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Gearing up for the Avon Descent

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Gearing up for the Avon Descent

Avon Descent Power Boat Race, 2017

Avon Descent Power Boat Race, 2017

Avon Descent Power Boat Race, 2017

Avon Descent Power Boat Race, 2017

Bella Sardelis, Reporter

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The 2018 Avon Descent will see hundreds of boats tackling WA rivers and rapids on the weekend of August 4 and 5, but if you want to be in it, now is the time to start making plans.

This year marks the 46th annual edition of WA’s annual adventure race for both paddle and power boats.

Over the two-day challenge competitors race 124 kilometres, starting at Katrine Bridge in Northam and finishing at the Middle Swan Bridge in Bayswater.

According to the Avon Descent Event Rules, in order to participate in this event competitors, need to be at least 16 years old, by December 31. If the competitor is under 18, they must have written consent from their parents or legal guardians.

Participants must meet requirements of their selected category whether paddle boat or power craft racing, including competency in fitness and evidence of relevant experience. The details are on the website. Paddlers must also complete the Avon Descent Skills Safety Assessment.

Event Ambassador and paddle competitor, Kiera Albertson said she trains for a year.

“My training for the Avon primarily involves the year round training I do for Surf Life Saving, which I also compete in as well.”

She said her training includes different areas of sports.

“This involves training around eleven times a week in swimming, board paddling, ski paddling, running and gym.”

Leading up to the event, Albertson trains extremely hard, extending her training hours and competing in other competitions. This gives her a good amount of preparation leading up to her big competition.

“A couple of months before the race, I start doing longer hours of paddling and I practice runs on the river through the tea trees and valleys, that’s if the water permits. I also get some practice by doing marathon paddling races which take place around this time,” Albertson said.

Albertsen explained that paddle racing focuses on using your back and shoulder muscles as you are moving the paddle through the water. She added that the brain muscle is another she uses.

“Given that this competition is such a long race, 124 kilometres and usually upwards of nine to eleven hours all up, you need a certain level of mental toughness to keep going especially at pace,” she said.

According to Albertsen, the hardest challenge in the race are the tea trees and the valley. She said it definitely helps to have some knowledge of where you are and how to tackle the obstacle.

“You get really tired at this point of the obstacle as it is the end of first day challenge for the tea trees and you have the first 40 kilometers into day two for the valley. At this stage it is easy to take a wrong turn or take a wrong line. This could lead to you getting stuck on a tree or a rock, or even having to swim, which can result in you losing a lot of time,” she said.

Colin de Grussa, MP for the Agriculture Region of WA believes power boat racing is a very important part of this event. He said power boat racing is considered significant for Western Australia.

“Power boat racing is an important part of the Avon Descent, which in turn is an important event for the region. The Descent is highly valued and supports local tourism, retail, hospitality and services sectors. I am a keen supporter of events like this which provide a much needed economic boost to regional communities.”

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About the Writer
Bella Sardelis, Reporter

Bella is a young journalist who aspires to become a TV Presenter. She has a great love and passion for the arts in particular: entertainment, music and...

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Gearing up for the Avon Descent