Intro to White Water with Geoff E (and an awesome gang!)



Swan Canoe Club recently ran two white water courses for paddlers new to the joy of getting wet, while playing in the rapids. Geoff Emery and Colin Scully ran both courses and enjoyed the water, the teaching, and the camaraderie. Geoff and Colin are somewhat amazed at how quickly new paddlers can pick up the skills required to enjoy themselves and be safe in moving water.

The first course on the 25/6/22 was in sunshine, with the Walyunga gauge at a pleasant 0.6 metres and Ash, Steve, Mark, and Peter enjoyed themselves, despite a few capsizes and some swimming practice. In contrast the second course on the 23/7/22 was very wet, with some heavy rain at times, mainly at the start and as we finished, but the water was at a good level of 0.56 metres. We had a larger group of seven, consisting of Nishani, Lafe, Yannick, Fran, Kelly, Vicki, and Nick and once again there were a few spills and chills. Fortunately, Kelly made a fantastic soup, supported by bread rolls from Vicki and chocolate from Fran. Luxury, total luxury when one is cold and wet despite wearing the right gear.

We started in the lower Walyunga Pool and had to contend with a Wildwater Race that was going on, dodging over thirty Downriver kayaks as they arrived about a minute apart. Despite that slowing us down a bit, after a soup break, we carried our craft above the Walyunga Slide to a rapid known as Viper’s Tongue and practised leaning downstream and breaking in to the flow from an eddy and out again. With confidence building, even among the instructors, we moved upstream again and paddled past Wooroloo Brook where the Avon River becomes the Swan River.

After a bit more ferry gliding and breaking in and out, we headed back to the fast water in the slalom pole area and eddied out on river-left to practice the white-water safe swimmer position and how to use a throwbag to rescue a swimmer. By now we had some tired and wet campers, and that was just Colin and Geoff. Everyone was relieved when we left the slalom area and headed downstream. Most of us stayed in our kayaks, as we paddled through heavy rain, Viper’s Tongue and Walyunga Slide to the lower pool and dry clothes.

With boats and gear loaded, Geoff handed out the Introduction to White Water certificates and the Avon Safety Competency Assessment Certificates for the four paddlers planning on doing the Avon Descent. It was a wet, tiring day, but we all learnt something, and I think we all had fun. We happy wet few!

Thanks to Colin for always having my back and to Kelly for that great soup and to everyone else for their company and tolerating my weak jokes and tendency to talk too much.

Hope to see you all on the water soon.

Geoff Emery

Flat Water, White Water & Sea Instructor & Assessor. (25/7/22)



Previous articleMoore River Meander – July 2022
Next articleSerpentine River – Mandurah Lakes Trip Report