Whitewater on the Murrumbidgee River

Whitewater Skills Weekend - 18-19 Nov – Murrumbidgee River

River Canoe Club in association with Penrith Valley Canoe Club, Burley Griffin Canoe Club and Paddle NSW ran this event to introduce beginners to white water and to build the skills of those who had done some white water paddling.  

Lynn Parker from PNSW and RCC, Steven Molino from RCC, Peter White from PVC and Kai Swoboda from BGCC were the instructors with several assistants from RCC and BGCC.  The trip was originally planned for the Childowlah section of the Murrumbidgee River but a lack of demand for irrigation water on that weekend meant there were no releases from Burrinjuck Dam so we relocated to the Murrumbidgee at the Cotter Junction.

The capabilities of the participants ranged from not having paddled any whitewater through to having done a few laps at Penrith Whitewater Stadium.  Four groups were created based on skill levels with those who were very young or new to paddling doing the easier section of river from Cotter to Uriarra Crossing on the Saturday and the more experienced giving Kambah Pools to Cotter Junction a bash.  

Actually with the water level we had (<1.1m) it was more a case of the river giving us a bash with one of the older boats getting few cracks and Sally Wu getting quite a lump on her forehead.  Nevertheless, for the experience level of the participants the water level was quite OK on enough rapids for them to be able learn and practice new skills.

On Sunday all the groups paddled from Point Hutt to Pine Island with the weather clearing to be warm and sunny.
There was a bit of coming and going between Saturday and Sunday, particularly with BGCC kids who were able to fit in paddling on one or other day around their other weekend commitments.  All up we had 40 instructors, helpers and participants registered across the two days along with several parents who did not paddle but who brought their kids along to participate.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the weekend a success.
Registrations are open for the next skills weekend on 20-21 January 2018 (see RCC website for details) with another planned for March 2018.


One of the juniors shooting the rapid above Cotter Junction

Hitting the water at Point Hutt on Sunday

Murrumbidgee Whitewater 9-10 December

No sooner had we got back from bumping and scraping down the Murrumbidgee on our skills weekend that the heavens opened and the river came up.  This provided an opportunity to take the more skilled novices from the skills weekend back down the same section of river at a more challenging level.  

Ian and Carolyn Houghton, Paul Donohoe and Deb Cunneen stepped up to help me guide a possible six novices down the river.  However, as the weekend approached people realised how close it was to Christmas and our six novices dwindled to one: Paul McKendry.  He had lots of helpful advice as we ran Kambah Pool to Cotter Junction on the Saturday at a level of about 1.5m.  That extra 0.4m completely transformed the river from three weeks before so it was like a completely different paddling experience.

Rapid above Cotter Junction with more water

On the Sunday we were joined by Craig Hulbert and David Fisher from RCC and Craig Elliot from BGCC and we ran Pine Island to Kambah Pool.  We were able to paddle every rapid but the Red Rock Gorge rapid was a mandatory portage for all.  This section was more of a challenge than Saturday’s run, particularly for our novice who had a couple of swims: one after a rather impressive cartwheel.  In fact that rapid caused some problems for a few of us.  

The weather, the water level and the company made it a perfect paddling weekend.   

Lunch break in the Gorge