Preparations are underway for the 2022 Lea Extreme Race. It’s on the 17th September 2022
The grade 4 waters of the Lea River are tucked away in the hills near the old mining town of Moina. It’s a pretty river surrounded by typical Tasmanian rainforest and wet eucalypt forest. The water is rich tannin stained brown after running off the highland button grass near Cradle Mountain, the natural oils creating lots of froth on the rapids. The river has carved its way through the old sandstone beds and the plentiful faults create numerous drops.
The race has been going for nearly 20 years and attracts paddlers from all over Tasmania and the big island and runs in tandem with the North Esk Paddle Fest. Every year a mixture of paddlers, from teenagers to sexagenarians, Olympians, Australian Reps and recreational paddlers come along to be part of this event.
Race day starts with a gentle warm-up paddle, before lining up at the start line – a 2m waterfall called First Drop. Then, the most serious rapid on the river, the Screaming Plastic Surgeon, with several drops, a dog-leg and finally a 4m waterfall. Along the way paddlers manage other testing rapids, such as Superman, the Proctologist’s Twist, Scar Face and Cankles before the finish line at Ankle Breaker.
Every paddler who completes the race has a beaming smile as there are some really fun bits and mostly the difficult rapids can be paddled safely. Contestants race in pairs to provide safety for their team mate and the race time is taken for the second paddler across the finish line. After the serious stuff, kayakers run a second lap and style some moves off some of the drops and enjoy a social chat on a magnificent river.
Afterwards the Tasmanian Canoe Club hosts a BBQ and party where competitors and volunteers share stories and random draw prizes. Funds from the race go toward promoting whitewater kayaking in Tasmania.
Entries now open
Paddlesports Megastore is a sponsor of the Lea Extreme race