Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sea Kayak Victoria

Arriving at Melbourne Airport, Ginni and I were picked-up by David Golightly of the Victorian Sea Kayak Club.
David would be our 'coordinator' for our stay in Melbourne. We were moved from one venue to another, but under the professional and in the very relaxed care of David this shuffling around relieved a lot of the pressures of getting the most out of our stay for the club. On the Friday evening lecture the first question I got asked was what I thought about rudders... And when I told (with pictures) something about paddling in the Netherlands: if Dutch kayakers often cross the North Sea. Well, not really, only very rarely. I learned that for Aussies, the 'pinnacle' of sea kayak proficiency is crossing Bass Strait. With Geoff in Tasmania, I looked into a Bass Strait navigation and I learned it is a kinda advanced crossing.

By Sunday afternoon I was totally spent (through a combination of heat and session concentration) when John and Tina drove us on the Sorrento ferry to Queenscliff for two days of easy-going chilling-out on the Geelong coast. We could use Sea Leopard sea kayaks that were kindly lent to us by Bob Mitchell of Rafta Sea Kayaks. Sea Leopards can fly... I just barely cleared a big set wave over a reef break and felt fully air-borne for a moment, with some adrenaline-rush. On Tuesday, Tony lent me his Nadgee sea kayak. Despite fitted with a (retractable) rudder, I found the Nadgee very easy to control without the rudder. I had a great time in clean surf with long rides on the swell-generated surf and surfing a following sea in increasing winds.

When comparing sea kayak performance my 'bias' tends to evaluate how well/quick the kayak responds to the effort or stroke I put into it. Instant 'feedback-loops' between the mind, body, blade, boat and the water; a constant 'activity'. The ONE 'perfect sea kayak' does not exist. Sea kayak performance is something to experience one selves and is very personal !

Returning from Barwon Heads we visited Queenscliff lighthouse to view 'the rip' and give homage at the Paul Caffyn 'plaque', the location where he (and Freya Hoffmeister) started their Australia circumnavigation. Currently Stuart Trueman is well on it's way and his progress can be followed at:

A big thank you to all the people at the VSKC for organizing our stay. Next stop on the "Australia Tour" is the New South Wales Sea Kayak Club in Sydney.

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