For the Liddle Family, the Avon Descent has truly become a family affair. While relatively new to paddling, Dad and Mum, Pete and Jane, have been joined by daughter Baillie and son Michael to share their love of the white water challenge.
The Liddles live quite near the Swan at Baskerville. They bought kayaks about six years ago, for Sunday afternoon outings, but they were soon paddling sleeker craft. They required little encouragement to take the sport more seriously.
Pete and Jane’s fist Avon was 2013 as a team of two. Pete paddled the valley and Jane took over on the flat. The earlier training runs had been a touch eventful. On a memorable occasion, Jane’s surfski jammed right across Terminator rapid near Walyunga. The next hour was spent with a group of kayakers struggling to free it !
Baillie’s interest started happening after she returned from London. Her training began at the end of a wet and cold winter, but she stuck with it and was soon lining up for weekend races.
A pink surfski appeared on the back porch as the craft of choice for teaming up with Mum, for a team of two, in the 2014 Avon Descent.
The family’s valley training runs, that year, saw some adventures. Jane: “One day I left my paddle in a tree and managed to do a head-over-heels in the Shredder” For Baillie the highlight of the day was: “Dad went down the water fall at Syds and he didn’t even know he was doing anything wrong !”
The 2014 event did much to build up Baillie and Jane’s confidence in the white water. Michael was support crew with Baillie’s boyfriend Will, but following the event from the riverbank was not going to last for long. He entered the 2015 race with no white water training and completed the 2015 event on his own with only a few swims.
A close and supportive family, the Liddles don’t avoid a bit of competition in the water. Pete, “I was paddling past Ascot and heard the announcer call Baillie’s number out behind me. I realized I needed to dig in to stay ahead of her !”.
Baillie was the 2015 Women’s Long Plastic Champion. The pink surfski is established as a winner !
The Liddle family’s approach to the Avon Descent says a lot about the event. They love the challenge and the competition but they also get right into the friendships and camaraderie that comes with it.