Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Surf, rebounds and rolling

Two nice extracts from a video taken with a borrowed camera while paddling out from Cronulla Beach on an almost flat sea.
They were with a borrowed camera because I have lost mine. It was not in the water but in a trek with family and friends. It fell, I saw it on the floor, I thought of picking it up, something distracted me and the next day when I wanted to download the photos I couldn't find it. It was the present from my wife for my birthday and it didn't last long, however the bug for taking videos and photos from the kayak was implanted during that short period, so I am in the lookout for the next camera.

Dragomir lent me his GoPro Hero 2 to see if this is going to be my next camera. He put a special lens in it so the camera doesn't get fog and the photos are not so distorted as a result of the wide angle. I have to say that the special lens helped with the fog but not with the distortion
I have checked it, my paddle is still straight!!!
A feature I liked is to be able to take photos every n seconds. In that mode and mounted on the helmet I got this one
Surfing in or more accurate 'broaching' in
However I was told the strong point of this camera is to take videos but the setting must have been wrong because they were not better than with my lost Nikon AW100.
Below is the compiled version. We had a mild doses of everything: surfing in and out and for fun, a bit of rock gardening and some rolling.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Great weekend

It was a first for the NSW Sea Kayak Club who organised a two day gathering of the NSW paddlers this past weekend . This gathering was reserved for those that have passed the sea skills assessment and the focus was more on skills than on paddling from A to B, although there were also trips available.

The options for Saturday were rescues, surfing, greenland rolling or a small trip around a nearby island. I opted to do rescues in the morning and surfing in the afternoon.

With Adrian the instructor and another 7 paddlers, we practised some rescue scenarios with a scoop rescue being a brand new experience for me. The scenario is a paddler with a dislocated shoulder in the water and what to do to get him back in his kayak. Not an easy task as you must try not to touch the injured shoulder.
We then did some pool noodle fighting, where the paddler’s fighters sit on the back deck and try to make the opponent fall with blows of the noodle. Some fighters were swimming before receiving the first blow and the final was decided with a hand to hand fight to make the opponent fall since neither of the two was falling off.
Another contest was speed race for a re-entry and roll. Capsize, do a wet exit (don't jump off the kayak because you’ll avoid getting the water in it), set ready at the side of your boat and GO!!! The winner took 4.5 seconds to be sitting in the kayak pumping water out. An astounding record!!!

The afternoon was spent with Adrian and Ken leading 6 avid (or should I say crazy) surfers. We warmed up paddling parallel to the beach with breaking waves washing over, before and on top of us. At one point I was first in line and I saw a big mama wave coming for us. I estimated it would break on top of me so I turned to face it and let it pass under my hull (yeah, I know, I cheated on that one). As soon as it had passed me I turned and looked behind me to see 4 kayaks  being taken up in the air (it looked like 2 meters high), then I could only see the white spray and when the wave was gone I saw 4 hulls. Not even one paddler stayed upright, three rolled back up and one had to swim to recover his kayak from the beach but he wasn't the only one swimming that afternoon.

On Saturday we had some good waves.

... and some smaller ones.

A nice tube that finished with a roll.

Ducking to receive the impact.
Lost paddler, swimming somewhere.

The above photos were taken by Ken on Saturday afternoon while we surfed he stayed with the water up to his neck taking photos. Thanks Ken!!

At night during dinner, we swapped tales of the day and I mentioned that even though I had to roll several times that day I hadn't had an involuntary wet exits for a few months. I shouldn't have said that, as on Sunday I had to eat my words...

On Sunday there were only surf or trips on offer, so I was again up for the surf. Apparently most had had their share the day before because it was only Adrian and Ken instructing me and Drago. The swell was bigger than on Saturday with a beautiful and dangerous dumping. We split in two groups and went almost straight for the surfing. The first wave I took rolled me over and I came up to keep fighting, the second one I tamed and surfed all the way in, but the third... Well, according to Ken it was the biggest wave of the day and it felt like that to me. I set up for the surf but there was no time, it just broke with me on top of it and before I realised I was under water with the paddle being taken from my hands. I just managed to keep it in my left but then I was being suctioned out of the kayak and even though I tried to hold myself with my knees I ended up swimming. When I could finally take my head out of the water my kayak was at least 10 meters away and another wave was pushing me down. Apparently I had the first of the big set because another 2 or three big breakers washed over before I could start swimming.

Anyway when I got to the beach Ken had surfed in and collected my kayak and soon the other two were also landing to regroup. Adrian decided that the swell was too 'swollen' and we moved to the spit with some stops at a small rock garden.

In the rock garden. Thanks Adrian for the picture!
The spit is a sand bank joining the mainland with an island. It’s fun when the water is above the sand and you get a clapoits of waves breaking from both sides of the sand bank, meeting in the middle creating a sort of zipper. Very fun place to play around but need to be careful because as it is not very deep. The final score was two swimmers and a broken paddle!

PS, thanks Steph to correct some spelling and grammar.