Flotsam & Jetsam [48]

The Fishkiller Files

By Mark Pearson

As usual Flotsam & Jetsam reporters were out and about seeking out the stories behind the event that was Rock ‘n’ Roll 2001…

No Flies on Him

Respected Victorian paddler Ian Dunn was an unhappy man by Monday… despite smearing on lashings of clear sun lotion from an old container all weekend, by Monday not only was he as red as a lobster, his eyes were fused shut due to severe inflammation. After walking into a roving Flotsam reporter Ian fumed, “I’m getting straight on to Consumer Affairs as soon as I get home… this friggin’ stuff just doesn’t work.”
It was only then that the keen nosed Flotsam reporter quietly pointed out his ‘sun lotion’ actually smelled uncannily like tropical strength Aerogard…

The Search Goes on

One female paddler, who is occasionally known as ‘Mango’, has over the years gained a reputation for seeking the specific company of Mirage paddlers at major Club events. And this seemed to be the case again at Rock ‘n’ Roll 2001.

A daring Flotsam reporter eventually asked Mango why she seemed to find Mirage paddlers so attractive, to which she replied, “I don’t really, but I’m just interested to see if I can find one, just one, that’s any good…”

A Very Dry Boat

Arunas ‘Croc’ Pilka was another very pleased participant… particularly given he had realised his dream of spending the whole weekend without actually sitting in a kayak. Mr Pilka told Flotsam, “You’d be amazed how much more rewarding the event is without having to get your bloody boat ready, paddle it, carry it back and forth, clean it, etc, etc. I’ve had heaps more time to develop other skills and interests, and even to perfect the ultimate hangover…”

The NSWSKC Executive is now considering Mr Pilka’s submission that kayaks be strictly prohibited at Rock ‘n’ Roll weekends from 2003.

High Emotions at MUP Award Ceremony

Meanwhile Matthew Turner took out the MUP award at his first attempt. The MUP (Most Unpopular Paddler) is given to the kayaker who displays the greatest variety of anti-club/anti-social or annoying behaviours over the entire weekend.

The judging panel, comprised of former MUP champions Gary Edmond, Dirk Stuber and Andrew Eddy, declared that this year had seen tough competition, particularly given the growing number of GoNads, but that Mr Turner had clinched the award by;

  • not helping in any training or land activities,
  • declining to rejoin the Club, and
  • refusing several times to buy a raffle ticket.

Briefly tearing himself from his beloved Sydney Morning Herald, Turner told Flotsam, “I must admit I was nervous towards the end, but I knew if I just acted myself I was always in with a chance.”

Then, in reference to his absent partner, who works long weekend shifts to finance her man’s competition costs, an emotional Turner held up his MUP and sobbed, “This is for you, Kerry!”

Cabin Tales

A number of stories emanated from Cabin C1, (also known as the Taliban Command & Control Centre). Coordinator Ian Phillips told Flotsam that the compound was subject to a state of permanent siege for the entire weekend, with the Command & Control Team subject to;

  • the repeated assaults on the toilet by the Old Sea Dog,
  • the theft of Nick Gill’s chocolate from the fridge (piece by piece, over a 12 hour period),
  • the theft of 18 of the 24 Club pens within the first two hours of Friday night, the continuous assault on the free tea & coffee by Andrew Collins, who also carefully removed the remaining sachets moments before C1 was officially vacated,
  • large quantities of sand left in the Coordinator’s bed by a mysterious paddler or paddlers, and
  • the extinguishing of the pilot light in the water heater during the night (perhaps a result of wind but more likely the result of jealous campers enraged at the hot showers being enjoyed within) forcing the occupants to enjoy brisk, cold showers.

The land bound Ian Phillips also gained pity and much hospitality as he hobbled around on his fat ankle, apparently badly fractured during a work related house break-in, and with enough stainless steel in it to make a large rudder blade.

However, after Flotsam reporters counted 34 wine bottle corks outside C1 on Monday morning, attitudes hardened when the rumour took hold that the bloated limb was the result of nothing more than a severe case of gout!

In The Black

On Sunday afternoon President Mercer was very pleased indeed on hearing that a group had returned from the Tollgates with one more paddler than they had set out with.

Mr Mercer told Flotsam, “It’s good to be in credit at last… I reckon this means the Club can afford to lose a paddler some time in the future and not feel bad about it. With luck it will be Mark Pearson…”

The Real Boss

Flotsam reporters were amazed at the level of organisation at Rock ‘n’ Roll 2001. The planning was faultless, every event ran like clockwork, teams of helpers all knew their roles. It was seamless.

Flotsam reporters began a quest to find out who was the brains behind the operation; The planning and logistical genius with the motivational and people skills to make it all happen. But who? Interviews were held with President Mercer, Andrew Eddy, Ian Phillips, even Stuart Trueman. But no, competent as these individuals were in their own way, it was obvious that they were merely the oversized glove puppets doing the biddings of a greater power.


It was not until early on Monday that the real Event Supremo was tracked down, still pulling strings from her discreet cabin retreat at the back of the compound. Flotsam hails Sharon Betteridge.


Have you seen this man… European national wanted for borrowing and destroying a number of sea kayaks along the Australian east coast. Specialises in destroying plastic sea kayaks. Known as ‘Mad Dog Nico’ (or, by the owners of the destroyed kayaks, ‘Cloghead’). Reward offered for information leading to capture.

Bird What?

And Club stalwart Richard Birdsey proudly announced to Flotsam that he had decided to make official the name change bestowed on him by the Australian Canoeing Association on his Sea Proficiency certificate. Welcome to the Club Richard Birdsex.