Saturday, 22 June 2013

Paddling, what's to love...?

Inspired by a wonderful final column in today's Sydney Morning Herald from iconic sports journo Richard Hinds, I've put together a list of the thinks I love about paddling....

The snap of my spray deck as I clip it on before pushing off the beach.
The agonising pause as you look down a wave and realise you've probably taken off on the wrong spot.
Rebound, especially when it's industrial strength rebound.
The look on the face of someone who's paddled out into sea conditions they couldn't have imagined ever being in the middle of, when they actually start to enjoy it (usually a short time lag between getting into it, and the enjoyment part).
The sun rising over a calm sea.

The sun rising over an absolute cranking sea, or at least a vague idea of when its rising, because you can't see it. Spray, wind, everywhere mayhem, and the day is only starting.
The unforgettable feeling of commitment and awe when you look around for the first time, and realise you can't see land in any direction.

Paddling for hours and hours in a big following sea.

Whales. Wow.

The bizarre emotion when you realise you've landed through the surf and haven't had to pay the ferry man. Relief or joy? Discuss....
Thinking you're pretty sh*t hot, and moments later getting sucked clean out of your cockpit by a breaking wave that feels like its going to strip the flesh off your bones (see above).
The warped paddler humour that comes only after you get done over by hubris.....again....

Smugglers on the ski, combined with a well angled GoPro.
Teasing Mercer about his hat, among other things.

Cracking your first roll in the surf.

Seeing a mate crack their first roll in the surf, a very empowering moment.
Ninety second rides on the Bundeena Bar.

Beating my Thursday morning time by four seconds. In fact, beating anything....

The shared satisfaction of planning and executing something big (or not so big) with your mates.
The unique cacophony of a sea cave.
North Reef.
The unrivalled ability of the sea to make you feel very, very, very small.

The instant gratification that comes with a real adventure sometimes only being a mile from your put-in. No plane trips, air fares, or weeks off work required.
Most importantly, the people with whom I'm lucky enough to get out and experience it all. What's any experience if you can't share it with others...?

And finally, the realisation that I could go on for hours with this list. Maybe you can help me out in finishing it....?

**I'll update any Facebook contributions on the blog some time over the next week or so. Our Facebook page is HERE, it seems a lot easier to make comments there than through the clunky blog procedure!


  1. The two painkillers and a snooze following a long layoff!!!! (memo to self - must paddle more so it hurts less!!)

  2. Facebook comments:

    Owen: Keeps me (sort of) young!

    Greg: Love all those things but the one thing that keeps me coming back for more is one of the simplest, I just love the feel of one paddle stroke following another, the rhythm, the technical aspect of the paddle stroke, feeling the body working and trying to be efficient, this is what brings me back to the water every day, doesn't matter how fast or slow I am or where I'm paddling, every day is very very satisfying to my soul.

    David: Looking at what was supposed to be up, and realising you can see the sea floor….

    Steve: Looking down through crystal clear water to the sea floor.

    Garry: I love that I can go explore, learn, exercise & fish in piece and tranquility.. at bugger all cost. Unlike a Jet Ski / Motor Boat.


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