Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Packrafting trips and tales from down under.
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Grasshopper
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:13 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:04 pm

[update 1st Oct - interest registered from 14 people. I have PM'ed everyone who expressed interest and we'll take this to email to figure out dates etc...]

Howdy Packrafters !

Jim Gonski who runs the Alaska Kayak Academy is up for coming to Oz later this year to run packrafting skills and safety workshops. He comes recommended by Roman and teaches Kayaking and Packrafting. Jim proposes to run a two day workshop similar to the Packraft River Safety course detailed on his website.

The course would include:
• Flat water paddling techniques, flipping and re-entry
• Eddy turns , locating eddies and how to progress to smaller eddies on Class II water
• Approaching / avoiding strainers
• River swimming / throw bag work
• Self rescue techniques
• How to run Class III water - how to scout, boat scout, run holes, ferry in fast current, catch micro eddies, surf and perfect "spin on a dime" eddy turns.

Logistics

To be commercially viable we’d need a minimum of 25 participants all up, this could be two weekends – maybe one in NSW and the other in VIC, with 12 or so people for each weekend.

Location – unless we can get Penrith Whitewater center to reconsider packrafters we’d be looking at a live river instead. For NSW I was thinking the Shoalhaven would be good geographically, but there would need to be a section to accommodate the exercises and provide camping.

Jim reckons that in order to fund himself and another instructor and cover expenses the course would need to be $300 / participant for the weekend.

Timing is around mid – November to mid - December 2012.

Next Steps

If you’re interested then either reply to this thread or email Jim directly: jim (at) kayakcenterak (dot) com Jim may not reply straight away as he could be out rafting or wrestling Moose.

If you have ideas on locations with suitable rivers and reliable water please post.

If you’re outside NSW and reckon you get a group together then post here as well.

Once there is enough commitment on numbers and we have location(s) we can tie down dates etc...

Should be a fun course !

(Disclaimer: I have no commercial affiliation or interest, although I do expect Jim to buy me a beer if we manage to get him down here :-))

Interested so far:

Grasshopper (NSW)
Jeremy (NSW)
Fishdejour (NSW)
Lizardboy (NSW
Haydn +1 (VIC)
Ninja (NSW)
Shane (TAS)
Justacouch (NSW)
MickyB (ACT)
RFG (NSW)
Jules
Peter
Hightower
Matt B (NSW)
Rich L + 1 (VIC)
Peter R
(also posted on bushwalk.com)
Last edited by Grasshopper on Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:02 pm, edited 7 times in total.

jeremy089786
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 9:32 pm

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by jeremy089786 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:01 pm

Awesome!!

If the date is right I am in. I do alot of fieldwork around that time,so will only be able to commit when the dates come out though.

Thanks for posting this Grasshopper!

Cheers,

Jeremy.

Fishdejour
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:51 pm
Location: Bega, NSW, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Fishdejour » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:25 am

I'd be in and would buy you a beer also. The shoalhaven seems a good choice to me for NSW.

Lizardboy
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Lizardboy » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:34 pm

Thanks for the legwork Dale!
I'm in for NSW and may have another person interested as well.
I think the key is choosing somehere with reliable water or a few options within an hour or 2 drive, there are a few things pointing to dryer weather for the coming months.

Late october and the weekend of 17/18 November is out for me.

Off to Hawaii and Canada on Sunday with rafts in tow!

Cheers,

Gus
Last edited by Lizardboy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Grasshopper
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:13 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:18 pm

Good to hear from you all.

Thanks for the beer offer Steve :-) Gus any suggestions on rivers are welcome (and have fun in Canada and Hawaii !). If this goes ahead Jim was planning to get here a few days before and scout the areas we recommend.

In order to get this going this year I reckon we'd need to know numbers by early Oct.

Now where are the Victorians :-) ?

Haydn
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:55 am

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Haydn » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:07 pm

Sounds great - count me and a mate in for VIC (x2). If the NSW day was around the Snowy's i'd be happy to travel.
Cheers Haydn.

ninjapuppet
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:05 am

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by ninjapuppet » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:44 am

I'm really keen!
thank sor organising this grasshopper.

Grasshopper
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:15 pm

Be good to see you there Ninja.

Forgot to mention that Jim can bring spare rafts and gear if there is anyone that wants to try packrafting and is raftless.

Fishdejour
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:51 pm
Location: Bega, NSW, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Fishdejour » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:37 pm

I have a second (spare) raft available for use also should anyone need one.

Steve

RFG
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:25 am
Location: Jindabyne, NSW

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by RFG » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:32 pm

Grasshopper, has this training progressed any?
If it looks like its a goer I would be very interested, and may help with making up the numbers so its viable.
Great effort in organising it as well

Grasshopper
Posts: 66
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:48 am

Hi RFG - thanks for registering interest :-) Where are you located ?

With respect to number it looks like if everyone who is interested so far can make it we're looking around 10 people.

I emailed Jim with an update and he is open to travelling here for one course but this would just be him and no assistant, although that doesn't bother me.

So is there is one course than NSW is currently where most of the interest is, so we'll need to see if the Victorians et. al. are up for travelling ?

I think we'll let the thread run a bit longer and then make a call on location and time.

RFG
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:25 am
Location: Jindabyne, NSW

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by RFG » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:02 am

Grasshopper, I'm in Jindabyne so anywhere south of Sydney would work for me, and any of the local rivers, Thredbo, Snowy, uppper Murray etc. would obviously be perfect, and I could help out with logistics this end if that be the case, and of any assistance.
regards
RFG

Grasshopper
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:13 pm

With the locations of those interested I'm thinking Snowies could be the go. It will accommodate the Victorians, the southern NSW rafters and well - the Sydneysiders will just have to drive :-)

So RFG - we might put your local knowledge to use. Do we have a river down south that might work ?

chrisp
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Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:40 am

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by chrisp » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:37 pm

Can't remember when the training was....but in my humble opinion the snowies is a great place to run it. If all else fails the Lower Snowy has guareenteed water, warm, free campin and even has a grade three creek nearby if there has been a bit of rain. It also has easy rapids that are drop pool and in my opinion perfect for all sorts of training.

The only time access has been an issue was the time we did the training!! Never before!!
And if it's at the snowies you may also strike it lucky with water and have access to a myriad of runs ranging from grade ond to five around jIndy itself (snowy, Thredbo, Jacobs)

My two cents.

RFG
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:25 am
Location: Jindabyne, NSW

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by RFG » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:18 am

Agree with chrisp. Snowies would provide lots of options, but I'm a little biased holding the training locally would make it very easy for me. Lower Snowy would be good off Barry Way, free camping and a couple of good training rapids if water levels right. (I can sort the National Parks approval for training activity in Park as I have inside running there, and I have a vested interest proposal for packrafters there, and seeing this type of training go ahead which I will reveal later) Only issue with lower Snowy River as chrisp suggests is at the moment Barry Way is closed due to Council road works (I think they are reopening in next few days for school holidays). I know they want to do more work before Xmas when it will be closed again. I will see if I can find out when they are scheduling next closure. If lower Snowy is not an option due to access or low water, Thredbo River is always an option. Water temp still a little cool at that time of year with snow melt feed, but no biggie with a wettie or dry suit. Basic camping available at ThredboDiggings or Ngarigo camping areas right next to river, Park Use fees apply however ($16/day/vehicle) if cars have no National Park annual entry pass. Other more civilised camping / accommodation options available nearby in Jindy for those that require them, and relatively cheap at that time of year. Lake in Jindy for flat water (when not windy) options if required. Anyway, quite a few options and happy to go with whatever is best for the majority of the group.
regards
RFG

Grasshopper
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:57 pm

Thanks Chris and RFG for that great info. Sounds like your local knowledge and connections help a lot.

I'll PM everyone who's expressed interest so we can start locking down dates and final numbers.

Fishdejour
Posts: 327
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:51 pm
Location: Bega, NSW, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Fishdejour » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:18 pm

Snowies obviously suits me also. Forgot to mention Peter would be keen on the training so add him to the list if you could Dale, thanks.

Steve

Grasshopper
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:40 pm

Snowies obviously suits me also. Forgot to mention Peter would be keen on the training so add him to the list if you could Dale, thanks.
Done Steve :-)

Grasshopper
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:02 pm

OK - this morning I've PM'ed / emailed everyone to organise next steps.

Matt B
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Location: Bega,NSW

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Matt B » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:25 pm

Hi Grasshopper,
I was very interested in your proposed training weekend,if dates suited.December would work for me!
I would favour the Snowies as I am located on the far South Coast!
Sorry for the late reply but only just discovered this site and have only just discovered the joys of Packrafting!
Regards Matt

Grasshopper
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:13 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:00 pm

G'day Matt, and welcome to the Packraft fraternity :-)

Just PM me your email address and I'll copy you in on the planning.

Matt B
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:13 am
Location: Bega,NSW

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Matt B » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:18 pm

Hi Grasshopper,
Unsuccessful in my attempt to PM my E-mail address ,being a newbee to the forum I need to participate more before it will give me authorization!
Not sure what other path to take, any suggestions ,re forwarding my address?
Not the greatest navigator when it comes to technology!
Regards Matt

Grasshopper
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:13 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:53 pm

Matt, I'll PM you.

It looks like the group email I sent around Monday may have been waylaid by fickle spam gods. A couple of people have contacted me saying they didn't receive anything. I'll resend an email today from my work address to everyone and hopefully this wil get through.

Grasshopper
Posts: 66
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:25 pm

Heads up on dates - early consensus is looking like last weekend in Nov or first two weekends in Dec.

Will update again after all the responses are in.

pgonski
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:50 am

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by pgonski » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:15 pm

looks like its a go: WE are thinking Nov 24/25 and or Dec 12/2
or

dec 1/2 and Dec 8/9

two classes:
the list is 17 long.. so we need two dates for this
like to limit it to 10 students per class

jim gonski

Grasshopper
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:14 pm

So far with responses 24/25th Nov and 8/9 Dec would suit most folks.

I'll send another email around today and we'll move to firming it up :-)

Grasshopper
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:26 am

So 8/9 Dec is the definitive date with a possible course end Nov depending on numbers. I've been waiting to firm up a few details with Jim so can now get the booking process going directly with him. You should all have an email this morning.

A big thanks to Rob Gibbs for lending his help as part of NPWS to facilitate permits etc... Jim may well be here for a few weeks with time to kill, so if you have time to spend with an Alaskan, and maybe show him some local rivers than put your hand up. I think it'd be fun to organise at least one trip while Jim is here and show him the wildlife. Any areas with lots of hoop snakes and drop bears would be the go.

This is some background that Jim shared on getting him started on Packraft training and gives good context:
I am a American Canoe Association Whitewater Kayak Instructor, Swift Water Rescue Tech, and Wilderness First Aid  trained. I have whitewater kayaked for 35 yrs, and run a  kayak school in Alaska for 9 years.
 
We designed the Packraft 201: River Safety Class 3 years ago. We created the course because we kept running into packrafters in trouble on easy sections of river during our whitewater kayak classes. We then asked, Why? Why was that packraft in that log jam, why did that packrafter take the channel with the strainer, when the other channel was clear?
  We came to the following conclussion: ignorance!  Packrafters are like birds, they flock, with other ignorant packrafters; and packrafts are so idiot proof; one can make many mistakes, live to tell about it, and not realize how dangerious what they just got through was. We looked at what packrafters were doing wrong; then designed the course with those needs in mind.
  To date we have run over 250 packrafters through the course.  It is our most popular course. We ran the Packraft 201 class almost every other weekend and it filled (10 students) almost  very time.
 
The course combines skills taught in beginning whitewater kayaking, intermediate whitewater kayaking, and swift water rescue.
 
About 2/3 of the course is focused on paddling and river reading skills. We believe that staying out of trouble is the primary concern; knowing what to do when one is in trouble comes close behind.

moggy
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:58 pm
Location: Castlemaine, Victoria Australia

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by moggy » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:36 pm

I would be up for this for sure if anything
happens in Vic.

Grasshopper
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:43 pm

Update: this weekend's course is full with 12 people.

Jim will run a course next weekend (15/16 Dec) for a minimum of 4 people. If interested put your hand up, or even PM :-)

To everyone going this weekend, look forward to seeing you and having a fun time.

DaveF
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by DaveF » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:38 pm

How was it? Suppose your still paddling.

Grasshopper
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:50 pm

Mate it was great fun, just got back last night so will post a write up and some pics soon !

Darren
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Darren » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:35 pm

Looking forward to seeing what went down at Penriff.....

Grasshopper
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:21 pm

Looking forward to seeing what went down at Penriff.....
Jim ran the course a couple of times in a Yak with a cruiser deck before he was spotted by one of the staff who called out the packraft. Jim encouraged him to have a go on the raft and see for himself what it could do. He declined, response included - the craft isn't suitable for whitewater, the skirt will trap you if you fall out and other inanities. Jim gave him a run down of his background - kayak instructor, swift water rescue instructor and packraft experience out of Alaska, none of which made any difference. But my favourite moment of the day, was the PWWC guy stating Alaska wasn't really relevant for whitewater as there were no big rapids there.

Anyway, Jim got to have a play at the whitewater center which he enjoyed but nothing changed as far as acceptance of packrafts go.

Darren
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Darren » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:45 pm

Funny shit! Good on you for making it happen Dale and I'm disappointed that I've missed so many trips including Jim's visit. Hopefully things will settle down here and I can get back into it.
Video?

Grasshopper
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:03 pm

Jim had his Go-Pro on for the two runs at PWWC and I videoed on the sidelines with Jim's camera.

We'll have to wait for him to wrap up his trip and do an edit. I'll try and get the raw footage in the meantime.

Hope to see you out on the water again soon Darren !

Darren
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Darren » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:09 pm

Cheers mate.

Fishdejour
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Fishdejour » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:21 am

A mega thank you to Dale and Jim for a putting together a fantastic weekend of learning, paddling and laughs. I have a significant large black bruise on my arse/hip that resulted from learning how to avoid getting significant large black bruises on your arse/hip.... a very worthwhile weekend made more enjoyable by the company of a dozen like minded folks. Thanks guys, we should do it every year as the community grows and our collective skill levels develop.

Steve

jeremy089786
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by jeremy089786 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:29 pm

Hi Guys,

Thanks again for such a great weekend!!! Best rafting yet.

Also Darren if you want to do the course this weekend your welcome to my raft and paddle, but not my life jacket if you want to fly under the radar!

Jeremy.

Darren
Posts: 189
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Location: Sydney

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Darren » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:13 pm

Hey Jeremy, thanks for the kind offer mate. I probably won't be out until sometime in the new year at this stage but I'm stoked with all the offers.
You've come a long way since the Kmart job out on the nepean! Good to hear you made the course. Cheers D.

Haydn
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:55 am

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Haydn » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:16 pm

Fishdejour wrote:A mega thank you to Dale and Jim for a putting together a fantastic weekend of learning, paddling and laughs. I have a significant large black bruise on my arse/hip that resulted from learning how to avoid getting significant large black bruises on your arse/hip.... a very worthwhile weekend made more enjoyable by the company of a dozen like minded folks. Thanks guys, we should do it every year as the community grows and our collective skill levels develop.

Steve
Yep a huge thanks to Dale, Rob and Jim for putting the weekend together - Had an absolute ball & learnt so much! We should definitely start organising Jim return for 2013! Would be great to organise a few trips in between, try and get everyone along and tackle some good water together!

Looking forwards to the next trip - Cheers Haydn. (If Melbourne doesn't pick-up there packrafting game I might move closer to Sydney:)

RFG
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:25 am
Location: Jindabyne, NSW

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by RFG » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:28 am

Hey Guys, just got a chance to have a look through the photos and videos that Max put together in the 'dropbox'. Thanks Max great shots , sorry I've got nothing to add on that front, but would love to see any shots or vid anyone else got. Great weekend and thanks to one and all for making the effort in travelling and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Cheers Dale for getting the concept rolling and convincing Jim to come out and share his skills and knowledge with us. Special Cheers and big Thanks to Jim for travelling so far to instruct a bunch of aussies. Hope you got something from it in return. Learnt a lot from Jim and he left me with a lot to work on in my paddling and think about in terms of my packrafting and the potential they have. Glad we lucked out on some decent water and weather that provided some worthwhile paddling. I wish the water from Guthega Power station to Island Bend came off on Saturday morning, and then I would have really been stoked (next time guys). Whilst the paddling was great, I really enjoyed the beers on Saturday night with a diverse bunch of guys who enjoy their rafting amongst a host of other things. Anyway give us a yell if your in the area.
regards
Rob

Fishdejour
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Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by Fishdejour » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:09 am

Hey Rob

Any link to the photos? Max? Level looks good again on the 21st April if your intrested in a revisit with Jules and I, all others would be welcome for that weekend, keen to do some more SWR 'practice'.

Was a good weekend, I enjoyed the beers and late night chat, the young lads crashed a little early for us old fellas :-)

Steve

RFG
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:25 am
Location: Jindabyne, NSW

Re: Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

Post by RFG » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:11 pm

Hey Steve, just did a reply to your Turros invite and saw your comment here. I have asked Jim if he could put some of his photos and video on a disc and send out when he gets a chance, so hopefully will have more to add to the weekends collection then, and will circulate to all. (Ken, wheres your video. You had a gopro nailed to your head the whole weekend???). Would be keen for another lower Snowy paddle with you and Julesin April when they do another water release for sure. Have to check when Easter is this year as I know I have commitment for work then already. Also looking at doing the willow control weekend down there in mid march when hopefully there will be as small water release. Weekend of 16/17th if I remember correctly. Will circulate more details when I firm them up.
Anyway have fun on the Turros trip.
Rob.

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