The continuing trend of lower winter run-off has prompted the organisers of the Avon Descent white water classic to adopt a fresh approach to secure the future of the event.
Rather than backing away in the face of lower water levels, the Avon Descent is facing the challenge head on and urging competitors to do the same.
Northam’s Avon Descent Association – the owners of the event – has adopted the theme “Hell or High Water” to underline its commitment to preserving and growing the iconic river marathon for paddle and power boats.
NADA’s new chairman, Kim Epton, said his team could do everything except put water in the river, but this simply heightened the challenge.
“Of course we won’t give in, but we have to face facts and if the way we tackle this event has to change to guarantee its future, then we feel we have a responsibility to make it happen,” said Mr Epton.
“The ‘Hell or High Water’ approach does not mean we can carry on regardless, but it demonstrates our intent to put on an event even in the toughest of conditions if necessary,” he said.
Mr Epton conceded this approach had the potential to alienate some experienced Avon Descenters, but hoped others – especially novices – would take the challenge and test themselves.
“The fact is that the Avon Descent is often not a true white water event and if this is the reality we are dealing with, we need to change our thinking,” Mr Epton said. “Perhaps sometimes it will be more like an ironman challenge, even for the power boat crews.”
“Of course we can’t predict anything with certainty, but we hope people will continue to embrace the Avon as both competitors and spectators. We have 44 years of tradition to respect and a unique event that West Australians hold in very high regard,” he added.
Entries for the 2016 Avon Descent and details can be found online at www.avondescent.com.au
Chris Hunt 0412 903619 Kim Epton 0408 096200