Paddle Tasmania will be conducting a 2-day Level 1 Whitewater Packrafting Course in northern Tasmania that is designed to accommodate those moving into grade 2 whitewater as well as those already paddling grade 2/3 rivers and looking to improve their technical knowledge and skills. It is expected that participants will previously have completed a beginner or foundation and fundamentals packraft course or have equivalent
training/experience in a kayak. This course is designed to have participants learn the skills to competently get into and out of eddies, cross fast currents and maneuver around grade 2 rapids. Although the course will be conducted on grade 2 whitewater it is well suited to those aiming to achieve similar on grade 3 water.
A water release has been booked with Hydro Tasmania for the weekend however there is always the chance that they are unable to release an appropriate volume of water. If this occurs we may need to potentially move aspects of the course to another river in the north west. Ideally this will be nearby and we will still camp beside the Forth River. For any other more significant changes participants will be notified by email.
The Forth Whitewater Course is owned and managed by the Tasmanian Canoe Club includes excellent grassy campsites beside the river. There are basic toilet facilities and an undercover decked area however that is all. Friends/relatives of participants who are not undertaking the course are also welcome to camp although an additional fee of $10 pp per night is required. Participants need to supply all of their own camping gear including cooking gear, stove, tent, sleeping gear, etc. The nearest corner store/service station is 10 minutes
away in Forth and larger shops about 20 minutes away. Phone reception is limited at the site however there may be some coverage up towards the road or near the shed and deck area.
The course will be led by Paddle Australia Senior Whitewater Instructors Dan Hall and Mark Oates along with additional Whitewater Packraft Instructors including Jen MacGibbon.
Who is it for?
It is ideally suited to those who have previously completed a beginner course and who currently paddle grade 2 rivers. It is also perfect for those aspiring to learn to paddle grade 3 safely & competently. Participants should already understand how to swim in whitewater in the event of a capsize and how to both throw and catch a throwbag. The focus of this course is on developing safety and technical knowledge specific to paddling
packrafts on grade 2 whitewater. Please note that there will number of in-water practical components and all participants should be prepared for sessions involving capsizes and re-entries plus swimming and wading in moving water. Wetsuits are highly recommended or ideally drysuits, if available.
Drive south from the Forth township along the Wilmot Road approximately 8km. Look out on the left for a large sign next to a gate on a paddock that says ‘Tasmanian Canoe Club’. On Google Maps the location is listed as ‘Forth River Slalom Course’ and can be found on the following link:
Potential Course Content
- Group Safety Considerations & Equipment
- River Communications
- Essential Technical Paddling Strokes
- Creating Power
- Improving Edging
- Utilising Cross-Current Momentum to your Advantage
- Multiple Techniques for Entering and Exiting Eddies
- Achieving objectives through utilising Position, Angle, Speed, Head, Edging and
- Improving Efficiency on paddling a Pre-Defined Course
- Self and Assisted Rescues
- Scouting and Setting Safety
- Defensive and Aggressive Swimming in Moving Water
- Throwbagging Techniques and Practice
- Improvisation Techniques for Lost Paddles/Boats or Injured Paddler
- Practical Rescue Scenarios
- Paddling as a Team
Paddling Equipment List
Participants will need to provide and bring their own packraft and all personal paddling gear including a decent PFD, paddle and whitewater paddling helmet. It is highly recommended that all packrafts have thigh straps. As the water can start to be quite cold at that time of year, either a drysuit (recommended) or decent wetsuit is required.
Some participants who bring wetsuits choose to bring two so that they can swap a wet one
out for a dry one. Decent footwear (sturdy and warm) is essential.
Own packraft (ideally with thigh straps) with some form of attached bow and stern
WW PFD (personal floatation device)
WW kayak helmet (NOT a climbing or bike helmet)
Full wetsuit or drysuit or a ¾ wetsuit with drytop or cag
Appropriate footwear for paddling and walking
Drybag for carrying essential gear during trips
Lightweight pack in case we need to walk into or out of a river
Personal medications, sunscreen, etc
Thermos or similar (optional)
Optional if available: throwbag, river knife, slings, carabiners, personal rescue gear, personal
One or two packrafts may possibly be hired through Dan Hall. To do so, please email
If you do not have an appropriate helmet or PFD please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org to hire them.
Enquiries about Registration and Payments: Contact Paddle Tasmania EO, Tom Calderwood , via email@example.com.
Enquiries about Course Details or Suitability: Contact Mark Oates via
firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Hall via email@example.com