Monday 19 November 2018

South to the Surf Coast & the Prom.

Last week Rob & I made our annual trip south to spend a few days with the Victorian Sea Kayak Club at their annual Blue Water Weekend.
Held once again at the beautiful Barwon Heads, we were favoured by the weather gods & enjoyed three days paddling the crystal blue waters of the coast in beaming sunshine.

Our Friday coaching clinics were again well attended, with the ever-popular forward paddling morning followed by a more eclectic boat control session in the afternoon.

We had our mate Tim Pearse along to help out on the water, which is always much appreciated when group numbers are higher.

After a spectacular Friday night feed of mussels I got to go for a Saturday morning paddle with Peter Sharp & his group, a meander south to 13th Beach & back.

Along the way I chatted to most of the people out on the water, including a couple of dudes in a positively prehistoric Roscoe Double who paddled all the way to Cape York beyond.

I love the idea that there are still paddlers out there pushing it, taking on big, committing trips to wild places, and they had some good yarns to share. It's always a pleasure to get out on the water for just a paddle with club paddlers.

No coaching, no racing, no big stuff, no downwinders, just a gentle cruise along a coastline in the company of like-minded souls.

Rob ran a clinic in the arvo on weather observations, using a series of films & photos showing varying wind, sea & swell states & pitting teams against one another to see who could identify the likely conditions in the images. It was well received & had a few people scratching their heads!
Saturday night the second annual Mick MacRobb trophy for the best photo of the year was awarded to Pete Wilson, with a cracking shot that would surely have made Mick happy.
On the Sunday I ran a clinic on movie editing & structure, not because I'm qualified to of course, but just as a guide to putting together a kayaking movie sharing my own way of doing things. The result of the clinic is the movie below, put together from go to who in about 45 minutes, from footage shot over the preceding couple of days.

The end of the Blue Water Weekend usually heralds our return to Sydney, but this year Beau Miles had invited us to come along to his International Sea Kayak Educators Symposium at Wilson's Promontory, to run  day of 'master classes' for the assembled guides, instructors, students & coaches.

Whilst being a little nervous about spending a day trying to telling some pretty good paddlers how to suck eggs, we were nonetheless completely blown away by the beauty and majesty of the western side of the Prom & Tidal River in particular.

Monday dawned bright & very breezy, and we cast a suspicious eye over a set of lenticular shaped clouds that had settled over the top of the nearby Mt Oberon.

The last time we had seen anything like that was on Mt Strzlecki on Flinders Island & they sent bullets of 40kn winds careening into our faces for a couple of hours, but Beau assured us the wind was easing & we'd be right.
So it proved, as we ran a morning & afternoon session with 20 paddlers in each, with a couple of surf launches & landing in each for good measure. The Tidal River surf was so good we wondered whether we should have just chucked in the lesson plan & gone for a play instead, but it probably wasn't a good idea with such a big group.
Paddlers out for the day with us ranged from destinations as far flung as Norway, Germany, Hong Kong, Jersey, Ireland, the US & New Zealand, and it was a privilege to shoot the breeze & share some ideas with such a diverse bunch of people.
Our route home along the east coast took us through Pambula for an evening of kangaroos & oysters, past a lifetime of sea paddling destinations, memories of trips & days on the water and tall tales of the sea. We're lucky buggers.

Thanks to the good folks of the Victorian SKC, welcoming as always & a lot of fun. Beau & his merry gang put on a very professional show at the ISKES event, if you're looking for something comprehensive & engaging to advance your sea kayak teaching then it's on again in Boston in 2020 (

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