AVON Descent competitor Sam Pilton of Swan View is keen for more women to take part in the 124km white water event.
Pilton was the fastest woman last year and is in training for the 2017 event.
She said some participants in the Avon Descent had a competitive streak while some viewed it as a social event and one to enjoy while aiming to finish.
Last year 193 paddle boats including double and team entries crossed the finish line of which only 20 competitors were women.
“All the kayak clubs in WA have a lot of social female paddlers, we just need to get them interested in having a competitive challenge with their paddling and give the Avon Descent a go,” she said.
Her father introduced her to paddling and she has been a member of the Ascot Kayak Club since she was a child.
She said last year she was more mentally prepared than for any previous Avon Descent.
“I have paddled in eight Avon Descents and all the lead-up marathon races in the Perth racing calendar.’’
She has completed seven out of eight solo Avon Descents all in the long plastic division except for the one year she did not finish.
“That year I decided last minute to paddle a K1 and didn’t set it up comfortably.
“But I am keen one day to try again in a K1.
“The Toodyay tea trees are tough – I definitely advise trying to memorise the correct route through and have a plan B if the channel is banked up with other paddlers.
“The hardest part is the last 30kms of flat water paddling before the finish line and almost always into a strong sea breeze.”
She said completing the Avon Descent, which she described as an adventure, was a huge achievement in itself.
“You will surprise yourself with what you can achieve and how much fun it is.’’
Finishing the event took determination plus hard work and for many especially female competitors there was a lack of inspiration and impetus to help them keep going.
“News media do let down the females in sports.
“Recognition would be a start to help create interest and hopefully encourage other females to give it a go”.
The event, which runs from Northam to Bayswater along the Avon and Swan rivers, will be held on August 5-6.
By Tanusree Ghosh