A Ramble from the Editor [45]

By Ian Phillips

Oh dear… what has happened to me? I’m now at the stage where I’m buying cars based on the kayak acceptability rating.

No longer am I interested in the maximum acreage of nappa leather or the latest satellite tracking gizmo… no more do I yearn for the maximum output of mega-zillion kilowatts that creates petrol shortages at every bowser, no lust for wheels so ridiculously wide that they cause Bob Jane to salivate at the very thought …

All that matters now is whether I can fit a folder in the back, a couple of paddles in the front, a few bananas for my trusty banana sandwiches stuffed in a handy door pocket and just enough room to slide myself in as well.

Sadly there aren’t too many car manufacturers out there who cater to the kayaker in us all, and even less provide useful specifications that will assist in a suitable comparison of dry bag and neoprene bootie storage.

And so it is left to the common man with his trusted tape measure to solve this devastating problem. As a common man was not available, it was left to me, the uncommon man, with my Pythagorean tables and my slide rule to take up the challenge.

To date I have seen about 400 different cars, with a collective 5,670 cup holders, and alas not one split paddle holder amongst them.

Still, I can’t complain… I’m being offered velour mats to trap all the sand I expect to trudge back from the beach, metallic paint to absorb all the seagull droppings imaginable as I park for hours in the beach sun, and I have the added option of all-wheel-drive so I can drive right to the waters edge and collect my precious cargo whilst simultaneously becoming mind-numbingly bogged and requiring the assistance of those lovely folks in the orange overalls. At least I can have a nice paddle whilst I await their arrival.

I have petitioned the highest echelons of the motoring media for a kayak rating to be included in all future vehicle evaluations, but alas I have heard no positive feedback… unless I count those strange phone calls where I hear nothing but unbridled laughter, a click, then those funny beeps… perhaps not – they’ve been happening ever since I became Editor… I knew I shouldn’t have given Fishkiller my phone number.

And so the task of the vehicle kayak suitability testing procedure was passed to our own Flotsam & Jetsam reporters who assured me they would jump to the task at the first opportunity. Alas I fear I have wasted all those jam donut and red cordial ‘incentives’ that were sent by express courier to the Flotsam offices. The testing never happened. The in-depth analysis never eventuated. The reports never crossed my desk. And I still get those sinister phone calls.

I now realise that I could have averted the staff riots at the editorial offices during the now infamous Great Donut Shortage of ’01, riots that destroyed an empire and delayed the production of this fine issue of NSW Sea Kayaker.

Oh well… perhaps a sunroof will solve my entry and exit problems. Or maybe I need a convertible so that I can be lowered in from above after packing. How about one of those large, black FBI vans where I could keep the kayak in the back, fully assembled, next to the BBQ and Jacuzzi? Who knows? All I know is that it’s back to the dealership for me with my broken set squares, and time for you to head to your favourite lounge, deck chair or car seat to read up on the latest gossip from within the bowels of the NSWSKC. Just don’t drive and read at the same time – you’ll miss a lovely view. Enjoy!