Avon Descent

The Avon Descent is an annual, two-day, white water event along the Avon and Swan Rivers in Western Australia. It includes both paddle craft (kayaks, surf skis) and small motor boats, and runs from Northam to the Perth suburb of Bayswater. It is held in August of every year. The first Avon Descent was held in 1973.[1][2]

Sponsors and commercial support regularly changes, sometimes annually.[citation needed] Past sponsors include Coates Hire and Multiplex.[3]

While it was still operating on main line track, the Hotham Valley Railway had special trains on the Avon Valley part of the Eastern railway to coincide with the race.[4]


It is the only event in the world where both power craft and paddle craft race compete. The course has Grade 2–4[clarification needed] white water rapids and is 124 kilometres (77 mi) long.[5]

There also have been guides to canoeing the river - in general terms as to how to negotiate the river.[6][7]

Change and check pointsEdit

The course has check points, teams changeover points, and powercraft fuel stops.[8]

Check locations

Northam - Day 1 start location
1 Katrine Bridge
2 Duidgee Park
3 Wetherall Reserve
4 Cobbler Pool - Day 1 finish location, Day 2 start location
5 Emu Falls
6 Stronghills Farm
7 Bells Rapid
8 Upper Swan bridge
9 Middle Swan Bridge
Riverside Gardens, Bayswater - Day 2 finish location


There has been an increase in the prize pool from 2007 of $10,000 providing an extra $6,000 for 1st, $3,000 for 2nd and $1,000 for 3rd fastest single paddle craft. In 2006 757 competitors started the event in 459 craft.[citation needed]


The top class in the powerboats is the 10hp sports class. These boats are made from foam and fibreglass, and have hydraulic jacks that enable the motor to be jacked up. The motors are unmodified and run a surface piercing propeller. These powerboats can reach speeds of approximately 70km/h.


  1. ^ "AVON RIVER RAGE PROMISES TO BE A LEADING W.A. AQUATIC ATTRACTION". The Beverley Times. 68 (27). Western Australia. 2 August 1973. p. 1. Retrieved 29 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ https://www.avondescent.com.au/about/history/ Official website - with a very brief history of the original event
  3. ^ Northam's Avon Descent Association (1980), Northam's Avon Descent, Northam's Avon Descent Association, retrieved 29 June 2017
  4. ^ http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/116022/20110217-0405/www.hothamvalleyrailway.com.au/avon_descent_2002.html 2002 special
  5. ^ "About the Avon Descent". Avon Descent. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  6. ^ in 1994 -Bolland, Terry; BOLLAND, Terry (1994), Canoeing down under! : the basics and beyond and Avon River guide, T. Bolland, ISBN 978-0-646-10075-3
  7. ^ and another edition in 2001 Bolland, Terry (2001), Canoeing down under : the basics and beyond & Avon River guide (Rev. ed.), Terry Bolland, ISBN 978-0-646-10075-3
  8. ^ https://www.avondescent.com.au/about/overview/ Overview page on website has a map from which the places have been identified

Further readingEdit

  • (1993) Avon descent - Colin Arcus talks about winning the first race in 1957 - Subiaco post, 20 July 1993

External linksEdit