Another great Rock n Roll just finished. At Batemans Bay again which is a great spot with loads of paddling options and great facilities at the Batemans Bay Beach Resort. It really is the highlight of the year for me and this is my fifth Rock n Roll now. Each year things seem to change a lot. Here’s a list of observations that stuck in my mind:
- It was the friendliest RnR I’ve been to. Far less cliquiness than ever before.
- A massive Klan presence which made for a very social event because we are the funnest kayakers ever.
- The boat mix was different than previous years. Many more plastic boats which are now seen as a valuable alternative.
- More trade presence. Naturally, Expedition Kayaks were central but Mirage were there as were Hybrid and Flat Earth Sails.
- Trips were more diverse. The normal trips to Toll Gate Islands and Northern and Southern beaches were on but so were good trips to rock gardens and surf. Good to see.
- A massive overall attendance. There were 160 registered paddlers so the Club must be doing something right. Well done NSW Seakayak Club!
Negatives? Not many but my main disappointment was the social events were not as full-on as they could have been. I don’t blame the club here because they organized the Saturday night dinner and guest talks. Expedition Kayaks have their Beer and Pizza Friday but nothing on Sunday other than Stu Truman’s talk which was great but could have been included in a wider social event. This is a good opportunity for the klan to step in and do a Sunday night soiree.
The Club organized really good guests. We had Jim Kakuk from the Tsunami Rangers, Richard Barnes the omnipaddler and Stu Truman who is paddling around Australia unassisted. Each did a talk and they were all great. Jim talked about the formation of the Tsunami Rangers and their style of paddling which was of great interest to me because this is what I would like to do with my paddling. Most Club members are still fixated on the extended trip and expedition work and seem to devalue the fun of wild water sea kayaking. A pity really because for me, an awesome couple of hours in the surge beats endless hours of slog going from here to there.
Richard Barnes gave a talk on trying all the different paddle sports. He has 30 Hawkesbury Classics under his belt as well as Murray Marathons and pretty well every thing else you can do in a kayak or canoe. Stu Truman is a living legend and made a quick stop from his voyage around the country to give a talk on his progress. He is the archetypal Sea Dog and an hilarious speaker.
As mentioned above, the trips were good but on Saturday the customary Toll Gate Islands trip was canceled due to bad winds which would have made it a hard grind with no fun reward at the islands. In place were good trips around the coastline among the excellent rock gardens. I went out with Chris James who is a favourite trip leader of mine and had some fun in the rocks. Unfortunately, I was in a pretty poor state having not paddled for weeks and my effort was pretty poor. As usual, Chris was attentive but my only real problem was appalling physical condition.
On Sunday, went on a trip to the same rock gardens with Jim Kakuk, Laurie Geoghegan, John Wild, Richard Barnes, Paul Tobin and Mick MacRobb. Pretty awesome company. I was joined by my old klan cobber John Anderson and we returned to shore with a significant skill upgrade. Only two trips for me which is a profound disappointment but my poor fitness didn’t allow much more. I am resolve to be in prime condition next year.
I also didn’t test any boats. There were some I wanted to try but I find the whole thing depressing since I am perpetually broke and it only leads to a disconnect with my Assateague. Rather, I checked out one of Laurie Geoghegan’s custom seats and will buy one. I also scored a new Sou’ Wester, a Hydrosilk and a Merino T-Shirt. Reviews to follow.
All in all, RnR was great. My performance was sluggish and that was a lesson learned. The Club is in really good shape as is the Klan so all is good in NSW paddling.