A Ramble From the Editor [54]

By Ian Phillips

The king is dead. Long live the king. Well it’s now official folks, the folder is a lost love. Apart from erecting the frame in the lounge room for an interesting conversation piece at parties, your folder fanatic has defected to the other side and is now the proud owner of the Liquorice Torpedo, a gleaming charcoal grey monster that has most shaking their heads and the rest shaking their heads as well. What the Water Police think every time they stop me on the harbour is another matter altogether.

Having already paddled it more times in the past two months than I have ever paddled any other kayak in the past 10 years, the beast has already taken a beating. Some of the highlights in its short life include pounding it into several immovable objects (including the garage wall as I forgot it was ON the car, not IN the car), leaving it high and dry as I sailed onto some decently stocked oyster leases when I lost my way at Paddle Polaris, and most recently taking half- a- kilo of gelcoat off the hull as I ground to a halt on a semi-submerged rock in Rose Bay after thinking I was pretty cool as I sailed full-bore past maestro-sailer Professor Eddy.

Let’s hope the Liquorice Torpedo survives long enough to get me to Thursday Island in August. And if it does, let’s hope I survive the indomitable combination of the Merceridges, the Baidarkonaut, the Birdsie and the Vince-a-thon. But fear not, Sharon has already written the article so it’s all sure to work out and I’m pretty sure I had a good time. But I’m not sure whether she let me beat Rob to TI.

Now it’s time to stop trying to show off my offside roll (quite simply because I can’t do the onside roll), and get out on the water, join the training programs we’re so passionate about and learn the bits and pieces I’ll need to actually survive the paddling up there. I’m also seeing my psychotherapist so I can survive the camping.

Before I go, and whilst I pondered terribly about these following thankyous trying not to sound too much like an advertorial, I still feel it entirely appropriate to thank the following people for their assistance in getting me back onto (and into) the water over the past few months:

Peter Cohen for getting the nastily bent Feathercraft K1 back into an unbent orientation and allowing it to rest in peace;

Paul Hewitson for putting up with my insane requests and for the Liquorice Torpedo itself — a magnificent beast that I am absurdly fond of, despite how badly I treat it on the water;

Roger Aspinall & Julie Stanton for their outstandingly super-friendly service, constantly obtaining the most obscure, most extreme, most black and most excellent pieces of paddling gear at a moment’s notice;

And especially Rob Mercer for helping me actually get on the water and teaching me so much. I’ll wait for you on TI.

Finally, many thanks to all the lovely chaps and chappesses who have been so kind over the past four years, but an extra special thanks goes to fellow committee, training and coordination group members Rob Mercer, Sharon Betteridge, Andrew Eddy & Richard Birdsey for keeping me sane in the wee hours when I should be home in bed. We’ve worked damned hard together over the years, you’ve inspired me constantly and I’m proud to call you all my friends. Although I still think Richard is a bit weird.

Well folks, this is the end for me. My last magazine as Editor of NSW Sea Kayaker. You will now have to put up with me being the new Training Coordinator with our upbeat, funky and altogether totally groovy training schedule for 2004. Just remember, kayaking is life… the rest is mere details. I’ll see you all on the water.