President’s Report [40]

By Norm Sanders

This has been a year of reorganisation for the Club. The membership has grown to the point where it was necessary to put our affairs on a more businesslike basis. Most of the effort concentrated on ensuring that the Club and it’s members are protected from law suits. Trip Waivers were introduced and the Constitution was changed in consultation with legal experts. In addition, the Club has continued to develop training and sea proficiency programs. As a result, the NSWSKC operation is widely recognised as a model for other sea kayak clubs in Australia and overseas. The club Web Site has been the very popular source for informing the world about our activities.

As befits the coming of age of the NSWSKC, the Executive has been far more active than in previous years. The most recent meeting of the Executive was on 25 and 26 September at Batemans Bay. Those attending were Norm Sanders, President; Dave Winkworth, Vice President and Training Officer; Andrew Eddy, Trips Convenor; David Whyte, Editor; and Former Executive Members Arunas Pilka, Mark Pearson and Dirk Stuber. Jan Murell and Doug Fraser were unable to attend. The Former Executive Members were invited because of their experience and long standing interest in Club affairs.

The Executive decided that: The Newsletter Editor will change the membership form to have a column for qualifications, which will appear on membership lists. A copy of the constitution will be included with membership forms, along with a statement of understanding and agreement which will be signed and returned with the membership form.

Trip Waivers are to be signed by all members and non members will be encouraged to join. The President can approve visitors in special cases. Sea Proficiency Awards will have no expiry dates, but paddlers will be continually assessed on an informal basis.

Trip Leaders will be recruited from members who have gained a Sea Proficiency Certificate as the next step in Sea Kayaking. They will be selected by the Training Officer in consultation with sea instructors. (For a more detailed discussion, see Dave Winkworth’s article in this issue.)

Group Spread was discussed, again. It was agreed that experienced paddlers are very important participants in Grade 2 paddles for safety and skill development reasons. Some experienced paddlers state that they feel unappreciated and rejected by the criticism of Grade 2 paddlers who complain about being left behind. A way to resolve the problem is to explain to all paddlers at the trip briefing that certain minimal speeds are required for the successful completion of the trip. Obviously, there will be some paddlers who are faster than others, and who may, in favourable conditions, choose to explore features along the way. The slower paddlers will still, however, be carefully watched over and should never feel abandoned or pressured.

The President, Vice President (Training Officer), and Web Master will seek re-election at the upcoming AGM. The Trip Co-ordinator, Editor, and Sec./ Treas. are not standing again. The Secretary/Treasurers job is very time consuming, but, for organisational reasons, the two positions are best left combined. If two people are to take on the job, they should be very close, i.e., life partners. The Trip Co-ordinator’s position is also quite time consuming and requires a person with communication skills as well as kayaking experience. The Editor’s job has grown over the years to the point that the Editor can no longer participate in distribution as well. Therefore the incoming Editor will be relieved of the distribution role, which will be handled by a Newsletter Distributor, or perhaps be done commercially.

Considerable time was devoted to revising the Grading System to make it easier for self-evaluation and to incorporate the new requirement for a Sea Proficiency Certificate for Grade 3 paddles. The new system is included in the back of this edition of the Newsletter.

The future of the club was discussed. The Executive is concerned that the Club might get too big and impersonal to adequately serve the needs of the members. However, it was decided that the club was still functioning very well and that no limit should be placed on membership numbers at the moment. The situation will be re-evaluated as numbers continue to increase.
On Sunday morning, the Executive and Advisors paddled out to the Toll Gate Islands, which, when everything is said and done, is what the New South Wales Sea Kayak Club is all about.

See you at the AGM.