Eildon white water, 9-12 January 2024

Eleven ACC members, Greg Watts, Steve Carter, Kathleen Shorter, Charlie and Marina Walker, Anthony Aardenburg and Bella Kosterman, Simon and Anne Langsford, Scott Polley and Steve Wild together with friends Charlie and Heather Yeatman from NSW and Clay Hunter and his boys Asher and Tom from Victoria met at the white water course alongside Breeze Holiday Caravan Park (formally Blue Gums Caravan Park)

There were flooding rains on the Monday as people made their way to Eildon, which resulted in detours and longer drives for most people. We arrived and had to negotiate alternative camping sites to avoid those waterlogged. We were ready to paddle on Tuesday morning. Because of the floods the river level was initially very low but rose continually during the week as Eildon dam was full and releasing water was essential. This gave us very easy conditions for introducing whitewater skills to the new paddlers and then later in the week challenging water which was great fun.

Again this year Scott Polley was the main instructor, with other experienced whitewater paddlers proving coaching, tips and safety for everyone. We all extended our skills, which occasionally resulted in a swim or opportunity to practice rolling and assisted rescues. As the water levels rose there were lots of waves strong enough for surfing and the challenge of getting steady enough to perform a paddle twirl.

First day on the water

Tuesday, our first day on the water was memorable. Scott started the day with most people swimming down the river and some throw bag practice. The swimmers all made it to shore and were sometimes caught by one of the three throw bags aimed at them. Charlie Yeatman had the highest score for saving throws. The rest of us need more practice! The rains made the water very muddy but it was not as cold as usual as dam water was held back. The easy conditions were good for teaching the new whitewater paddlers, Greg and Bella. The afternoon saw us down in the Sump tackling the wave there. Bella made it through twice, looking very confident in the big waves. Simon and Charlie attempted to surf the wave but it only held them for a few seconds each time. However, they did provide lots of entertainment for those of us watching.

The Dam Wall and the Eddies

On Wednesday we planned a paddle from the dam wall. Steve Wild, Scott and Anthony paddled up from the caravan park but the rest of us took the easier option of starting from the top and just paddling down river. There were waves to surf on the way and we stopped to play at the S Bend rapid. Everyone’s skills had improved as Steve Wild commented that he only did two rescues today. Greg was also very impressed with the rescue team as he had three boats next to him helping as he surfaced from his capsize. Scott noted the skill development today of Asher, Greg, Bella and Kath. Dam water was being released and as the river water cleared a couple of platypus were spotted. The extra water also made The Sump wave bigger so Charlie Walker could scare himself again trying to get onto it for a surf.

With everyone confident at breaking into and out of eddies, we headed up to Big River on Thursday. The water level was at 0.85m; higher than anyone remembered from previous years. The rapids had much more water over them so there were faster runs and few rocks to hit. The slalom rapid in particular was great fun.  Everyone successfully negotiated the rocks and turns needed to make it down to the eddy at the bottom. Marina said it was the best Big River ever, and I think we all agreed with Steve Carter when he said it was the best day’s paddling for a long time. There was a rock that gave a bit of grief to Bella and Greg but they got the correct edge upstream and didn’t fall in. Charlie Yeatman discovered that trees are best avoided, even when it looks like a narrow gap to paddle through. For his first time whitewater paddling, Greg was particularly pleased at getting through the Slalom Rapid successfully, looking confident approaching the bottom.

Wrapping up

The last day saw us all back at the top ‘pumpkins’ playing in the stronger water. The second ‘pumpkin’ was completely covered which created a great wave for surfing. Charlie, Anthony and Scott did practice their roll, but only once or twice. By now the release of dam water made the river very cold.

Most of us left on Saturday morning. Charlie and Marina Walker, Anthony Aardenburg and Bella Kosterman headed back up to Big River for another paddle while the water level was so good. They redid the section we had done on Thursday. Then continued down to Burnt Bridge and camped there for the night. The river was, again, lots of fun.

This was a great week paddling white water. Thanks to Scott for instructing and giving feedback and tips on our paddling strokes. We improved our skills and had lots of fun.

Think about joining us next year to experience the exhilaration of white water paddling.

Eildon white water, 9-13 January 2023

Many ACC paddlers will associate the annual Eildon White Water trip with Wayne and Libby. Wayne has been involved in instructing on the trips since 1985 and Libby joined in 1990. Wayne says this year’s trip was their last, so we take this opportunity on behalf of all those paddlers that have learnt and enjoyed white water paddling because of their instruction to say a big THANK YOU.

First Day

The river level this year was lower than usual, which exposed previously covered rock features and gave us many options of eddies and waves to play in. Scott started us all doing some warm up exercises in small eddies above the main area, perfecting our edging, strokes and body position before coming down to the main area to spread out and play. Wayne broke his usual rule and tackled The Sump rapid on the first day, successfully. The floods earlier in the year rearranged The Sump rocks so once again the wave was different. Monday and Tuesday saw us all enjoy and hone our skills in the rapids alongside the caravan park.


On Wednesday we travelled up to Big River. The level there was higher than our usual. It was 0.6m, so we didn’t hit as many rocks on the way down. The narrow river made negotiating some rapids quite technical, which was fun. Unfortunately, flooding left too much debris in the Slalom Rapid to make it feasible for us to paddle it so we portaged around and then played in the wave below the rapid before continuing on to the pull out point near the road bridge. The scenery around Big River makes for a very enjoyable day’s paddling.


Thursday morning we took the boats up to the dam wall and had an enjoyable paddle down, through the S Bend rapid and back to the caravan park. Our last afternoon was filled with playing around the top features then Wayne, Scott, Simon, Steve and Charlie progressed down to enjoy The Sump. There were a few capsizes, some rolls and only a couple of rescues.

This was a great week paddling white water. Thanks to our instructors, Scott and Wayne, we improved our skills and had lots of fun. Think about joining us next year to experience the exhilaration of white water paddling.

Snowy River Extreme Race 2022 — 2 October 2022

After a 2 year gap for COVID-19 the annual Snowy River Extreme Race returned again this year on the Snowy River just below the Guthega power station.  Leigh Richardson and Steve Wild together with Simon and Anne Langsford ventured over for a week paddling and enjoying the area before the main event, the race on Sunday 2nd Oct.

The Race

Snowy River Extreme Race

The race is divided into Expert (grade 4) and Intermediate (grade 3) divisions and then has categories for kayaking in Open or Women’s, as well as canoeing and rafting. So there is something for everyone. Simon and Leigh teamed up again for the Intermediate kayaking race. Although they didn’t place in the top 3, they had a good run down the course with Leigh picking the route and Simon following.

Thanks to the sponsors, Horizon Line Packraft, Kayak Factory Direct, Electric Water, Paddle Sports Australia and The Kayak Shed for prizes for the winners, plus a host of fantastic prizes in the ‘lucky draw’ which includes everyone who competed or volunteered for the event.

Thanks to Electric Water, Anne received a race hoodie and Simon brought home one of the major sponsor prizes from Kayak Factory Direct – a new Prijon Curve kayak plus spray deck. Now Simon and Leigh have a new boat for next year’s race.

Island Bend

We had set up camp at Island Bend on the river the week before the race. As with all kayaking one is governed by the weather and must also respect the water levels, especially in white-water rivers. Simon, Leigh and Steve started with a warm up run around the camp ground. Simon unfortunately snagged his spray deck on a branch and ended up coming out of his kayak. (The water is about 4oC- brrrr!)  Leigh managed to collect the kayak in the pool at the end of the rapid and then helped Simon back to shore. Despite Steve checking the bank on both sides and looking down towards the next rapid, Simon’s paddle didn’t reappear. This was unfortunate as it was Anne’s polo paddle that he was using! However, later in the week the paddle was found and in true Snowy Extreme Race comradeship it was returned.

Prize after the race

The second warm up run was from the finish line back to camp. This was much more successful. After a rest day, Simon and Leigh practiced the race section of the river. Steve joined them for the last section around the camp ground bend and Anne ran the car shuttle. They arrived happy with their practice run, which included some rolling in a rapid.

The Snowy River Extreme Race is an outstanding event. We would recommend it to any white-water paddler in the club. If you want to learn some white-water skills join the club event at Eildon in January.

White Water trip to Eildon, Victoria — 11-14 March 2022

It was refreshing and liberating to be back at Eildon after two years!

Most of us arrived on Friday. Charlie and Marina got there a night earlier and were surprised at the activities on the Sump. Fire rescue team and their rafts, Tafe students in their canoes and a few private little boats all practising. Never seen so many on the Sump at one time.

We inadvertently picked a long weekend in Victoria and were a little worried about the crowds. But this didn’t prove to be much of a problem. The only downside was that the group was spread across different sites.


Challenging stretch in Goulburn river

On Saturday, Scott Polley did some instruction on the basics for those who had not done any white-water before; Esther did very well, Anthony showed no fear (trying to keep up with his son?), and Leigh is a natural (who would think he has never done any white water) as he soon ended up surfing the big wave at the Sump without much trouble. After a little warming up, Anne, Simon, Fred, Will, Marina and Charlie played around the pumpkins (big man-made concrete blocks designed to create turbulence and eddies in the river), the s- bend and, for the more daring ones, the Sump in the afternoon.

Fred and Will played the role of the two acrobats putting their canoe polo skills to use (Fred managed to position himself in his boat on a pumpkin). And Phil who was the elegant smooth wave rider.

Water levels were quite ok at first, then on Saturday they seem to have released water from the dam, and some of the pumpkins were soon under water. Luckily the water did not seem as cold as it normally is in January.

The Campsite

Kayak on rock in the middle of the river

Moored in the river

Besides people coming into the camp kitchen to do their dishes, we were lucky enough to have the kitchen pretty much to ourselves, as the local hotel was still closed so we had to cook in the campsite. Next year we will remember to check the Victorian calendar before pick a date! In all, we all surely had a lovely time, and Charlie and Marina finished their stay with a 52 kms downstream paddle to Molesworth on Tuesday, having enough water to paddle down at a good speed.