Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sea Kayak - Not Just a Toy

The NSWSKC held its annual Rock'n'Roll Weekend at Umina on the central coast. A few of us decided to paddle up. Fortunatly I live within portaging distance of the harbour at Glebe so I could avoid driving to the launch. As my neighbours left for work I left for four days of kayak paddling, kayak talking, kayak gawking and, well kayaking everything.

Sea Kayak - A viable means of transport

After surviving the ferries I met Mark Schroeder at Watsons Bay and we paddled out The Heads. As there was a strong wind warning it ended up being just the two of us.

out to sea

Once outside we had a solid SE wind of between 15 & 20 Knots, a good following sea also helped push us along. It took 6 hours 30 minutes to get to Pearl Beach where we gorged ourselves.

The kayak fest at Maitland Bay the next day

Larry Gray demonstrates an exotic stroke

I decided to join a trip with Paul Loker to Palm Beach. A gentle paddle . . . . perhaps not.

Tony Murphy demonstrates some superb bracing as he gets side surfed into the beach. He made it without going over.
My own beach landing was similar: Paddled into the "zone". Look behind, too big let it pass, jeez these are big. I thought this was going to be an easy day. NOW - GO, paddle like hell, look behind, OH shit, crunch time! I paddle hard, the wave breaks just behind me, I feel the boat being sucked back but keep paddling until I'm sucked into the white water, boat is on edge and braced hard into the wave, somehow I end up facing out to sea as the next wave hits this time sucking me into a brace on the other side where I side surf in, similar to Tony, onto the sand.

Oddly enough the rest of the group decides not to follow us in and so they paddle over to the southern corner where they land. Paul Loker comes back and lands in the middle of the beach where Tony and I are staring at the surf trying to work out how we are going to get out. He follows my trajectory almost exactly, surfs in, broaches right, spins to face out to sea, broaches left and ends up in reverse at the very end.

Paul Loker is still in there - somewhere
The sets are quite big and the breakers are a long way off the beach. Its hard to pick a line out. It would be highly likely that we'd be surfed backwards if we tried to punch out so we portage the three boats to the southern corner, have lunch and paddle out from the protected corner. So much for the gentle paddle!

Monday Morning and Cathy Miller, Mark Schroeder and I head back home.
This time we have a head wind of between 10 & 12 knots, building sea and a bit of swell. My barometre is dropping and the clouds spell "wind". We set a good pace, do not land and rarley stop.

I get the best welcome home ever from Megs & Amy after exactly 8 hours & 50 km

One last push/pull and I'm home - no car used all weekend!
So a sea kayak really can be used as a vehicle. It could be the answer to the troubled Sydney Ferries, scrap them and build kayak lockers at Circular Quay, now wouldn't that be progressive!

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