by John O’Sullivan

February in lower Western Australia is normally dry and typically the hottest month of the year, averaging 32ºc. Water restrictions are in place so the front lawn is typically yellow. Air conditioners hum over the neighbourhood as people struggle to escape the heat at night. You can hear the sound of fire trucks, racing out to tackle bushfires which light up the clear night sky. Local paddlers slap on the sunscreen and head for the ocean to ride the ocean swell and the flat water marathon season is in full swing.

But in Feb 2017…..The Avon River was raging in all its mighty. Highest levels seen….ever?. Resulting from a Cyclone passing through Northern WA, which continued to drop rain inland and impacted on lower WA through the wheat belt areas. The entire Avon catchment area got an absolute drowning. Exact river level is unknown as the water level was higher than all the water gauges. Lets just say it was very, very high and provided a good month of white water paddling. It was time to dust the cob webs off the white water boat and get amongst it.

WWR paddler Sam Pilton descending through Extracts Wier.     Photo Credit _ Glen Stewart

WWR paddler Kieran Simpson descending down Syds Falls.    Photo credit John Hilton

WWR paddler Daryl Long ducking his head under the bridge while shooting Bells Rapid.    Photo credit John Hilton

For more photos of the flooded river, go to