The Shore Break

Shore Break: Definition
Waves that break very close to the beach. Usually more powerful and steeper than a normal beach break because the waves shoal and break quickly due to the fast transition from deep to shallow water.

Sometimes you have to work hard for your thrills. Getting an adrenaline rush from surfing your kayak down a steep green face has to be earned and that often means paddling the “Shore Break” to make it to the outer wave.

I peered over the railing to see some nice wave sets barreling in towards the shore. A great day for a couple of old salty dogs to get in a little exercise and maybe a few thrills in the surf. Out the back there was large rideable waves, but first we would have to paddle the “Shore Break”. Today it was thumping into only 40cm of water on the sandbar and was just waiting to crush any mistakes;  grinding you into the sand as well as flushing through every orifice.

I geared up and sat in the shallows waiting for a lull. There was often 3 sets of dumping waves to get through before heading out further for clean waves. You keep telling yourself that they don’t look that bad, but you know even a small shore break wave can knock the wind out of you, and being dragged along upside down is never fun.

Waiting for a lull in the action

I saw a lull in the wave action and charge outwards. The first wave smashed on my lap and I was suddenly surfing back to where I started. Your mind is concentrated on the task at hand and little else, except maybe the location of the nearest hospital.

I’m actually going backwards at this point

I saw Steve charging the next set of waves. He got through the first line of waves easily …..

Through the first line of waves

…..and was buried by the next. Remarkably he just popped to the surface upright.

Steve pops up

But the next one gave him a good thumping and a long drag towards shore, where he eventually rolled back up.

Seabed inspection

Meanwhile I made another charge out, only to end up back in the shallows again, and not upright.

Washed back in

Eventually we made it through the shore break and were able a enjoy some fast and furious rides on the outer break. We were on the edge of camera range so not a lot of photos but here’s a good one.

Steve sliding left and hoping he will make it.

With energy levels dwindling and smiles on our faces we then had to time our run towards shore.

Heading for shore

Another great paddle to remind us that it’s great to be alive. Of course we practiced social distancing both on and off the water.

Don’t stand so close to me

Stay Safe
Ian, Robyn and Steve




I earn my coffee

Adelaide is a Coffee Scene town on a Sunday morning. People stroll the beach fronts, taking in the sea air, exercising their dogs or pushing babies in prams before invading the local coffee shops. I have been known to frequent these beach side establishments on occasions but I earn my coffee.

The sea was calm and the wind gentle giving me choices. I could launch my sea kayak and plod along the coastline visiting the normal reef areas, knowing that there would be hardly any play waves to be had. A nice idea, but that would not earn me a lot of “coffee points” in the exertion or fun categories. Maybe just enough points for a decaffeinated skinny soy latte and a plain biscuit.

Or I could hit a few waves and in an hour build a tally of points that would easily go a large long black and even larger apricot filled pastry and still have points left over. So there was not really much of a decision to be made, and an hour sprinting a playboat through the surf certainly counts as interval training.

I earn my coffee and I have the photos to prove it.

I met another “Paddle Tragic” on the beach

We were not the only old dogs on the beach

I think I’m in trouble on this one.

Prayers answered. Still upright

Looking for a big bottom turn

But not quite getting it done in time.

Driving hard on a small wave

A nice fast drop

Not quite the wave exit I intended

Cutting a hard right on a small wave

Not everything goes to plan

The last ride before coffee time

Mr Cool heading for the beach on the last wave of the day.


Spring has Sprung

“Spring has sprung.
The grass is riz.
I wonder where the sunshine iz.”

Well it’s sure not anywhere near here.

Last night at my place, the winds stayed at 30 knots and dropped a little at dawn. It was definitely not a day to try out the new double sea kayak but I was getting desperate for a soak in salt water. Four desperate souls met in the lee of the Pt Noarlunga reef with the hope of getting in a little playboating fun.

So for those who stayed in bed, nice and warm, here’s some photos to prove our insanity.

We got ready to launch as the rain started….. we were wet anyway

Remind me again how this is going to be fun

Ian picks up a ride as Steve paddles out

Charlie handles the conditions with ease in his Jackson Karma kayak

Steve gets bounced around in soup

Young Geoff shows us how to stay upright with class

…and Charlie does a quick “seabed inspection”

Geoff….Cool and calm

Geoff grabs another wave

Meanwhile Steve gets ready for a good thumping

Charlie tries to get airborne

Geoff looks on as Steve tries a “cartwheel”….unsuccessful  this time

Charlie demonstrates the use of sunglasses on a cloudy day

Geoff finishes the session. Cold, wet and happy

Four cold and wet but happy paddlers. Enjoy your day.


Mid week madness

It’s mid week. It’s too early in the morning. The tide is wrong. The surf is dumping. It’s freezing cold but still we decided that it would be better to get wet than sloth around drinking coffee and staying warm.

Here’s a little taste of our “late take offs” and other dumpings. Come share our madness !!!

This one is “gunna hurt”


Cold and Clean

It was just before dawn when I heard the central heating start up. Hmm…must be a cold morning. A quick check and I found the outside temperature was 5 degrees C. I saw the phone blinking at me with a “Surf Alert”, announcing clean conditions on the mid-coast this morning. The Winter Solstice is a couple of days away and this may be our last chance to get in a  “Solstice Paddle” so out of bed and on with the kayak.

We arrived at the beach in superb calm conditions and a small but diminishing swell, however, we never miss an opportunity to paddle with friends to celebrate the Solstice and the promise of better weather.

The estuary mouth reflects the houses on the cliff

Ibis mirrored in the water looks like a painting

Of course we were not the only ones looking forward to the warmer weather to come. A pack of friendly dogs were on the beach chasing balls, running in circles, sniffing bums and rolling in something that smelt like dead fish.

Rolling in something that smells like dead fish

No better way to celebrate than to catch a wave with a fellow paddler.

Ian heads out

Steve follows him

Ian gets a few clean rides

Steve works along a small dumping wave

As the tide changed the waves became more dumping and we found ourselves buried in freezing water.

Steve buried in freezing foam

Ian gets dumped again

Playing on the same wave

Having a quick game of tag

When Steve was not looking, Ian seized an opportunity, and surfed up on to his back deck.
Well maybe kayaks can sniff bums too.

Now where did he go ?

My hands were frozen and my ears stinging from the cold but it was still a great paddle with a Steve King (of England). Looking forward to the better weather and less thermal layers.

Happy Solstice….Ian Pope