2021 News

Dawson - 2400km down the Murray

This year (2021), well known Ultra Marathon paddlers Kate and Steve Dawson paddled 2400km down the Murray River from Bringenbrong Bridge at the edge of the Snowy Mountains to Goolwa on the coast of South Australia. It was to take 45-50 days of continuous paddling, starting on April 19th and finishing at the start of June.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Schedule

Attach:Tokyo2020-parasched.pdf|Tokyo2020 Paralympics Schedule

Irish International Liffey Descent Canoe Race

by Oisin Cahill

The Liffey Descent is recognised as one of the toughest canoe race in the world where paddlers test their skills as they negotiate 10 weirs rapids and one portage along the 30 kilometre stretch of flooded river on the River Liffey. The race starts at the K Club (Golf course) in Co. Kildare all the way to the finish line in Islandbridge, Dublin.

The race first started in 1960 and has continued yearly until interrupted by Covid 19 last year. The number of paddlers in all classes usually number over 1000. Competitors have to prequalify to complete in the race due to the skill level required to survive the course. Water levels are guaranteed as the Liffey is controlled by two dams.

Much like major running races there will be a mix of international paddlers in racing classes and those who are taking part just to have competed the race.

From the start, competitors race flat out for 1000m to get to the first of the big weirs Straffan weir. With so much capsizes at this weir and a big crowd cheering you on it is imperative that you arrive with the top paddlers to try to avoid the yearly carnage. As a competitor of 24 Liffey Descents it gives me goose bumps just thinking of the approach to Straffan weir.

From there it is a race down through what is called the jungle where the flooded river closes in with overhanging trees. For this 10km section (which includes two weirs and a set of rapids ) is where one has to insure that you do not get pushed in under a tree, spun in the turbulent water and also keep with the leading group to stay on the wash.

The first bit of flat water comes when you hit Leixlip 3km lake. The first half of the lake has a lot of bottom drag and really pulls the strength out of your body. Once across the lake one has to get out of your canoe and run the 500m around Leixlip dam. It is so hard to get your legs going at this stage having spent so long racing flat out.

Below the dam one jumps back into your canoe where you are back into the full force of the Liffey flow. Getting back into your rhythm is so difficult and avoiding the bridge just after you get going again is challenging.

Over the next few km you shoot Sluce weir where the Liffey flows between two walls of 2.5m distance on a bend. It on to Lucan weir where big crowd come out to cheer on the carnage. Lucan weir take a lot of canoes out of the race due to damage on this big weir.

If you are still upright it’s then on to Wrens Nest weir which is another big “A” weir. It can make a K2 look small and the crowd love it. Now feeling confident it is on to the weir that most of us dread. Palmertown big “A” is big and nasty with two big stoppers and lot of back flow. At this stage your body has raced close to 20km and your body is starting to burn and the last thing you want it to get stuck in the stopper and fight to stay afloat.

From there is a long hard paddle over two more weirs and on to the last stretch of 2km of flat water to the finish line where you are cheered by the large crowd that has gathered to witness your achievement.

Many canoe clubs from home and abroad attend the event, returning year after year, adding to the fun and experience of the entire race weekend.

As one who has completed 24 Liffey descents with medals in classes from K2, K1, WW, C1 I have to say having travelled Europe canoeing I would have to say that this race is a must for canoeists.

More information on the Liffey Descent can be found

Ocean Crusaders Quest - Broken Bay 21-22 Aug 2021 [CANCELLED - returns in 2022]

A PaddleNSW sanctioned 2-day team event on one of Sydney’s finest waterways designed to challenge both brain and body and to promote better care of our marine environment. Best described as rogaining on water where teams vie for points (and prizes!) on offer gained (and lost) through varying means

Broughton Island Kayak Trip 20-22 April 2021

by Trevor Nichols
I blame our good friend Richard Barnes for this. Let me explain.... Pre covid we occasionally caught the 288 bus from the city to the Wed TT together and his stories of adventure including his many Bass Strait crossings fascinated me. Roll on last year's Christmas party and I had the fortune of chatting to Adrian Clayton about some of his experiences and asked his advice. This he explained is best learnt by doing short sea kayak trips in the ocean. Adrian then very generously organised this 3 day trip to Broughton Island, his 16th trip there, and put it out to club members. There were 4 LCRK takers in Lee Wright, Mark Hempel, Don Johnstone and myself. In order to round the numbers out Lee's Shark Island paddler mate, Bruce Moller, joined us. This made 4 relative sea kayaking novices with Adrian and Mark being seasoned hands at this so I took on the equipment list, Lee the maps and Don the safety plan. What could possibly go wrong hey...

In the days leading up to it we got a favourable weather forecast with no rain and ok winds from the SW and a lovely NW wind to bring us home on day 3 so it was all systems go. We met up at Jimmys Beach at Hawks Nest last Tue at 10am with a departure at 11am. It is only a short distance from the car park to the beach but with so much gear this took longer than planned. It is simply amazing how much one can put into a kayak. Was great to see Adrian in action calling Marine Rescue to log our trip, check the winds for the duration of the crossing and brief us on the departure, arrival point, alternate exits, instructions to follow on the water and fun sights to look out for. Mark and Adrian then agreed a channel for their VHF radios and we were off.

The route out we took is the blue one on the track Adrian created after the trip. The green one is what we did in the morning of day 2, the orange one that afternoon, and the red one the return leg on Thursday. We decided not to go around Cabbage Tree Island on the way out as would do that on the way home and we would just maximise the downwinder heading 45 degrees east straight to the island. We did split into 2 when Bruce, Mark and I could not contain ourselves from catching as many runners as possible in lieu of conversation. Time for that later! We all had heaps of fun with a good 12 to 15 knot SW breeze and a nice wind swell pushing us along. Before we knew it Mark was having a look at the cleft passage through Looking Glass Isle but there was too much swell to safely go through. A few minutes later we all regrouped and went round to the campsite and set up shop in no time.

Above: Day ! & 3 tracks

Above: Day 2 tracks

There were no other campers which added to the experience as did the magnificent sunset that evening. The equipment list may or may not have mandated bringing a drink or two and Don took it upon himself to be the barman once our tents were up. Now to match the bottle to the paddler... we had a bottle of fancy lemon infused gin from the north shore, a fine scotch, spicy rum from some shark infested location, underaged port, award winning cab merlot of a fine vintage and a German inspired Cointreau.

Above: Campsite

Day 2 was dead calm at dawn and before long Adrian was analysing the forecasts from several nearby stations to announce that it was going to be more windy than Tuesday with the possibility of SW winds over 15 knots mid morning. The plan was to circumnavigate the archipelago and get going before the wind picked up. Evan at 9am the wind swell was a bit daunting for some of us novices. I was pleased to get around to the leeward side of Little Broughton leaving Adrian and Mark to explore a few sea caves and was more pleased when we found more seacaves on the northern side that we were shown how to back into. It is quite a thrill to go into a cave and feel the swell roll in and out under your boat. After paddling to North Rock the south westerly really picked up and it got very rough. So instead of battling through the waves all the way down the west side of the island Adrian took the wise decision to pull in at back of Broughton and walk to the camp for an early lunch. After a few hours it did die down enough to paddle back to camp and we decided to go through Fishermans Passage as it was high tide and the waves were straight on. Mark tested it out and gave the all clear by waving his paddle once through. Time to swallow hard, feel the adrenaline pumping and just keep paddling through the passage and all the whitewater from the breaking waves. I felt totally safe doing it and once through let out a yelp that was drowned out by the roar of the ocean. Experiences like that is what living is about for me.

Above: Mark fishing

Above: Trevor fishing

No amazing sun set on day 2 but we did have a magnificent view of the stars whilst we polished off our nibbles, dinner and a drink or two whilst collectively solving all the world's paddling troubles! I recall the only bit of contention being where the next trip will be to as we are spoilt for choice in God's country.

The wind stayed from the SW unfortunately for the trip home so had a slog straight into wind that ranged from 11 to 15 knots. It was again too rough to go through the cleft so that is one still on my bucket list as have seen some footage on YouTube of it. I made a novice error in packing my windbreaker out of easy reach and got cold but the cameraderie and sights of turtles, seals, a small shark and dolphins made the 3.5 hours go by quickly. One slight hiccup was when Mark and I, who were ahead of the others, pulled up about 500m too far south of the exit at Bennets Beach. This made the logistics of getting our gear into our cars tricky but if that is the worst of any trip I would take it upfront.

Ok the beverages belonged to Don, Lee, Bruce, Trevor, Adrian and Mark respectively. And yes they did make it through night one I remember correctly.....

LCRK/MWKC Self rescue and assisted rescue training day 11 April

LCRK and MWKC are combining forces to present a fun day of competition, food and instruction, based at the MWKC clubhouse. The programme is as follows:

  • 8.00-8.15am: Arrive at MWKC clubhouse, register for timetrial
  • 8.30am MWKC timetrial from clubhouse, scratch start approx. 12km.
  • 9.45am: BBQ breakfast at clubhouse
  • 10.15am: Group introductory session and breakout planning at clubhouse
  • 10.30am: Breakout groups paddle to training areas and get wet
  • 11.45-12.00am: Session concludes

The breakout sessions will be in two groups, Kayaks and Skis.

  • Each group will be limited to 16 paddlers maximum; it will be busy but a whole lot of fun.
  • As always, the better our training, the better overall paddlers we will become.
  • And the fear of falling out won’t be such a deterrent to trying out new boats.

Part 1: Rescue Session Introduction'
An introduction to the concept of safety on the water, self-rescue, and assisting others.

Part 2: Assisted Rescue and Self Rescue : 1 hour
We will learn basic self-rescue or remount skills close to shore, and do assisted rescue and self-rescue in pairs, each paddler assisting the other in turn. Those who really excel will be able to get back into their K1 unassisted! Everyone will be able to get back on their ski unassisted! If you are bringing your own K1, please ensure it has sufficient buoyancy to stay afloat and support you when full of water, and also that the deck behind the cockpit is supported by a foam spine to prevent it collapsing. We will have blocks of foam on site if you need some.

The assistance of any who have attended the previous self-rescue day would be greatly appreciated, and who knows, you may even need a ‘refresher’

Lifejackets are mandatory, and paddle footwear highly recommended.


  • lifejacket
  • paddle (we will have spares)
  • your boat to practice rescues
  • water shoes/booties - low profile to fit into K boats
  • sunscreen and hat
  • legleash for skis

Both kayaks and skis will practice alerting rescuers, and methods of best preparing for rescue.

Ski Session
The breakout session for Skis will give options for self-rescue and assisted rescue. Additional focus will be on managing rough water. Leg leashes are mandatory, and instruction will be given in correct remount procedures while using leg leashes.

Kayak Session
This will involve minimising water ingress after capsize, preparing your craft for self-rescue, and methods of self-rescue without remount. Additionally, assisted rescue techniques will be practiced, where you will be assisted and then you will assist others. Finally, some will attempt remount in one of several techniques. Those in sea or touring style kayaks and with spray skirts can even try eskimo roll training. You will need goggles (swim or snorkel) and a nose plug.

Feb 2021 - Struer K4 - the phoenix arises!

Is approx. 1985 model Commander, and unsure how it came to Australia, but probably used for Olympics preparation. Was broken in half possibly on Sydney Harbour when there was racing years ago to the Opera House, but expertly repaired.

Above: Struer gets a run - 24 Feb 2021

Was used for many years by BGCC, with several Murray Marathons (one I think establishing the outright race record), and then residing in the BGCC clubhouse till renovations required its removal. With no-one able to store it in Canberra, a consortium of 4 LCRK paddlers (Tim Hookins, Jeremy Spear, Steve Paget and Tony Hystek) purchased it and Tim transported it to Sydney direct to Tony’s warehouse.

First thing needed was our own boat trailer. Tony purchased a large boat trailer, stripped it of fittings and he and Jezza constructed the framework needed for the 11-boats it could carry. The club paid for materials used.

Now we had as boat trailer, the club purchased its own K4 Struer copy from Central Coast Canoe Club, which sat forlornly on the trailer in the back street at Tony’s till the new clubhouse was built.

The Struer meanwhile sat in the warehouse high on one wall, occasionally getting some work done to seats, footplates and general wear and tear. It had been well used! Finally, with Covid allowing some breathing space in the warehouse, the finishing touches were applied….enough at least to get it seaworthy.

It still needs some additional touch-ups on the timberwork but is largely good to paddle. As proven last night it is a great boat, stable, comfortable and smooth, and a little lighter than the club K4.

We are hoping for some regular K4 races now we have the two craft, though Tim and Tony will probably have a regular spot in the ‘woody’, there are still two spots available, and 4 more in the club K4.

Last night was a lot of fun, with the K4 crew blasting off the line but unable to maintain that pace over the longer distance. As the Struer crew wearied towards the finish, the Club K4 made a late charge and almost pipped the Struer at the line. Great fun all round

Above: Strava track for the 12km time trial

Paddlenote: The K4 course runs downstream around the 12km turn pin, but then keeps going around the green pin and through under Figtree bridge. Proceed straight for the southern red floaty, around the point then head directly for the centre of the Harbour Bridge, usually emblazoned with a red light at the top. Do a U-turn when your GPS indicates you have paddled 6km.

The same route back, around the green pin but not around the 12 course red pin to avoid collisions with paddlers coming the other way!