Advanced Whitewater Packrafting – Only 1 spot left

Advanced Whitewater Packraft Course

Dates: Friday 20 to Sunday 22 October, 2017

Venue: North-west Tasmania including Mersey White Water Regional Reserve

Accommodation: Arm River Outdoor Education Centre

Fee: $350 includes course and 2 nights’ accommodation (Fri & Sat nights)

Course Numbers: Spaces are limited to 8 participants with an instructor to student ratio of 1:4. Inclusion in the Course is dependent upon prior experience and at Instructor’s discretion.

Registration closing date: 13th October, with all payments to be made by this date.     Click here to register.

Canoe Tasmania will be conducting an Advanced Whitewater Packrafting Course based out of the Arm River Outdoor Education Centre, in NW Tasmania, as a 3-day program. The group will stay there for both Friday and Saturday nights. This hardtop camp is 5-minutes drive from the Mersey White Water Regional Reserve which we intend to use as our initial teaching venue. Both practical and theory sessions will be conducted. The course will conclude on the Sunday afternoon at about 4:30 pm near Launceston, or if utilising more remote rivers still in the NW then it will conclude around 3pm (with then a 1.5 hr drive to Launceston).

The course will be run by Australian Canoeing Advanced Whitewater Instructors Dan Hall and Mark Oates. It is suited to those who currently attempt grade 2+/3 rivers as well as those who are aspiring to learn to paddle grade 3+/4 safely & competently. Ideally participants will have previously completed an Intermediate Packrafting Course and/or a river rescue course. Certainly participants need to be comfortable with swimming grade 2+ rapids and should have experience with the use of throwbags. If in doubt about your suitability for the Advanced Course please contact the Course Coordinator – Mark Oates via

The focus of this course is on developing safety and technical knowledge specific to packrafts being used on grade 3/3+ whitewater. There will also be considerable emphasis on working as a team to manage challenging river environments safely. Depending on water levels the group MAY encounter some grade 4 rapids however there will always be the option to walk/portage these. All participants should come fully prepared for numerous swimming activities and will require a full-length wetsuit OR a short wetsuit and drytop OR a drysuit. Potentially the group may walk into or out of some river venues so decent footwear is required along with a pack in case you need to carry all of your gear for a river daytrip.

To learn more about the various sections of rivers that the group may potentially utilise see the following links. Note that paddling these is highly dependent on both water flows and the group’s experience and ability. Ideally we aim to paddle the Mersey on the Friday and the Lea on Saturday before heading back through Launceston early on Sunday to paddle the North Esk (less than 20 minutes out of Launceston). There are numerous other suitable rivers though that we may paddle instead of those listed.

Mersey White Water Course &

Lea River

North Esk River

Starting Time & Venue: Friday 20th October – Meet at 9.00 am for a 9:30 am official start. The starting venue is the Arm River Outdoor Education Centre where we will begin with a theory session.

The camp is located approximately 850m up Maggs Road (take the first turn right after crossing the Arm River on the Mersey Forest Road).

Google Maps reference: -41.691077, 146.207297

The Arm River OE Centre has basic communal bunk rooms, basic kitchen facilities and toilets/showers. Note that there is almost no phone coverage after you leave Mole Creek and definitely none at either the paddling or accommodation venues. All participants are expected to stay at the camp for both Friday and Saturday nights.

Interstate Flight Bookings: It is recommended that interstate participants fly into Launceston on the day/evening prior to the course. Regarding departure it is recommended that flights are not booked until after 6pm on the Sunday. As at late August there are several cheap flights from and to Melbourne however the Sydney-Launceston flights are significantly more expensive.

Equipment: Participants will need to provide and bring a suitable packraft & all personal paddling gear including a decent whitewater PFD, paddle and whitewater paddling helmet. To get the most out of the course it is expected that all participants will have packrafts with thigh straps. A whitewater decked boat or self-bailer is recommended. As we intend to paddle some steep and potentially rocky/shallow creeks it would be ideal, for those not in self-bailers or the latest Alpacka boats with large seats, to bring an extra inflatable mat (e.g. old Thermarest or similar) to protect your coccyx and feet/heels/ankles. If required, self-bailing packrafts with thigh straps can be hired for the course @ $40 per day – this needs to be arranged directly with Mark Oates prior to the course and not via Canoe Tasmania. Likewise if you don’t have a suitable WW helmet or PFD please contact to arrange hire.

Also bring a sleeping bag and pillow (if you like) plus personal eating utensils. The camp kitchen is basic and has a limited number of pots and pans and one stove top/oven plus microwave, toaster, etc. Participants need to bring all food for the duration of the course as there are no shops or services at all nearby.

Intended Topics Covered Include:

  • Technical WW Paddling Strokes
  • Self and Assisted Rescues within rapids
  • Paddling as a Team
  • Managing Groups/Others in Whitewater
  • Paddling Techniques for Steep Creeks
  • How to Use the Water to your Advantage
  • Controlling Your Turns
  • How to Maximise Boat Performance
  • Risk Management
  • Dealing with Incidents

Register online click here

Registration is a first in first on the course, but you will be added to the waiting list.

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