Avon Descent – myAvon

Paddler Requirements

All competitors must demonstrate the appropriate safety skills to handle the challenges during the race. This is an assessment of basic safety skills, not to determine whether or not the competitor is competent to complete the race.

Click here for more information.

Each entry will receive a Race Pack consisting of essential competitor materials.

Your race pack will include the following Items:

  • Support Crew Stickers and Passes
  • Official Avon Descent Sponsors Stickers
  • Event Guide
  • Craft Race ID Numbers
  • Sponsor paraphernalia

& More

Race packs will be available at Scrutineering on 23rd July (from 9am). We recommend arriving early to pick up your race pack so that you can affix your craft stickers prior to scrutineering. This is especially important if you are competing in the Qualifying Race.

Note: All entrants MUST collect their Race Packs at Scrutineering unless an appropriate exemption has been sought. Race Packs will not be posted out.

You will receive the following stickers that must be placed on your craft and helmet:

  • 2x Race ID Stickers (per Craft)
  • 2x Network TEN and 2x Sunday Times Sponsor Stickers (per Craft)
  • 2x Race ID Helmet Stickers & Timing Chips (per Helmet) These will be handed out at competitor registration on the Friday before the event

Sponsors Stickers, race ID number and timing chip from previous Avon Descents must be removed from the craft and helmet prior to the commencement of this year’s event.

The timing device is a sticker which is Ultra High Frequency. There are 2 stickers for each individual in a Solo, Teams of 2 or Team of 4. Double and Triple Sundry paddle teams will receive 1x set of timing chip stickers to be worn only by the front paddler in the craft. Stickers must be placed one on each side of the helmet.
The Race ID number sticker is to be applied over the top of the timing chip. The timing chip must be applied straight and without folding, crinkling or bending. It must also not be stuck over any screws or metal plates on the outside of the helmet.
Note: Any competitors with a carbon helmet must apply a foam spacer between the helmet and the timing chip. Please see the Bluechip Timing team at Registration if you need a spacer.
Timing stickers must remain on the helmet for the duration of the event.


Each competitor/ team must have a Support Crew of at least one adult person. The required passes for your Support Crew will be supplied in your Race Pack.

Access Pass: Your Support Crew will receive a Support Crew Sticker. This permits access to Extracts Weir, Avon Valley National Park, Bells Rapid and the Bayswater Finish Line.

Support Crew Vehicle Sticker: Your vehicle sticker is to be placed in the lower right corner of the windscreen for easy identification by officials.

Valley Sticker (teams only): Team Support Crews will receive a Valley sticker. This must be placed next to the Support Crew sticker in the lower right corner of the windscreen for easy identification by officials.

Your Race Identification Number must be displayed on your support crew vehicle (See the Event Rules for complete information).

Support Crew Sticker must be displayed on the front windscreen of the Support Crew vehicle so that it is clearly visible to officials.
National Parks & Bells Rapid Passes: To be handed to gate attendants for entry, shuttle buses will be provided. Parking, bus and entry will be at a cost of $10.00 per vehicle.
Valley Stickers (for teams only): Displayed adjacent to Support Crew sticker on the front windscreen
Note: No sticker = NO ENTRY to the Valley Road or Changeover 1 on Day 2
Please note: no passes will be reallocated under any circumstances – please ensure you do not misplace any of these items

All paddle craft competitors will have their craft, helmet and PFDs checked for condition and suitability. All equipment must be in good condition to pass Scrutineering.

Pre-Race Registration is compulsory and must be attended by at least one competitor per entry. All competitor helmets in each entry must be taken to Registration to have Race ID numbers attached. You will not be permitted to start until all of the scrutineering requirements have been met and all helmets have had their stickers and timing chips (where applicable) attached appropriately. When completed, competitors must take their craft to the Start Marshalling area in Northam to leave their craft overnight. There will be 24 hour security.

All craft must be in the Start Marshalling Area by 9:00 pm Friday 3rd August 2018. Failure to do so will mean you are unable to start the race.

Team competitors please note that only the Craft starting at the beginning of Day 1 must be in the Start Marshalling Area.
All craft (Power and Paddle) may be subject to random scrutineering during the race weekend.

Paddle Practice Days will be held on:

Saturday 30 July from 8.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and

Sunday 31 July from 1:00 pm to 4:00pm on all sections of the river

Day One starts at Northam. The start order is:
Power Craft start at 8.00 a.m.
Paddle Craft start 30 minutes after the start of the last Power Craft grid (depending on water level, and determined by the Race Director and his Race Control Team).

Day Two starts at Boral Cobbler Pool, West Toodyay. The start order is:
Paddle Craft start at 7.00 a.m.
Power Craft start at 12.00 p.m.
There is an interval of 60 seconds between each Start Grid.
There are five Stages on Day Two.

Tips and Safety

  • Get fit! Make sure you’re fit enough to race in the Avon Descent. Maintain your training routine as high fitness levels reduces the risk of injury.
  • Be prepared – assess the weather and river conditions and prepare yourself accordingly.
  • Prevent hypothermia. Keep warm and dry where possible and be aware of the warning signs (shivering, muscle weakness, abdominal cramps, lethargy, hallucinations, aggressive behaviour and euphoria)!. Change into dry/warm clothes immediately following the days racing or training session. Seek medical help if symptoms persist.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the race. Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration. Cool water is a good fluid replacement drink. Fuel up – keep your energy levels up by eating high carbohydrate and low fat foods before, during and after the race.

The weather in the Avon Valley can be magnificent in August, but it can also be very miserable – wet, cold and windy. River levels will vary and with that the difficulty of the course. You can assume that the race will go ahead no matter what the weather, so we encourage you to be sensible about the gear you take and match it to the conditions expected on the two days.

The event can be dangerous as water levels in the Avon River and upper reaches of the Swan River can produce dramatic changes in race conditions. Intending competitors should have a high level of fitness and competency. Special training courses are available for novices.

The conditions encountered by competitors during the event can alter substantially depending on river levels. The various difficulties and obstacles to be expected during the event are discussed in the Race Stages. The whitewater grades of difficulty to be expected can vary from Grade 1 to Grade 4. Typically there are Grade 2 and Grade 3 whitewater rapids. The description of the grades can be viewed below.

  • Buoyancy vests and helmets are essential. Helmets must be of a rigid type and designed to give protection to the forehead and temple areas. Wet boots with hard soles or sand shoes, sneakers or gym boots are ideal. Adequate foot protection is essential both in the water and on the bank in the event of a capsize.
  • Remember to wear weather appropriate clothing. Thermal clothing (tops and bottoms) and a CAG (windproof/waterproof top) are also recommended. Protect yourself against sunburn and windburn on all exposed areas.
  • Secure spectacles, if worn.
  • Never paddle alone during training and be honest with yourself about your abilities.
  • In the event of a capsize, try to hold on to the upstream end of the craft, then head for the nearest bank.
  • If you go for a long traning paddle, allow enough time to reach your destination in daylight hours.
  • When the canoe is side on to the current, always lean downstream.
  • Do not hold on to stationary objects such as overhanging trees.
  • When starting out in a fast moving current, point the bow upstream. When the current catches its nose, the craft will swing around, placing you in mid-stream, away from the bank.

For the next few weeks you need to ensure you’re hitting aerobic, anaerobic and lactic training types. Vary it up and if you feel you may have the endurance but lack the sprint type, add some in to prevent any blowouts on the weekend.

As you head into the weekend, you’ll want to be ensuring you are getting a good recovery from each session and getting the most out of the sessions. Keep them focused and make sure you get the sleep and nutrition you need to be 100% for the next one.

One week out you can cut your training to make sure you’re fresh in the seat for the weekend. Reduce length and intensity of your sessions at this point- you won’t gain anything from hurting yourself now.

Nutrition is especially important in the last few weeks before the race. A good diet, regular meals (even when busy at work) and hydration are key. You might even consider trying sports supplementation to ensure you’re getting enough and at the right times.

Immediately after training you need carbohydrates to replace lost muscle glycogen stores and protein to replace damaged muscle tissue.

In the weeks leading up to the race, you need to be thinking about what you will eat before, during and after the race days and practice with those combinations now.

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