PA Canoe Wildwater Newsletter – November 2022


The 2023 National Wildwater Championships will also be the selection races for the 2023 Senior and Junior/U23 teams.

The 2023 PA Canoe Wildwater Championships have been relocated to Penrith as flooding in Victoria has made a water release early next year unlikely.

3 March: Training availability at Penrith Whitewater stadium (at paddlers cost).
4 March: Sprint Event at Penrith Whitewater Stadium
5 March: Classic Event at location within 1hr of Penrith (TBA at a later date). 


The ICF has formalised venue and dates for the 2023 World championships as follows:
Dates: 9 – 11 June 2023
Location: Augsburg. Germany

Juniors and U23
Dates: 5 – 8 July 2023
Location: Roudnice, Czech Republic

The PACWTC is really looking forward to seeing as many athletes as possible make qualifications and travel to Europe.

For the Juniors and U23, the Wildwater Committee is working with clubs in Europe to deliver a tour that will include several rivers to train and practice before the big events.


Paddle Australia will be seeking Expressions of Interest from those people interested in the following roles:

  • Junior and U23 Team Coaches
  • Junior and U23 Team – Team Manager
  • Senior Team – Team Manager

Those interested in acting as a Team Manager or Team Coach for the upcoming tour can express interest HERE. 


This newsletter we profile Warren Elms. Warren is a keen wildwater paddler and is very well known in the Victorian wildwater community. Particularly in his endeavours to catch his son Thomas Elms!

How did you start paddling?

I started paddling when I was in primary school with Templestowe Canoe Club. I paddled with Peter White senior and junior, Bruce Phillips who was a friend of my father’s, and his son, Robbie Philips. 

Templestowe Canoe Club (TCC) had a large community and a large touring group, which I loved being a part of.  TCC introduced me to river touring Slalom and Wildwater racing whilst also providing a diverse but united group of likeminded people.  It was the community that made canoeing my passion.

During this time, Slalom and Dragon Boat Racing were large events hosted frequently. There were always events I was travelling to on weekends, but also bigger trips on school holidays interstate to tour rivers or to compete. Christmas holidays was something I always looked forward to each year, where we would attend the Australian Championships on more diverse rivers such Nymboida (Goolang creek), Tully, Harvey in WA, and Tasmania. The paddling community was the main thing I look back at, the diverse characters and families, age differences and club groups who all helped run events.

I paddled the Franklin River in 1982 when the ‘No Dams’ protests peaked. Unfortunately, a close friend & fellow paddler, Neil Gaylard, died on that trip. This was an incredibly traumatic experience that took some years to recognise its impact on me.  Regardless, I continued with my kayaking and competed in events locally and around Australia and New Zealand.

With TCC, I became very keen over summers as a surf kayaker, other members of TCC were into designing surf kayaks, surf skis and canoe polo boats.  I enjoyed participating in any and every aspect of canoeing I could.  I was always keen to try different disciplines.  When the Winter Classic Multisport Event was on, I organised a team to compete which ended up being extraordinarily successful, holding our title for the following 7 years. I also played Canoe Polo which was for me a social gathering mid-week at the pool and pub and even competed interstate in Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Sydney.

One of my most favourable highlights was competing in the World Dragon Boat Racing competition in Singapore, surrounded by some truly inspirational and diverse paddlers from several disciplines of canoeing.

The way I kept fit was to ride to work and paddle each night, leaving the weekends to go away.  I still agree that this is the key to staying fit and race ready – enjoying my routine and making the most of each day.

What do you love about paddling?

Training in a DR boat was my escape and my time alone.  I enjoyed the community of paddlers and family involvement in Wildwater and touring, but the loss of Neil had taken its toll. I felt like I became invincible and super fit and isolated. I should have found professional help earlier, but I kept paddling which made me stronger as a person and I am glad I persisted with paddling.

I was running rivers, rock climbing, sailing, parachuting, hiking, and skiing; work was second to adventure. My sister always said I would start at the top level of a sport or activity and come down to a level that suited me.

When did you come back to paddling?

When I had a family, I found work and canoeing a hard balance, so I gave it a break until my son asked me why I had a DR boat hanging in the shed and could he use it!

I took my son Thomas rafting and then Kayaking and was showing my son Canoe Polo when I reconnected with Roy Farrance and joined CPRT.  I was re-acquainted with the sport and my daughter Ruby joined in too.  I am amazed at their enthusiasm for kayaking having a well-structured safety base to develop paddling skills, enjoy their paddling and build relationships in the paddling community.

The type of paddling I look to now is Creeking and River Running, something that has opened a new type of skillset for me far different to the touring in fiberglass boats I learnt in. 

This is adding skills for extreme racing and wildwater events.

How do you contribute?

I am part of the Wildwater Technical Committee in Victoria and will help develop the sport as best I can.  I would really like to see and contribute to the sport growing in participation over the next few years.  River racing is more than just speed from start to finish, it is a skill set developed over time and understanding the water in various situations.

Are you going to Nationals?

I am training for the Wildwater Nationals in the new year aiming for the World Masters beyond that.

The paddling community has been the backbone of my paddling experience. I have used the contacts within the sport to try and master other disciplines of canoeing for variety and to broaden my vision and lift my skills.  I hope that you get this opportunity as well.


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