Our history

The World Goldpanning Association and competitive panning have their roots in Finland, as it was there that the very first modern panning competitions were held in 1974. The unusual sport attracted great international media interest, and by 1977, when the first World Championships were held in Tankavaara, Finland; 10 nations took part in the event.

In the early days, competitions were only held in Finland, but it didn’t take long for country competitions to be organised. With the sport going from strength to strength, representatives from the countries participating in the World Championships got together in 1981 and formed the association we today know as the World Goldpanning Association (WGA).

Final day here at and these three met on the field! Almost 35 years’ history in one pic, from right to left former Presidents Kauko Launonen and Vincent Thurkettle together with Arturo Ramella. (Source Facebook WGA)