Today I paid a visit to Gosford to buy some stuff and visit two well known kayaking shops; Southern Adventures and Pete Clark’s Kayaking World, both on Mann’s Road. I bought my Ecobezhig from Anton at Southern Adventures and I took the opportunity to say hello and pick up some odds and ends. Apparently they are now running their own paddling club for recreational paddlers so I’ll keep you informed when I get some details. Their store is packed with boats after the buy-out of Blue Water Kayaks in Newcastle. I love browsing around these stores and I usually buy something.
The purpose of this blog is not to promote one business over another or even to have any commercial interest at all, even though retail and marketing is my profession. But the success of the sport rests on three pillars: the paddlers, the clubs and the businesses. The stores I know are run by paddlers who are making a go of it commercially. Paddlers need to support these businesses and the businesses need to engage more fully with the clubs and paddlers. It’s hard for the clubs to stay independent of commercial interests but they need strong commercial support to flourish. It’s a balancing act.
Derrick Mayoleth from Wisconsin and Douglas Wilcox from Scotland have kindly supported me by putting a link to my decidedly average blog onto their own brilliant sites. The appalling thing is that mine is the only Australian blog listed on Douglas’s and one of two on Derrick’s. This is a dreadful presence for Oz paddling. If you look at Kayak Quixotica there is (or was) a world ranking of where Derrick’s hits are coming from and Australia is usually 3rd. So it’s not like there’s no interest. We are the greatest sporting nation in the world and we are girt by sea remember!!! My own club, the NSW Seakayaking Club has great paddlers, a decent web-site, good training programmes and annual events, a magazine and dedicated people running the show but it is totally out of touch with modern communications and is suffering as a result. They are just not seeing the damage. Get a blog, it’s free. Get a MySpace presence or at the very least don’t hide your bloody details on the forum you registered to. It’s not that scary. Please click and read kayaking blogs and make a comment. Let us know you exist. If you’re reading this click on my links and read other blogs. The two I mentioned are fantastic.