From The President’s Deck [56]

By Ian Phillips

Well that was quick… I’m already at the end of my brief Caretaker Presidency. I certainly can’t say it’s been ground-breaking, revolutionary or even slightly monumental, but it has been quite a bit of fun keeping the seat warm these past few months, being called upon for all those exciting presidential things (you know the kind of stuff: opening malls, unveiling statues, shaking the hands of astronauts…) and generally trying to chat up girls as the Club’s big wig. The distinct lack of success has left me without a First Lady and so I must step aside for someone far more deserving.

The 2004 AGM is nearly upon us and I hope to see you all at Bundeena for our first AGM away from the rigours of Rock ‘n’ Roll. As you’re no doubt aware by now, the AGM has been separated from the Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend to allow for a more productive meeting, ease the burden of an AGM and Rock ‘n’ Roll symposium on the same weekend, allow sufficient time to properly discuss Club matters and to provide an additional forum for Club members to meet in a formal manner. I’m sure a more prescribed and structured AGM will suitably meet these needs for all members.

After such a short Club ‘year’ I’m very enthused to see most of the incumbent committee members standing again for their positions, and I can only thank Nick, Richard M, Peter and Richard B for the tremendous work done so far and for their dedication to the Club in offering to stand again. You’ll hear much more from me about these guys at the AGM!

Alas, Laurie is retiring from committee life this year but I’m sure you’ll all join me in thanking Laurie for his time and commitment to the Club over the past couple of years. Laurie has served the Club very well during this time, first as Secretary/Treasurer and more recently as Trips Convener. Despite all my jokes about our ‘Hairy Man from the South’ Laurie has provided some great opinion and invaluable input over the years, and he has more recently joined the ranks of Trainee Instructor. Laurie will be a force to be reckoned with once he’s let loose on the world. Thanks Laurie.

As mentioned in my opening paragraph (through my poorly constructed attempts at humour) I won’t be standing for the President’s job at the July AGM. Despite enjoying it more than I ever imagined I simply cannot find enough hours in the day to commit properly to the task as well as trying to coordinate the Training Group and the Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend and still get in some much-needed paddling for myself somewhere in between.

As I passionately blurted out to the Sea Skills Groupies in May, I’ve become extremely fond of this funny old Club of ours over the past few years, I’ve loved every minute of it and I hope to keep contributing to the Club wherever I can. I’m sure you’ve read between the lines and deduced that I’m standing again for Training Coordinator and Rock ‘n’ Roll Coordinator, and I look forward to either your support or healthy opposition at the upcoming AGM!

I started life on the committee as Editor when I had only been a member for about a year. I wasn’t known to anyone in the Club, I didn’t know anyone in the Club and I had certainly never attended a Club paddle… it all just sounded like a good idea at the time. I almost wasn’t elected because no-one knew who I was (not turning up at the applicable AGM probably didn’t help much either)!

Since then it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride. I’ve seen the Club develop into a true authority on sea kayaking and I’ve seen some of the greatest moments in Club history (and certainly some of the worst!). I’m proud to say that, over the past four-and-a-half years, I’ve been continually involved in developing the Club into what we have today. Of course the work still continues — it’s an ongoing evolution — and we hope it’s going in the right direction (but if it’s not, you certainly know what to do!).

As I said to ‘my’ Groupies (and they’re probably sick of hearing from me), I could easily sit here and say that I have never got anything out of the Club in return for my input — I’ve never received any Club training, I’ve still only ever been on a handful of official paddles and I’ve heard enough grumbles to turn me bitter for life — but that’s a million miles from the real story. Being part of the NSWSKC has turned out to be an awful lot of fun, I have met some of my best friends through the Club (although can you really class Birdsie as a friend?), I’ve introduced other close friends to the Club and I’ve got more out of this Club that I could have ever imagined ‘way back’ in 1999. The Club has certainly been a challenge at times but the good overwhelmingly shadows the bad. The Club and its people have helped me through some difficult times and I can easily say that most of my life now revolves around kayaking and the NSWSKC.

Nowadays I see dozens and dozens of people in the Club all the time — both on and off the water — and they’re all loving it and getting tonnes out of our Club. It feels really good to know you’ve been a part of that. Vive le NSWSKC… that’s all I can say.

Finally, before I fade off this page forever, Australian Canoeing recently recommended the NSWSKC for an Ausport Club Development Award for the work we have been doing through our NTP and the Training Group. As you can imagine we were mightily chuffed to receive this recommendation. Richard Birdsey worked hard on our submission during April and we kept our fingers crossed. Regrettably we did not make the finals but we are greatly humbled that AC took the time to consider our Club a suitable candidate, and on behalf of the Club I thank Ian Dewey and Jon Bisset for their support and Richard for his hard work on our submission.

And so it’s toodles from me. I hope to see you all at the AGM but failing that I’ll catch you on the water sometime! In the meantime always remember: kayaking is life… the rest is mere details. W