Toad's Wildwater Adventures

Welcome to the kayaking blog of Ben Maynard. I am a 26 year old from Tasmania, Australia, and am currently seeking sponsorship. Present sponsors are the Tasmanian Institute of Sport, City of Greater Geelong/Bis-Sport, Dagger Australia, Geelong Canoe Club, Kayak4Play, and TEVA (links below). After top 20 individual results and a top 5 team result in 2006, my goals are top 10 individually and a teams medal at the next Wildwater World Championships in Italy 2008. Come along for the ride...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rapid Descent Racing

For all the latest on Toad, go to the
Rapid Descent Racing site.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lea Trip Pictures

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Launch of Rapid Descent Racing

Stewart Bennett

Dan Hall

From today I am teaming up with Stewart Bennett and Dan Hall to form Rapid Descent Racing. RDR will be marketed and run as a high-performance whitewater team, covering the disciplines of wildwater, extreme, river running, marathon and multisport. This will involve a gradual winding-down of Toad's Wildwater Adventures, as much of the content will be transferred over to the RDR site, but with Stew and Dan posting to the new site as well it's sure to be bigger and better!!

Stay tuned! This is an exciting time - RDR wants to take our sport and revolutionise it. We want to change the culture and enhance the image of kayaking in Australia to catch up to the rest of the world, where there are such people as "professional kayakers". It is our hope that such an approach (and an approach as a team) will generate unprecedented levels of exposure, thereby attracting new sponsorship to our sport.

For enquiries and sponsorship oppurtunities email:



Friday, January 26, 2007

TEVA Wairoa Extreme 2007

My last race for the summer is the Teva Wairoa Extreme in New Zealand. Me, Andrew, Macca and Tim fly out this Sunday morning for 10-12 days boating on the West Coast of the South Island, then we'll make our way up to the North Island for the Wairoa race on Feb 10-11, after which we'll have a week of boating on the North Island before coming home. At this stage, Dan looks like joining us for the race and week after as well.

I'll try and update the site while in NZ wherever possible, otherwise check the event website:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wildwater Nationals 2006/07

Here's some pictures from the Wildwater Nationals, all from the "Shark's Tooth" rapid on the Mitta Mitta River. After some races at Eildon on the Goulbourn River at really low levels, it was great to arrive at Dartmouth and find some great flow on the Mitta. Ironically, the flow was courtesy of the drought, as Dartmouth Dam is currently being almost drained and the water being sold to South Australia, who need it desperately. What will Victoria do if it doesn't rain this winter - who knows - we just knew that the river was pumping!!

The Mitta was boily and fast flowing, and Shark's Tooth was the crux move with the three different lines being trialled in practice presenting paddlers with a number of options. Above in the lower pic we have Matt Shaw (TAS) just before being almost back-looped and having a bit of a swim in the classic race courtesy of the nasty hole he is paddling into. Matt recovered well from this experience, coming back to post a couple of gutsy runs the next day to take out the U18 rapid sprint down the same rapid! Good on you Matt! Middle pic above is Dan getting a bit of air in the sprint race, and top pic is myself having a bit of a tussle with the same hole that claimed Matt, also in the sprint race.

For full results, go to:

Friday, January 19, 2007

Murray Marathon 2006

Here's a picture from the Murray Marathon - from left-to-right we have Georgie, Steve, Heidi, Me, Ross, John, and Ben in the back row; then Luke, Kirralee and Megan in the front row. Geelong Canoe Club had two teams in the Murray this year - Me, Steve, Luke, Ben were in one and Ross, John, Megan were in the other. We finished 1st and 3rd, respsctively, look how big the winning trophy is! We had to be satisfied with just the smaller ones to take home as the Red Cross keep the main one, probably a good idea as the event finishes on New Year's Eve and the larger cup might get filled up with all manner of things otherwise!

Highlights during the Murray were:

Day One, where our team was close to the record (we blame tiredness and low water for the 4 days after day 1!!),
The heat,
The flies,
The atmosphere,
The wake-up calls at 5.30-6.oo am in the official Red Cross free campsites,
Our support crews (big thank-you to you girls for getting us guys organised),
The mad-house circus of the checkpoints and the logistics of three cars and two teams,
The day where I had to paddle twice and paddled one hour, then had an hour break, then paddled only 50 mins, and managed to completely hit the wall in that 50 mins and get outsprinted by the junior K1's (they were fast juniors this year though, um......),
Peachy for keeping the dream alive and in fact realising the dream with a podium finish,
Ross' escapades - every day = a new adventure,
Johns drinking efforts on New Years Eve (beer), and Luke and Steve's (milk),
Megan's pink and black striped boat - highly visible about 1 km out from checkpoints, maybe also from space,
The comments from the peanut gallery whenever anybody did something around the camp,
Cutting out an old footbar and fibreglassing in a new one to my new WW boat the day before the race,
The serenity,
The daily battles, tactics and split time worries as a result of the eventual 2nd placed team "Crazy Cup Kids" - good on you kids!!

On behalf of our team I would like to thank the Geelong City Council and their athlete support arm Bis-Sport for their support!

As for next year.............I think I will give it a miss - it's a very hard event and the phase of training I will be in 07/08 probably won't allow it. However, I have decided I will be back again to the Murray, hopefully in a high-water year, to have a crack at the individual full-distance title. I would encourage anyone to do it, the Red Cross do a fantastic job, everything runs like clockwork, and it's a big fundraiser for them. So if you don't like giving blood (like me), why not paddle the Murray in '07?

Geelong City Council -
Red Cross Murray Marathon -

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

3 hot weeks of racing

Hi all,

It's been a while between posts as I've been on the road training and racing. I'll do some detailed posts soon, I am waiting for some pictures to come in from a few friends. For now, here's how my summer has been so far:

Great training day at Brady's Lake on the way up to Devonport for Christmas. Slalom, extreme and wildwater training all in the one day with bright sunshine and pumping water, can't beat that.

Huge day of eating and a little drinking, great day with my family before flying out to Victoria for evening with Heidi's family.

Murray Marathon K1 cup relay 27th-31st Dec:
Great times! Hot days of 1-2 hrs paddling per day for each team member, teamed up with Ben Poole, Luke Haines and Steve Parker to win the event!! Re-united with my wildwater boat from Europe.......aaaahhhh.

Training at Eildon 1st-2nd Jan:
Quite tired from the Murray and the water very low, but got through my sessions to cap off my preparation for wildwater nationals. Took delivery of my new Dagger Nomad 8.5 - swwwwweeeeeeeetttttt!! There's a picture of a sunset over the the slalom course at Eildon above.

Wildwater Nationals 7th-11th Jan:
Had some top times with my travelling companions on the road - Stew Bennett and Chris Blackaby. Had a personal best nationals with results of 4th (sprint 1), 2nd (classic 1), 1st (teams with Dan Hall and Stewart Bennett), 2nd (classic 2) and 2nd (sprint 2). My percentages off the winner Dan (who won all the races) in classic were the smallest they have ever been, so I feel I'm heading in the right direction.

Fitness testing at Tas. Institute of Sport 12th Jan:
Improvement in my wattage in maximal 4min effort by over 12%!!

TEVA Cataract Extreme racing 13th-14th Jan:
Good competition this year with 2 x New Zealand paddlers coming over (including slalom ex-Olympian Donald Johnstone - DJ - who raced Cataract in 1992 at a World Cup slalom event held there) and a contingent of mainland paddlers including 2 x current Australian slalom team members Lachie Milne and Rob Parker, also Ben Patrick who is no slouch at slalom either! I teamed up with Tanya Faux to come third in the longer Saturday race, was great to paddle with you Tanya! Had a great run through the head-to-head heats on Sunday to arrive at the final unbeaten, but a mistake half-way down the course as I tried to play catch-up saw me finish 2nd to Dan again! Hats off to him.

My brother Andrew did really well too, 2nd place Saturday teamed with Stew, and 4th place Sunday! 3rd place on Sunday was New Zealand's Donald Johnstone - see you in New Zealand soon DJ!

Now back at work for a few weeks until I fly over to New Zealand for the TEVA Wairoa Extreme Race on Feb 10th-11th. Dagger have very kindly offered me some much-needed cash to contribute to my airfare for this trip, so thanks a heap Dagger and I will paddle my arms off for you at the race!

The 2nd picture above is from the TEVA Cataract Extreme head-to-head day on Sunday. Look at that beautiful boat!!

More soon,


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Welcome to Toad's Wildwater Adventures

Hi all,

My name's Ben Maynard, toad to my family and friends. Actually, my family and friends is one of the reasons I'm setting up this blog - instead of sending lots of emails (or forgetting to) I can update everyone with the blog and save lots of time!

Anyways, the other reason of course is kayaking. I've been kayaking since 1996 and seem to travel around a lot as a result of that and see lots of stuff that not everyone has the chance to, so I thought I'd share that with you. I have been competing in the sport of wildwater kayaking at an international level since 1997, representing Australia as a junior that year and '98, and as a senior also in '98, '99, '00, '04 and '06. I'm just getting serious about it again after university between '00 and '03 going crazy. Hopefully with this blog I can share with you my goals, competitions, experiences, highs and lows, and some great images of some of the best scenery in the world. In a lighthearted way of course!! Also some of my mates have set up blogs themselves and I've gotta keep up with the times......

Wildwater kayaking to me is the ultimate sport, but at the same time one of the simplest. Person, kayak, river, stopwatch. Competitiors time-trial down a stretch of river for anywhere between 2 ("sprint") and 20 ("classic") minutes. How you get from A to B on the river is up to you! Wildwater combines incredible fitness demands, finesse and skill like few other sports. It's all action!

The picture above is from this years Wildwater World Cup, race 2 (sprint) in Mezzana, Italy. The day before I had finished 19th in race 1, the classic race, my personal best placing and something to improve upon in the next few years!

A big thank-you to my current sponsors:

Tasmanian Institute of Sport -
Bis-Sport -
Dagger Australia -
Geelong Canoe Club -
Kayak4Play -

Hopefully I can add a few more to this list soon!

OK, hope you enjoy the blog and stay tuned for some more posts.