and consulting roles across a range of industries. For the past 10 years Justin has been focussed on running and growing his own business based on the Gold Coast.

Justin holds an MBA in IT Management and has a track record of delivering strategic business initiatives and managing large programs of work in a variety of commercial, operational and system-related disciplines. This experience means Justin has become adept at looking at both the big picture and the critical detail.

Justin’s first foray into paddling was in 2010 when he purchased a surf ski for personal fitness. Having been in and out of the sport and a variety of ski types over the years Justin has landed on a love for Ocean Ski paddling. He has been actively honing his downwind skills and fitness, usually on the water around 4 days a week, as well as competing in various open water events.

Paddling has not only bought physical and mental benefits but also camaraderie with an inspiring group of people in the paddling community and this has inspired Justin to give back to, and promote the sport.

Steve Belcher (Representative Director)

Steve Belcher is a Project and Operations Manager with extensive experience planning and delivering major international events. Steve is the Project Manager, Major Events for the Queensland Government, focusing on securing and leveraging events that have economic and social impacts for Queensland. Steve is also the lead in facilitating the resumption of COVID-Safe events in Queensland. Steve served as the Manager, Sport Operations for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, and has been involved in a broad range of previous multi-sport and non-sporting events including the Olympic and World Masters Games, and the APEC and B20 Summits.

Steve has a keen interest in outdoor activities, and in water sports in particular. Steve has been a recreational sea kayaker since 2000, and has been paddling ocean skis since 2015.

Steve is a strong believer in the positive impacts which participation in active, group activities has for people of all ages. Steve hopes to contribute towards enhancing the opportunities for individuals young and old to access social and competitive paddle activities of all disciplines.

Steve is currently on the PQ Board, having completed one term (2 years) on the Board.

Rhonda McSweeney (Representative Director)

Rhonda McSweeney has over over 20 years’ experience in the Corporate Sector, the last 17 years in Executive General Management roles in ASX, Private Equity and GOC entities across a number of industry sectors including, Energy & Resources, Construction & Maintenance, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, and Diagnostic Automation/Manufacturing. These diverse executive roles have included leadership of a Construction & Maintenance Company, Merger & Acquisitions, Asset Management, Commercial & Contracts, Operations and Logistics, Property & Infrastructure and Corporate Services divisions.

Rhonda has been involved heavily in triathlon and cycling for 15 years, representing Australia 3 times at the World Championships for Triathlon. During this time, she was active at both local club committee level and corporate sponsorship across both sports.

Whilst a corporate career professional, Rhonda has held a passionate and active interest in sport for over 20 years. She is very active in the paddling community and on the water 3-4 times per week training with her club and competing in various ocean racing and flat water events. She remains impressed with the high level of camaraderie at both club and local racing level within Paddle Qld. Truly a tremendous sport!

Annie Bryce (Special Skills Director)

Annie is the CEO of Edge Early Learning, a growing Early Childhood Education and Care business. She is leading a drive to inspire curious young minds and instil a passion for lifelong learning in children and their families.

Annie and her husband Paul took up paddling surf skis on the Brisbane River in early 2019 and they both quickly found a love for the sport.

Annie is a UK and Australian admitted lawyer. She holds an MBA from Deakin University, a Joint Honours degree in Business Management and Marketing (Newcastle University, UK) and is a Certificated Member of the Governance Institute of Australia. She is also proud to be part of the CBA’s “Women in Focus” Alumni.

She brings progressive and comprehensive legal and management expertise to PQ encompassing development and delivery of business goals and objectives, value creation, risk management and corporate governance.

Annie has a drive for positive engagement and delivery at all levels. She believes it is important to create solid pathways for people of all ages to enter and enjoy all paddle sports.

Sarah Roach (Special Skills Director)

Bio. to be added

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