Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bay Sydney Rollers

In Sydney the NSW Sea Kayak Club organized a well-attended club weekend at Bundeena for coach and trip leader development. The Sunday afternoon sessions ended a bit abrupt and prematurely by a bush fire a little south that, with the southerly force 6 winds, had a chance for an evacuation of Bundeena and/or closure of the only road into town.

In the week after, Rob Mercer of Expedition Kayaks, organized a number of courses out of Watson's Bay. Most popular were the Greenland paddling and rolling sessions.

On Thursday Rob and business partner Mark Sundin took me on a trip along the coast to Manly to experience some 'rebound'. One can pick almost any condition and on bigger days even in the various bays and beaches inside the large bay that is Sydney Harbour. A great paddling and coaching environment. It is not difficult to imagine that sea kayaking is VERY popular here! And one does not even have to venture out into the open ocean.

After some play with the rebound off Blue Fish Point we continued to Manly. This is a popular spot for board surfers. We were surprised to find only one surfer and excellent sets to work with.

Being aware of the surfing etiquette, I was quite careful not to steal the waves from the surfer. But he let pass a number of good waves when he signaled me to go for it. By then I had a late start, for what looked like (and was!) the biggest wave of the day.

The very steep surf ended in a bongo slide (towards Mark) and a capsize. Wearing a wide-brim hat is not a good idea in surf... It was ripped off my head, taking with it my glasses and sun-glasses. While carried-away by the foam-pile I was totally focused on holding on to my glasses and sort-out the rest later. Holding the glasses in one hand an my paddle in the other, I resurfaced right-side up. So I was quite amazed that I only lost my hat. Only to have Mark tell me it was dangling off my strobe-light. A few days later I noticed that the surf took something after all; the plastic 'nose-clips' of my glasses.

Mark wrote something about this day (and something about my hat and sun-glasses) on his blog.

BTW, we do not have this kind of waves in the Netherlands, so it was very enjoyable to surf these waves on long runs, maneuvering with edge, trim and paddle rudders at will.

On my last day in Sydney I joined Raewyn, Sally, Karen and David for a paddle in Sydney Harbour. At least I got to experience some of Sydney's major 'watermarks'.

With a strong afternoon sea-breeze, again appreciating the wonderful and varied sea kayaking there is to do in the Sydney area.

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