Flotsam And Jetsam [47]

The Fishkiller Files

By Mark Pearson

(Including a Flotsam Special about Carrying Kayaks)

Mirage Mirage Mirage

Flotsam has received a letter from a Club member concerned at the content of Rob Gardner’s New Zealand’s First Mirage article from issue 46 of NSW Sea Kayaker.

MP of Canberra wrote, “How come, on the rare occasions that they do put pen to paper, Mirage paddlers always write blatant promotional pieces for their kayak? Shouldn’t it have been titled “New Zealand’s First Mirage Advertorial”?

In response to this accusation, Flotsam staff examined New Zealand’s First Mirage, and produced the following analysis of the content:

  • 15 occurrences of the word Mirage;
  • 9 comments about excellent specific attributes of the Mirage;
  • 6 comments about the excellent general all-round capabilities of the Mirage.

Flotsam believes that these statistics are quite reasonable, and indeed would expect every self respecting author to include such a weight of loving reverences to his/her boat. So our advice to the painful MP of Canberra (who probably paddles a really crap sea kayak anyway), stop your whingeing and write an article yourself for a change!

Pilka a No-go GoNad

Arunas Pilka, the most famous sea paddler in Australia, has told Flotsam “I won’t be a GoNad!” In the market for a new kayak ever since realising that his Greenlander is, indeed, rather ordinary, the croc-scarred veteran has sensationally cancelled his order for a Nadgee. Mr Pilka told Flotsam, “A while back the Nadgee was a new and welcome addition to the market… but now it seems every hero on the east coast has bought one, so I’ve changed my mind. I’m building my own out of ply…”

New GoNad Club

Meanwhile Nadgee owners have, as expected, formed their own club. To be known as the ‘Clan GoNad’, the new collective has already attracted 20 eager members. Newly elected Treasurer Nick Gill told Flotsam, “The Clan will meet monthly at various locations to principally talk about why our boat is just so much better than the rest, and also to provide intensive grief counselling and support for members who have suffered minor gelcoat damage.”

Mr Gill continued, “Over time we hope to engage different speakers to cover the full spectrum of unique Nadgee experiences, plus of course there will be the occasional regal appearance of our Lord, the Grand Testicle himself.”

New Clan GoNad Attire

To further distinguish themselves from ordinary sea paddlers, GoNad Clansmen have decided to wear a custom built Goretex sporran sewn onto the front of their spray skirts. Clan Uniform Officer Tony Neiderberger enthused, “We knew we looked great on the water, but we also wanted to look just as good when strutting our stuff on land, so we thought the sporran was a great idea… and I’d like to thank Goretex for providing us with material in the new Clan GoNad tartan… it looks great!”

New Clan GoNad Motto

The Clan has also announced its new motto. Clan GoNad Administration Officer John ‘The John Wilde’ Wilde reported, “We had a short list of six, but after a short discussion, Individuals All was selected by unanimous vote.”

Mr Wilde added that the motto would be embroidered onto the sporrans by the Clan Gonad Wives Association (CGWA).

Fugitive GoNad

And in late breaking news Water Police are continuing a search for a fugitive GoNad after an on water altercation. A witness at the scene told Flotsam, “There was this guy in a Nadgee, and another in an Explorer, and they rafted up to chat, then suddenly the Nadgee guy went berserk, screaming that the Explorer had marked his gelcoat, and started hitting the other guy with his propeller bladed paddle. Then he just paddled away…”

Water Police described the assailant as male, heavily built, late 40’s, and paddling a light green/white Nadgee Expedition. The man is considered dangerous, and the police warned the public not to approach him or, more particularly, his kayak.

Guilty Plea at Judicial Tribunal

And there were dramatic scenes at the latest sitting of the NSWSKC Judicial Tribunal, where defendant Alan Whiteman was charged with contravening Club Regulation 36, section VII (a) by expressing ‘heretical thoughts’ through the Club’s internet chat line. For the prosecution, Andrew Eddy QC produced a text extract of an email sent by Mr Whiteman on 29 June 2001 at 11:12 am, which not only questioned the need to ban jet skis from Sydney Harbour, but also used the words, “I’ve never tried jet skiing but I’m sure it’s fun in the appropriate area & with a bit of consideration of other water-users.”

Proceeding straight to sentencing, a sombre Judge Mercer stated, “Although a degree of leniency is appropriate due to the defendant’s short time as a Club member, his proven willingness to tow fatigued paddlers on Club events and his guilty plea, the wanton distribution of heretical material is a heinous act indeed. It therefore falls to me to bring down a judgement that will serve as a deterrent.”

As horrified gasps emanated from the public gallery, Whiteman fainted as he was sentenced to six months of paddling with the Clan GoNad.

A Flotsam Special Feature — All You Need to Know About Carrying Kayaks

Carrying laden kayaks! A task that will eventually fall to all paddlers who progress beyond day tripping and seek real adventure in their sea kayak.

Flotsam thought it was about time this area of sea paddling was looked at. This is the only time when you get to manhandle a sea kayak that is not yours, and for the sake of group harmony, Flotsam believes that everyone should have an understanding of the dos and don’ts.

The Basics

Sea kayaks lend themselves to being carried in different ways. Some have toggles, others don’t. All have decklines, but many owners don’t like their decklines stretched. So the preferred way is to hold the toggle or simply cup your hand under the prow or stern (but remember Mirage owners can be sensitive about stress on their precious rudders). Anyhow, if not sure, always ask the owner how they prefer their boat lifted.

Remember, kayaks ain’t kayaks. A laden boat will weigh anything from 25 kg (19 kg of kayak and 6 kg of gear/food for David Winkworth’s Nadgee1) to 80 kg (35 kg of boat and 45 kg of books/Miso soup for Matt Turner’s Greenlander2). The weight of the boat should determine the approach.

The Two Person Carry

With the two person carry, there are two assumptions;

  • The rear end of the boat is the heavier end;
  • The owner of the kayak carries the rear end.

The Three Person Carry

The three person carry can either be done as a back/middle/front arrangement or a two at the back one at the front. The former is not preferred as the middle person’s grip on the coaming causes the kayak to be held at an angle that is potentially injurious to the tendons of the other two carriers.

The Four Person Carry

In the absence of sophisticated strap systems, the four person carry is normally a front man, a rear man, and two middle men holding the inside of the coaming from port and starboard midship positions. This carrying style works well, and should be the preferred technique for carries over 50 metres or over soft sand.

Tricks And Traps

OK. So you now know the basic carrying options… but life’s not that simple. When carrying kayaks you’ll be dealing with other human beings. Here are some things all new expeditioners should be aware of:

  • The Front Man – In a two person carry, 90% of owners will automatically position themselves at the rear end of their kayak. But beware the cad who takes station at the front. He may well try this again when it comes to carrying your kayak. Be firm! Remember “Back/Front, then Front/Back”!
  • The Beach Socialite – Normally a seasoned campaigner with advanced social skills, the Beach Socialite is a schemer who likes to take advantage of confused situations where there are several simultaneous two-person carries going on. His plan is simple but effective… after cleverly ensuring that his kayak is the first carried down to the water, he will then enter into a long and intense conversation with the nearest passing stranger. But as soon as his mates have finished the hard work carrying down all the boats, he will callously discard his new ‘friend’ and get ready to paddle.
  • The Middleman Malingerer – During long four person carries, this despicable type will appear to be taking a fair share of the weight (strained expression on face, authentic grunts, etc), but his lack of effort can always be detected by the total absence of muscular activity in his carrying arm.

Nadgee Issues

Nadgee owners are… different. So if you want to remain friends with them on trips it is sometimes necessary to put yourself out, to go that extra yard.

Firstly, as you approach the Nadgee, it is best to understand at the outset that the owner is a GoNad, and is therefore highly stressed at the thought of other’s hands even touching his beloved kayak, let alone carrying it. So when he insists that you wear cotton glovettes (which he will supply), it is best to don these without complaint.

Similarly, at the end of the carry, if the ground on which the Nadgee is to be lowered is in any way rough… spiky grass, small stones, sticks, etc, earn extra points by volunteering your brand new PFD as a temporary carpet for the pristine kayak. Or, better still, offer to exhaust yourself carrying the Nadgee an additional 75 metres up a steep slope to softer ground!

But when you get there, exercise care when lowering the Nadgee to its chosen resting place. Make sure that the descent is extremely gradual, even if this means totally ruining your back. For if there is any impact noise whatsoever, don’t expect the GoNad to talk to you for the rest of the trip!

Greenlander Issues – Recent studies have shown that in a two person carry, lugging even the front end of a laden Greenlander up a sloping beach requires the energy reserves equivalent to climbing a mid-size peak in the Swiss Alps. So if you have already had a long day, and are unfortunate to be asked to assist in lugging a Greenlander, insist on a four person effort. Or better still, make it a rule not to paddle with anyone with a Greenlander.