Another Desperate Friday

The Autumn weather has arrived and we had expectations of a nice swell rolling up the coast with light winds giving almost glassy conditions for our Friday Surf Kayak paddle. Before dawn the wind was perfect with just a puff from the north, but as the first rays crept over the hills we knew Surf Kayaking wasn’t to be. The swell from the last couple of days had dropped; in fact it had disappeared almost completely.

NO waves this morning…..photo by SurfsouthOz surf report

It was some consolation that we enjoyed a great surf session on Wednesday, and that we could paddle our Sea Kayaks out to our local bommie for a bit of fun today.

Standing on the cliff we were greeted by a gently lapping sea but further out the tide was right for a few waves exploding over the bommie. Yep; it has some quite shallow spots were the reef is only 20cm or so below the surface and the trick is to avoid finding those rocks, especially with the sea kayak bow or your head.

The edge of the bommie was quite sedate while we waited for a larger set of waves.

Scouting around the edge of the bommie. It looks pretty sedate here.

We made a number of runs through to the outside of the bommie and managed to grab a few good rides as the waves pitched up over the shallows. A couple of rather desperate support strokes saved the day as the kayaks ploughed under on the steep waves and then bobbed up again only to be buried again by the white water.

As the tide flooded over the bommie we played in a place where 2 waves meet causing an explosion of water and some seriously powerful turbulence.

Ian decided to punch into the spot where the two waves meet and was greeted with some success although he did end up flying backwards and was buried by the foaming wave. (He said he was in control all the time but the expression on his face said otherwise….Steve)

Flying backwards as the strength of this old guy just wasn’t enough to get him through…photo Steve King

Then he was buried by the foam pile. Can you spot the hat and the piece of red kayak ?

Can you spot the grey hat in the middle of the photo ?. Yep that’s Ian. The rear of the kayak is on the far left….photo Steve King

It certainly wasn’t a wasted 2 hours on the water. Lots of support strokes, frantic back surfs, buried bows and two wet but happy paddlers. Steve not only managed to get some great photos whilst staying upright but was the only one to “kiss the reef” with his kayak.

Like to join us ? You’re welcome to come along as we always need more ‘crash test paddlers”.

Cheers Ian and Steve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desperate Friday

It’s Good Friday, first day of the Easter holidays. I wake with the dawn and peer outside to be greeted by a slight drizzle and heavy overcast skies. The forecast is for clearing weather after the last couple of days of SW winds. I’m hoping there will be a better surf today as I’m really getting DESPERATE to get wet.

I check the surf forecast which is not great, but it’s not bad either; sort of 1- 2 foot and lumpy, and being an optimist I believe it will get better. A quick text to paddler “Shorebreak Steve”, another optimist and we set up a surf paddle on the local coast.

Standing on the cliffs, the light rain has now stopped but the overcast skies remain. There is indeed a swell pushing in but the winds have left it lumpy and confused. How desperate are we ?…VERY DESPERATE. So playboats off the car, on with gear and down the track to the beach.

We had been hoping for some good waves so practice a few “Ocean Playboating” moves but more likely today will be a bit of fitness training.
We do manage to catch a few small waves in the lumpy conditions

Ian gets on a smallish wave

At least it’s good practice

Steve manages a few good rides for the morning.

It’s a little crowded at times with both of trying to make the most of each wave

Steve decides to “get out the way”

Small but sort of clean waves as the wind and tide drop

Of course you have to keep your eye on the sloppy waves otherwise you might just get a little wetter than expected

Steve is capsized by a small wave he didn’t see coming

Yep. That was refreshing !!

Yes. We are DESPERATE for a good clean surf but it seems it will have to wait until another day.

HAVE A GREAT EASTER HOLIDAY

Some Days are Diamonds

Some Days are Diamonds ! The night was hot with the north winds of Summer blowing from the inland deserts of Southern Australia but they had abated when the alarm clock kicked me out of bed an hour ago. There is a stillness to the morning with no movement to disturb the left over heat from yesterday. The moon has long gone and it’s dark as I plod down the beach ramp pulling my “My Sun” sea kayak on it trolley.  I can see a ribbon of white at the waters edge and know that the shorebreak will be manageable this morning, at least until the tide starts it’s race inwards.

Out of the darkness appears Steve who already has his kayak on the beach and is geared up and ready to go. I swear this guy doesn’t sleep. We quickly gear up and launch as the sky brightens with the first rays of sun still over the horizon. We are on our way on another “Diamond Day” and will see the sunrise from the water.

The sun peeks over the hills and burns away the wispy clouds of night and brings with it a light breeze that is just enough to ripple the clear water.

The “Diamond Moment” of Sunrise…photo Steve King

We wander our way along the coast, first visiting our favourite reef areas and then heading further along the coast, enjoying the views towards the southern cliff lines.

Changing colours in the cliffs as the sun rises

As predicted the wind has increased a little in the last hour and there is now a definite chop on the water as we head back home catching a few runners on the way. We easily negotiate our way through the dumping shorebreak and slide up on the beach, all smiles.

Another “Diamond Day” has begun and we have enjoyed it from a magnificent vantage point.

But sometimes that “Diamond Day” can lose it’s sparkle, leaving you with severe case of sandy bum.  The shorebreak can be savage at times and the sea kayak sometimes has a mind of it’s own.

You pick up a wave out the back which immediately doubles in size and peaks menacingly over your head. You throw yourself into a brace as it slams down with a deafening boom. Then it all goes all watery as you are spat out, rolled and rocketed towards the shore in knee deep sand filled water. Well at least you’re back on shore; upside down in a few inches of water maybe, but still you made it.

Hold your breath and brace…..photo Robyn Pope

The Shorebreak …photo Gavin Lodge

Autumn is here and that’s the perfect time for early morning paddles with a friend. March has calmer winds and you just add another layer of clothing before heading out and of course there’s never a shorebreak in Autumn. If you’re looking for an early morning paddle then Steve’s the man in Adelaide.

Hope to see you on the water.
Ian Pope (with thanks to Steve King for dragging me out of bed)

Mr CHOMPY

It’s a beautiful summers morning. The sun is warm on my back as I slowly glide along the rocky coastline. The water temperature has jumped up with the recent spate 40 C days and I’m following a small school of fish and have already run through them a couple of times and had quite a feed, so now I’m just sauntering along enjoying the sun and the crystal clear water.

There are a number of small fishing boats out on the usual grounds and I decide that later on, if I can be bothered, I will surface next to them and give them a fright. I just love the way they yell and scream when I appear and there is always the mad scramble for cameras. Lots of video being beamed live to Facebook although the language seems a little out there at times and I wonder if it get censored first.

Then I see him. Strolling along by himself in a flashy little kayak. Quite some distance offshore, probably going out further to avoid the stink from those outboard motors, he is all by himself and would be easy prey. They say they are “all white meat and not many small bones” but I’m reluctant to try one as you have to peel away that fibreglass kayak shell first and I’m already full from a good feed of fish.

Still it could be worth a pass just to give him a scare and send him scurrying back to shore. I quietly glide up behind him and check him out; an older male of the species judging by the white hair and wrinkles.

I don’t think he has seen me so maybe I pop up next to him

I slowly passed right by him just deep enough so that my dorsal could nearly hit his paddle. Yep he saw me as there was that scream of surprise they seem to all have. Are they really that surprised at seeing me saunter by ? It’s not like I’m somewhere unnatural. I’m not strolling along the Esplanade or something.

Hey, the old guy is scrambling to get his camera aimed so I plunge back down into the depths waiting for him to paddle madly to shore. Hmm..he’s still sitting there quietly scanning with his lens so maybe he thinks I’m a playful dolphin. I’ll make another pass just to see his face when he realises I’m not a dolphin nor playful.

I give my back a little rub on the kayak hull, and that does the trick, with camera dropped and him paddling flat out towards shore. Look at him go, I think he’s almost faster than the fishing boats. My job done for the day I slowly saunter southwards enjoying the sun on my back and contemplate whether I should drop in on a couple of surfers later, just for fun of course.

Have a nice day
Mr CHOMPY

 

Seascapes

The sky is light blue and the water is crystal clear. You can feel the heat of the sun warming the sand as the northerly wind brings the heat from the inland. It has just gone 7am and there are a few people walking their dogs on the beach before the heat begins to really sear the landscape. There is already a heat haze visible far out on the horizon telling us that it will probably hit 40 Celsius later.

We escape the land for a few hours exercise as we head the kayaks out into Gulf St Vincent, heading south along the coastline. It’s great to be away from the heat of the land and the hustle and bustle of the city which will soon be into full swing with the after Christmas shopping.

You don’t get much calmer than this

It’s good to be gliding along this familiar coastline, especially on a clear morning. The last months have been occupied with many other things. Bike riding to the northern tip of Australia, mountain biking and Fat-biking in the northern Flinders Ranges and travelling the coastline with friends, with a little kayaking squeezed in.

Seascapes are the things that bring me back to the ocean. That place where the land meets the sea in a quiet slurping of a gentle swell around the rocks or in a deafening roar as large waves pound the coast. I’m paddling a favourite piece of coastline not far from the city of Adelaide. It’s a place I have been many times and always find it interesting and calming.

Quiet waters and rock sculptures

Today is definitely a “quiet slurping” day and we are able to get in close along the cliffs to enjoy the movements of the currents.

Just the three of us

We glide along visiting the rocky outcrops where Steve is always found. It’s not really best practice to follow him as the Seaward Passat double is like driving a shopping trolley with wonky wheels when you get in amongst the rock gardens. Both of us were admiring the view and taking photos as we hit a submerged rock and slew sideways, nearly capsizing. How embarrassing would that have been? Note to self; at least one of us should have a paddle in their hands for support if needed. “Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but gelcoat” is the old saying; well this time we left a nice chunk of gelcoat on that rock meaning a minor repair job this week.

The water was so calm Steve even managed a classic “selfie”.

We often lose Steve amongst the rocks and Cormorants

We quietly glided along the line of cliffs admiring the underwater seascape as well as that above.

Clear water and weathered rocks

 

Towering cliffs along the way

Then we turn and head for home and make a bee line for the launch spot. Steve heading off to another Xmas get together and us checking in at a favourite coffee shop.

Have a great 2018 hopefully with lots of paddling. We certainly will. 🙂