Friday 26 March 2010

Rock & Roll 2010

Another year, another Rock & Roll weekend, and they just seem to get better & better. This year the venue was changed to an old favourite in Bateman's Bay, right on Batehaven Beach, and once again we were blessed with ridiculously calm weather. This gave plenty of people the opportunity to get out to sea & the prize destination as always are the Tollgate Islands, about 6km off the coast.
On the Friday night the punters managed to demolish 40 Large pizzas & 8 cartons of beer in about 2 hours at our traditional EK Welcome to RnR Party. To say I enjoyed myself would be an as-ever modest understatement. There are several nameless club members who can only be described as VERY bad influences on young blokes like me....I've gotta get out more.
The movie below from our Vimeo channel is High Definition, for best results expand it to full screen.
Saturday was my session in the morning on forward stroke, with 10 people signed up for some heavy surgery on their rotation & stroke. Every time I teach forward stroke to a group, I'm reminded how difficult it is to re-learn if you weren't taught 'right' in the first place, and also how horrifying it is for most people when they see themselves on video. Most people watch my demo & think to themselves, 'yeah I'm pretty much doing that', only to see the video illustrating something rather different. To anyone considering getting into our sport or just starting out - read that as not yet ingrained with bad habits - go & get some instruction. Forward stroke is such a key element to paddling & most of the instruction done on it around the place is more 'correction' than instruction, if you know what I mean.
On Saturday night we were treated to young adventurer Beau Miles, who showed the video of his attempt to paddle the entire south coast of Africa. I'll be posting more on Beau & his fantastic, raw film in coming days. Suffice to say his presentation was fantastic, showing an adventure that was brave, terrifying at times & covered some stunning scenery. Beau's talk was preceded by the raffle, where our donation of a brand new Zegul 530 was won & celebrated.
I was taken to the Tollgates on the Sunday by Gina Shannon, doing some work experience on Trip Leading prior to her subsequent successful assessment on the Monday. 
Conditions were perfect, oily smooth water & a low rolling swell of less than a metre, so we managed to poke our noses into most of the caves & rock gardens on the island. Spinning around in my Aquanaut, manoeuvring in & out of tight spots & generally playing around in the little surges reminded me why I'm a sea kayaker, even though I'm having a fast & lustful affair with my surf ski....
The rolling competition on Sunday arvo was a huge amount of fun. Up & coming paddler Paul Tobin upstaged the big names with a performance of Greenland Rolling that deserves a spot in Circq de Soleil. I'm sure he could kiss his own arse if he tried hard enough, amazing...
On Sunday night Ginni Callahan showed us a glimpse of what it's like to be a Garlic farmer come sea kayak guide & instructor, living a life we could only dream of. Ginni did a great job over the weekend giving her perspective on skills & paddle strokes & came away with heaps of new fans. If you can make it to her sessions this weekend (only Sunday arvo left), it's well worth the effort.
Over the entire weekend our huge demo range - now 18 different boats - were paddled to death. It was great to see so many people out there trying new things, having a crack in a design they'd heard about to see if it was for them. Thanks so much to everyone who dropped by for a chat, or who bought some of our gear or paddles. As well as our stand there were terrific retail stands to ogle from Elver Kayaks, Mick at Flat Earth Sails, the iconic Australis Kayaks, Bob the legend from Rafta Kayaks, Gudu & a newcomer in Cape Boat Works with lovely looking timber kayaks. The feedback I get is that the growing retail presence at Rock & Roll is a highlight for many attendees, with gear to demo & buy all in one place, and the experts there to provide in-person advice.
So another one over for another paddling season, and 2011 to look forward to. Special thanks to Rob Richmond who ran the show so incredibly effectively. Richo is the king of the kayak symposium, and available for a deserved hefty consulting fee if you want him to come & run yours for you!


  1. Very cool Vid Mark..wish I was down for it
    Gary Forrest Sunshine Coast :-)

  2. Gazza, you would have been a welcome partner in crime. Great weekend mate, we'll have to try & match it up in Currumbin in October...


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