Letters to the Editor [38]

Dear Ed and Sea Kayakers,

As you may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet on the sea kayaking front of late, my life has been a flurry of activity.

I may have spoken to some of you about my intention to do so some serious overseas travel, well now is the time. By the time you read this, my panniers will be packed and my bike loaded up like a pack horse, and I’ll be well on my way. My plans are to ride up to Darwin in a round about way, stopping around the place to see some of Australia. Once in Darwin I hope to sail to Indonesia and keep on riding I’m not sure how long I’ll go for, until I’ve had enough I guess.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to say good-bye and thank you for your encouragement, advice, fun and friendliness. I have very much enjoyed being a part of such a fantastic club, and meeting some excellent people in the process. I’d like to wish you all the very best.

Happy paddling
Adam Behm

Dear Editor,

Congratulations on a bumper issue of the newsletter, I particularly enjoyed the excellent photographs throughout the articles, your roving photographer was clearly in the right place at the right time for some of those action shots.

The Beecroft Peninsula matter was clearly a sobering experience for all concerned, congratulations to all parties for going to print on the matter. Congratulations also to the club executive and the positive manner in which they have reacted.

My comments below are directed toward the future of the club and not individuals.

I support the introduction of an indemnity form, my five years as a Scout Leader taught me that indemnity forms were a fact of life. My Scouting experience has also been that some parents would happily sign an indemnity form without giving due consideration to the activity their child was about to undertake. Reliance was placed on the leader to match the activity with the skill level of the participants.

A counter to this was to ensure that participants had achieved certain skill levels, readers would be aware of the various awards and “challenge” badges available in Scouts. The NSWSKC has always been strong on training and is taking this further by encouraging members to achieve certain levels of skill certification.

Matching activities to skill levels ultimately means that all concerned enjoy the experience.

So far I am probably telling readers what they already know. So what is my point? My intention in writing this letter is to show support for the executive and the direction the club is taking.

Long ago, the easy option for the more experienced members of the club would have been to resign and go paddling by themselves. I am grateful for the existence of the club, my son and I learnt our surfing and rolling skills through the efforts (and patience in my case) of a few committed individuals without whom we would not have a club.

On a lighter note, the article by Stuart Trueman, besides confessing a mortal sin, mentions a solo trip across Bass Strait. Do you think you might be able to cajole Stuart into writing an article about his trip? I assume he is currently planning a solo voyage to New Zealand.

Kim and James Vandyke

Dear editor

Having returned to Australia recently after achieving some outstanding marathon swims in Mexican waters and from Cuba to Florida, Susie Maroney now plans to be the first swimmer to swim from Newcastle to Sydney in under 24 hours.

Susie will enter the water at Merewether Beach Newcastle at 10:00am on Saturday April 10th and hopes to cover the 150 kilometre swim by stepping out of the water at Darling Harbour Sydney mid morning Sunday April 11th.

Susie enjoys having company on her marathon swims. Because of this she is inviting members of the NSW Sea-Kayak Club to accompany her all or part of the way or in legs.

Susie’s marathon swim is being sponsored by Bankstown District Sports Club and Blue Haven Pools and Spas. The entire proceeds are being given to RETT Syndrome for research. Susie is patron of RETT Syndrome Fundraising in Australia.

Details of her swim will be formally announced at a media conference at Westmead Children’s Hospital on Thursday March 25.

Her marathon effort will receive widespread media coverage with Channel 10 already wanting to film the entire swim from start to finish.

If you can indicate whether your club can provide escort for the entire swim or for part of the swim, please advise me and we will announce it at the media launch and include it in our publicity releases to the media.


W.F. Love
Advanced Public Relations

(See more about the swim and articles, written by NSWSKC members after the swim — by Sundra John, Robert Gardner, Robert Mercer & Sharon Betteridge and Andrew Eddy also to be published in issue 39.)

My Point Of View

I received my magazine with normal excitement, but read with disappointment about the incident with Alan Teal. I did not intend to initially respond, but upon further reading found too many biased and irritating comments through the magazine which prompted the following:

Firstly my response to Alan’s article

  • It amazes me that Alan is such a faultless person. Everything in the article is someone elses fault.
  • He is the only person I know who has taught himself to paddle and knows he is competent.
  • It is obvious that ego and overconfidence dominated commonsense in nominating himself to go on a grade 3 paddle.
  • Talking in hindsight and saying I should not have been there, or someone should have told me, is too easy now. Accept the fact that faults have been made by all in the party, and admit your incompetence in this situation.
  • Sea Kayaking by nature is a sport with a moderate risk factor. You frequently get wet and sometimes swim.Accept this too.
  • I also find it offensive when a persons personal gear is criticized. ie. PFD’s, paddles and kayaks. Gear is selected for personal safety, comfort, preference, and cost.

This therefore brings me to my second response regarding the constant biased comments relating to Mirages. The last edition (no. 37) refers to mirages in 3 separate articles. In response to Norm Sanders’ (Presidents Report), I wish to state:

  • Mirages (except for the 22S) are NOT Racing Kayaks. They are standard touring sea kayaks having completed trips from Sydney to Hobart and Brisbane to Sydney to name a few.
  • The description of “sprinted” also sounds a bit exaggerated and shows siding with Alan’s statement.

It is not my intention to discourage criticism, in fact I think that Mirage owners thrive off it. What I am trying to show is a bit of balance, since most criticism about Mirages seem to come from the same “Brigade”. So in concluding I have the following questions :

  • Why are Mirages so popular in Australia? (also sold in very competitive New Zealand and Japanese markets)
  • How many Mirage paddlers are there in the Club?
  • Is Mirage supposed to build a slow boat?
  • What is there achieved by constant negative criticism?

Sundra John


  • penalties for Norm — paddle a Mirage 22S in the surf with a 90 deg offset propeller paddle.

[As the newsletter has come under a bit of fire for being biased I should point out a few facts as I feel the criticism in this case is unwarranted. The newsletter is a forum for all members to have their say and everything that is sent to me is published without bias. We all paddle different boats and have different opinions about boats which may be neither right or wrong just different. It would be terribly boring and bad for sea kayaking if we all paddled the same boats. Each boat has its good and bad points depending on what you want it for; horses for courses. If someone keeps bagging a particular boat then that’s their prerogative, the others are certainly free to reply. The newsletter is free for all to have their say . I will not start censoring articles on the basis that they are critical of a certain type of boat. The newsletter only becomes biased if I don’t publish articles not if I do.

It takes some effort to write trip reports and without them we would have no newsletter. I appreciate the effort and hope I continue to receive them. If the mirage paddles feel they are hard done by then they are more than free to put pen to paper – though I would prefer an electronic copy. BUT they can’t complain if they don’t send in anything. I know there is a lot in the club but the only reasons theres even photos of them in the last issue is because I took them.

Then maybe you shouldn’t take Mark’s writing so seriously – we don’t, and I think Dave’s poem says it all.

On a different note. A lot of paddlers (including myself) have black or partly black cags as they attract the suns warm rays in winter – Ed]