WILDWATER thrill seekers are preparing to hit the water at the 2022 Paddle Australia Wildwater Championships next weekend.
The national championships are returning to WA for the first time in almost 20 years with eastern region locals getting prime viewing along the banks of the Swan/Avon River.
The two-day event starts with a heart thumping 6km race from Posselts Ford near Toodyay to Emu Falls over rapids, exposed and submerged rocks and tree obstacles on Saturday August 6, and continues at Bells Rapids Park on Sunday, August 7.
The Bells Rapids sprint race starts upstream of the Bells Rapid foot bridge, offering fantastic riverbank and bridge viewing opportunities for spectators, and finishes 400m downstream.
Wildwater WA chair Kris Smith said participants were gearing up for an action packed two days on the water with recent rains ensuring a decent run.
“It’s really exciting having the nationals here for the first time in about 19 years,” he said.
“There’s a real buzz about it.
“Being a premier event naturally it brings a crowd.”
Wildwater racing is a discipline of canoe racing, also known as downriver racing, consisting of paddling straight ahead downstream through white water.
Wildwater crafts have no rudder, are shorter than a marathon or sprint boat, but longer and straighter than a white water boat.
Mr Smith said it was also the first time an event other than the Avon Descent had been granted special permission to access parts of the river that are otherwise closed to the public.
“As a national event, the work behind it all to get the permits and paramedics and everything in place has been a huge undertaking,” he said.
“Being all volunteers we really put everything we have into making it a success.”
Those unable to make it in person can watch via livestream on Sunday.
Find wildwaterwa on Facebook for more.
Coverage of this year’s Avon Descent – August 13 to 14 – in the next edition of Echo News.
By Claire Ottaviano
Swan River closed for race events
PARTS of the Swan River will close temporarily in August to keep Avon Descent and Wildwater National paddlers safe.
The closures will impact recreational watercraft, passive watercraft and swimmers.
“With the increasing level of activity there is greater concern about the safety of the various user groups, particularly interactions between high-speed event craft, recreational craft and other users including paddle craft and swimmers,” Department of Transport acting Waterways Safety Management director Peter Beattie said.
“The decision follows close consultation with the organisers of the event and commercial operators in the area.”
The river will be closed between Bells Bridge and Middle Swan Bridge on August 6 from 9am to 2pm and from Northam to Toodyay on August 7 from 9am to 5.30pm.
Similar closures between Northam to Toodyay will be in place on August 13 for day one of the Avon Descent, with a full closure between Toodyay and Bayswater on August 14 from noon until 5pm.
Boat launching ramps at Fish Market Reserve, Pickering Park, Katanning Street and Slade Street will also be closed.
For more details of the closures for the event visit Aquatic events at transport.wa.gov.au