Back to Work in 2023

Go on, get back to work you mob. Stop clogging up the cafes and bars during the day and creating traffic chaos at the local beaches. Get back to your office, or more likely your home work station, if you are trying to avoid Covid 19. Stop scaring the dolphins and us older generation with your stinky, noisy jet skis and fishing boats. Free the beaches from your gaggle of kids, dogs and sand castles.

Leave it for us retired folk to enjoy, and enjoy it we did today with a little bit of surf play.

A small window

I never saw Spring. Maybe it had more pressing engagements elsewhere. None of those lovely Spring days with the sun shining and the temperature starting to show signs of what’s to come. No watching warm red sunsets with a favourite beverage. No sunburnt nose from forgotten sunscreen. No need to check your kayak for spiders lurking under the seat. No need to have a hat for every occasion.

None of that.
We had water. Not the type you paddle on, but the type that comes in bucket loads, drenching everything and everyone. The type that causes massive flooding river systems, inundates whole towns and livelihoods. With the rain comes the wind; howling, screaming, terrorising wind that wipes out all in it’s path.

Gum trees snapped at the trunk
The road was passable as the level dropped

Luck was on our side as we sheltered from flooding rains in the Australian “outback”. We reached a bitumen road that headed south towards home, our path flooded in many places. I had the kayak on the car roof but fortunately the creek systems fell just as quickly as they rose.

Summer was closing fast and finally a small Spring weather window opened. Not enough time to get in any substantial sea kayaking journeys but long enough to fit in a little surf play.

Summer will come, the waves will be clean and uncrowded, the sea kayaking perfect with pods of dolphins, the water crystal clear for snorkeling and the mountain bike tracks dry, running smooth and fast.

Dreams are free. In reality I take every FUN I wave I can and here’s a few I took today before the wind reappeared

Steve gets last minute instructions from Philip’s labrador.
You have to earn your wave FUN
Steve gets a small FUN wave
This could get a bit crowded
Fast and Clean

Exo Kayaks – Rexy gets the all clear

My Physiotherapist said my hip injury was coming along nicely and I was given the all clear to try a little gentle kayaking. The COVID lockdown has been lifted and we are allowed to travel so it was an early start on this warm Wednesday morning, heading for the South Coast.

I was invited by James Fishers and Steve (King of England) to join them for a short surf kayak session. There were  some big, fat waves on offer so the youngsters were burning off excess energy for a couple of hours, but I would restrict my water time to under an hour.

My long suffering photographer, Robyn, was trying hand held photos with a Tamron 400 lens. Her best vantage point was standing on a park bench above the beach and I think she did a great job of balancing that lens that normally resides on a tripod.

Now that the body is holding together I can get back in the Sea Kayak for some longer paddles. Anyway, here’s a few photos of our gentle session.

Gaining some speed down the face

Launched off the lip the kayak is still bouncing

Easy Rider

Cool and relaxed

Getting a bumpy ride in the soup

Still hanging in there

Some waves were bigger than others

Have a great Wednesday. Stay safe.

“Exo Rexy” to the RESCUE

I was on the treatment table with the Physio trying to prove that he could indeed push his fingers right through my hip joint. He smiled and exclaimed “yep, that’s the spot”.

My body has been squeezed into a small “Playboat” for the last 10 years as well as various other surf kayaks, sea kayaks, polo kayaks and marathon craft over the years, so it was no surprise that eventually I would strike a problem.

What did come as a surprise was the fact that he said it was probably “age related”. Cheeky Bugger I thought, it’s not like I’m pushing 70 or something and  I expect to keep paddling surf kayaks and sea kayaks for at least another 20 years.

I told him it’s ok, I have a friend called Rexy who will fix this problem.

“Exo Rexy” arrived at my place and we were soon on our way to a local surf spot. Rexy the somewhat larger WW playboat, my new friend, from Exo kayaks of Italy is imported by Roy Farrance at Canoes Plus.

We hit the waves, which although sort of smallish, gave me a good idea of how Rexy would handle. Plenty of leg and foot room, easy rolling, fast down a wave and most importantly comfortable. Here’s a few photos.

Nice clean waves provided long rides

Nice waves and Rexy stayed right in the groove

I would paddle back out just in time to catch another nice ride

The waves were not huge but they still had some punch

Hard turns and Rexy handled it with ease

Not quite the maneuver I had in mind

Of course with a clean wave and a photographer around you will likely get a visit from another retiree paddler. Yep, Steve (King of England) paddled out to join me. You just can’t have a photographer around without him knowing and getting in the frame. I think he haunts this coast looking for opportunities to paddle.

Trying to stay on the wave and smile at the camera is not easy

Dropping into another green section

Eventually it was time to call it quits so we both surfed back to shore. Happy that Rexy had come to the rescue.

Homeward bound

The Covid Handshake

After the session we heard that Covid 19 had raised it’s ugly head again and the whole state was in a 6 day total lock down probably extending to 14 days. Stay home, no paddling, no exercise outside your home. I guess it’s back to home Guitar sessions and polishing up the “Lockdown Blues” and “All by myself” songs.

I hope to see you on the water again soon-ish. Stay safe.

Let’s jump straight to SUMMER

I vote we jump straight to Summer. Forget about Spring; do we really need it? Winter was tough with lots of time spent mountain biking in the Flinders Ranges and snow falling to blanket the trails. I hate the cold.

But I knew how to raise the temperature almost immediately. I bought myself a kayaking drysuit from Liquid Life and Canoes Plus in Melbourne. Not only did I have instant body heat but during the first use at rolling training it reached 30 degrees Celsuis. I nearly cooked. What a strange sight it must have been with me flopping about in a pillar box red drysuit while others strolled past in board shorts and bikinis.

However, I was able to put it to good use today during an enjoyable surf session . The water is still cold or so I was told by the others.

Joined by Steve (King of England) and Gianni (the Italian Greyhound) we gave the Jackson Rockstar and Jackson Fun kayaks a good work out.

Here’s a sequence of photos of Gianni.

The wave about to close out

Duck your head !!

I bet that hurt !!

…and Steve attacked many good rides

Steve shows how it’s done

But not all rides end perfectly

…and here’s a few more photos to make you wish you joined us.

Gianni gets buried again…..

….and again

…..a nice clean ride at last

Of course the old guy just picks the best waves.

Ian goes down the face and comes out untouched

Have a great day. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.


I’m cold. The water is  freezing. My head aches and my ears are hurting. The SW wind has sprung up and the balmy 10° C morning now feels like 5° C. I’m wearing every bit of rubber I own, wetsuit rubber I’m talking about, and the layers are not enough.  I start to shiver and decide the next wave will be my last for the day.

The previous wave jacked up vertical with the dropping tide and increased wind. I went vertical as well, straight down the wave face and out of control. My attempt at a saving big bottom turn on the biggest wave of the day failed and I was smashed then dragged upside down. The only upside is I now have very clean sinuses.

It’s just us and a crazy dog braving the ocean today.

Dogs don’t feel the cold

It started to rain but at least we had a nice rainbow above us.

Lucky Rainbow to the south of us

I picked a small wave and headed in knowing that I still had to get through the savage shorebreak and undertow.

Thankful of a small wave to take me home

Steve was following me and took a pounding in the shallows.

That’s Steve sand blasting the kayak hull

The trick is to paddle as far as possible then jump out. Quickly drag your kayak whilst fighting the undertow that wants to knock you over and roll you around in 20cm of water and swirling sand.

I managed a sort of graceful exit and watched Steve trying to look graceful as he staggered onto the beach.

He looked a little lopsided. Oh dear!! Cinderella has lost a slipper but not his thermal sock. Yep that undertow can be powerful.

Something missing Steve ?

Cinderella is missing a slipper

Sometimes there was a lull in the wave action and it was easy to break out.

Remember to close your mouth

Try not to get looped backwards

Out the back you get to pick one of the nicer looking waves.

Nice and steady

About to meet the wave breaking from both directions

A nice slide on a well behaved wave

Stretching exercise or water draining ?

We climbed the 56 stairs to the car as some warmth returned and reflected on another day in COVID lockdown. Here we are doing great with no infections for 12 days, but other states are not so good. You notice that people on the beach keep their distance, not only because of COVID, but straying close to a couple of loony paddlers is to be avoided.