Flotsam and Jetsam [37]

It’s back! The human stories behind our BIG weekend… the characters, the personalities, who did it and who said it!


Dawn Saturday. A horde of commercial operations set up temporary ‘shopfronts’ on the tiny beach front of Honeymoon Bay. In no time space was at a premium and members found they had no room to park their kayaks.

Do I have a deal for you!

One paddler complained to Flotsam “you couldn’t walk around the beach without having a succession of pushy vendors tripping you up with their demo boats and shouting “clear ’em out .. clear ’em out, all with rudder” in your ear! And in dreadful Ocker accents too! Seriously, half a dozen jet skis speeding round Honeymoon Bay would have been less intrusive”.

Other paddlers agreed “these blokes make Cairo marketeers seem laid back … talk about pushy!”

What other colours do you have and is it safe for the kiddies?

Another female paddler told Flotsam that she was intimidated into buying a $2,000 32kg Dogyak 19.5 by a particularly overbearing and aggressive trader.

“I really had my heart set on an Inuit Classic because I really like the surf, but never mind” she sobbed as she tried in vain to lift the Dogyak onto her car.

There was also a rumour that an unfortunate non-paddling tourist from Queensland had been pressed into buying a Sea Slug Mk4 despite protesting that he suffered severe seasickness anytime he went on the water.

As the day wore on the competition to ‘sell, sell, sell’ led to ugly scenes. Several members complained of being dragged out of demo kayaks and forced into rival models as age-old jealousies amongst the spruikers came to the fore. One large paddler was unable to get himself out of a slim demo kayak he had been forced into, and had to be levered out slowly with the aid of a family-size tub of margarine and a large bladed paddle. “That was horrific,” said the large paddler “I was shit-scared they’d call the fire brigade and have to use the Jaws of Life to get me out”.

Whispers grew that commercial concerns now had a stranglehold on the annual Club event.

“Nobody’s going to tell me that money isn’t talking here,” said another club member “someone’s making a buck out of all this …”

To clarify who had sanctioned the commercial arrangements, Flotsam reporters approached President Sanders as he furtively packed away several brand new paddling items into his plush new 4-wheel drive.

Caught so utterly red-handed, Sanders pleaded “look, I’m just a poor old pensioner.. I’m doing it tough…. you must understand….”


He’s done it again! Jeff Blamey, the legendary ‘rag and bone’ man of sea kayaking, haggled hard to snap up all the gear at the Buy, Swap, and Sell session for rock bottom prices. True to form, he then set up his own stall near the beach to re-sell the very same items with his usual 50% mark-up! Mr Blamey again brazenly justified his actions “look, with the cash I make from this I’ll be able to get down on the beach and sell kayaks with my mates next year.” Asked if he would be doing any paddling during the weekend Mr Blamey retorted “Paddling …get real! Where’s the money in that…?”


It was noticeable that a number of ageing senior kayakers spent more time sitting in the shady fringe of Honeymoon Bay than paddling or rolling. Flotsam reporters also noted that the shady spots chosen were invariably adjacent to bikini-clad young ladies ….

Ever presence

Norm helps Dirk – forward paddling workshop

A variety of informative sessions were held throughout Saturday morning. Dirk Stuber gave a session on paddling technique, training and stretching. Dirk received unexpected assistance from Norm Sanders. Andrew Eddy then gave a session on using a GPS – like Dirk, Andrew found he had unplanned input and assistance from Norm Sanders. Gordon Carswell then gave a session on surfing skills, again assisted by many lively interruptions from Norm Sanders.

During the Meteorology presentation it was noticeable that Norm, after several early questions, suddenly became silent. But not due to exhaustion or laryngitis – it was later revealed that Mr Sanders had been gagged, tied up and placed at the back of the unlit marquee by concerned members of the Executive – apparently a desperate measure to protect the guest speaker from our obstreperous, interjectatious President.

Norm helps Andrew – GPS workshop

Norm helps Gordon – surfing skills workshop

The Big Chill

A fleet of about 26 boats headed off for the surf landings session, including most of the experienced paddlers. Unfortunately, such was the attraction of this event, Messrs Sanders and Winkworth were left with a queue of about 10 hopefuls waiting eagerly for rolling tuition.

A furious Mr Winkworth later described the situation as “a disgraceful abrogation of responsibility by our senior members”, adding, “they should be ashamed of themselves, every one of ’em”.

On return from Target Beach, one of the aforementioned paddlers retorted “if the Club wants me to stand groin deep in icy water for hours and hours it can damn well fork out for a wetsuit…. or Winkworth can kiss my warm, cosy arse”.


At an extraordinary post AGM hearing, paddler Stuart Truman found himself hauled before the Club’s Disciplinary Tribunal. The charge; attempting to aid a stricken Jet Skier, resulting in the destruction of a fine Greenlander on the rocks.

Head bowed and pleading for leniency, Mr Truman acknowledged that he had acted appallingly, but stated that, in a moment of misplaced humanity, he had feared for the life of the jet skier.

Sentencing Truman to 3 months hard labour (to be split between assembling/disassembling a Feathercraft and paddling a Tasman 19), with a non-roll period of one month, President Sanders reminded all Club members that Jet Skiers are the lowest form of life on the ocean (way below even Sea Cucumbers) and should be treated as such. President Sanders also stated that putting a sea-kayak in danger to help a Jet Skier was perhaps the greatest sin known to the paddling fraternity, and read from Section 34 Pt4(c) Schedule V of the Club Constitution;

“Should a member come across a dismounted Jet Skier, and that person is in distress, any request for assistance should be ignored. Should a dismounted Jet Skier try to climb aboard your kayak, it is appropriate to strike the person with the flat blade of the paddle until the person desists or is rendered immobile. On no account should the physical rescue of a Jet Ski be attempted – optionally, if still intact, the Jet Ski may be towed into the wave zone if this might lend to its destruction”.

Surfing session

Due to a lively swell and occasional 2.5 metre waves, the session leaders made the decision to prohibit landing for surf novices (who went on to Bream Creek). The remaining 15 or so paddlers either landed or took on the challenging but enjoyable surf.

A close call between John and Lindsay

In no time things were happening, Sundra John showed everybody how to surf 2 metre faces backwards and Leanne Knopke again showed her spirit by climbing back in her Puffin after entertaining the troops with several spectacular trashings.

John Caldwell and Lindsay then found themselves surfing the same large wave and close enough to hold hands. This intense relationship couldn’t last and sure enough they went over, with John’s hull giving Lyndsey a healthy thump on the side of his head. John rolled up but a groggy Lindsay bailed out and swam ashore. Recovering on the beach and attended by long-time partner Leanne, Lyndsay was heard to say, “why am I all wet…. and who are you?

Later, a relieved John Caldwell said “thank God Lindsay wasn’t wearing a helmet …a helmet might have cracked my gelcoat”

Novelty non-event

Despite the advertising of a range of special events for Sunday morning, nothing appeared to be organised. Flotsam approached organiser Mark Pearson for a ‘please explain’.

“I just thought it would be a bit of a novelty to advertise a range of exciting novelty events and then do absolutely nothing about it”, said a recalcitrant Mr Pearson.

It was not a good weekend for our ex-editor, having already copped severe flak from the Executive for supplying them with a cask of Fruity Lexia, and not the usual 1984 Bollinger, to assist them through the ordeal of the AGM.

Jaws IV

Dawn Sunday – returning from a combined paddle and proficiency assessment to Bowen Island, David Cregan’s kayak almost ran into a 1.5 metre gummy shark lounging on the surface. David immediately informed the next paddler, John Caldwell of the sighting. Concerned, John cautioned David Whyte of the presence of a 2 metre Hammerhead. The alarmed David then slowed up to warn a terrified Jeff Luck of a hungry 3 metre Mako that was circling the group. Some minutes later Snr Instructor David Winkworth, on hearing panic-stricken cries about an aggressive 4 metre Tiger Shark that was snapping at paddles and trying to knock kayaks over, immediately ordered the group to return to base at full speed.

After covering the 5 kms to Honeymoon Bay in 20 minutes, the group screamed warnings of a man-eating 5 metre Great White as they entered the cove. There followed scenes of great panic as hundreds of terrified swimmers scrambled to the safety of the beach. A relieved Snr Inst. Winkworth later commented “it was a tense situation, but everybody kept together and we made it back without loss – I was proud of them today!” Asked whether any of the group would be granted their Sea Proficiency, the tough Instructor replied “absolutely not – sharks or no sharks …you must do a roll for your Sea Proficiency”.

Vale Jim Croft

It is with sadness that Flotsam announces the retirement from sea paddling of Jim Croft, of Campbell, ACT.

Jim, a popular if slightly offbeat sort of fellow, was well respected as a strong paddler whose unique high-arm power stroke could be recognised from distances of over a kilometre.

However, after being washed onto rocks inside Jervis Bay in 1997, Jim suffered horrific injuries to his buttocks – injuries from which he has never recovered, despite six months of intensive buttock traction and deep tissue electric shock therapy. Relaxing on a specially designed seat at home, Jim said ” of course I will miss sea paddling, but my arsemologist has advised me not to mount a sea kayak again, the injury was serious and the treatment has been an ordeal…. I just can’t put my family through any more….”

Wife Jenny, who has been at Jim’s side throughout, added “Jim used to be so strong in the buttock area, it’s such a shame … “.

(one of our senior kayaker instructors was moved to poetry – Ed)

There lives a man called Jim
Who went sea paddling on a whim
A crash and a bash
Ended his dash
We hope it’s not terminal for him!

Year 2000 Compliancy

All Kayakers should note. As you must be aware from all the media hype we are approaching the new millennium and computer programmers are flat-out making sure everything is Y2K compliant. You have probably heard come midnight at the end of this year everything may stop. Water and electricity will be cut off, planes will drop out of the air and your car will stop dead in its tracks, you won’t be able to use the ATM and chaos will rain supreme.

Well our sea kayaks are also vulnerable – even the most basic models have several microchips controlling their primary functions. So it’s essential that you make sure your kayak is Y2K compatible before the end of this year.

David Winkworth, an experienced kayaker of Tathra, NSW, says “There’s no way I’m going to be paddling my kayak at Midnight on the 31st December. You could be heading into a headwind then all of a sudden your kayak swings out to sea, or heads for the rocks or turns over. You might even be driving home and your kayak will suddenly spring off the roof rack. Nobody knows just what might happen…”

So for a small fee, members of the NSWSKC Executive will upgrade your kayak and give you a Y2K compliance certificate. Well worth the peace of mind! Don’t delay as there may be a rush at the end of the year.