To determine which course is right for you please read the following information but also consider the time of the year of the course you are looking into, your personal gear (e.g. whether you have access to a decent wetsuit or drysuit) and the rivers that the course will be run on.
If you fall between two categories or are unsure of whether a course is suitable for you please contact the Course Coordinator (via email if known) or else contact the Education Officer at Paddle Tasmania Paddle Tasmania via: Paddle.Tas@paddle.org.au
For a Beginner Course we would normally be looking at participants who have:
– not previously capsized or deliberately practised swimming in fast flowing moving water or rapids.
– they may have had a packraft for several years (or not) but have mostly used one (or another watercraft) on flatwater or grade 1 rivers (fast flowing currents but no real rapids/rocks/obstacles).
– they may have paddled 1 or 2 rivers with whitewater (grade 2/2+) but have done so under the guidance of others or have gotten down the river and wondered how they did so without coming to any grief.
– they are unlikely to have done overnight trips with their packrafts
– they often don’t paddle with a helmet as they don’t own one and haven’t needed one
– aspire to stay safe on whitewater and not kill themselves
Those undertaking an Intermediate Course would normally:
– own their own packraft
– have been paddling for a couple of years
– have probably paddled either some or quite a lot of grade 2/2+ rivers but realise that they don’t have a deep knowledge of paddling strokes, safety and rescue techniques
– have most likely paddled 1 or 2 grade 3 rivers but were uncomfortable or nervous at times
– may or may not have done an overnight trip
– know what a throwbag is but have likely had no formal training in using one
– may paddle other watercraft quite regularly, such as a sea kayak or flatwater kayak
– may have been a participant in a large raft on a multi day guided trip on grade 3/4+ so understand how powerful and unforgiving whitewater can be
– have their own gear for whitewater but perhaps not all items are ideal (e.g. they use a climbing helmet rather than a specific whitewater helmet)
– have probably not modified their boats for optimum whitewater performance (e.g thigh straps, backbends, etc)
– potentially aspire to do the Franklin River however most likely they will still need to be guided by others
Those undertaking an Advanced Course would:
– have owned their own packraft for a couple of years at least
– have paddled lots (>10) of different grade 2+ rivers and several grade 3 rivers and maybe already a couple of grade 3+/4 rivers
– have likely modified their boat with thigh straps
– may have upgraded to a more modern WW packraft
– may have previously completed multi-day packrafting trips
– often end up leading packrafting trips or at least being responsible for others/friends
– be looking to undertake significant packrafting missions in remote areas (e.g. Tassie) or leading friends on Franklin etc.
– potentially have paddled a kayak and may even be able to roll one
– potentially aspire to be able to roll their packraft
– potentially think that they can ‘paddle’ grade 4 rivers yet when asked to perform technical manoeuvres on grade 2+ rivers they struggle.