Role of Paddler
Whilst it is not compulsory to have a paddler, it is highly recommended, especially solo swimmers. Some solos have been known to use two paddlers on a rotational basis throughout the day as it is also a long day for them on the water.
Swimmers benefit from paddlers as they are more visible to other boats on the water as the paddler can remain in a much closer proximity to swimmers than their support boats. Paddlers, with their ability to get closer to the swimmer that the support boat, are also the ideal feeding source and can distribute food and water from the boat to the swimmer at a much easier level.
Paddlers also greatly assist swimmers in finding their support boat at the start line, as paddlers have greater visibility than swimmers in the water. The idea is for the swimmer to locate the paddler, and the paddler will locate the support boat.
Paddlers are also supportive in the finish channel, particularly after the 19km buoy, at which point the support boat must depart from the swimmer. The paddler can continue with the swimmer for a further 250m (departing at the 19.25km buoys) leaving the swimmer safely at the entrance to the 400m swim channel.
We have found that paddlers enjoy being involved in the event. To find a paddler, we suggest contacting or advertising at local surf clubs (Fremantle SLSC, Cottesloe SLSC, North Cottesloe SLSC, Swanbourne SLSC) and/or post a notice on the Rottnest Channel Swim Facebook Page or RCSA Forum.