Monday, 15 February 2016

Makai Cup - A Cracker....

Each year the good people from Makai Paddlers, based in Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast, run an ocean race along their stretch of pristine coastline.

It's built up from humble beginnings 5 years ago, to probably the most polished and fun ocean race, both from the perspective of the seamless organisation & the race course itself, inevitably downwind, from one picturesque seaside fishing town to another. 
They make it a weekend so they can pick the eyes out of the weather, because they're locals they know when it should start, and maybe it was a fluke but this year they even had us starting over the Sussex Inlet bar on a swift flood tide, which took the chance of a surf trashing out of the equation.
I decided to make a camping weekend of it & took Nic & the kids down to stay at the sponsor's accommodation, the Big 4 Holiday park at Burril Lake. It's one of my favourite little hamlets, being the venue many moons gone, for our annual post-uni week of celebration. What I can remember of them anyway....!
My Dolls Point buddy Daniel
We had a great play on the beach at Dolphin Point with the kids Saturday morning, then Nic was kind enough to drive Daniel & I north to Sussex Inlet for the start.
The briefing was short & clear, there were eleven safety boats out on the course as well as two helicopters, which was pretty damn cool. We were given high-vis vests to wear, which made for a striking lineup as we drifted down the inlet for the race start.  
The race headed south east on a quartering sea, with about 20 knots and barely any swell. When we reached the turn can, only really a few degrees of adjustment to head south, conditions lined us up nearly plumb to the finish line at Ulladulla Harbour.

The next 90 minutes whistled past in a blur of runners and troughs, wind blowing the tops off the waves, about as good as it gets. I was paddling the Fenn Elite S, a ski that really I don't have much right to be paddling in a long ocean race like this, but it looked after me and showed me a few glimpses of what these sleek machines can deliver. 
Damo & his mate on the Thundercat loomed up beside me a few times, usually to shout out 'yyeeeeewwww' as I hooked into a runner, always reassuring to see the support boats out there on the big blue especially as you start to tire. Hopefully the the short video above captures a bit of the action on the sea, bloody hell it was good fun.
All too soon the finish loomed on the sand inside the harbour, & we all then adjourned to the Boardwalk Cafe for some extremely cold beer and swapped tall tales of the race.
The entire experience was brilliant, for me a lovely weekend away with the family at a place I love, a well run, challenging and friendly race, with a good party to wind it up. An added bonus at the presentation was my eldest daughter Kiri meeting current World Surfski champ Teneale Hatton, who was very generous with her time & made Kiri's weekend. Great for young girls to see such inspiring role models I reckon.
If you're looking for a great surfski experience and willing to do the work you need to do to successfully run a course like this, you couldn't imagine a better weekend.
Well done to the Makai folks for putting such a great show, see you next year.

Friday, 12 February 2016

The BigFoot Kayak Pump Kit

If you're like me, the idea of going out and collating the parts for a reliable bilge pump, let alone actually installing it, are enough to make me procrastinate to the point where I eventually outsource the task (usually to my slightly cantankerous business partner....)

The combination of electrics, drilling holes, fixing brackets etc is daunting for the less able among us!

We've sought to alleviate the stress with the release of our latest BigFoot product, the BigFoot Kayak Pump Kit. Following on from the successful local design of our footplates for both skeg & rudder boats, and in keeping with their simplicity of form, function and importantly installation, the pump kit offers an excellent, practical hands-free electric pump without the stress.

When you open the package the first thing you will notice is that most of the work is already done;  the pump bracket, box bracket, magnetic switch assembly and outlet fittings are all custom made specifically for this kit and they are shaped and  pre-drilled to save the hours of effort that are usually required to just to make standard parts work in a sea kayak and once the parts are fitted, there are only two wires to crimp to complete the wiring. Battery connectors, fuse holder and reed connections are already done for you. The kit comes with all fasteners, crimps and even a small tube of Sikaflex to seal everything as you fix it in place.

At the heart of this kit is a robust  sealed magnetic reed switch that doesn't need a relay. The absence of a relay greatly simplifies the electrical elements of the system, by eliminating a number of vulnerable soldered components. We believe this is the single greatest point of difference from any pump system we've seen over the years.  

Brackets are specifically designed to be used as templates so you can set out everything precisely for drilling without needing any extra measuring tools. 

The kit is designed to work with an inexpensive 2.2AH SLA battery readily available from you local battery stockist, hobby shop or electronics store.

You can order now from our online store for $390 HERE.

Bass Strait by Sea Kayak - Ocean Paddler Magazine Article

Rob's article on our Bass Strait crossing was published in the UK paddling mag Ocean Paddler a couple of months back, and they'v...