Scouts from NSW and ACT take on whitewater challenge
Published Sat 14 Oct 2023
Words provided by Hathi, Group Leader, 1st Jerrabomberra Scout Group
Whitewater paddlers from across Australia and overseas, including Scouts from NSW and the ACT, recently competed in the King River Extreme Race (KRER) and the Snowy River Extreme Race (SRER).
The KRER, held on 6 August, is an annual, head-to-head, sprint-race format, short-course, whitewater race event held on the King River below the William Hovell Dam in the Alpine National Park of the Victorian Alps.
The SRER annual event, held on 1 October, consists of teams of two paddlers racing over a 2km section of river on either expert (grade 4) or intermediate (grade 3) whitewater below Guthega Dam in the Kosciuszko National Park of the NSW Snowy Mountains.
A strong contingent of Scouts NSW and Scouts ACT youth and adult members took on the whitewater at both events. The Scouts, Venturer Scouts, Rover Scouts and Leaders competed in and supported the running of both events, with amazing race results and accomplishments realised in the junior sections of both races.
1st Jerrabomberra Scout Group Venturer Scouts Thomas D and Caitlyn B came third in the male and female youth sections of the KRER, with Dan C (Venturer Scout from 1st Kosciuszko Scout Group) and Bailey W (Venturer Scout from 1st Illaroo Scout Group) both having competed in the male youth section final.
Thomas D and Caitlyn B then teamed up to achieve a strongly contested fourth place in the youth section of the SRER, despite a spray deck implosion on the waterfall rapid that saw Thomas D struggle to finish the race with a kayak full of water. Alfie A (Scout from Tuggeranong Sea Scouts) also achieved a respectable fifth place in the youth section.
A huge B-R-A-V-O to all Scouting competitors for their amazing accomplishments, particularly given the majority of the competition were state and national representative slalom paddlers. The first place youth team time in the SRER also won the Open Men’s Intermediate section and the second place youth team also placed third in the Open Women’s Intermediate section.
This year’s participation in these alpine snowmelt, extreme, whitewater race events was the culmination of a four-year paddle skills development journey for a number of Scouts and Venturer Scouts. The journey involved participation in numerous Scouts paddle skills development workshops/courses/schools and resulted in the realisation of numerous OAS Paddling stage progressions and accomplishment of a number of CERT II and III Outdoor Leadership units of competency through the Scouts Australia Institute of Training (SAIT).
Scouts Australia has a rapidly evolving whitewater paddle community across NSW, the ACT, Tasmania and Victoria. If you would like to get involved in Scouts whitewater paddling, the best place to start is with completion of the Scouts Australia Paddling Skills e-Learning module and to look out in your Branch activity calendar for paddling courses, workshops and events.
Generally, progression to whitewater is achieved through initial flat-water paddling skills development, which sets the foundations for whitewater canoeing, kayaking and rafting.