Packraft Training in Oz with Jim Gonski !

G’day Matt, and welcome to the Packraft fraternity :slight_smile:

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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 :slight_smile:

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.

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

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 :slight_smile:

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

How was it? Suppose your still paddling.

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

Looking forward to seeing what went down at Penriff…

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.

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.

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 !

Cheers mate.

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.


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!


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.

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:)