Wednesday 14 December 2011

Paddling against the flow

I had a demo paddle scheduled early this morning down at the picturesque Swallow Rock Reserve in Port Hacking. Arriving a bit early planning a fitness paddle before the demo, I had a choice, paddle down to Bundeena & go for a surf on the bar, or go upstream to Audley, a 6km return trip on glassy flat water.
Deciding variety is the spice of life, & opting for a 'form' session, a cruisy 40 minutes where I just concentrate purely on my stroke, I headed for the Audley Weir, in the Royal National Park.
The river valley is a gem, with shallow oyster beds passing below the tannin stained water, white sandy slivers of beach backed by Sydney's iconic sandstone strata.
I chugged up to the weir to find it expelling the heavy rainfall from the Hacking River at a great rate. I messed around in the outgoing flow for a few minutes, paddling against it like one of those space-challenged swimmers with a BaduStream. Wing paddles are not the most sensible choice in aerated water, relying as they do on a good catch to start things off, & I had a few underwater airswings. I video'd the little outflow above, minutes of amusement!
I also got a nice little bonus on my return to Swallow Rock when Olympic kayaker Tony Schumacher was setting up at the car park for his morning training paddle. I introduced myself & we shot the breeze for a few minutes on ski & racing boat designs & his thoughts on what works & what doesn't. One of my mottos in life is that you never get better information about things you don't know too much about until you talk to people that do, & Tony knows his stuff, as you'd expect!

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