Monday, March 31, 2008

Since My Last Posting.....

Below are some recent pics taken around Sydney during training sessions over the last fortnight.
Cronulla Beach had a gentle spilling wave ideal for learning to surf.
Tony caught this wave a little early and discovered what happens after the bow disappears.
He handled the resulting vertical manouver nicely landing in a compact braced position complete with grin.
Just wish I had managed the camera as well.

A smaller wave and more speed - this time Tony avoids the 'endo'.
But only just.

Tim tries a roll off Jibbon beach.
Note that although the boat is almost upright Tim's head is just leaving the water.
A successful roll with out resorting to brute strength

Behind this mysterious mask is a big grin because Terry has just passed his Australian Canoeing 'Sea Skills' award.
Congratulations TJ!

Fellow instructor Mark Sundin on a recent NSWSKC trip to Little Bay and return with some rescue training and a picnic lunch.
Mark always looks so happy in his boat.

Seated in a kayak, with the sea breeze in your face, it is hard to imagine there is a major capital city just around the corner.

Kate enjoys the scene as she waits for the group to catch up.

Ian turns his back on the big end of town.
Nice boat.

Cruising in on the back of a wave for a well earned lunch, cuppa and debrief.
Another hard day at "the office".

A late afternoon shower to wash the salt away
Cags and lights are going on earlier each week.

The days when the orthodox approach to sea kayaking required long paddles with slender flat blades are behind us.
Chris uses a relatively short 'wing' paddle whether he is paddling his racing K1 on flatwater or a sea kayak in open water.
Note: torso rotation and posture.

After a surprise capsize, Alan sets up for a reenter and roll.

As the Bureau says:"waves may be up to twice the height of averages given here."
(And this happens even on the 'flat' days.)

waiting for the next adventure?.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Royal Training Paddle

Sunday morning: boats are packed, charts consulted, forecasts reviewed and decisions made.

The possibility of a hard slog into a building headwind is accepted as a manageable risk. If conditions get too strong too early our "plan b"will involve a downwind run into Wattamolla.

Our first break is just after rounding Jibbon Head. From here we can see the bombora seething occasionally. Today we can safely run the gap between the cliffs and reef, and head south down the cliffs to Marley.

We check out the surf at Big Marley before a soft landing at Little Marley for lunch.

On the way home we practice rescues, rolling, and controlling our boats in the building breeze.

The group have never paddled the seacliffs of "The Royal" before and they are suitably impressed with the backdrop for today's training.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Surf and Sunsets

After recent heavy swells and cloudy conditions this week has been a welcome change of pace with blue skies and small, playful waves.

I have included a couple of images from this week's local adventures:

Matt Bezzina paddling a Valley Aquanaut through kinder waves than the monsters that "chundered" him a couple of weeks ago.

He was still a bit shaky yesterday so I think he will start reading Marine Charts and swell forecasts before deciding to take any "shortcuts" in the future. I am glad he "got back on the (sea) horse".

Early evening checking for shipping traffic before crossing Sydney Heads.

Alan is pointing towards the city skyline.

This is about as good as it gets...........

Monday, March 3, 2008

Rolling Part 1

It is easy to do but sometimes tricky to learn. How many other times in your life have you been required to solve a three dimensional puzzle while sitting upside down, underwater on one breath? Until you can do it, rolling has a Houdini like quality. In reality it is just another stroke, but without it, the whole busines of paddling rough water is riskier and less fun.

Last week I taught The "C to C" and "layback" as well as my usual "Sweep and Brace" Technique.
The age range and physical attributes of people wanting to roll has increased so it makes sense to 'customise techniques to suit the paddler.
Chris and Rob are doing the "C toC ", Matt, Terry and Donne are doing the "Sweep", John is doing the extended paddle or "pawlata" roll and Daniel and Tim are doing the "layback".
The cold weather and rain didnt stop a single lesson and they are all rolling!

Last Week

Tuesday 26
As we rounded North Head the extent of the storm became more obvious. Somewhere towards Cronulla bolts of lightning were cutting through the overcast with growing intensity.
The storms we had all expected to move North over Western Sydney were now moving in long line towards the North East. The city skyline faded into the deluge and, to seaward, the high bruised clouds matched pace, engulfing Bondi and the Ben Buckler cliffs.........It was all coming our way.
The options - try to outrun it across Sydney Heads or head back into Manly, away from our launch point to see what would happen next.
The Manly option took us further away from home but also a safe distance from the storm we couldnt beat.
Standing on the beach at Little Manly we looked back in the general direction of the cloud obscured city and watched the show.
In the aftermath we paddled home in darkness with the dual legacy of this serious weather; a lightning- fractured sky to make us humble and a building headwind to make us hungry.