Tuesday, 10 December 2013

An Afternoon with the Big O

We had a rare treat yesterday afternoon, in the form of a paddle clinic from 12-time Molokai world surfski champion Oscar Chalupsky.
A crew of 16 paddlers, all except one of whom were essentially sea kayakers who have gotten into surfski in the past couple of years, took part in the three hour session where Oscar covered the basics of forward stroke for surkski, remounts, and a broad history of the evolution of the wing paddle. In essence, he gave us a pointed, simple lesson on biomechanics, and their application to maximising your forward paddling efficiency & balance, for paddling surfski in the environment for which they were designed, the ocean.

Everyone had a great go, with plenty of capsizes - facilitating remount practice, of course - and equal measures of shared laughs & grim determination to master the series of drills Oscar challenged us to complete.
From my own perspective, a few vital points of Oscar's teaching have made me think hard about the bits of my own forward stroke that are effective, and the bits that might look good but not be adding too much to the equation. In many ways it was confronting to be presented with a biomechanically sound alternative to something I've drilled into myself, which done properly should add to my ocean paddling, with the prerequisite hard work to change old muscle memory & habits. It's great to be challenged, there isn't any point to this paddling caper if we're not continually learning.

Afterwards we adjourned to the newly renovated Watson's Bay Hotel & enjoyed a great meal, some ice cold beers & a two hour Q&A with Oscar on his lifetime of paddling adventures. Purely & simply, a beaut arvo on the water, followed by a gem of an evening in the pub.
Thanks to Oscar & his lovely wife Clare for coming across to do the clinic, and to all of the plucky participants.


  1. Great day - even the storm couldn't spoil it. Learned a lot about paddling and a bit about Rock'n'Roll.

  2. Thanks Mark and Rob for an excellent event and organisation. Oscar Chalupsky


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