TWENTY of Australia's best whitewater daredevils got a workout at a friendly kayak competition on the North Esk River yesterday.
Competitors in the North Esk Paddle Fest raced for points in each event and Hobart paddlers Justin Boocock and Daniel Watkins were joint winners, with Andrew Maynard, of Burnie, third.
Spectators at the Cora Linn bridge finish line watched the running of the buddy race, the giant slalom through four gates (sets of suspended poles that competitors must paddle through), finishing with the "boater cross", an elimination series.
Event co-organiser Adam Dickenson, from the Tamar Canoe Club, said the river offered grade three-four whitewater (six is the highest rating but kayakers can only paddle to grade five).
"It's some of Australia's best whitewater as it was accessible," he said.
Mr Dickenson said paddlers needed to be intermediate to expert to handle the conditions and years of practice made it look deceptively easy
"It's like figuring out a puzzle," he said of navigating difficult rapids.
"You have to be able to put together a sequence of different manoeuvres to steer your kayak down the path you have taken."