Victorian Wildwater Championships 12th November 2023

On Sunday 12th November, the pristine Goulburn River at Eildon again delivered a stunning venue for the Vic Wildwater Championships – weather and water levels were perfect.  Twenty two paddlers competed – the youngest aged 10 and several in the over 55 Masters.

The previous day saw a “skills day” with a multitude of different paddlers and craft enjoying the “wave” and this pristine length of river.   Warren Elms (WW Technical Committee) coordinated a range of instructors, James Humphry & Dita Pahl (AUS WW Team members) and AUS Team Freestylers Jack and Peter Newland with Greg Cowling.   The strategy from the outset was to accommodate any paddler interested in trying Wildwater alongside our top VIC Wildwater athletes.

Racing on Sunday delivered some exceptional results with some nine U18 athletes participating in their first state WW competition and putting down some quick times not far off our strong U23 cohort.  There was a lot of fun and competitive times among the Masters cohort with paddlers from all backgrounds additional to the WW craft.

Five of the six AUS Wildwater Junior & U23 2023 team, who competed at the Czech Republic, raced and assisted others; James Humphry, Tom Ladson, Tom Elms, Riley Galea and the ever determined Robert Janiszewski was there in C1 keeping the pressure on the K1 paddlers.  This team provided the spectacle of hard fast world class Wildwater racing with juniors coming away excited with the vision of aiming for team
selection in 2025. Fastest times for the event were
Classic – James Humphry and Sprint – Tom Ladson.
Photos : Bendigo Squad with James Humphrey

Age Group ICF WW Class Classic Sprint
Men Women Men Women
U14 K1 Alister Hughes Alister Hughes
U16 K1 Tobias Sexton Sophie Hughes Tobias Sexton Sophie Hughes
U18 K1 Riley Galea Ella Marinelli Riley Galea Elyshia Isaac
U23 K1 James Humphry Imogen Leigh Tom Ladson Imogen Leigh
U23 C1 Robert Janiszewski Robert Janiszewski
Masters K1 Warren Elms Dita Pahl Warren Elms

Photo: Elyshia Isaac getting a bit of air

Bendigo Canoe Club Head Coach, Tony Misson points out the dedication and effort of all the young athletes that competed – to master Wildwater as young athletes is a big achievement at an international level.  This means they have achieved the balance and control of the long 4.5m K1 kayak and are competitive paddlers across the three disciplines of Sprint, Marathon and Wildwater.

This event was a change in strategy from the Paddle Victoria Wildwater Technical Committee to invite any and all paddlers interested in experiencing a high calibre Wildwater racing event.  The event enjoyed a great atmosphere with paddlers setting their sights on the next Wildwater / Downriver event. These waters of the Goulburn and location continue to deliver as a fantastic venue with the Breeze Caravan Park and Outdoor Education Group hosting accommodation and access to the key length of river.

Neville Humphrey
PV Wildwater Technical Committee

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