Event adapts to lower lev­els

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

IN its 44th year, Avon De­scent or­gan­is­ers are look­ing to em­brace lower wa­ter lev­els by re­brand­ing the river race as a tough “hell or high wa­ter” event.

Or­gan­is­ers gath­ered at Bur­swood last week to an­nounce their plan to se­cure the fu­ture of the 124km river race in the face of lower wa­ter lev­els and fall­ing com­peti­tor num­bers. The new ap­proach en­vis­ages a tougher event where com­peti­tors drag­ging their ves­sels through the shal­lows is all part of the chal­lenge.

Northam Avon De­scent As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Kim Ep­ton said he was com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing and grow­ing the iconic river marathon for pad­dle and power boats.

“The fact is that the Avon De­scent is of­ten not a true white­wa­ter event and if this is the re­al­ity we are deal­ing with, we need to change our think­ing,” he said.

“Of course we won’t give in, but we have to face facts and if the way we tackle this event has to change to guar­an­tee its fu­ture, then we feel we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to make it hap­pen.

“The ‘hell or high wa­ter’ ap­proach does not mean we can carry on re­gard­less, but it demon­strates our in­tent to put on an event even in the tough­est of con­di­tions if nec­es­sary.”

Mr Ep­ton said the new ap­proach could turn away some long-term com­peti­tors but hoped it would at­tract a new de­mo­graphic of par­tic­i­pants.

“Per­haps some­times it will be more like an iron­man chal­lenge, even for the power boat crews,” he said.

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