Snakes alive in wild waters

Tom Mountney works his way through the rapid.
Tom Mountney works his way through the rapid.
Sebastian Spinks from Tasmania strains to negotiate the rapid.Pictures: TARA GOONAN

Sebastian Spinks from Tasmania strains to negotiate the rapid.Pictures: TARA GOONAN

ADRENALIN flowed as fast at the Mitta River yesterday when competitors took part in the Australian wild water championships.

The toughest part of the course downstream of the Dartmouth Dam was the shark’s tooth rapid which posed a real challenge for competitors.

But the 15 senior and junior entrants taking part successfully completed it under the watchful eye of spectators.

Organiser Peter McIntyre from Newcastle was in a canoe at the bottom of the rapid to help if needed and offer encouragement to competitors.

He got something of a minor scare during a lull in proceedings when a tiger snake swam in his direction before veering off to the safety of the bank.

Competitors took part in the wild water classic yesterday and today it’s the sprint series over 500 metres to 700 metres.

They make two runs over a short distance, including the rapid, with their best time counting.

Medal presentations will be held at the Mitta hotel tonight.

The wild water event alternates between a venue in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW every three years.

The last time it was held at Mitta was six years ago when 10,000 megalitres was pouring down the river daily.

It was more sedate yesterday with a 2600-megalitre flow but still extremely testing.

Competitors are vying for a place in Australian teams to compete overseas.

Some have a background in surf life saving and others are flat water canoeists.

McIntyre said the wild water event required a lot of fitness and skill.

“It is probably the most difficult discipline,” he said.

A team of four from Australia competed at the world championships in France last year.

This year world cup races will be held in Serbia with Robert and Alex McIntyre attending.

Junior championships are held every two years and this year it will be held in Austria.

Sebastian Spinks from Tasmania is in contention for selection.

Mr McIntyre said wild water events were huge in Europe particularly in France, Germany and the Czech Republic.