Training Report [65]

By David Hipsley

Well it has been a very active time since September with the following activities taking place:

Sea Skills Part 1 (2 days)

September we undertook the first stage of Sea Skills 2006 program, attended by 26 people. The weekend covered all the basic strokes, wet exits, towing and rescues followed by practise sessions. The weather was perfect and allowed a group to paddle down the coast landing at Marley Beach for lunch.

Sea Skills Part 2 (1 day)

This took place on the 14 October with the participants split into two groups and those getting closer to doing their sea skills assessment were sent off to test their skills.

We had some interesting surf skills training, with some trying and completing endo’s and then working on kayak repairs. (Always make sure you have some tape for the odd repair as you never know when you may need it.)

Some decided to try their luck at catching the biggest wave and the honour goes to Joanne, who showed off her kayaking skills by catching a two-metre-plus wave and surprising herself and the other in the group.

The second group concentrated on refining their skills learnt during stage 1 and playing in the waves off Bundeena.


Two sessions were conducted at (Homebush Olympic Pool and Hornsby Aquatic Centre) and were attended by about 12 people at each location. The group consisted of new paddlers trying to master this skill and some more experienced kayakers trying to find it again.

One thing we know for sure is you have too practise it!

Sea Leaders, Guides & Instructors

Rob Mercer ran a training day for the above group which consisted of training techniques and making corrections on and off the water. This was followed by a training sessions on the water with all of us critiquing each other. Everyone had a great day and came away with something to work on. Again thanks to Rob Mercer, Andrew Eddy and Keith Oakford for their time and encouragement.

New Sea Leader

Congratulations to Claudia Schremmer on obtaining her Sea leader qualification, and we look forward to some interesting trips with her in the future.

Flatwater Instructors Day

An introduction to kayaking day was held at Clontarf on 21 October where we had six trainee flat water instructors under the guidance of Mike Eggleton provide on and off water instructions, to 15 club and non-club members and although the day went well it was shortened by the poor weather.

2007 Training Program

This will be decided early in the New Year but if you have any suggestions about what you would like in 2007 please send me an email. The committee will then look at the options and resources for 2007.


Tasman Solo [65]

Andrew McAuley is planning to paddle solo from Australia to New Zealand

This is from his website

“For some years now, I’ve had a dream to cross the Tasman Sea in a kayak. I’ve been quietly working away on that objective by getting out there and doing lots of paddling, with recent trips including a non-stop crossing of the Gulf of Carpentaria (150 hours), Bass Strait Direct (35 hours) and a traverse of the Antarctic Peninsula coastline (8 weeks).

“I’ll be paddling from the east coast of Tasmania to Milford Sound, on the South Island of New Zealand. The paddle will be entirely below the 40th parallel (40 degrees latitude south).”

How far is it? “As the crow flies, it’s a shade over 1600km.”

Why? “I could write pages about this question. The short answer is, because I like paddling! I also enjoy sharing my experiences with others and inspiring people to reach for big, bold goals on a shoestring budget.”

What’s your experience? “The ocean doesn’t care what my experience is. When I’m out there, the Tasman will throw whatever it has at me regardless of how much paddling I’ve done. But I have done some paddling here and there. Here’s an abbreviated list of some recent kayaking trips:

  • 2006 Antarctica (approx 850km from Hope Bay south to the Antarctic Circle).
  • 2004 Gulf of Carpentaria crossing (530km crossing, seven days in the kayak non-stop. Except for sleeping!)
  • 2003 Bass Strait Direct (a direct, non-stop crossing from Wilson’s Prom to Boat Harbour, near Wynyard. 220km in 35 hours).
  • 2003 Bass Strait (western side via King Island, 300km. Includes a 100km crossing.)
  • 2003 West coast Tasmania (Strahan-Hobart, 400km).
  • 2001 Cape York and across Torres Strait (1000km).
  • 2000 Bass Strait crossing (eastern side via Flinders Island, 330km).
  • 1998 Paddling and mountaineering expedition in the Chilean fiords, Patagonia.

“I hold the record in the Murray River Marathon for the Open MRec class (404km). I have competed in the Hawkesbury Classic a number of times (111km), and I’ve won the Open Long Rec class twice. But flat water doesn’t count for much on the ocean! I’ve also done a spot of mountaineering around the place, which is a good way to get used to suffering!”

Has anyone else kayaked to New Zealand before? “No. There have been two attempts though, both by Paul Caffyn and partner.”

What kind of kayak are you using? “I’m fascinated by exploring the limits of what is possible in a conventional kayak on a low budget. My vision for this crossing is to use a stock model sea kayak with as little modification as possible. I’m using a widely available Mirage kayak with a few tweaks for safety and comfort.”

Will you use a sail? “No.”

What will it be like out there? “There’s no doubt that it will be very hard going. I have a fair idea of what to expect as I’ve done a few big kayak crossings before, and spent many nights sleeping in my kayak at sea. I’ve sailed to Antarctica and back, and seen some of what the ocean can do. I have an enormous amount of respect for this part of the Tasman Sea.”

Can we follow your progress? “Yes, there will be updates posted to the website during the paddle by my land crew.”

How long will it take? “This depends a lot on what sort of weather I encounter. With good conditions I’ll be looking at around 30 days.”

When are you leaving? “November. The exact departure date will depend mainly on weather and safety considerations. Keep an eye on this website for updates!”

S.L.A.P. — Sandy’s Long Australian Paddle [65]

Sandy Robson is planning to sea kayak around Australia

I plan to circumnavigate the coastline of Australia by sea kayak. My aim is to paddle as far as possible around the Australian coastline in one year.

For me this expedition is about living with intention, embracing challenge, following my dreams and making time in life to pursue those things that I love doing.

I have a passion for sea kayaking journeys, the marine environment and wild places. I often get to the end of an expedition and wish that I could just keep going. By undertaking this extended expedition I will be pursuing my own personal goals and I also hope to inspire others to live life to the fullest and chase their dreams.

Finally, I have noticed a lack of women out there on the water. I hope to inspire more women to conquer their fears and to get involved in sea kayaking.

The expedition will begin in December 2006 on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. From Victoria I will proceed north up the east coast of Australia and circumnavigate the coastline in an anti-clockwise direction paddling approximately 200 to 250km per week.

My Mirage 580 sea kayak is set up for an expedition of this nature and has been rigged with a sail to take advantage of the wind wherever possible. Waterproof hatches and dry bags allow me to carry all of the camping equipment, safety gear, and provisions that I will require for the extended sections between re-supply points.

The journey will be largely a solo undertaking, although I will be supported at specific stages by fellow adventurous paddlers (paddling with me).

Logistical support will be provided by a network of people including friends, family, sea kayak clubs and interested volunteers. Please contact me if you are interested in offering assistance with trip logistics such as food drops, vehicle support, accommodation and contact details of other people who may be able to assist me along the way.

I purchased my first sea kayak in 1999 and got into expedition sea kayaking through my work as an Outdoor Education leader. My first expeditions were on the beautiful Ningaloo Reef in WA. Since then I have become an active member of the Sea Kayak Club in WA and worked as a volunteer instructor for West Coast Kayaks. This experience has encouraged me to hone my skills, obtain instructor qualifications and undertake some exciting kayak journeys including paddling from Perth to Geraldton.

When I am not out sea kayaking, I work as a professional in the Outdoor Education industry. I have been coordinating the Outdoor Education program at Penrhos College in Western Australia for the past ten years. I am taking a year off from teaching to complete my expedition.

Sponsors are partners in this exciting expedition.

They have vision and a passion for providing the necessary assistance to turn dreams into realities and I thank them for this sincerely.

I would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of S.L.A.P:

  • Mainpeak
  • West Coast Kayaks
  • Sea Kayak Club WA
  • Penrhos College

Sea Skills [65]

By Sue Webber

It’s day two of the Sea Skills course weekend. The second day of training is different: there’s a more relaxed atmosphere in camp; the excitement of the unknown is replaced by the slower pace of weary limbs and tent-rested muscles. The anticipation of refining stroke techniques is substituted by the knowledge that we will be wet again soon. And we’re resigned to that already because most of the gear is still hanging damply from trees and trailers around the camp. A cold damp bottom is enough to reduce an adult to infancy in a matter of hours.

Still, it’s another clear fine day with blue skies and the promise of warm air even if the water is cool. Bonnie Vale campground is masquerading as a little piece of bush on the edge of the city although the lights of Cronulla twinkle over the water at night and the planes jet in and out of Sydney airport all day. Despite this proximity to a four million-strong metropolis I can still look out of my tent early in the morning to see a group of spoonbills, ibis and egrets working their way through the mangrove mud as if the city had never been built.

Many years ago I walked from Otford to Bundeena through the Royal National Park, more as a training walk for an overseas trip than as a bush experience. Many times I’ve watched from the window of a plane flying south down the coast following the line where the park meets the ocean. Yesterday, I paddled those waters and saw the park from the sea. Looking up at the sandstone cliffs and down through the clear blue waters gave me a new perspective and in my kayak I felt I had the freedom to explore in a way I never did walking a track or sitting in a plane seat.

At the start of the morning, the beach at Bonnie Vale looked like a kayaking expo with a major leaning toward Mirages. Scattered among the 580s were a few non-conformists; a Greenlander, Nadgee, Nelo and even some plastic boats. I think my Q-Kayaks Tui took the prize as the smallest, and possibly widest, boat on the beach.

We split into four groups and each little bobbing flock was rounded up and chivvied along by an instructor. Mark Sundin and Dave Hipsley shepherded our little group to the mouth of Port Hacking and out to sea.

The weather was just about perfect for our needs; a light Nor-Easterly, a small swell and a forecast for more of the same. It looked like a beach landing would be possible.

Rolling is often cited as kayaking’s greatest mystery, something akin to the loss of virginity. The whispered question among the neophytes, “Can you roll?” is often replied in the negative but with a positive wish for the future. Rolling is one thing but I’ve begun to see the forward stroke as a greater mystery as I steadily work my way through all the things it is not on my way to discover exactly what it is.

I know it’s not about the arms and it is about the torso. I know it is about the box and it’s not about the chicken wing. I know it is about moving the legs and keeping the hands in place. I know that when I get it right it will be efficient and easy but until then I will use a great deal of time and effort remembering to do one part of the stroke while I forget to do another.

Unfortunately, the multi-facetted complexities of the great forward mystery kept slipping my mind as I simply enjoyed paddling south following the sandstone cliffs of the Royal National Park.

Our next challenge was a beach landing at Big Marley Beach. The surf was very small and my main concern was getting my kayak up the fairly steep beach and then keeping it out of the water as the tide came in during our lunch break.

Before heading home we practised our sweep strokes and I discovered that the Tui’s major strength is being able to turn in small circles while the longer kayaks perform ponderous circumnavigations.

Once back in the waters of Port Hacking we worked on our sculling draws and took turns to deliberately tip ourselves into the water for rescue practice. While it is jolly calming to have someone describe at length how they are going to rescue you, I soon decided I would rather jump on the kayak and get on with it instead of waiting patiently in the water while the rescuer described his honourable intentions to me.

The second day saw us regroup with different instructors. I paddled off behind Harry Havu but he soon spotted my forward stroke errors and had me concentrating on paddling with my knuckles along the horizon until I forgot what I was supposed to do with the rest of my body. Our main aims for the day were towing and rescues and we landed at Jibbon Beach for a tow rope inspection. Harry played the part of Goldilocks to our eight bears. He found that some tow ropes were too fat, some carabiners were too sharp, some kayaks didn’t have a suitable towing point but a couple of tow lines were just right. However, we paddled out to the mouth of Port Hacking and made the best use of our equipment towing one another through the swell singly and in pairs, until everyone had enjoyed the experience of dragging a large weight behind their boat. How I wished for the efficiency of a perfect forward stroke.

Back at Jibbon Beach we landed for a quick lunch. The bay was filled with millions of dollars worth of pleasure craft that didn’t look as if they’d been as far out to sea as we had. You could tell it was a classy spot as the flotsam included strawberries and a Cognac bottle label. It certainly made a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich look like a pretty low status lunch.

The self rescue is a manoeuvre probably best attempted by the rolling adepts but Trevor Creighton was pretty keen to have a go at the “Cowboy method” and, after a couple of attempts, managed to straddle his craft and slip back into the cockpit. Harry showed us that elegance, style and a good roll is the essence of a successful self rescue and then set about telling us to fall out of our kayaks so other people could rescue us. Anyone watching must have thought we were the most incompetent bunch of paddlers on the water with people falling out in all directions. Harry bravely suggested that I rescue him and spent several minutes in the water crying for help more and more weakly as I failed to manoeuvre my craft into the correct position. I’m glad to say I did eventually assist him back into his boat while he requested a bit more commitment on my part.

Once everyone was completely wet and had been rescued several times we headed for home with thoughts of hot showers and hot drinks. With my Grade 2 checklist nearly completed I realised that this was a good opportunity for the 50 metre swim so I struck out boldly in my skirt and PFD to add another tick to the box.

The Sea Skill training takes three days and is designed to cover all the skills and techniques needed to attain the club grade three award.

Many thanks to all the trainers who made the Sea Skills weekend so enjoyable and rewarding.

To sail or not to sail? [65]

This may be the answer!

By Andre Janecki

The purists already have their answer. But for everyone else who already uses “technology”, such as a rudder or skeg, with or without the mighty propeller blade paddle (not to mention a cockpit size a fist bigger than their waist) adding a sail was never a question – only its size.

From this point, they may as well call themselves “hybrids”. The sailing idea was always going to appeal to them for many reasons. Usually they would experiment on a friend first and then quickly adopt the “unfair advantage” for themselves, in a format at least double the standard size.

Now the only problem is that this much larger sized sail is clearly visible and (unlike the rudder or the skeg) right in front of them! Knuckles are bruised and the hip flip roll isn’t the same. But more bad news is lurking near the surf zone. This is where the purists like to wait. Weeks later they can auction their collection of salvaged goods from the hybrids’ misadventures on e-Bay for a tidy financial reward.

For the past ten years I have remained pure. But recently things have started to change. Perhaps it was the week-long celebration of my 50th birthday or the two years spent constructing our new home/office that took its toll on my body, particularly my elbow. The bottom line was, that I had promised my partner

Catherine, a two-week kayaking experience of the Whitsunday Islands. And judging by her reaction after reading some of the horror stories endured by others up there, she in no polite way let me know what she expected of me. So I had to perform. The possibility of having to tow made me seriously think of staying at home at one point…have I mentioned my heart problem yet? That was when I knew I had to use the sail.

The more I thought about using the rig, the more attractive the whole idea became.

It would not only extend our cruising range but would leave me with more calories to burn later.

As the new premises and most importantly the workshop was now complete, I had all the time required to improve upon my previous commercially available sail.

Despite the popularity of the original design (based on Norm’s idea) I started with a clean sheet of paper. (For those who are unfamiliar with kayak sail history and design aspects, a good reference point is Andrew Eddy’s article The Why & Wherefore Of A New Design, which appeared in volume 44 of this magazine.)

The Design Challenge: Make a minimalistic and multifunctional sail using only the best materials available.

My previous sail was made out of three shaped panels with a fibreglass batten to maximise its area under tension. The shape of the sail was a proven and successful design, however even the best fabric didn’t last more then three years and the batten had a tendency to pierce through the material.

Research and development is an expensive process, yet irrespective of the costs, I needed to implement some drastic measures. After an extensive search I sourced a high tech fabric. It is at least 10 times stronger and more UV stable than the previous polyester cloth. It is also much softer, thus reducing creasing. Finally, due to the new proportions of the sail including a much shorter boom section and with the assistance of four new panels, the need for the batten was completely eliminated.

The original mast measured 1.2m from the base, which was relatively short. It didn’t impede on the cockpit opening, which was an important safety aspect but at the same time, its length was also its limitation. To address this issue, the new mast is now telescopic.

A truly successful design called for a furling option without being complicated.

By rolling and sliding the top section into the main mast, the size and shape of the sail is reduced by approximately 20 per cent.

When not on the water the whole rig needed to have other function/s as well, for example catching rainwater, providing emergency shelter and doubling as a “spare” spray skirt. It is also nice to know that the whole thing fits easily into an average size aft compartment and weighs around 850g.

In an attempt to cater for different kayak models, I have made the sail in two sizes: 1.65m (1.1m when folded) and 1.90m (1.25m when folded.)

There is also a choice between the economically priced marine anodised aluminium and the more expensive, maintenance-free fibreglass. Now the limitations are on you, your pocket, your kayak strength and the wind of course.

And what happened on the Whitsunday Island trip? Neptune must have been listening to me. He may not be a “hybrid” but he is definitely a pure man! Catherine was presented with a fab time with the bonus of staying at Haslewood and Border Islands. As for me, I was presented with the best September weather imaginable with the bonus of contracting sea lice (microscopic jellyfish larvae) from the Shute Harbour launch site, with the pain and irritation lasting for the entire trip.

Some say that a picture tells a thousand words.

So here it is, the World Premiere of the Hybrid Telescopic Kayak Sail.

Andre is part of the creative team behind Hybrid Pty Ltd. which specialises in technology, design and architecture. The name Hybrid Telescopic Kayak Sail and its design is the sole property of Hybrid Pty Ltd. Hybrid Pty Ltd is a Gold Sponsor of the NSWSKC 2007 Rock’n’Roll weekend.

Rolling Training Olympic Style [65]

By Audrey MacDonald and Elizabeth Thompson

Rolling, rolling, rolling… roll uuuuup. Woohoo!

Watch the paddle.

Crunch forward.

Sweep out and up.

Twist your torso.

Keep your head down

Chin to shoulder

Knee lift.

Finish position.

Keep practising.

Do this, do that… that was what we heard on the night of Wednesday 27 September at the Sydney Olympic Stadium as we lined up four, five at a time in our boats for rolling instruction from Keith Oakford, Andrew Eddy, Mark Sundin and Harry Havu. The instructors spent two-plus hours in the water, totally concentrating on each person, either introducing them to the mysteries of kayak rolling, diagnosing bad habits or tweaking technique.

And how great it was to be able to practise in a warm pool without the demands of the weather and sea state encroaching on our ability to stay in the water and practise. No one got cold. Everyone improved. Some of us even cracked a roll, even a series of rolls! A great opportunity.

Thanks to the instructors for their time and effort and to David Hipsley, Training Co-ordinator for organizing it and doing a photoshoot! All was appreciated by the enthusiastic group of rolling apprentices!

Rock’n’Roll 2007 [65]

Rock’n’Roll 2007 is on at Bateman’s Bay from 24 to 26 March. We have an excellent venue at the Batemans Bay Beach Resort beside the beach with a large camping area and excellent accommodation for those wanting more comfort.

This is an excellent weekend to have a good time and socialise with other club members. There will be lots of organized paddles to participate in and off-water sessions where you can learn about many aspects of sea kayaking.

A special guest this year will be Justine Curgenven from the UK. Justine will show her new “This Is the Sea” DVD, give us a few talks and she is looking forward to paddling with club members.

Participate in

  • Half Day Trips
  • Tollgate Dash Race
  • Handicap Kayak Race
  • Saturday Night Buffet Dinner
  • Lots of Socialising
  • Night time Entertainment

Learn about out fitting your boat, making boat repairs, sails and sailing, how to use a GPS and much more!

Major Raffle

During the weekend we will have two raffles with many thousands of dollars of prizes kindly donated by our sponsors.

The main prize will be a Skye 17 Sea Kayak donated by our major sponsor Kayaking World Gosford

Important information for the Rock’n’Roll weekend

The weekend is being held at the Batemans Bay Beach Resort, 51 Beach Rd, Bateman’s Bay (turn left at traffic lights in main street and follow out past golf club, resort is on left past Bird Sanctuary). Please register early to save yourself money and make the job easier for us.

Batemans Bay Beach Resort is an excellent location with lots of camping and cabin accommodation available. We have done a deal with the resort so all NSW Sea Kayak Club members receive a 10% discount on camping and accommodation. I suggest you look up the website to see all the accommodation options available. Be sure to mention when booking you are with the club to receive the 10% discount and if you are camping in a small tent tell them you are sharing a site.

There are some excellent camp kitchens available. We have asked that all members be placed at the southern end of the resort that keeps us all together in a cosy bunch.

We recommend you book early so phone 1800 217533 and tell them you are a club member.

On arrival all members are asked to register at the Fairy Penguin cabin, registration will be available from 5pm to 10 pm on Friday night 23 March and Saturday from 7am.

Please bring your pfd when registering so we can attach your waterproof ID card. The ID card on your pfd is essential to take part in any water activities. There is a $20 security deposit for the ID card which will help you to remember to check out at Rock’n’Roll headquarters before leaving.

We have organized a Saturday night buffet dinner including a seafood entrée and desert for $25 dollars and there will be plenty of food this year. If you wish to participate please mark this on your registration form. Please bring your own plate and cutlery, BYO drinks. Tea and coffee will be available.

Check at the registration office early each morning to see what trips are available and put your name.

Only members of the NSW SKC are eligible to participate in the water activities of the Rock’n’Roll club registration forms can be found on our web site:

If you have any questions please email the Rock’n’Roll coordinators at rnr2007[at]

Volunteers Needed For Rock’n’Roll

Some help is required for tasks over the weekend. The more people who volunteer just a small amount of their time the more fun we will all have, so give us a hand!

To register as a volunteer please email us at rnr2007[at] with your name and contact details.