Josh Kippin and Brendan Rice tackle the whitewater together

Brendan Rice and Josh Kippin at registration Friday July 4, anticipating the big race the following day.

Brendan Rice and Josh Kippin at registration Friday July 4, anticipating the big race the following day.

The paddling team finished with an extraordinary time of 8.55 this year beating the other teams in their category by over an hour. 

Powering on: The superstar kayak team high fiving at the Katrine Bridge swap over on Saturday, day one of the Avon Descent.

Powering on: The superstar kayak team high fiving at the Katrine Bridge swap over on Saturday, day one of the Avon Descent.

The pair have known each other since they were teenagers.

“We have known each other through clubs, marathon series, kayak races,” Brendan said. “The Avon we have raced a lot of times against each other.”

After competing in five solo races, Josh Kippin won the Avon Descent last year in the single Kayak Marathon category finishing with a time of 9.05.

Brendan was four minutes behind coming in at 9.09.

The pair were neck-and-neck until there was half an hour left in the race.

“You use each other a lot – you need to collaborate,” said Brendan. “Whoever you are with, you are working with them, but at the same time you are kind of plotting.”

The 27-year-old men said they enjoy competing in the WA event. 

“It’s an awesome stretch of river – and always competitive,” Brendan said. 

“It’s a good challenge aswell,” Josh added. “It’s not something you just wake up and say ‘yeah I want to do that’ and it’s easy.

“It’s hard to do the Avon. “Particularly the intensity we race at.

There are a lot of moments you ask yourself – ‘why am I doing this?'

Paddler Josh Kippin on the challenging race

“There are a lot of moments you ask yourself – ‘why am I doing this?’”

“It is good fun when you get it done.”

Brendan said the Avon is a unique course compared to others around the world. 

“It has tricky tree blocks and a valley section with rapids,” he said. “There aren’t too many races were all these factors are combined in one race.”

Josh said the second day is a tough slog to the finish line. 

“The second day at 75km/h, that’s a long day to boat,” he said. He said the last 30 kilometres is flat, with a head wind. “That makes life tough,” he said. “The only thing that would be similar to that is the Berg River Marathon in South Africa.

“The longest day there is about the same.”

The pair said preparation is key for the event and a good base of fitness is the most important thing. 

“If you want to go really far you have to start adding up the little things,” said Brendan.

“But to complete an Avon, you just need the base fitness to go for however long it takes.”

“You need the whitewater skills on top of that to make sure you spend most of your time in the boat – and not in the water,” added Josh. 

Josh said competing overseas is challenging as there are so many skilled paddlers.

“When you go international, the field is deep with good competitors,” he said.

“In South Africa in this kind of race, if you slip up you will lose ten places instantly.

“It is very competitive.”

The men are teaming up again to compete internationally in the Canoe Sprint World Championships at the end of this month, held in the Czech Republic from August 23-27 2017.