From the President’s Deck [79]

by Michael Steinfeld

The kayak rolling competition held at this year’s Rock’n’Roll was an impressive affair. We all watched in awe as club members performed their pirouettes. There are many talented kayakers out there. Greenland paddling was all the rage. Ginni Callahan from the USA was on hand to instruct and was so impressed she is visiting us again in early February next year. We were again lucky with great weather. Thanks go to Rob Richmond and to the committee for making the 2010 Rock’n’Roll an overwhelming success. Batemans Bay is a great venue that caters to all grades of paddlers but if you know of a location that would be suitable for next year’s event please tell us.

Time moves fast and the next major club event is the Annual General Meeting to be held at 4 pm on Saturday 31 July 2010 at the Bundeena RSL Club. Paddles will be organised in the morning and kayaks will be available for test paddles in the afternoon. Following the AGM, we have invited Matt Bezzina and Mark Schroeder to talk about their recent Bass Strait crossing. (See their article.) We also ask members to bring along a CD or DVD with about 10 to 15 pictures of a favourite kayaking location so we can dream about the great escape.

The primary purpose of the AGM is for NSWSKC members to be provided with an update on the year’s activities, detail the club’s financial position and elect next year’s committee. So please come along — after all it is your club.

I have been president for the last three years and on the committee for six and will be stepping down. I understand that Sally Jacobs, the trips coordinator, Jacqui Stone, the editor and Rob Richmond, the Rock’n’Roll coordinator will not be standing again and their tasks will need to be filled. They have all done a great job. If you wish to give something back to the club that has provided you with a new direction in life, just put your hand up and volunteer.

It has been a pleasure for me to serve as president. In 2004, when Elizabeth Thomson became president and I joined the committee we had many issues to overcome. There was the infamous chat line, our rocky affiliation with NSW Canoeing, a paper based membership renewal system with different annual dates, no proper financial records and the need to implement Australian Canoeing training standards.

In 2005 the club voted to disaffiliate from NSW Canoeing, a decision which created a little heat but unified the club in other ways. The club has maintained its allegiance to the Australian Canoeing training standards and a new trip leader role was created and its limits defined. During 2007, the club mourned the loss at sea of Andrew McAuley and then in 2008 the untimely death of Kevin Brennan.

On the membership side, numbers have slowly increased to over 300. In the last few years the number of women who have joined has increased and their involvement in all levels of the club’s activities is great news for the club’s future. The club moved to a online membership form and the magazine ‘stuffing night’ is no more. On the OH&S side, the disclosure of mishaps was encouraged and a incident report form developed. The purpose of incident reporting is to bring to light common mistakes that could be avoided once the risks are appreciated. The appreciation of risks of injury in gauntlet paddling was exposed in my run-in with a rock at Broughton Island. As a result, common sense dictates that helmets be worn while paddling in these high risk environments.

The committee members have worked tirelessly. The magazine has maintained its high quality thanks to the skill of Jacqui. Mr Flotsam is still causing ructions, but I believe he has mellowed over the years. The trip calendar is full thanks to Sally Jacobs. Training, the backbone of the club, has provided many of us with the skills needed to feel confident out at sea. John Piotrowski has worked hard to try to meet the expectations of new members. The club’s web page is the front door of the club and Peter Kappelmann’s hard work must be appreciated. The club records must be maintained and David Fisher and Ken Day must be thanked for their hard work over the last couple of years.

My presidential work has therefore been a collaborative effort. I need to thank Rob Mercer for his invaluable assistance with policy formulation and direction. Likewise, it is the trip leaders and instructors who give so much of their time to the membership. I need to thank Audrey, my life paddling partner who has supported my every move. There are many others to thank but too numerous to name.

In the end it is your club which needs your input whether it is big or small. I will still around on the sidelines contributing… so until next time we meet…

Michael Steinfeld