Paddler Training and Tips


Canoeing WA have put together a first time paddlers course for those who want to prepare for the 19.7km crossing of the 2020 Rottnest Channel Swim. We expect details for this course will be available soon. Once ready they will be posted here.  

Also visit the Indian Ocean Paddlers website for safety tips.


These notes have been prepared by Paddle Western Australia Inc.

• Be aware of the scope of conditions you may encounter.
• Prepare for the full extent of those conditions.

The Rottnest Channel is an exposed section of water and prone to strong winds. Paddlers will be on their craft between 4-9 hours. You will require water, food and protection against the elements. The physical effort required to maintain an upright position close to your swimmer in challenging conditions will be considerably demanding. Prepare and maintain yourself and you will not be a liability to your swimmer(s).

• A back pack drink system is ideal. You probably will require a refill during the event. Ensure there is available water on your support boat.

• Selecting the most suitable craft.

• Paddlers must be able to cope with rough conditions.
• Stable enough to provide drinks and food to themselves and their swimmer.
• Secure drinks, food and accessories in case of capsize.
• Make sure you have paddled the craft for lengthy periods prior to the event, and are aware of any discomforts from the position.
• Correct leg length aids stability and posture. Back support is recommended.
• Bracing strokes will allow you to deal with the bumpy conditions in a relaxed effortless manner.

• Shorter more craft are generally more manoeuvrable.
• Maintaining a position alongside the swimmer can be difficult

• Sun protection
• A spray on screen is ideal for re-application. Greasy sunscreen on your hands will make paddling difficult
• A chin strap on your hat will prevent it being blown off.

• Thermal clothing is ideal as it allow you to retain warmth whilst you are wet

• You will need to adapt to changing conditions and may need to shed or don clothing during the event. Ensure you have sun protection at all times

Getting off the beach:
• If you are planning to enter the water at Cottesloe Beach, be conscious of the shore break and how to negotiate it. All of your preparation can float away if you fall at the first hurdle

Boat Control
• Manoeuvring your craft around power craft and alongside a swimmer travelling much slower than most craft are designed to go requires a degree of skill and competence. Effective forward, back, sweep and draw strokes are essential

Awareness of Power Craft
• Most power craft have large areas of poor visibility. Assume you have not been sighted and keep your distance.

Canoeing Western Australia recommends you gain some paddling knowledge, practice at your nearest canoe club and undertake an Open Water Paddle Competency Assessment.

Paddle Western Australia Inc
(08) 9285 8501