On returning from a leisurely paddle to the Tollgate islands off Bateman’s Bay, several kayakers positioned their kayaks s close as possible to a bombora 200 metres off North Head beach.
Why? The paddlers were suffering that common ailment –”surf-starvation”. These blokes ere desperate for a ride — any sort of ride — and were therefore willing to risk hitting the occasionally exposed reef for the localised but steepening wave that he underwater feature provided.
As the launch zone was only about two metres cross, it was difficult to stay in position to actually catch the wave. Norm Sanders was in position for the action shot of the day.
The wave came, the paddler on the bommie took off, cut to the left and ran across the foredeck and spray deck of another paddler. There was some contact between the surfing kayak and the body of the other paddler. Such was the speed of the collision there had been no time for evasive action, not even for a warning shout. The ‘surfer’ was Mark Pearson, the injured party was Jim Croft.
The injured party was somewhat aggrieved, and presented the following version of events through the Internet.
- The Place
- Bateman’s Bay
- The Incident
- L-plated Fish-Killer, in an Inuit Classic, dropping in, out of control, chickening out on a healthy left reef break and slicing over the fore deck of red Apostle which was fully in command of the wave face, inflicting untold physical and emotional damage to the mild mannered but deftly proficient paddler therein.
- The Diagnosis
- sub-periosteal haematoma on the proximal ulna, sub-periosteal haematoma on the third left costa, possible mild greenstick fracture to the same costa, damaged thoracic costal ligaments. Pneumothorax not indicated, but a possibility if the fracture is more severe than indicated by extemal examination.
- Advice to Travellers
- Do not go near the water when Fish-Killer is in possession of a kayak. Do not try to emulate what Fish-Killer does to, and in, ” his kayak”.
On hearing of the accusations, Mark Pearson responded with the following information.
“I had just borrowed Norm’s new carbon fibre/wood paddle. There I was, backpaddling, adjusting, holding my position in the zone, when the wave came. As it steepened, 12 inches of jagged rock suddenly appeared just in front and to my right. As I accelerated down the face I suddenly swung left as the wave broke over my aft deck. Suddenly there was some bloke right in front of me in one of those ugly plastic numbers.
I don’t know what he was doing there, because it sure wasn’t surfing. My kayak rode over his boat amidships, I remember my paddle hitting the back of his head really hard. There was also a dull thud (which I later realised was the impact of his bloated torso slamming into my port-side chine). I remember feeling sick in the stomach as I realised that Norm’s paddle might be damaged, but luckily it wasn’t.
After slowing down, I turned to check if the bloke’s head was OK. He said that his head was the only part not hurting.”
President Sanders Verdict
“Luckily, my photo has provided rare evidence as to guilt or innocence in a matter such as this. It clearly shows a bravely positioned Inuit Classic, breaking ot port, John Wilde’s Greenlander maintaining course, and a Dagger Apostle out to the right with no idea whatsoever. Infact, this craft was generally getting in the way and spoiling what would have been a damned good picture for my Inuit Classic advertising brochure!
“I therefore rule that the plaintiff was fully deserving of the injuries suffered. The position of his kayak showed at best poor judgement, but more probably malicious intent to spoil other paddlers fun. I further rule that Mr Croft publish a full apology for besmirching the surfing reputation of Mr Pearson without delay.
“I might add that I find it very disappointing that Mr Croft sees fit to so misrepresent this incident on the Internet, a medium where Mr Pearson is unable to defend himself (due to the lack of govermment funded software).
For a more accurate analysis of the events, see the letters page in the following issue of the Club magazine.