Memories of Wayne Langmaid [72]

By Peter Osman

Many of us will remember evenings at Wayne Langmaid’s shop in Ettalong, a small Aladdin’s cave of all things kayaking. Of an evening he’d have a group of us kayak novices drinking mugs of coffee at a round table with a glass top covering a map that he used to demonstrate how to plan a trip.

Wayne was a great believer in carefully planning day trips the night before and a master of creating the relaxed and informed atmosphere that helped us to learn how to do this. He drummed into us the concepts of circles of risk, descriptions of the human failings that could bring a trip undone, as well as the forces of wind, tide and sea; and went on to discuss these and many other issues of safety with senior members of the club over the years. He can be credited as a major influence in creating a culture of safety within the NSWSKC.

Wayne died on 18th June this year and I attended the funeral. It was an eye opener. I knew of Wayne’s great love for his family. This was clear to anyone who had watched him playing with Emmy, Molly and Joely; or collaborating with Linda to organize a trip; and in later years the time he had with his youngest daughter Indy. An enduring memory is watching Wayne in a kayak with one or more of his daughters clinging to the bow and stern and rotating full circle with him as he rolled; or Wayne and Linda laughing as they watched a bunch of us tourists chasing after a fruit cart in Turkey thinking it was fresh fruit when in fact it was rotten and due for the tip and the puzzled locals had no idea of what we were up to.

As I listened to Wayne’s family and friends I learned much more. His brother spoke of the adventures they used to get up to as young men, describing how once Wayne got an idea in his head nothing would stop him. There was the story of how the two of them, with barely a dollar to spare between them, built a functioning motor bike in their tiny flat in Canada out of spare and second-hand parts often scavenged from scrap. Friends spoke of his ability as a gifted naturalist, able to identify trees and plants at the drop of a hat. An army friend told of his sense of adventure, illustrating this with a story of a particularly challenging surf landing, which they both survived?just. We learned of Wayne’s love of literature and gift for words and then we all listened to his daughters read their farewell tributes and poems that were clear and beautiful and spoke volumes.

Wayne’s family will miss him more than can be conveyed here. His friends will miss him greatly also. And the club will continue to feel his influence on issues of safety and looking out for your mates, for many years.