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Syd's Rapid
Personal Observations by Robyn Khorshid

Photos on this page taken at Medium Water - about 11.3m, DoW, Walyunga (about 0.9m at Walyunga wooden post) with the exception of Pic 1, The Entrance
Photos and text: R. Khorshid

Syd's Rapid is approx 500m of fast water, rocks, waves, a chute and a rugged drop at the end. What to watch out for is determined by the water level: the more water then the more rocks are covered.

It's mainly a straight run down, with keeping your eye out for rocks, except for two areas where more manouvring is required:
- 'current around rocks', just over half way - Hazard (2)
- Syd's Drop, near the end - Hazard (3)

At very high and flood levels, the river and its landmarks become unrecognisable. It is indeed a wild ride down then. As this happens infrequently I have few observations to make. The main problem, however, would seem to be the remnants of a rock bar at Hazard (2) where a powerful stopper develops.

The flood photos were taken during the 2008 Avon Descent, as close as possible to the same locations as the 0.9m and 0.32m photos. Water level was 12.8m, DoW, Walyunga, (about 1.9m on the wooden post) early and dropping during the day. (Our thanks to Brad Jones and Elaine Lennox for the pics.)

Here's the entrance: About 3km below Lookout Rapid the main channel goes to the river left bank and through an archway of branches.

Flood pic

Syd's Layout

Looking upstream from the first small (at this water level) drop. At lower levels you can only take the main route through. After this the water becomes fast and within a few metres there is a chute at the distinctive rock with the yellow paint. This paint has been there for many years and is a marker for this chute.

Click on pic above to see this drop at low water, 0.32m, wooden gauge, Walyunga

Flood pic

Click on the pic above to see the chute at lower water, 0.32m, wooden gauge, Walyunga

Flood pic

Flat but moving water leads up to the next hazard. The river right route recommended is a better line to take if you're intending to go wide at the next hazard. There is foreshortening in this pic.It's about 120m to Hazard (2). There's little danger of being accidentally swept towards the waterfall at this level. But take care, and definitely at higher levels where it is easy enough if you're too far right.

Flood pic

Main current around rocks. Main route for this water level and less is to keep to the right then go sharp left, then straighten up to be parallel to the bank. It is possible to follow the left route at this level, marked with the lighter arrow. There is a small chute in the first line of rocks which enables you to cut the corner. Any lower, however, and you have to follow the main route, marked by the heavier arrow. Keep left in higher water - this means it's less likely you'll be swept to the waterfall.

Click on the pic to see this rapid at low water, 0.32m, wooden gauge, Walyunga. You'll see why the main current bends here.

Flood pic

Here's another hundred metres or so of flat but fast water where there may be rocks, depending on the water level. They're mostly covered at 0.9m. This takes you to Hazard (3), Syd's Drop, and the end of the rapid.

Click on the pic to see the effects of lower water level, 0.32m, Walyunga wooden gauge, on this stretch.

Flood pic

Syd's Drop: The foreshortening in this pic makes the entrance look small, but it's not. Enter to the right of the rocks, but point the nose of your boat slightly left. Be prepared to straighten up after you've dropped down then veer slightly to the right and join the main channel just right of centre.

Flood pic

Just repeating from above: Enter to the right of the rocks on the river left which mark the start of the drop, but point the nose of your boat slightly left. Be prepared to straighten up and veer slightly to the right and join the main channel just right of centre. 'Rock in the middle' is almost centred. Best line is to keep right of it.

There's more on Syd's Drop here.

Below: DR paddler caught by the Hazard (2) stopper during the flood conditions of '96 Descent.

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