Vale Pete Rand
Earlier this week Tasmania lost one of its best paddlers. Pete Rand died after several years fighting melanoma and its complications.
Pete started paddling in his early teens and, with his brother Sven, was a fixture at many local and state competitions. He also had National success and represented Australia as a Junior at the New Zealand Junior Slalom Championships in the early 1980s. In NZ he got his first taste of paddling waterfalls.
Pete was more interested in river paddling than competition and with a range of paddling friends he pioneered many of Tasmania’s steepest and most difficult rivers and biggest waterfalls. Through his ‘first descents’ a significant number of new rivers were added to the state’s paddling repertoire. And others were written off as simply unpaddleable or not worth the effort. But you had to try a river first, and have a glorious failure, to really know….
Pete was also instrumental in creating the Cataract Xtreme Race. Held 3 times at Cataract Gorge in Launceston, the event was extremely successful and influenced rhe creation of a range of other similar events around Australia.
Pete also was a key part of the team who created and delivered Wildside MTB, which for over a decade was Australia’s premier multi-day mountain bike race.
Alongside whitewater paddling and MTB Pete was also a talented Underwater Hockey player, keen scuba diver and snorkeller, surf and sea-kayaker, skiier and fisher.
But most of all he was a great husband to Gill and father to Eddy, Luke and Isabella, and a wonderful friend to many.
Having been privileged to know Pete for about 40 years, I know his irrepressible and irreverent humour and eye for a new (and ludicrous) paddling or other adventure will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Sincerest condolences to his family and friends.
Chair, Paddle Tasmania