Over the past few months I've been chatting to a couple of paddlers with a trip or two coming up. They are Ben Woodcock & David Williamson, sea kayakers from South Australia.
Have you heard of them? Unless you've been around a while or are an active paddler around Adelaide I wouldn't have thought so. In fact, I when I realised who David was I called he & Ben 'the blokes that nobody knows about', much to his amusement.
A few years ago, with little fanfare, in a bog standard plastic double, they managed to paddle from New Caledionia to Australia, one of the all-time epic trips in a sea kayak. I found the story on the internet called something like 'staff trip from Noumea', on a long since expired web page. Try as I might, I can't find the gripping trip report anywhere else on the web & the guys aren't sure where it's gone either…
Earlier this year they paddled from Australia, 700km to East Timor (there's a link to that story HERE).
Early next year, Ben & another paddling mate Lachie Harvey are planning a full circumnavigation of Tassie, with a western Bass Strait crossing to start things off, & a cruisy Eastern Bass crossing to finish. You can read about that trip HERE, with route maps (HERE), a link to a Spot tracker & heaps of info on their preparation etc.
And in 2013, Ben & Dave are planning a trip from New Zealand back to Australia, via Norfolk & Lord Howe Islands, something Ben described to me as a 'long island hop'. Again they'll be in a standard double kayak with the front bulkhead removed and sea sock fitted, with a material hatch cover for conversion to sleeping space in the front.
These guys are the real deal in a sport that to an extent has become hijacked by a culture that seems to value self promotion more than actual achievement. In the footsteps of the likes of Laurie Ford, Jeff Jennings, Tony Gaiswinkler, Dave Winkworth, Peter Carter, Les Allen, Andy McAuley and now Stuart Trueman, Ben & Dave continue the tradition of bold adventure on the sea.
I hope their profile can be raised a little based as it should be on merit, and people will keep an eye on their travels & lend support.