President’s Report [63]

By Elizabeth Thomson

Dear All,

Well, this is the last magazine before the 2006 AGM, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to look back at the year that was.

At Club level, we’ve had a number of ups and downs. The biggest downer was the resignation of our stoic editor, Ian Coles. His resignation in December was a real blow and we were left to struggle to get the December issue out without him. Thanks to the volunteers that stepped in and helped out, enabling us all to get it at RnR. The good news is that we now have a very experienced, enthusiastic new Editor, Sue Webber. So let’s support Sue and continue to send in our stories. We are looking for all kinds: trip reports, but also articles on equipment; on all things to do with kayaking and the world of water.

Another downer was that we thought we were going to be short on trip leaders for RnR. But the weather gods were on our side and many of our experienced trip leaders and instructors were available for RnR, making it a huge success. Everyone got the opportunity to go to sea as well as feed the fish and generally hang out and talk boats and swap stories. And on that note, I want to thank the sponsors, particularly Kayaking World for the Point 65 boat donation. A lot of people had a great time trialing the boats and mulling over the idea of buying one.

But apart from that, we’ve have had a great year.

Peter Osman put on great Water Aid Race despite the weather being unkind on the first attempt. We are going to do it again in 2007, on a bigger scale, sponsoring the only competitive sea kayak race in Australia (we think!).

The website continues to be a source of invaluable information for sea kayakers in general, but also specifically for members, announcing our club trips, training and other events. Speaking of events, the AGM this year will include the usual whale watching trips in the morning before the meeting and presentations by two of our kayaking legends, Mike Snoad and John Wilde following dinner. So put July 22 in your diary.

We introduced the logbook at RnR. This includes our Grade 1 and 2 assessment criteria, which enables paddlers to tick off their skills as they develop. I’ve had a couple of very enjoyable post-paddle moments over a cup of coffee filling in the logbook with others on the trip, giving each other a hard time and proudly filling in the details. The logbook is proving to be not only a sensible vehicle for recording experience and skills development but also is a great talking point building social connections between paddlers.

We sponsored a Snr First Aid course in April. The feedback has been very positive and we intend to do the same thing next year. In fact, the course will be tailored more specifically to the kinds of first aid needed by sea kayakers.

Our Club trips continue to be popular and incident free with flat-water and sea trips on offer. And of course, our training program continues on. The 2006 program has been designed around paddling weekends where trainees experience overnight trips and skills development in planned contexts. And of course, the pool rolling sessions continue to be popular. But every now and then we have ‘no shows’. This results in spots being unfilled at the last minute which means other people miss out on the opportunity. The training group has decided to have a ‘black list’. If you have to cancel and you don’t give prior notice, then your name goes on the list and you won’t be given a spot next time. Hopefully, this will reduce the last minute vacancies.

We introduced the e-newsletter to keep members up to date on Club developments and the work of the Committee. The feedback that I get is that you like it, so we will keep it up.

And finally, our membership continues to grow.

At the National level, things have been less stable. As you know, AC went bankrupt in December, which resulted in a nation wide review. NSWSKC put in a submission and lobbied for our position as sea kayakers at a meeting in April. The Australian Sports Commission report is expected at the end of this month. I will be reporting on it at the AGM.

Another, by far better, development of late is that one of our members, Mike Eggleton has been appointed at the Executive Officer of NSW Canoeing Inc. This is great news and marks a sea change in our relationship with the State Association. Sea kayaking will now get the attention it deserves ?.

So, that’s 2005/6 in a nutshell. And just before I go, I want to say thank you to the Committee and the truck loads of volunteers have worked hard for the Club this year. Without you, there’d be no club.

See you on the water.