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The Avon Descent


Support Crew

Handy Hints



Consult the list opposite. These are suggestions for what your paddler may need - individual requirements will vary.

Transport to & from start and finish lines each day.

  • Allow time for traffic jams & parking as 500 paddlers are all arriving at the same time (start).
  • Paddler will need dry clothing, warm/cold drink & food (finish).

Extra food & drink whilst paddling

The most important ! Have it all ready on the bank - your paddler may not want to lose time. Adequate nutrition and hydration help prevent fatigue and hypothermia.

  • fluids - water (in spare bottles all ready to go), electrolyte/energy drink already made up, hot thermos drink (non- caffeinated)
  • food (eg., energy bars, bananas, apples, sandwiches)

Spare/emergency gear whilst paddling

Just in case! Again, have it ready on the bank.

  • spare paddle
  • first aid kit - most common problems are blisters, wrist/forearm swelling (tendonitis) & occasionally cuts & abrasions not serious enough for the paddler to withdraw. In your first aid kit you may like to include waterproof plaster, compression bandages, heavy crepe bandage, anti-inflammatories & pain killers, betadine, wound closures, gauze, scissors, forceps, sunscreen, anti-insect bite (eg Paraderm Plus).
  • boat repair kit - gaffa tape for holes and cracks, tools for fixing rudders
  • dry thermal top, warm clothing . You should constantly keep an eye on your paddler for symptoms of hypothermia such as shivering and lack of co-ordination. Be aware of the treatment for hypothermia.


  • For most this is a long way to paddle.

Don't forget the camera to record the occasion!

 For the Support Crew

Look after yourselves! Warm gear, wet weather gear, (even Wellingtons if it has been wet) food, drink, map(s), maybe a rug/waterproof/chair to sit on. Depends how many of you there are to carry the gear.

Also, take pen and paper and the grid numbers printed in the Northam newspaper the day before - obtainable at Northam.

Support crew may have traffic jams to contend with and only get parking a long walk from the river bank - so leapfrogging support stops with a second crew is a good idea, particularly in high water years as the paddlers move fast with the extra water assistance.

Paddlers should familiarise their support crew with the roads and exact spots where they're needed. At crowded locations such as Extract's they will need something to attract the paddler's attention - eg., flag, large brightly coloured umbrella. Keep in mind that the water level may be much higher/lower than when checking out the assistance spots.

Novice paddlers may find they need to stop less often than they thought and merely give their long-waiting, expectant support crew a big grin as they paddle past quite happily, not needing anything at all!

 How do you know if your paddler has gone past yet?

Your paddler should know roughly how long it will take for that distance.

At your first stop write down the bib numbers/names of paddlers who are ahead of yours and the time that they passed by. When your paddler arrives note the time difference, eg,. no. 123 - 20 minutes ahead. (This also lets you know if your paddler is gaining on his competitors as the day goes by!) Then you also need to note those that are some minutes behind in case you are too late at the next stop.

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The contents of this site are copyright© 2000 - 04, Robyn Khorshid.
All Rights Reserved.