Well it’s over for another year. The NSW Seakayaking Club’s annual event was held at Umina on the NSW Central Coast and it would be hard to find a better venue. The Ocean Beach Holiday Park was the host venue and it’s great. Right on the beach and with outstanding facilities. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have my leave confirmed till a week before the start so I had no accommodation booked and had to live out of my Volvo for two days. Not a big problem but it meant I was separated from the central activities and had to walk a good half mile to get things I needed. Anyhow…what do you do?
There was a good turnout of trade exhibitors/sponsors and they were getting good interest from the paddlers so hopefully it translated into sales for them. It did for Rafta kayaks as fellow Hunter Klansman, Simon, bought a fully rigged Sea Leopard II. This prompted me to confirm my purchase of the Impex Assateague from Expedition Kayaks I’ve been focused on since last RnR. I got to paddle it again on a trip with Mark Sundin out to Lion Island where we did some practice in a following sea. Mark’s a great instructor and I got a lot out of this shortish trip. We drilled getting onto the swell and then went out to the Eastern face of Lion Island where there was a 2 metre swell. I managed to catch a large wave that ran on for quite a long way before trying to dump me out. A quick low brace and everything was tickety-boo. If I were in the Eco, I probably would have had a swim.
Next day Chris James took us out to Box Head which has a notorious reputation for filthy conditions. It was certainly messy for me but the local paddlers said it was flat. Hmmm. Out around Lion Island again then coffee at the lovely Pearl Beach where the rich laze about or park their yachts. We parked six seakayaks right in the middle of them all then traipsed sand and water through a local cafe.
That afternoon I took a session with the very famous and idiosyncratic, Larry Gray, designer of the Pittarak. An awesome experience but ultimately not otherwise fruitful as Larry’s astonishing style seems to revolve around the design of his boats. There’s no question he is gob-smackingly good at kayaking and he is the real deal as an adventurer but I doubt most of us could accomplish his techniques in the boats we used. He did totally inspire me to work on bracing and boat control.
I was disappointed to have not gone on Stefan Meyn’s trip to the Rip Bridge but I was temporarily caught short of gear. Next time. Stefan is very knowledgable and I feel I missed out on some good tips on working eddies and rips.I might engage him to take the clan to do this trip sometime soon.
The club ought to be congratulated on another successful event. It is well run and safe. Bravo! I look forward to RnR as one of the highlights of my year so I hope it grows better and better. Our clan will hopefully be better prepared for 2010 and represent ourselves in a more ostentatious manner.