WA Paddling News Emails
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W. A. P A D D L I N G N E W S , J U N E , 2 0 0 7
Week 1 /June
Avon Descenters and White Water Paddlers! New for this Year!
Now that the Department of Water's Walyunga gauge, located just over a kilometre downstream from the lower car park main pool, has been re-connected to telemetry it is the most up-to-date and accurate water level reading you will get for Walyunga without actually being there. It's automatically updated, each morning, as with all the Department of Water's <http://220.127.116.11/waterinformation/telem/table.htm>telemetred sites which are steadily increasing in number.
You just need to get used to what the readings mean regards paddleability. I suspect it will be not much different to the wooden gauge.
Water Level Update
Tuesday, 5th June - mid afternoon
Walyunga telemetred Department of Water (DOW) reading was 10.25m (Don't forget, 10m = 'no flow'.)
Wooden gauge reading was about 0.22m
(Upper Swan ti-trees were at a good level for beginner paddlers.)
Some Recent Pics
Here's what <http://www.iinet.net.au/~rokhor/canoe/images/awaly2june07.jpeg>Walyunga main chute and <http://www.iinet.net.au/~rokhor/canoe/images/bells2june07.jpeg>Bells main drop and <http://www.iinet.net.au/~rokhor/canoe/images/bellsvdrop2jun07.jpeg>Bells V-drop (looking upstream) looked like last Saturday, 2nd June. It looks promising!
Department of Water's Walyunga gauge water level was 10.21m.
The wooden gauge reading was about 0.19m.
(Upper Swan ti-trees are paddleable at this level.)
So far it seems the Department of Water's gauge reads 0.02m or 0.03m higher than the wooden gauge. (Bear in mind that when we read the wooden gauge we are always guessing somewhat as to the last digit!
This is for Novices!
This is just to fill in for those new to all this talk about gauges and telemetry.
The Department of Water (DOW) has installed instrumentation which records the water level (amongst other things) on many WA rivers, mainly for the purpose of flood warning. With modern communications (telemetry) this informatiion is relayed to headquarters which makes it available to the public via their website. In times of potential flooding the telemetred measuring sites affected are updated on the website as frequently as is necessary to give accurate and advanced notice to those who might be concerned.
DOW also very kindly updates the Avon River telemetred sites on their website more frequently just before the Avon Descent! Otherwise all the river levels are updated once per day.
Before the era of modern communications Avon paddlers relied on a wooden post gauge installed in the main pool at the lower car park to indicate the paddleability of the river. Early paddlers with foresight (Peter Dear and others) installed the original about thirty years ago. It fell over recently and was replaced by Colin Thorpe and Bevan Dashwood. The post only ever went as high as 2m, therefore in big floods we only knew it was "more than two metres"!
Paddlers used to annoy the Walyunga Ranger by ringing at all hours to find out the water level. For a while the canoeing association had an answering machine service on which the Ranger would record the level.
Then came the application of modern technology. Great Northern Highway (GNH) level became available on the DOW website. Despite this, paddlers still relied on this simple wooden gauge! It was more meaningful! On arriving at Walyunga all would rush down to view the level on the wooden post! Paddlers reliably sent in their readings to be shared with others. Yet other paddlers drew graphs and had acacemic debates trying to relate the GNH reading to this wooden gauge using the readings sent in by hundreds of paddlers.
GNH, however, is ten kilometres downstream, so there is a time lag (at present about 10 hours) plus other small tributaries contribute in between, eg., the waterfall above Bells. That method of guessing the level on the wooden post only worked satisfactorily for a river that was flowing well and evenly - that is, when there was regular and widespread rain in the inland catchment. Rain in the hills enters and leaves the river quickly and the graphs could only ever relate an average river, not a fluctuating river. For example, yesterday my wooden post reading at Walyunga was 0.22m, the DOW reading was 10.25m (<http://18.104.22.168/waterinformation/telem/616011/te2.htm>check here) and the latest estimating graph guessed 0.28m. (<http://members.iinet.com.au/~rokhor/canoe/watlevwalygr02.html>check here)
So it's very pleasing to have the water level information from this gauge that is in the middle of the most regularly paddled white water section of the Avon River.
Also for Novices! What do the different river levels mean?
The reading at Walyunga always indicates the paddleability of the lower half of the Valley. Remember, it's only in times of a good flow from inland (<http://members.iinet.com.au/~rokhor/canoe/avonrivwatlev.html>check the level on inland Avon and tributary telemetred sites) without recent hills rain does it mean the whole valley is more or less at the Walyunga level.
The following is my personal guideline, but new paddlers often email asking, "what do the different levels mean?" I have been a sort of average female paddler, with experience.
We hope to replace the question marks within a few weeks! (because it's going to rain) As stated above, my guess at this stage is that the telemetred Walyunga gauge reads 0.02m or 0.03m higher than the current wooden gauge. That 0.03m will only make a difference when the level is very low and paddleability is marginal.
Walyunga Wooden Gauge DOW Walyunga
Paddleabilty of Valley Below 0.3m Below 10.33m Too much trouble to paddle. Stay at home. 0.3m - 0.6m ? Paddelable, but very slow and very rocky. Okay for my plastic for short sections as I would never like to get caught on the river after dark. 0.6m - 0.8m ? More rocks covered, and it's not too difficult to do a full valley trip in the short daylight hours, but will only use my fragile boat on a section of river I know well, eg., from Lookout downstream. 0.8m - 1.5m ? Good level; all the main rocks covered and stoppers are not too daunting! I like this level. The river starts to change character towards the upper limit (1.3m - 1.5m), eg., the Washing Machine at Emu Falls becomes an easily paddleable V-chute rather than a rocky drop with a big stopper. Above 1.5m ? Flood level - the river has an entirely different character. Many rapids are washed out - huge standing waves and stoppers develop elsewhere (eg., upper Syd's Rapid). It's a fast trip, though not easy, as the huge boils make paddling hard work without a rudder.
Week 2 /June
Local C1 Paddlers at ICF Slalom Racing World Cup
Margie Jeffery brings to our attention that "a number of Aussies, including Robin Bell and Robbie Jeffery, are racing at the Slovenian course in Tacen, weekend - 2nd & 3rd June. (Tacen is just outside Ljubjana)."
Here is the results index page for both days of racing, qualifying runs, semi finals and finals :
There's a photo page here:
Margie has a great pic of the first drop which is massive! Email her for a copy:
If you need help with your Avon Descent . . .
Canoeing Down Under, located Bassendean, 9378 1333, will be running weekend instructional trips on all sections of the Avon, starting with the Upper Swan ti-trees, as soon as there's enough water. Mid week trips may be available, subject to demand.
Mainpeak Paddlesports in Cottesloe, 9284 3759, have Avon Intro courses, white water trips through the valley and the ti-trees and conduct the white water competency test. (There is a package available that saves you money.)
Canoe clubs also often provide help for their members. Contact your local canoe club and see what's on offer!
Avon Water Levels
The email I sent on Wednesday contained my guide to the paddleability of the Avon - that was my own personal one, I wish to emphasise! The only way you can find out yours is through experience! I shall put together some thoughts on the Toodyay ti-trees soon.
Keep sending in your Walyunga readings - <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com We'll know if they become superfluous in time.
Nearly Sold Out!
Terry Bolland tells me that he has nearly run out of copies of his book, Canoeing Down Under. This is a comprehensive paddling guide, but of most relevance at this time of year are his maps of the Avon River rapids which are included in the book. I have found these indispensable for understanding where I went wrong after a swim and to be able to get it right the next time. So if you're at all keen to have a dry day on Day 2 of the Descent get your copy before it's too late. Terry promises to reprint next year and may even do a revised edition.
New Logs Down
Warren Southwell tells us that there are two new logs down in the Upper Swan ti-trees. The first is on the river left passage of the island which is just before Amiens and the take-out place. So that means all will have to go river right which is very shallow, but there's no choice. The log looked very thick to me and will need a lot of water to cover it, which is then too much water to go that way. The second one is below Amiens, and there's plenty of warning." At present (GNH about 11.35) you can just go around/over it near the left bank or if it is lower you may be able to go under and there is always the portage option," Warren says.
Voices on the River
"I am gathering stories to publish about people's experiences with the river. I'm hoping to hear from people of all ages, on any adventures they had when they were growing up. I'd love to hear from paddlers, who spend so much time out on the river!!
Kind regards, Emma Ligtermoet"
Australasian Masters Games
Adelaide, 5th - 14th October
These include sprint, marathon and canoe polo events. The website with all the details is here:
Thanks to Andrew Hayden for this info.
2009 Wildwater World Cup
"This is likely to be held in Tassie, so if people are keen to compete at World Cup level then they'd better start training! There may be a masters category, also. Cheers, Dan Hall" Email Dan if you want to know more:
Paddler at Work
Keen marathon paddler and sea kayaker, Antony Mee, has been appointed by the project architect, Simon Rodrigues Architects, as the Building Code of Australia (BCA) consultant for infrastructure development at the Champion Lakes site.
Training Partner Wanted
"I would like to invite anyone interested in a social training paddle Pt Walter to Stirling Bridge and return any Tuesday night leaving around 6.15-6.30pm. Western boat ramp bring all your own gear and responsibility. Come when you can to join me in what can be both beautiful and or wild depending on weather and tide. 0421 63 5409 to discuss or just see you there." Ian Thompson
Latest Edition of Upstream Paddle
For some interesting reading go to: <http://www.upstreampaddle.com/magazine.html>http://www.upstreampaddle.com/magazine.html a magazine based in Queensland. Perth paddler, Martin Burgoyne's future Sun Khosi trip gets a mention in it.
Want to be a Finn Kayaks Avon Descent Sponsored Paddler?
Fancy yourself a good show in the Avon Descent? Posted a great result last year? Super motivated, training hard with some good local race results under your belt? Send in your Kayaking CV for consideration. Men's and Women's classes should both apply. We have three boat and gear packages up for grabs including your choice of MULTISPORT, ENDORFINN, AFINNITY or FINN KAYAK.
If the above sounds just a little beyond you but you are super keen anyway, send in your CV as we may even throw up a Wildcard Sponsorship Package as well. Please email all CV's / queries to <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com .
Slalom Winter Series, Race 2
Sunday, 10th June, Canning River (Hester Park)
If there is enough rain this week and thus water at Walyunga the race will be held there as stated on the events calendar. Please check with your coaches. Registrations: 9am; Pre-race Coaching: 9am; Race Briefing: 10am; Start time:10.30am. Pre-race coaching will be available for the TID paddlers and beginners. Contact your coaches if attending. Early registrations for racing and the judges' course (see note following) can be made to Nicky at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com
Slalom Judges' Training Course
Margie Jeffery is will be running the second session of the judges' training course for all interested parties/parents. We encourage all parents to attend this session as it helps to grasp an understanding of how races are run and how the competitors are judged during their slalom race.
Hansard on White Water Park
The Hansard report of the white water park debate in Parliament on 9th May is available on the white water park website. Go to <http://www.whitewaterperth.org.au/>www.whitewaterperth.org.au and click on news.
Wanted To Borrow
Spec ski or an adjustable Molakai so that I can continue training whilst in Coral Bay. Dates needed 29th June - 9th July. Thank you, Steve Myers. Contact <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com or ph 0438 090 617.
Finn Affinity or similar with paddle in good condition phone Sonya 0403 307 369
Down River K1, kevlar, good condition. Please contact Abby 0422 280 810 or
515 double kayak for this year's Avon - to purchase asap. Ph Hunter on 08 9855 1544 during business hours or 0428 551 544 outside this time.
Cobra Expedition, Cobra Eliminator or Ocean Kayak Sprinter. Good condition. Phone 0427 081 994 or <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com.
Week 3 /June
Upper Swan Marathon - Change of Course
Sunday, 24th June
Due to low river levels at Upper Swan this race, #7 of the Marathon Series, 27km, will now start at Middle Swan Bridge. The full course participants will paddle upstream to the Barrett Street footbridge and then back downstream to just beyond Tonkin Highway bridge, then turn upstream to finish at Ascot Kayak Club. In addition, there is a short course from Middle Swan downstream to Ascot Kayak Club. All paddlers are most welcome.
Registration: 7:00am; Briefing: 8:00am Contact Julie Morgan for more details - 9277 2260 or 0414 395 774 or
Guppy Marathon Series
Sunday, 24th June
This is the last race in the series and starts at Fishmarket Reserve, Guildford. For more info' contact Peter Martin, 9277 4704 or 0427 004 035 or
What is a Guppy?!
For those who don't know a Guppy is a small version of a marathon boat, suitable for youngsters. They're designed for flat water racing or touring. Peter Martin and helpers from Ascot Kayak Club in particular have developed a keen group of these young paddlers. <http://members.iinet.com.au/~rokhor/canoe/images/champlk07gupp.jpeg>See them at the opening of Champion Lakes. Bull Orton of Perth Kayak Centre first introduced these kiddie-friendly (small, stable and light to carry) craft from South Africa but is about to start producing them here in Perth. If you want to know more about them contact him 9330 9011 or 0419 911 516.
Avon Ski - Double, suit 6'.0"- 6'4" back and front. Hayden mould modified, very quick and light (~25kg's), reinforced nose, strong 7mm stringer, pump, 2 races old, $2600 ono. Call Sean 0409 941 404 or John 0402 332 447.
Collie Marathon Relay
Saturday, 13th October
Get your team together now for this increasingly popular relay marathon event held in the picturesque surrounds of Collie.
27km road cycle
15 km horse ride (optional)
10km paddle on Collie River
25km mountain bike
For more info' and entry forms go to <http://www.hyperactive.oz.nf/>http://www.hyperactive.oz.nf/ or email <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com or phone 9734 2316.
Have Paddle Will Travel
Here's a couple of addresses for those who might be tempted by some adventurous paddling exploration in far away places. To escape the cold how about a five day circumnavigation of the island of Vis, Croatia, staying in private apartments overnight.
<http://www.lifejacketadventures.com>www.lifejacketadventures.com This company is owned by a Perth couple who now reside in Croatia, Shane and Julie Braddock.
For a summer break try Chile's spectacular and majestic fjord scenery with temperate rainforest, camping in the wilderness.
Letter from Robin Bell
Despite recurring bouts of flu with feverish days in bed he's been training and racing in Europe since May 8 for world cup races which are imminent, in Prague, Ljubljana and Augsburg. Then it's back to Sydney for World Championship preparation. He hasn't lost any of his sense of humour! Writing about one of the competitions in Ljubljana he says, "I won the 1st race by 5 seconds, but was flat as a tack for the second race the next day and finished in 6th. They had a super final in the afternoon. It consisted of one run, half the length of a normal slalom course and they turned the water up considerably. I managed to land in 2nd and picked up a handy 150euro; Tiger Woods would be jealous.
I stayed in Ljubljana for the next week, and spent the 150euro on antibiotics, some blood tests and a doctor or two. Always a bit dodgy getting medicine overseas, the Slovenian doctor was talking about the antibiotics and horses in the same sentence."
(In case you don't know Robin Bell is a C1 slalom paddler of international renown. He hails from Swan Canoe Club, though is now based in Sydney. Perth paddlers follow his paddling career with much interest. As well as all his training for paddling competitions Robin has been studying Economics and Finance at Sydney University and sits his final exams shortly.)
Get Ready for the White Water Season
A day pass for Walyunga is $10 per car, however an annual local park pass (one national park only, in this case Avon Valley - Walyunga) is only $20 so get organised now. The weather bureau is promising us rain with this next cold front, due on the weekend. To find out more about National Park Passes go to -
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