“Close-up” Interview: Dave Worthy

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In 1980 Malcom Fraser led the coalition to a third federal election win, the pac­man game was invented, Australia’s Alan Jones won the world Formula One championship and a new Commodore cost $7903.

That was also the year 16 year old Dave Worthy paddled his first Avon Descent…and he hasn’t missed one since.

Spend any time talking to Dave about the Avon and you might just be talked into having a go. He clearly loves the race and all it brings with it; the challenge, the thrills, the camaraderie and the euphoria of just getting to the end.

In those days all paddlers were required to compete in pairs, a concept Dave and his mates from those times think should be brought back. He paddled with Alan Peters and remains grateful for Alan’s support. The pair traveled to Harvey on weekends to train on the white water course there.

Over the years he has competed in a K1 and a K2 ­ with Ken Millar – and more recently with Paul Genovese. His trophy cabinet is full of Avon winner’s medals… he thinks he holds ten titles.

Dave recalls the adventures of the flood years ­ 1981 was his first. He has a photo of himself paddling in what would normally be the paddock at Cobbler Pool. 1983 was even higher ­ he had to duck his head going under Guildford Road bridge!

A decade later he and Paul Genovese took time off from work to train specially for the event. They were out in front at the end of day one and were going well on day two but started to fade on the flat water – the result of not eating enough. During a tussle with the lead boat at Middle Swan they hit the bridge. They dug in, clawed back the lead, and ended on top of the podium.

Dave laughs as he remembers the time when the new paddlers asked what route they should take just above Syds and one of his mates sent them down the waterfall! Another time he returned to Cobbler Pool on day two and his boat had been nicked! Undaunted, he carried on in his training boat.

Dave’s passion is to see the Avon Descent return to the glory days when it was virtually the Olympic Games of Western Australia. His enthusiasm and achievement in the event embodies the spirit of the Avon Descent.



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