My First Trip as Trip Leader

18 Mar

Klanners in the Shark Hole - photo by Simon McGuire

Today I decided to fill in my Paddling Log for the NSW Seakayakers Club which I haven’t done since my Grade 2 paddles. To do this I had to go back through to the original posts on this blog to get details from my earliest trips. Back then every trip was an adventure and in some way pushed me further along the kayaker’s journey. Funny thing is just how lame these appear now. A windy day on Lake Macquarie was a big day out and fraught with peril. Contrast now. A week ago I paddled across the lake solo in a 20kn Southerly with a busted skeg and a bitch of a boat that loves to weathercock. Waves were breaking over the deck and I think there was something following me! It was cold and raining and there was no-one else on the lake other than more kayakers who I was heading to meet. No big deal. A lone tinny passed me and the owner asked if I was OK. “Yeah, why?” I replied between sips of my water bottle. He shook his head and raced off. A lot has changed. My boat and I have been through the wringer a few times and survived. We go into much more interesting water and the little things like a bit of wind no longer terrify.

I was filling in trip entries into the log but had forgotten how many trips we’ve done and not recorded because they are too routine. The Spoon Rocks trip we do once took serious planning but I whizz down there by myself now. I’m not being complacent just pleased with my progress. Now, in the klan, there are a lot of new members and many haven’t been out into the sea. They joined to get that experience and so I decided to take them down to Spoon Rocks for their first trip.

The difference this time is that I was the trip leader. I had to do the float plan and briefing. I had to watch everyone and make sure they not only returned safely but had a good time doing so. It’s quite a responsibility and you can sea why the NSW club puts so much emphasis on getting things right.

Anyway, the trip went pretty smoothly and we all had fun in the Shark Hole and Sea Caverns. We had lunch and tried each other’s boats and all returned greatly edified. It was also good to have done this with Simon Maguire and John Anderson as the three of us are the original members of the Hunter Kayak Klan. A pity that John and I got sea sick in the oily swell but our greater experience meant that no-one knew. John beached to prevent a worsening condition and I drank some sea water to vomit up my breakfast on the deck. MacDonalds before a trip is just plain wrong. Don’t do it.


Gavin and Dolphins. They made his day. - photo by Simon McGuire

I’m pleased with where I am right now. I am good in the sea and mostly good in the surf. I’m not great at long distances but don’t care either. My strokes are strong and reliable and I go where a lot of others won’t. The thing that bugs me more than anything though is that I cannot roll despite the best efforts of Graeme and Owen. Owen has ambitions to be the klan’s first instructor but my defiance of his rolling instruction must irk him as much as my failure irks me. I told Rob Mercer about this and he said he was in the zone for getting his students rolling. I think I will break him.



Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Kayaking Life


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5 responses to “My First Trip as Trip Leader

  1. Simon McGuire

    March 19, 2011 at 8:40 am

    It was a good day indeed Brad. Definitely should run more trips like this one for the newbies. I really enjoyed it, there is nothing like sharing your passion with others.
    The challenge has been set for Rob, cause I have lost my roll as well.

  2. gnarlydog

    March 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    nothing gets you rolling faster than a “stick”(Greenland paddle).
    Just saying…. 🙂

  3. John Anderson

    March 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

    It was a nice trip, just a shame there weren’t any waves to break up that oily swell.

    How’s about some perfect rolling practice at RnR. Contrary to popular belief practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. With a complex movement like rolling practicing the individual movements correctly is important if you’re going to string them together successfully.

  4. Owen Walton

    March 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Brad – I fear old Father Time will have a big say in me becoming an Instructor. Rather, I’m just interested in helping out if/where I can.
    There is no doubt however, that a large number of paddlers in this area are now much better/safer/more experienced because of the presence of the Klan. For this, we all thank you.

  5. Owen Walton

    March 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Just a point on Gnarlydog’s comment on rolling and GPs. I don’t necessarily fully agree with “gets you rolling faster” but I believe there is no doubt it gets you rolling better. By that I mean that you just can’t grab a big handful of water like an Euro or Wing paddle and “muscle up”; with the GP you have to use the correct technique (crunch, sweep, knee lift).


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