Flotsam [60]

Proudly Censored by Illusion Sea Kayaks

This edition of Flotsam acknowledges the input of Ian Coles, David Whyte, Nick Gill and Stuart Trueman

Flotsam Press Announcement

March 19th 2005. The Flotsam Chief Information Officer called a press conference to announce changes to future Flotsam content. This is a transcript of the announcement:

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for attending a such short notice”

“An external audit of Flotsam content over the last 10 years has found that 95% of our reports were based on actual events, 100% of identified victims were real people, and that 85% contained at least one fact. The high percentage of articles containing facts is obviously of concern to us and has caused problems. For example, a recent Flotsam editorial about a badly designed kayak part turned out to be a blatant truth, which due to the litigious environment we now live in, threatened the very inclusion of Flotsam in Issue 56 of the NSWSKC magazine.”

“So I am proud to announce today an exciting and innovative censorship deal with our friends at Illusion Sea Kayaks. In a three year agreement, Illusion will generously contribute human and legal resources to scrutinise each Flotsam draft to ensure all facts are removed. We are also hopeful that, over time, further refinement of this work will ensure that Flotsam reports not only contain no facts, but also have all events, people, places, kayaks, and even kayak parts de-identified.”

“The Executive of the NSWSKC is confident that this new deal will ensure that our loyal readership will never in future be confused or misinformed by Flotsam articles. This is obviously great news for our hard working Executive, for our wonderful sea kayak manufacturers and sponsors, and all readers of our club magazine … thank you. No questions please …”

Day of Shame as new roll fails test – a special Flotsam report

A high profile display of elite sea kayaking skills has turned into a debacle after a rolling demonstration went wrong at an Australian Canoeing ‘expo’ at Penrith Whitewater Stadium on 26th March.

In what has been described as ‘a day of shame’ for the Club on a par with the infamous 2002 election of Dirk Stuber to Vice President, and even the 2000 ‘Flare Incident’, veteran paddler, Andrew Eddy came to grief demonstrating a sea kayaking Storm Roll to a packed house of white water aficionados. According to shocked witnesses, after the initial Storm Roll failure Mr Eddy then reverted to the new Club approved and supposedly failsafe ‘Cocked Head’ roll, but astonishingly failed four consecutive attempts before having to wet exit from his sea kayak.

Mr Eddy’s failure to complete the Cocked Head roll, so named due to the exaggerated tilted neck position that the roller must assume at the end of the manoeuvre, is still a mystery.

“I can’t work out what happened”, gasped the distraught Instructor after the incident. “My leg was cramping a bit, but it was mainly my head I think, the damned thing just wouldn’t cock properly … !”

But the news of Eddy’s misadventure confounded many of his peers, given the persistent rumour that his quirky Baidarka was ‘tricked up’ for rolling demonstrations such as the Penrith event. Up and coming sea paddler, Keith Oakford told Flotsam, “Mate, we’ve always thought Andrew had that boat set up with negative ballast or something so it would roll up no matter what he did or didn’t do underwater, so it’s a real surprise to hear he couldn’t get up at all ….!”

The Cocked Head roll, an imported American technique, has been touted as “the next big thing’ in sea kayaking, with Senior Assessor, Rob Mercer seen as the driving force behind its adoption as the Club standard.

In March 2005 Mr Mercer enthused to a senior Flotsam reporter that the Cocked Head technique not only combined “reliability with reduced shoulder strain”, but also provided “an almost spiritual experience when executed well.” Indeed, such has been his almost evangelical zeal to advance the new roll, Mr Mercer has recently been dubbed ‘Rob the Baptist’ by his peers due to his willingness to withstanding long periods in waist deep water spreading the faith.

However, the success of Mr Mercer’s marketing has had a down side, with the roll’s enthusiastic converts taking to openly ridiculing paddlers who still cling to the old screw roll technique. New age sensitive paddler, Trevor Costa complained to Flotsam “.. at Rock’n’Roll I, too was a victim of the Cocked Head ‘police’ .. I remember coming up with what I thought was a lovely lay back after a classic screw roll to find all these young zealots laughing at me, calling me an obsolete old fart, that my roll was an antique, my body and head position all wrong .. it was all very hurtful!”

But are the Cocked Head’s days numbered after the Penrith Incident? The Club’s dynamic new Training Officer, Harry Havu has asked for a comprehensive report on what exactly happened and why. Despite his hair looking suspiciously dark for a man in his mid forties, a concerned Havu told a Flotsam reporter, “although this roll remains the official Club roll, if it can fail someone of Andrew’s calibre in calm water, then the Training Committee will definitely need to review it, and I’ll will be convening a specialist panel to do just that …”

A Flotsam reporter attempted to track down the elusive Mr Mercer, only to be told that he was “unavailable to anyone from Flotsam until at least 2007”.

Hair raising demo thrills spectators .. an eye witness Flotsam report

Following the Rolling Demo on Day 2, there was an unplanned interruption to the Rock’n’Roll schedule as senior paddler, Laurie Geoghegan strode down the beach to announce an impromptu demonstration of ‘Beard Rolling’, a rare skill that has survived through the word of mouth of several generations of hairy Tasmanian paddlers.

As the crowd swelled to witness this exciting event, the solidly built Geoghegan showed no sign of nerves and went straight into a very slick Dry Beard Roll, showing amazing neck elongation to maintain a totally dry mane despite a 360 degree manoeuvre.

But we hadn’t seen anything yet. The crowd gasped as the veteran paddler then disdainfully threw away his paddle before executing a Beard Flick Roll. Using nothing but his powerful bull neck and a vigorous and terrifying beard sweep, Geoghegan emerged from the water in an eruption of red hair and spray. But the Tassie showman wasn’t finished, the crowd gasping as he announced his attempt at a world first …. the ‘Keel Haul’ Beard roll!

After again capsizing his Nadgee, Geoghegan composed himself underwater, before amazingly transferring his beard from port to starboard across the exposed hull, then again exploding from the water with a powerful head flick, his Adam’s apple quivering with exertion, the kelp-like bristles pointing triumphantly skyward. The crowd went wild, knowing they had witnessed something very special.

But as the charismatic performer returned to the beach, it nearly turned ugly as dozens of over stimulated female members mobbed the hirsute hero, frantically trying to touch his still dripping facial hair. Luckily a protective cordon of male friends were on hand to escort him back to his cabin, and calm slowly returned to Jimmy’s Beach ….

Controversial gear clinches award

After securing a massive female vote, veteran paddler, Dennis Kleinberg easily secured the 2005 Most Unpopular Paddler (MUP) award thanks to his new ‘Zippered Codpiece’ neoprene pants, which were apparently his own design. The radical outfit had an immediate impact on Jimmy’s Beach, causing several female club members to take fright and flee to the security of the Beach Master’s shelter.

One such victim was the very prim and proper Jeda Lemmon, who told Flotsam, “It was certainly a confronting sight for us ladies .. I mean, I’m no prude but I personally think the codpiece part was totally unnecessary.”

Dee Ratcliffe was another victim, requiring smelling salts after unluckily catching a full frontal view of Mr Kleinberg while sitting in her kayak. Dee told Flotsam, “It was awful, .. that zipper was straining .. I’m sure Dennis had a spare Cag in there or something .. !”

After receiving the award, a defensive Mr Kleinberg told Flotsam. “Look, all I wanted was the warmth of neoprene, the space and freedom of the codpiece, and the convenience of the zipper, and it works well, but I certainly didn’t mean to frighten anyone ..”

Questioned about the actual size of the codpiece, Mr Kleinberg denied the use of any ‘large inserts’, claiming that he “didn’t need to resort to such trickery” and that all he was packing “was one Gore-Tex sock, as is my right as an expeditionary paddler ..!”

Although not present at Rock’n’Roll 2005, Club morals campaigner, Margot Toghunter contacted Flotsam to express her “utter outrage” at Mr Kleinberg’s “lewd and indecent outfit” and urged the Club Executive to “establish a dress code for male club members as a matter of urgency!”

Jet Ski incidents to be investigated

Unconfirmed yet shocking reports have reached Flotsam that nice guy paddler, Peter Rattenbury has rescued not one, but two jet skiers in the past few months. Although details are sketchy, it appears that in both incidents neither jet skier thanked Mr Rattenbury for his actions.

Club Legal Officer, Michael Steinfeld told Flotsam, “If the reports are true, then this is a serious matter indeed. Rescuing a jet ski in any circumstances is a capital offence under the NSWSKC Constitution, and we’ll be carrying out a complete investigation to see what the appropriate punitive action will be against Mr Rattenbury ..’

According to close friends, Mr Rattenbury has been unable to come up with any extenuating circumstances to explain his actions, but given his previous good record will “throw himself upon the mercy of the Tribunal”.

Kayakers still missing, presumed ‘missing’

Rock’n’Roll Coordinator, Kevin Brennan has contacted Flotsam to confirm that the seventeen kayakers who went missing during a dusk paddle on the eve of the official event are ‘still missing’, some three months after their disappearance. The mixed pod of kayakers, participants in an unofficial ‘night navigation’ exercise, were last seen heading west towards Corvette at 5.35 pm Friday 11th March in fine conditions.

In a major embarrassment for event organisers, the pod’s absence was only confirmed at the end of the Rock’n’Roll event when it was noticed that $340 of deposit money had not been picked up from the Command Centre.

But the disappearance of the group, which was the only blip on what was otherwise a brilliantly planned and administered event, has baffled event organisers and the authorities. A sombre Brennan told Flotsam “Its definitely out of character for these men and women to have been gone for so long without trying to contact loved ones or friends. The police have also confirmed that credit cards and mobiles have not been used since 11th March, and their cars are still parked at Jimmy’s Beach Caravan Park, so the situation is definitely starting to cause some alarm.”

Mr Brennan continued, “However the Myall lakes system is extensive, the group was well equipped and had done a risk assessment, so the Committee still holds out some hope that they are out there, somewhere ..”

Should the worst come to the worst, Mr Brennan confirmed that that the $20 deposits would be returned to the victims families “in full.”

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The day that Flotsam is edited or not accepted into the Club magazine is the day I pull the pin for good.

Since when has it been inappropriate to pass comment or critique or make fun of people / gear? Open any daily rag and read reviews on cars / food / wine / resorts. Even the anal and conservative US Sea Kayaker magazine reviews sea kayaks and points out crap quality.

NSWSKC is a Club. Commercial interests can piss off! Those with delicate constitutions have no place in Sea Kayaking. This country needs a bloody good war …. hang on, I have just been to a bloody good war! People whingeing about having their kayak defamed were stripped naked and placed in a pyramid with wires on their private parts. More of the same needed here.

I may start a mag myself I think. It will be in colour, tell the stories the way they happened and not even respond to those I manage to offend. Those that don’t like it can take me to court. As is usually the case, the magistrate laughs at wankers like this and throws it out. This is, after all, bloody sea kayaking, not National Security or life and death.

Sergeant Major Trevor Gardner
Stanwell Park, NSW

Dear Editor,

Flotsam lives .. thank Christ common sense finally prevailed … this is an issue I would quit the Club over. Flotsam is the first thing I read when my magazine arrives and the only thing I re-read as the story behind the story unfolds…..it is the CNNNN of the sea kayaking world and I for one would not let it go without a big fight. Irreverence is one of the traits I really admire amongst the kayaking fraternity and to have that taken away by a few humourless, self-serving, thin-skinned, money grubbing ass-wipes is too much to bear…

Mark Berry
Wollongong, NSW

Peakbody© Training Curriculum 2005

Australian Canoeing, in association with the NSWSKC Proudly presents

Putting Stuff under your Deck Netting (Deck Management Module 1)

Learn to master the difficult art of deck management!

Impress your fellow paddlers with effortless control of your net space!

Over four action packed weekends, you will learn;

  • Correct net size and tensioning for optimum hold
  • Risk Assessing your stuffing procedures
  • Accredited Techniques for finger safety
  • Fruit care .. the science behind bananas
  • And much more …!

On successful completion of this course, participants will receive a Certificate in Deck Management (Module 1) from Australian Canoeing!

Contact NSWSKC Training Officer Harry Havu for more details

The Flotsam Celebrity Interview

In the latest interview in this series, President McNealll took time out from his busy schedule to discuss topical Club issues …

Flotsam – “President McNealll, thank you very much for coming in ..”

McNeall – “It’s a pleasure .. and please call me Richard”

Flotsam – “Sure .. well, obviously the Club is in good shape ..”

McNeall – “Yes indeed, a very successful Rock’n’Roll, a committed Executive, a superb magazine, everything is going well ..”

Flotsam – “All very positive, not to mention new Training Officer Harry Havu, the best looking Training Officer we’ve ever had by all accounts …”

McNeall – “Absolutely, and make no mistake, there’re brains there too …”

Flotsam – “Apparently there’s been a rush of new female members since his appointment, many requesting ‘personal’ tuition from Mr Havu?

McNeall – “Yes, quite a phenomenon, another healthy development for the Club ..”

Flotsam – “But is it true Harry dyes his hair?

McNeall – “Well, actually we’re not sure, but we are keeping a close eye on that ..”

Flotsam – “Well, please keep Flotsam informed. Now, onto the Chatline issue .. obviously there’s been some tension and a fair bit of grieving about the loss of the ‘open’ Chatline’. How is the new forum style Chatline going?”

McNeall – “it’s zinging along! Over 85 registered chatliners. We’re very happy.”

Flotsam – “But is anybody actually, you know, chatting?”

McNeall – “We think so. Why only last week I heard that two postings came in.”

Flotsam – “Just two?”

McNeall – “Well yes, but you’ve got to give these new things time to get going ..”

Flotsam – “What were they about?”

McNeall – “Well apparently they were complaints about the closure of the old chatline, but that’s neither here nor there ..”

Flotsam – “But you are aware of several new private Chatlines that have emerged to fill the void, some of which actually make mandatory the very abuse and vilification that caused the shutdown.”

McNeall – “Yes, awful vulgar things .. the Committee inadvertently saw one of those disgusting emails the other day .. it was so shocking we all needed a nice cup of tea and a lie down …”

Flotsam – “Moving on, it seems that the new censorship deal is hot news ..”

McNeall – “Indeed, and great to see a manufacturer getting involved .. a marvellous result for the Club.”

Flotsam – “But some are saying that the new Censor may be heavy handed on some Flotsam content.”

McNeall – “I don’t think that will happen …”

Flotsam – “But you are aware that in the previous magazine, the Censor removed some material from a short Flotsam piece that was100% the truth with no spin whatsoever ..”

McNeall – “The truth perhaps, but the truth can be very misleading if let loose in a, uhhhmm, variety column like Flotsam. And remember, of course, Flotsam has yet to achieve accreditation with Australia Canoeing …”

Flotsam – “But doesn’t this make it hard for Flotsam journalists to know which bits of the truth to leave in or out..?”

McNeall – “Well, perhaps better to keep well away from the truth altogether, that way everyone’s happy ..!”

Flotsam – “But it’s more complex than that, isn’t it? .. For instance, certain words describing some kayak parts, and even the name of some kayak brands were also censored in the last edition .. what are the rules on that?

McNeall – “Perhaps you could give me some examples.”

Flotsam – “Well, if Flotsam were, for example, to mention the word ‘rudder’, or ‘pin’ in an article, they would be published?”

McNeall – “Of course ..!”

Flotsam – “But what if they put those two words together, like this, rudder pin, would that still be OK?”

McNeall – “I can’t think why not ..”

Flotsam – “What if Flotsam reported a possible design fault in a sea kayak, would that be modified or deleted?”

McNeall – “As I see it, the main thing is that members aren’t misled, particularly by casual use of the truth ..”

Flotsam – “So just to clarify .. in future issues you are saying that Flotsam can continue to cover real sfsdfsdfsd events, raise issues relating to dodgy retert parts, and even report when lightly built Imrega sea kayaks break into little pieces in the surf … as long as it does not include any facts?”

McNeall – “that’s it in a nutshell! .. you can even write about dsdfsdfsdf, or better still, poxy Imrega! We are talking about very minor and occasional changes to Flotsam content here ..”

Flotsam – “Well, that’s all very reassuring, thank you President McNeall for your time.”

McNeall – “Always a pleasure.”