Author Archives: Fran Diettrich

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EARLY BIRD – advantages

Early bird offers you so much more than just a bit of a discount and is only available until 31 May.



Receive 10% OFF the Standard Entry Price


New in 2017! Stand Up Paddle Boards are coming to the Avon Descent!

Stand Up Paddle Boards receive an additional $50 rebate on entry fees as our promotional category for this year only.



This year top grids will be determined by a Qualifying Race held at Scrutineering in Bayswater on the 23rd of July

Want to be in the top grids? Then you need to nominate! You can do so during EARLY BIRD ONLY (14-31st May) and you must tick the appropriate box in your online entry form.

All following grids will be determined on a First Come First Serve basis.



If you enter during Early Bird you will be able to nominate for your own Race ID number

Paddle Craft can nominate any number between 302 and 999.

This number will then be reserved for you for the following year should you wish to use it again.

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Entries are now open!

Welcome to the Avon Descent 2017!

The entries for 2017 are now open. Please create your ‘myAvon’ account first by clicking the blue “myAvon” button in the bottom right of the page. Click ‘Register’, fill your details and you will have your own account. Now you will notice a new option on the myAvon menu ‘Enter the Avon Descent’ where you can submit your entry for 2017!

If you have any questions, please have look at our Event Rules for 2017 

For any other sport-related questions, feel free to contact Sport Coordinator Sean Dunstan

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Cyprian Ubah – International work force for local community event!

Not many people are aware of the number of volunteers it takes to organise the Avon Descent each year. You would be surprised to find out that we have over 30 Management Volunteers and even more interesting is the fact, that over 80% have an international background. Having volunteers from all five continents working on a traditional and iconic event in Western Australia brings, not only a great added value to the event, but also shows their appreciation for the local community.

One of them is Nigerian born Cyprian Ubah, who is making his mark on the Avon Descent as he brings in his strong analytic and project management skill in the planning and development of the event.

The thirty-one-year-old Cyprian grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to Australia in 2014 to study Masters of Project Management at Edith Cowan University. He graduated in 2016 and is currently pursuing his career in project management.

“My greatest achievement so far is being able to come to Australia and prove myself,” says Cyprian.

As Cyprian says, in Nigeria, he was “managing corporate projects, so that’s what sparked off the idea of coming here to study project management and help me evolve my skills”.

Cyprian is assisting in the capacity of management coordinator and logistic planning for the Avon Descent. He is actively in charge of preparing and updating all management documents, risk plans, general logistic plans and updating risk registers.

Local community engagement is a strong part of Cyprian’s values. He intends returning to Nigeria after gaining the relevant international experience to pursue a career in politics.

“I want to be a law maker and a senator someday,” says Cyprian. Volunteering gives him the opportunity to give back to the community that he is a part of. When he is not working, Cyprian enjoys working out and playing soccer.

Would you like to be part of our Volunteer Management Team? We are always looking for new people to join our team, in the areas of Event Management (, Sport, Graphics, IT (all enquiries to and Marketing and Media ( ). Send us an email to find out more and start your volunteering career with the Avon Descent.


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Be part of the 2017 Avon Descent doco ‘Water Warriors’

This is YOUR chance to be part of our 2017 Avon Descent doco ‘Water Warriors’. Tell us why we should follow your campaign in this year’s event.

Comment on our Facebook page or send us an email!


*We reserve the right to choose the ultimate candidate*

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Be active Paddle Challenge May 14th – Canoeing WA


May 14th 2017 is a very important day for the paddling community in the lead up to the Avon Descent.

The Paddle Challenge was established in 2001, and has been a strongly supported event since the very beginning by paddlers of all levels. It has become one of the premier events on the Canoeing WA Annual Calendar. Many Avon Descent paddlers regard the Paddle Challenge as a great event to kick off their training. The Paddle Challenge boasts a great carnival atmosphere – in the amphitheatre-like confines of AP Hinds Reserve,  families can watch their friends and family out on the water.

There is a course for everyone – you can go either for the long course with 18km or decide for a short course (11km, 6km or 3.5km)

For more information, please visit:

We will see you down in Bayswater!

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The importance of water levels – An expert interview with Darryl Long!

With all the wet weather lately, it seems perfectly natural to wonder how this year’s Avon Descent could be affected. After all, the race has been a WA institution for over forty years.  A two-day event spanning 124 kilometres mixing paddle and power craft held on the Avon and Swan Rivers. It hosts a strong community of dedicated athletes from all over the globe attracting worldwide press coverage. It’s kind of a big deal.

So what sort of water levels can one prepare for?

To get some expert insight, I went to someone who knows the course better than just about anyone. Thirteen-time Champion of the Avon Descent, veteran paddler, Darryl Long. Talking to a legend in any field can be a little intimidating, but Darryl put me at ease right away with a confident, open, and easy-going attitude. He has absolutely nothing to prove and he knows it.

Darryl first became curious about paddling as a teen after his younger brother got involved first. Up until that point, he had only messed around with open Canadian canoes at his grandparent’s house near Mandurah. One time while his brother was away at camp, he used his boat to give serious paddling a try. He immediately knew he was good at it. At age 17, his first race was a 24-hour marathon where he paddled 202 km in 24 hours, winning the Junior Record outright. As naturals do, he found it very easy to race and win with very little training.

Thirteen Avon Descent titles later, the 54-year old hailing from Ashfield representing Ascot Kayaking Club, knows a thing or two about water levels. “Lower water levels means more time. When the water levels are higher the river has more momentum and times are faster. In 1981 the weather provided the ability to break the record, but the next year in 1982 the water levels were so low people were injuring themselves out of exhaustion. In 83’ it was all wet again and the highest I’ve ever encountered reaching 7.6 meters” recalls Darryl.

“I did my slowest times in 2006 because the water was only .32 of a meter deep. In 2010 the water only got to .28 of a meter, but I was 41 minutes faster because I was fitter.” That year, 500 paddlers began the race and 250 finished. Devastatingly, 42 power dinghies started and only 3 finished. “The water was not deep enough for the power boats to work and they were damaging their gear. The challenge is that you never know what you are going up against” Darryl explained.

At the time of this interview, water levels are higher than they have been many times over the years during the Avon Descent, but will it remain that way? Darryl pointed out that for the water to remain high there would have to be consistent rainfall in specific areas for several weeks leading up to the event. Sporadic, torrential downpours followed by dry spells such as we have been seeing, however unseasonable, will only make the water recede and dry up fairly quickly.

Two years ago experts predicted “no water” for the Avon Descent. Not low water, but no water. As in.. die hard, committed competitors literally carrying their boats down the course… no water. Then, like a gift from white water gods, it rained. It rained the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the race and brought the water levels up to where it was actually quite race-worthy.

“Most seasoned competitors have never seen water levels above a couple of meters here in WA” according to Darryl. The highest he ever encountered in his lifetime was 7.6 meters in the race in 83’.  Officials actually considered cancelling the race for safety reasons, but by race day levels went down enough to be considered completely safe. In 1996 while competing in the Wild Water Worlds Championship in Landeck, Austria, Darryl remembers “violent, raging whitewater and landslides that changed the course daily. They had to hold your boat while you got in, and then had to hand it down a line from person to person until they said GO! There was no way to paddle upstream because the water was so fast.” He went on to emphasise that the stress this put on a competitor was huge because “you make one mistake and it’s over. It can all be over very fast.”

So be careful for what you wish for. Higher water levels do not necessarily make for a more advantageous result or a more rewarding race experience. Not necessarily.

The Fish River Marathon is held in Cradock, South Africa each year. It is dam controlled so the levels are exactly the same every single year. The rapids are identical.  One year a tree fell down and some top competitors clipped the tree just because it was different than what they were used to. It seems predictability is a good way to learn, but a set course like the Fish River lacks the unexpected challenges inherent in nature that the Avon Descent provides.

Darryl thinks there is so much anticipation in trying to predict the weather in events like this because there is so much preparation required in advance for such a complicated two-day event. Predicted low water levels means lower entry numbers, which means organisers have to cut costs and perhaps in the end, for no reason.

This brings me to the conclusion I suspected all along and Darryl confirmed; the beauty of the Avon Descent actually lies in its unpredictability and the ability of the challengers to face anything that the river throws their way.

The Avon Descent is a marathon. It’s very physically demanding particularly on the paddlers. Its average is 3 ½ hours for the first day and 5 for the second day. Because you are down on the flat by the time you are exhausted, you’ve finished the white water but you still have kilometres to paddle”. The wind can be a factor as well. Last year’s headwind was dealt with using GPS to gauge how fast they were going against the wind or if they were better off paddling closer to the bank. If you are paddling double, sometimes it’s better to be right in the wind as the boat is weighed down more. If you are single, you can get knocked around more. “My ultimate year when I did singles in 1983 was 3 hours and 26 minutes on day one and 4 hours 41 minutes on day two with a total of 7:56 in 3.5 meters of water” added Darryl. A very impressive time, indeed.

Darryl’s advice for any competitor with regard to the water level is to be prepared for anything. In paddling, the emphasis is more on your own physical ability and how fit you are can make all the difference in your time and placing. With power, it’s a matter of knowing exactly where the best line lies in the river from top to bottom. Many power boaters must learn the river by paddling since power boating is not permitted on the Avon course during the year. The race is their one chance to do it. Top competitors in the power boat category have been doing it for multiple years, so success greatly lies in experience.

In paddling, Darryl suggests getting out and training regularly for fitness and speed so you can paddle hour after hour. “Even in good water levels, it’s still going to be a lot of hours and a highly skilled person can still run out of steam. Training to win the Avon Descent is extremely time-consuming.  Two hours a day, five days a week, week in and week out.”

On racing to finish, Darryl emphasised “just completing the course is a massive achievement. The buzz people get just from completing is impressive, to say the least. It’s a different mentality but still an achievement and you must be fit just to finish.”

Last year, Darryl and Paul Genovesi partnered up in the double kayak category. The duo hadn’t competed as a team for twenty years and finished 6th in 2016. In 1996 they won the double kayak by an astonishing lead of 1 hour and 8 minutes. As for Darryl’s plans for this year, he’s not sure just yet. He is waiting to hear from Paul about what his plans are and is playing it by ear. In the very spirit of the Avon Descent, whether it is changing water levels or which category he will be competing in, I get the feeling Darryl Long will be ready for anything.

Darryl Long designs kayaks at his company, Universal Plastics in Welshpool.

The Avon Descent is on the 5th  and 6th  of August and encourages anyone to push their limits by participating. Find out more on  – Don’t miss out – entries open May 14th.

By Jennifer Kemp

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Event Rules 2017 are published now!

It is exciting news.

We have now published the Event Rules for the Avon Descent 2017 on our website. Go to and have a proper read through everything.

If you have any questions regarding the rules, please feel free to contact sports coordinator Sean Dunstan

Shortly, we will publish an article explaining the new rules and changes, which have been made.

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Josh Kippin – The Perth local who knows that only the sky is the limit!

“You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve” – this quote by J.K. Rowling is most pertinent to the success of the 26-year old Josh Kippin, from North Perth, who won last years’ single Kayak Marathon category in the Avon Descent.

Josh started kayaking in the year 2000 at Ascot Kayak Club. “After struggling to continue playing tennis due to growing pains in my legs, Mum and Dad got me involved in the kayak club. 17 years later I still love the sport and ironically compete in a part of the sport that has a significant amount of running involved! I’ve been very fortunate to travel the world and compete in all manner of paddle sports races.” says Josh.

Until now, Josh has completed six solo Avon Descents, but the most memorable was his first Avon. “My first one in 2010 was by far the toughest, it had one of the lowest water levels in the history of the Avon and being my first one I was thoroughly underprepared physically and mentally for the challenge. I finished, but it was definitely more character building than high performance!”

Although Josh developed skills to cope with the exigencies of white water race in his first Avon and the subsequent years, he faced the worst resilience in the year 2014.  “I was Day 1 winner ahead of South African, Lance Kime, but got a big hole in my boat at Syd’s rapids” (about 40km from the finish). I jumped out to empty my boat and try and make the leak as small as possible. I then chased him down for 3hrs by myself with a leaking boat. I came within 1 minute of the win, but that was about the toughest thing I’ve ever done”.

Josh is undoubtedly a national pride with an international fame and has accomplishments galore. “I am current (2016) National Open Marathon Champion in both Singles (K1) and Doubles (K2), I am placed 20th in the Men’s Open World Marathon Championships in Germany in 2016. I have been racing marathons for about 5 years now. Prior to that, I raced Slalom kayaking when I was 10, which is a whitewater based sport. Pinnacle achievement in slalom was a bronze medal in the 2009 youth Olympics”, Says Josh. In fact, he is contemplating to compete the Sella Descent in Spain this year.

Recently, Josh added two more trophies to his cabinet. He defended the 1st place in Singles as well as Doubles in the 2017 Australian Canoe Marathon Championship in Sydney on the second March weekend. Josh paddled alongside Brendan Rice, the runner-up at last year’s Avon Descent, in the K2 category and later this year they’re off to South Africa to represent Australia in the world championships.

According to Josh, newcomers do face many hurdles and constraints particularly in terms of experience and techniques,  but adopting a few measures could make things seamless. “There are two aspects to paddling an Avon, being able to handle the rapids and being able to handle the distance. My advice is to start getting gear and training setup early, from scratch a 4-month program would be a minimum to complete an Avon and have fun doing it.

For technique, invest in someone to teach you correct techniques or read books on how to do it, the good technique makes all the difference both in efficiency and injury prevention.

For experience, it is difficult to paddle the river at all water levels and you may get no rain prior to the race at all. Being fit and knowing how to paddle will help bridge this gap to some extent”, advises Josh.

Josh is very optimistic about the future of Avon Descent. However, he feels that involvement of international competitors is quintessential to regain the old glory and namesake,“Olympics of Western Australia”. “The primary glory of Avon Descent came from its international status and world class standard of its top competitors. Currently, there are a few local world class athletes racing the Avon, but to return the race to its former glory you need to attract international talent especially from South Africa, Hungary, etc., that will add weight to the race and to the results of locals”, says Josh.

Having said that, it will not be wrong to presume that Josh Kippin’s dauntless nerves could be the envy of many international sportsperson and inspiration for the newcomers and the spectators.

Entries for the Avon Descent open May 14th.


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Power for the People – the new FPR320

A new racing dinghy designed to bring Avon Descent power boat dreams closer to reality has been unveiled at a special media event at the Burswood Water Sport Centre.

On show was the FPR 320, a standardised production boat that can remove much of the time and effort traditionally needed to get a custom made power racer to the start line at Northam.

The boat has been a long term project for business partners Jay Branson and Jon Faull, who between them have 10 Avon Descent power boat titles.

The FPR 320 features a locally- built modular plastic-foam hull and as a result, a badly damaged section can be replaced at minimal cost without the need to fund a new boat.

Jay and Jon have been very happy with the response so far and a number of the new craft will be lining up for this year’s Avon in the 10hp Standard class.

“We felt we had to do something to make it easier for people who always wanted to do the event in a power boat, but did not necessarily have the time or expertise to put together a custom race boat,” Jay Branson said.

“People spend an awful lot of time in the shed building high-tech racers and we figured if we could ease things a bit there, it might be encouraging, particularly for novice powerboat racers,” he said.

The media day attracted a host of news teams, and reporters took on the opportunity of a spin in the new boat with reigning 10hp Sport champion Michael Prosser at the helm.

It was Michael’s first time in the new boat as well, and he was suitably impressed.  “The handling was really very good and I think these craft deserve every success,” he said.

The FPR 320 comes as a complete, competitive race package, with the hull, motor and mandatory equipment for less than $10,000.

The Power Dinghy Racing Club will also help streamline the process for novice power boaters to get into the Avon so the experience of owning an FPR 320 can be as simple and safe as possible.

Here’s hoping the plastic fantastic opens up a new era for potential poweries.


If you would like more detail email:   or call Jay Branson: 0400 076144

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Certified Paddle Helmets CE EN 1385 – Stores & Pricelist

In the Avon Descent 2017, all paddlers will be required to wear a whitewater helmet. These helmets must meet the standard CE EN 1385. These helmets can be purchased in the following stores:



6 Kingscote St, Kewdale WA 6105; 9449 1000       

Mainpeak Cottesloe: 31-35 Jarrad Street, Cottesloe, WA, 6011; 6103 4520

Predator Full cut – $119

Predator Shiznit – $139

Mainpeak Perth CBD: 383 Murray Street, Perth, WA, 6000; 9322 9044

Predator Full cut – $119

Predator Shiznit – $139

PaddleSports Megastore: 44 McCoy Street, Myaree, WA, 6154; 9330 7553

Predator Short Cut – $119

Predator Full Cut – $119

Predator Shiznit – $139

Predator FR- 7  -$169

Palm AP2000 – $69.95

Swell Whitewater – $89.95

Canoeing Down Under; Ashfield WA 6053

in2Kayaks –  Unit 4/22 Franklin Lane (off Winton Road), Joondalup, WA, 6027; 9300 9762

Predator Full Cut – $119

Predator Shiznit – $125

Predator FR- 7  -$139

Palm AP2000 – $69.95

Canoe and Kayak: 

Unit1 / 9 Carr Place, Myaree, 6154; 9317 6663

Western Foreshore (next to King’s Carnival), Mandurah, WA, 6210; 0419 885 710

Freedom- $89

Protec Two Face – $129

Protec Ace – $99

WRSI – $169

Yak Shak: 5/40 Tesla Rd, Rockingham, WA, 6168; 9527 1469

Freedom- $89

Protec Two Face – $129

Protec Ace – $99

WRSI – $169

Recent News and Announcements


Want to get involved?

Avon Descent Support Unit Training

The Avon Descent offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities from rescue and recovery to administration, event management, marketing and graphics design and we are always seeking new talent to help us in delivering an amazing event.

If you are interested in volunteering please visit our Get Involved page today to find out more.

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