Flotsam [64]

Due to a number of defamation proceedings culminating in temporary injunctions taken out in the High Court of Australia, several Flotsam articles were unable to be published in Issue 63. However, with the content cleared by the highest court in the land, Flotsam is now proud to print these articles, uncensored, for the information of members and guests.

From Issue 63 — Flotsam Personality of the Year

The much acclaimed title of FPOTY for 2005 has been awarded to the increasingly famous Laurie Geoghegan. Laurie’s rise to prominence in the sea kayaking world has been remarkable — many members would be astounded to learn that just eight years ago Laurie was just another hippie with a Pittarak living in the Daintree rainforest!

But, despite a stiff challenge from the publicity hungry Harry Havu, in the eyes of the FPOTY Judging Panel the south coast adventurer was a clear winner with a 75 per cent publicity rate in the four Flotsam editions of 2005.

Issue 60 saw Laurie demonstrating his awesome “beard roll” to hundreds of fascinated club member at Port Stephens. In the September issue he was the mastermind behind the Rymell Expedition “merchandising scandal” and in December he was “Captain Chaos”, spruiking a new and radical free-thinking philosophy for sea kayaking.

Laurie told Flotsam, “mate, what a buzz…I knew I’d had a good year in the news but this has confirmed it I guess… this is just the lift I needed before Antarctica .”

Laurie wins a 10 litre flagon of Stones Ginger Wine and a weekend hire of a Pittarak. Well done Laurie!

From Issue 63 — Story surfaces after long silence

In what appears to have been an incident somehow suppressed from media attention, Flotsam has learned that a Port Stephens Rock’n’Roll day trip led by Club Training Officer Havu and John “Gauntlet Baron” Tottenhofer almost led to tragedy! According to witnesses, several inexperienced paddlers were left unsupervised on open water as Havu and Tottenhofer “went berserk” in a Grade 5 gauntlet near the Yacabar headland.

Sitting stationary for some time in the rough conditions, several novice paddlers became ill watching the two leaders frolic in the monster surges and several capsized … and this was when Tottenhofer’s partner Jeda Lemmon became the hero. Jake Alderman, one of the rescued paddlers, told Flotsam, “mate, it was rough out there, and we were all nearly spewing watching those two nutters in the rocks, then I keeled over and was in real trouble. Hate to think of what could have happened if Ms Lemmon hadn’t been near… she was awesome, telling me what to do… and so strong!”

Flotsam tracked down Ms Lemmon to talk about the incident, but she would not be drawn on the circumstances that led to the capsizes, only saying that, “I guess boys will be boys… I’m just glad I was there to help.”

With the story in the public domain, Mr Havu contacted our office to firmly reject any shortcomings in his leadership style, telling Flotsam, “Yes, John and I were leading that paddle, and yes we followed all the protocols in terms of group management, but when we entered that gauntlet we were on our official lunch break and the group knew that ..!”

A senior club insider informed Flotsam that an official reprimand for the Training Officer was unlikely given his solid reputation, especially with the ladies.

From Issue 63 — Paddler yields to the pleasures

Celibacy is a state of being that is surprisingly common among sea kayakers. Some would say this is not surprising given the reputation of many paddlers for poor personal hygiene and bad breath, not to mention endemic salty groin syndrome.

But there are a few in the club neither afflicted by halitosis or marine infections who have chosen celibacy almost as a belief system. They are attractive human beings who have made the decision to focus all their mental and physical resources on perfecting aquatic skills, knowledge and awareness.

Such a man is Mike “Muscles” Snoad, whose celibate status has allowed him to achieve much in the past decade, not only completing two solo crossings of Bass Strait, but designing several expedition kayaks and other sea kayaking equipment. Most remarkably, Mike achieved all this despite being regularly pursued by a number of predatory women, their competitive instincts aroused by his purity, and all keen to bed a real “trophy” sea kayaker.

But then came the shocking and sad news that Mr Snoad, like so many men before him, had succumbed to the temptations of the “siren song”. It was not clear when this happened, but friends started to notice a slight physical decline in mid December, with Snoad’s trademark strong training paddle sprint-finish fizzling out long before the line. It was only in the days leading up to Christmas that the truth came out. Tragically, it seemed that the veteran kayaker had not only allowed his vow of abstinence to be broken, but was seemingly being induced into making up for lost time.

Slumping over a large laté at the Nelligen Cafe, a visibly drained Snoad told Flotsam, “Mate, I’m half the man I was … I’m trying to train for another solo epic and the Antarctic mission, but have been lucky to be able to clock up 25kms a day now what with all the new physical demands”.

Snoad continued, “this is like the cruelest Bi-athlon anyone could think of … I get off the water and there’s hardly a break and I’m into the land leg. Then I get up in the morning and its on again before my dawn training paddle… my batteries just aren’t getting enough time to recharge!”

But help may be at hand with news of a natural remedy to help Mike adjust to a life of action on and off the water. Well known paddler and infamous “lady guddler” Andrew Watkinson told Flotsam, “a daily teaspoon of Horny Goatweed powder’s the go, it certainly got me through a difficult transition time after a quiet spell I had back in June 1985!”

Flotsam attempted to talk to Club President Elizabeth Thomson on possible club assistance for sea kayakers struggling with the physical adjustment to a post celibate lifestyle, only to be told our President was “making her own adjustments” in Victoria.

2006 AGM Diary

(Due to staff shortages, the only Flotsam reporter available to report on this pivotal event has at times been criticised for his cynical, sexist and uninformed attitude to the club. Flotsam apologises in advance for some of the views expressed in this year’s AGM diary)

4.14pm Turned up late but don’t think I’ve missed much. President Thomson is certainly looking very confident up there, full of energy and bounce… is she getting lucky?

4.20pm The results of some analysis of club membership profile are being read out. Apparently 90% of the clubs are boring men aged 40-55 who paddle Mirages. I knew that.

4.45 pm Things are looking up, the Pres looks like she’s going to give someone a life Membership. This is a rare event! She’s reading out a long list of achievements. Lots of bureaucratic work, affiliation with AC, the insurance cover issue, training provider accreditation .. wow, this person has had a really huge influence on our beloved Department, errr Club….

4.46 pm Good Lord, its Rob Mercer and Sharon Betteridge! Loud applause and well deserved too. Is Rob a public servant?

4.53 pm Shocking. Nearly choked on my beer! Some bloke from the NSW Canoeing Association is up there saying that Australian Canoeing isn’t dead after all… it just owes a lot of money. Worse, AC has now realised it was wrong in the past to direct all its resources to five elite sprint kayakers on steroids, and now wants to woo the other three thousand amateurs. Which means they might suddenly be interested in sea kayakers and want to organise events for the club! What a horrible, horrible thought … !

5.10 pm John Wilde and Rob Mercer are up now talking about AC Safety and Education committee strategies and award schemes and stuff. God, they can talk these two …

5.32 pm This would have to be the single most tedious session ever endured by an AGM audience! Mercy!

5.43 pm Some members are becoming so desperate that they are holding their breath until they become unconscious! They are then carried up to the public bar to be revived. What willpower! All heroes in my view .. at least their ordeal is over.

5.46 pm Amazing! John and Rob have finished and are sitting down, but the survivors are on their feet and hugging each other. Emotional scenes indeed!

5.50 pm We’re now voting in the new Committee. Shocking news. Harry Havu has stood down as Training Officer. And he’s blaming Flotsam! But what a good looking man. Trainee women all around me are sobbing uncontrollably… he will be missed.

5.52 pm I’ve just noticed that there are quite a few non members at the meeting who are eagerly taking part in the voting. Right beside me is that tight-arse ex president Dirk Stuber with his hand up yet again! I guess he’s here trying to score one of those life memberships.

5.56 pm Some new faces are getting jobs on the Committee. Poor buggers. I don’t know any of them but I’m sure they all paddle Mirages.

5.57 pm the bloke behind me has confirmed they do all paddle Mirages.

5.58 pm Wait a minute… that bloody legal eagle Michael Steinfeld has just been promoted from Assistant Flotsam Censor to Chief Flotsam Censor! This diary will never be published now surely…

6.03 pm Ahhh this is better! The Kanu magazine is, at last, generating some debate. Seems that although the magazine is a bit ho hum, the curvaceous wench on the front cover is being given the thumbs up by male members and they want more! Oops, Morals Campaigner Jan Wrighteous is on her feet and is not happy at all … oh very clever! .. Jan’s cleverly killed the debate by demanding a bikini clad Stephan Meyn on the cover of the next issue of our Mag!

6.10 pm its OVER! The President has said we can all have our lives back. But this was a dull event indeed. Little spirited debate. No differing views. Going to need more than “time and a half” to get me back again in 2007….

Nadgee Corporation Restructures

The sea kayaking stock market surged last month on the news that NadgeeCorp is to split into separate Research & Development and Production arms.

Flotsam caught up with NadgeeCorp CEO Dave Winkworth as he boarded his newest Lear jet at Merimbula airport. Winkworth, the self styled “Richard Branson of Australian sea kayaking”, told Flotsam “the Board sees this as an evolutionary step forward for the company, leveraging our reputation in the innovation and design space, freeing up resources for new product development, and broadening our market share going forward …”

Future Nadgee production will be taken over by prominent Nadgee owner Laurence Geoghegan, whose knowledge of kayak construction is not known, although he is apparently very good at cheese.

Orders for the Nadgee have recovered strongly after a sales slump associated with a Deep Vein Thrombosis scare in 2004, when Mr Geoghegan tragically lost a leg crossing Bass Strait. Geoghegan told Flotsam “Obviously it’ll be a priority to redesign cockpit ergonomics… even my wooden leg aches with the current seating position!”

However, despite the massive responsibility of reducing the current seven year waiting list, the free thinking Geoghegan is likely to apply changes to standard production techniques. Geoghegan continued “given the toxic nature of all Nadgees, I’m going to apply a greener and very much alternative philosophy to both the materials and construction process. “

The first composite mud brick/hemp fibre/eucalyptus resin Nadgee is expected to roll off the production line in March 2007.

Flotsam accused of ‘Hack attack’

The Flotsam Internet Hacking Section has been heavily implicated in a hi-tech attack on the “nsw_sea_kayakers” Yahoo group, the unofficial club chatline. The attack involved unauthorised modification to chatline founder Trevor Gardner’s welcoming remarks to make him sound, according to a close friend, “like a right knob end”.

The attack has caused furore in chatline circles, with literally hundreds of emails protesting at the slur being sent to NSWSKC Internet Coordinator Peter Kappelmann, who told Flotsam, “and a few were not even from Mr Gardner!”

Although the motive behind the attack is not clear, the very talented Gardner has alienated many in the club by not only being articulate, rich and good looking, but also for leading the infamous but doomed “coup d’etat” at the 2005 AGM.

Having just returned from his latest military adventure in Timor, a furious Gardner contacted Flotsam to say, “Was it you, you bastards! .. if it was I’ll be calling in the F16’s .. you’ll be TOAST!!”

Calming down, Gardner continued, “but do you know what really hurts … its that those remarks were up there for four weeks, viewed by hundreds, and nobody gave it a second thought .. everyone just assumed they were my words … my words!!”

As is long standing policy, Flotsam can neither confirm nor deny any involvement in the unauthorised modification.

Critics savage ‘elite scheme’

In breaking news Flotsam has become aware of a new arrangement with the Victorian Sea Kayak Club engineered by innovative President Elizabeth Thomson. Using her Executive power under Section 54 a (IV) of the Club constitution, President Thomson has finalised an “accommodation sharing” scheme with her Victorian counterpart Peter Treby on August 4th.

Under the scheme, Ms Thomson when in Melbourne will stay at the VSKC offices in the exclusive Kew area, with access to a VSKC car and driver, while Mr Treby will room in the guest apartments at NSWSKC House at Double Bay.

Critics of the arrangement claim that the Committee was not consulted, some going so far as to accuse Ms Thomson of becoming too fond of the benefits of high office and losing touch with the club rank and file.

Flotsam caught up with the President as she had enjoyed a Bio-Hydratant© moisture treatment, total body defoliating scrub and cleansing enzyme facial peel at the ritzy Oxford Club. Granting a five minute audience, Ms Thomson told Flotsam “this scheme will be of immense benefit to both clubs as we learn more about each other’s organisation and activities”. However, when asked if there were any plans to extend the scheme to ordinary members, Ms Thomson curtly replied “don’t be silly .. now run along I’m late for my Jojoba Oil massage ..”.