Avon Descent: Belmont kayaker makes rapid decision


James Morfitt and Mathew Dean at the finish of the Avon Descent a few years ago.
James Morfitt and Mathew Dean at the finish of the Avon Descent a few years ago.

BELMONT local James Morfitt is set to take on the river in the Avon Descent this weekend.

The 29-year-old is competing in the kayak double marathon with teammate Mathew Dean, and has done five Avons to date.

“I love the challenge – no two Avons are the same – and the feeling of crossing that finish line,” Morfitt said.

“Obviously you’re exhausted, but the sense of achievement is well worth it, even better if you achieve your race goals.”

Morfitt was introduced to paddling by a family friend in his late teens, but said he didn’t start paddling competitively until his first Avon in 2011.

While this year’s Avon was a late decision to enter and pushed Morfitt into a rigorous six-week training block, in previous years he’s racked up six sessions a week for three months.

The Belmont local has taken to the water at the Australian National Marathon Championships, the Fish River Canoe Marathon and Dusi Canoe Marathon in South Africa, and most of the local races on the paddling calendar.

At this stage, Morfitt hasn’t planned any races after the Avon, but he’s got his eye on a few possibilities.

“There are a few adventure races and an ocean race called The Doctor towards the end of the year that I will probably enter,” he said.

“I’d say the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been are my favourite part.”

The Avon Descent kicks off this weekend.

The two-day split race for power boats and paddlers spans 124km from Northam to Bayswater.