From the President’s Deck [69]

By Michael Steinfeld

A Sunday tale of kayaks, crazy coincidences and clubs

I was cycling down my street on the way to the Newtown festival, when two brand new sea kayaks, strung up in a garage, caught my eye. I shouted to the owner, ‘Nice kayaks you’ve got in there!’

She replied, ‘We just bought these a couple of weeks ago. We thought we could paddle safely but we tipped near Wedding Cake Island, Coogee. Luckily we were rescued by the lifesavers. It was on their first day of the season.’

‘Dangerous stuff!’ I commented.

‘Now we are about to get some lessons. We didn’t appreciate how risky kayaking could be,’ she said.

After introducing myself as the president of this august Club, I spritely pedalled off.

Twenty minutes into my trip, I noticed that the bungee cord, which was holding my pack, containing my wallet and phone, had broken. My pack had disappeared. I pedalled home at break neck speed, scouring the street without success. My son received a call at home. Our new kayaking neighbour, who was cycling herself, found my pack in the middle of the road some two km from home. She recognised the pack from the morning meeting. I was lucky and I was thankful that our interest in kayaking had caused my good fortune.

At the Newtown fair, Hugh MacKay, social commentator, told us that humans like to be part of a herd and clubs like ours, allow people to come together and ‘graze’ (over kayaking). I thought that the best parts of being in the club are the friendships that I have formed and the social interactions between members while paddling on trips, mixed in with the challenge and excitement of kayaking in the open sea.

So that was my Sunday tale.

This edition of the magazine has a centrefold with a map of Sydney Harbour and tips for safe paddling. You have to thank Paul Loker, Rob Mercer and the committee headed by Lee for bringing this to fruition. At least now when you are caught napping in a shipping lane, you have been warned.

Trying to make the Club ‘go green’ is a worthy goal even though kayaking must be one of the most environmentally friendly recreational sports.

After a consultation with the Club’s green social commentator, Professor Guinevere Anne Lachlan, her ten imperatives for reducing our carbon footprint are:

  1. If you have a great big automobile then don’t use it unless you are sharing it with at least two others and all their gear. This is particularly true on long mileage holiday trips. Of course any true kayaker would disdain the use of a car and just paddle there.
  2. Eat well! Fresh, seasonal, local food and a healthy diet are likely to enhance your beauty, health, wealth and place you on the fast track to carbon neutrality. It could also save a remarkable amount of CO2-e.
  3. Take great care of your paddling clothes and equipment. The manufacture of clothing produces a surprising amount of greenhouse gas. Quality, durability and long life are important attributes for any kayaker and even more so for their clothes!
  4. Buy beautiful, costly and intricately carved wooden kayaks. By spending the wealth you have acquired through healthy eating on human services rather than material goods you reduce the greenhouse gas associated with their manufacture.
  5. Massages and personal training are other options for all that wealth! Or you could pay someone to write you a poem, or paint a perfect picture of a breaking wave. That sort of thing.
  6. Recycle or compost garbage. If recycling bins aren’t available at the site, take the garbage home. Think of it this way; after a month’s paddling three-week-old garlic and onion peelings, stuffed into an old tin can, will help to cover up the smell of your wetsuit.
  7. It’s a good idea not to break your boat — making it may typically have produced 1.5 tonnes of CO2-e.
  8. Rescue services use heaps of greenhouse gas
  9. Hospitals are also a source of greenhouse gas and best avoided — Take care out there.
  10. Lastly a spare plastic bag is handy to collect noxious bits of rubbish in the water in the middle of nowhere and could turn out to be an essential tool for impressing the local constabulary in the event of an unforeseen and accidental misdemeanour.

Thanks Anne for those tips. Going Green is a topic, which will be, explored in future articles.

Rock and Roll ‘08 is nearly upon us. There are lots of events planned, including last year’s successful kayak surfing, so fill in the entry form early and save.

By the time you read this, the summer holidays will be almost upon us. This is a good time to practise rolling and surfing and remember to wear your helmet.

Just a reminder, our Club’s training sessions and trips rely on the voluntary time and effort provided by the trainers, guides and leaders. If you believe that you can assist the effort contact Adrian, our training officer. The club does not guarantee training. It is a social not a service club, so if you want to fast track training, the Club can point you in the right direction.

Finally, I would also like to introduce a segment into the magazine called the President’s Kayaking Tips.

Being no expert and with no other entries for this issue I present my own tip which is:

‘If you need to change out of wet swimming togs and you are without a towel, try putting on your spray skirt, and hey presto you are saved from embarrassment.’

Your tip must be better than that:

Another tip I remember is: When heading to the shore in a dumpy surf, untie your paddle leash so that you can quickly exit the boat, throw the paddle on the beach and concentrate on getting the kayak to shore without getting tangled in the leash.

Until the next time…
Michael Steinfeld