Some things remain the same

Some things remain the same

I stretched forward and flipped the spraydeck over the coaming and checked the fit all-round. How many times have I done that I wonder. Thousands of times, tens of thousands of times or more; I try a quick calculation in my head and I’m immediately hit with a searing “ice cream headache”, not from the mental gymnastics but from a wave that snuck up and pounded my head.

That’s better. Making it out during a lull in waves

It’s been with me a while now, this kayaking thing. From the 1970’s when I started in river touring kayaks and graduated into just about every discipline of the sport. I have been a competitor of sorts, mainly thinking of myself as someone that “made up the numbers ” due to my lack of training time, or more likely ability.

One thing remains the same; Surf Kayaking. I loved it from the first time I took a river touring kayak out through the break and ran down a small wave. Lots changed in that time both in kayak shapes and equipment. Does anyone remember the Johnson Surf Shoe (kayak) or Valley Moccasin ? I owned both as well as an Australian designed Rosco Phase 3 Kayak and locally made Olymp 75 kayak.

Let’s take a small wave to get the feel of the kayak

Back from meandering through the past I paddled out into a freezing morning to test out my latest kayak, a Jackson Rockstar V. I jumped a dumping wave and stayed upright whilst pulling a couple of 360 spins followed by a long backsurf. The next couple of waves were not so glorious, ending in a sound dumping as I tried a forward loop. The kayak felt great and will be better with a few minor seat adjustments.

Here’s a flat spin sequence. I promise to try it on bigger waves next time !

I found another kayaker (Steve) grabbing a few icy waves as well.

I only captured the last part of his wave

Here comes another 360 spin on a small wave and then back surf.

We bounced around in the waves until my body was near frozen then grabbed that last wave to shore.

Steve heads inshore. Frozen but happy.
Heading for a strong coffee and lemon cake.

Back on shore and suitably warmed with coffee and cake I checked out a couple of archive boxes I had seen in my shed. Sure enough amongst the certificates and other stuff was an article written about our early Surf Kayaking in a magazine SA Canoeing 83.

I scanned some pages below and I remember the two people who produced it.
Phil Read who wrote the surf article
Noel McPharlin who took the surf photos using a Nikanos waterproof film camera

Yep I was there on another page as the first Secretary of Canoe Polo Committee that started a pool competition in June 1982. It seems a lifetime ago, probably because it was, and it meant that kayaks would become my recreation and occupation. Anyway, have a look at pages from that era.

Have a great day
Ian Pope

Bumper Boats

Bumper Boats, Dodgem Cars and the Ghost Train were my favourite rides as a kid. Whenever there was a show or fair in town I was there looking for excitement and spending my money on rides, hot dogs and fairy floss. As I got a little older I still rode the Bumper Boats but often got kicked off for “rough play” and my fascination with the Ghost Train drifted towards the scantily clad girls on the high trapeze.

Times change but somethings stay the same. Hot Dogs were out and Falafel Rolls are in, and the Ghost Train is no longer scary, but I still get that Bumper Boat feeling every time I hit the surf.

The wind had dropped and the offshore wave recorder showed some activity, although the glassy waves were not as large as we hoped, but still provided some Monday Bumper Boat action.

Steve (R) gives Ian a little BUMP
Waiting for the next wave set
Charles looks like he’s lining up for a BUMP
Steve (R) chases for another BUMP
Turtle takes a clean wave to stay out of trouble
Steve showing his style on a small wave
Charles looking for a victim perhaps
You can see Steve but can you spot someone else
Here comes Steve again
Ok. Who is giving way first ?
Steve capsizes and it looks like everyone heads in for a BUMP
Turtle staying out of trouble again
…and enjoying another clean wave
So we all headed shoreward to finish off a great morning paddle.

It was a beautiful morning with a nice mob of paddlers and bound to be repeated soon.

It’s almost Summer

The Witches Wind has been blowing relentlessly for weeks. The Witches reside in the East and blow across the Peninsula reeking havoc on the sea swell. At the bottom of the Peninsula they sweep across the swell making it choppy and confused and further up the Gulf they blow strong from the land, flattening any waves.

The Witches are not good for sea kayakers, causing a confused, often angry sea and certainly no good for surf kayakers chasing a wave.

The weather forecast came in. East winds below 10 knots and a small clean surf on the local beach. ACTION STATIONS. Load up my new Jackson Kayak Rockstar playboat and get there. Steve (King of England) was also on it. The swell was small but the water was crystal clear and warm enough to entice a number of rolls and other frivolity.

There were a few small peelers to be had.

Mr King having fun

I saw a flash of white break the surface nearby but luckily it was just a swimmer out for the first sunny day. No tan and lots of white flesh. Steve had a lunch appointment so he called it a day.

Then to prove it was “Almost Summer” I heard the “wump wump wump” of a helicopter overhead and the wail of a siren. Yep, you guessed it Shark Alert.

Public #SharkReport: SA – NEAR OCHRE POINT AT MOANA BEACH . 10:30, 28 Nov 21, 4m, White Shark, Aerial Survelliance → Report to Shark Watch. Helicopter pilot has seen a large 4 – 5m White Shark very close to shore (between 10 – 20m offshore) while flying over Moana Beach near Ochre Point. The Shark was seen close to surfers and it’s movement could not be established.

Oh well it made for a nice finish to the session, sitting on the beach, drinking coffee and watching everyone called to action stations. It’s almost Summer.

Happy Paddling and stay safe.

Winds and Windmills

Many borders are closed and COVID is loose in several states across Australia so our only safe holiday choice was to stay in South Australia. Our first adventure was to clock up some mountain bike kilometres in the north Flinders Ranges with a couple of friends.

The weather was warm, the wind less than friendly but we still managed to travel loops on the Mawson Trail as well as other less travelled routes. Add in a hot day walking in the Aroona Valley, visiting the Blinman Hotel “the pub in the scrub” and we had a week of fun sorted.

The winds were still unfriendly when we left the North Flinders area and headed to the edge of the Nullabor plain to visit the iconic surf break of Cactus Beach. The surf was blown out by the southerly wind with no surfers out there today or for the next few days.

Blown out at Cactus

Where there’s Wind there’s Windmills. The town of Penong is several kilometres inland from the ocean but still has its’ share of wind and windmills. There is even a windmill museum with a number of restored windmills in action. These days they are for show as solar powered pumps have taken over the pumping duties.

My duty was that of photographers assistant, carrying gear and generally keeping out the way. We were in luck as in the late afternoon the wind abated and the giant Comet 35 windmill slowly came to a halt. The local Penong football team was in the grand final next weekend and was having their last training session under full lights at the nearby oval. The field of windmills slowly rotated to face the oval and the lights reflected off their blades.

Long exposure at night
Sunset on the massive Comet 35

Our time was running short so we headed back home to Adelaide with the surf forecast there showing signs of good swells. Sadly the swell had eased the day of our arrival and we were greeted by a less than impressive surf break. With the need to get wet I paddled out with Steve to grab what fun we could.

Here’s a 1 minute clip of fun. Thanks for visiting.

The Kayak Launch

It’s a nice day with almost no wind and we decided to go for a paddle on the sea. Great idea ! The first thing you have to master is the “Kayak Launch” so that you can get out there and enjoy the fun times.

Charles on our “Sunday Sea Sojourn”

There’s all sorts of tips and tricks on internet media but a picture tells a thousand words (apparently) so here’s a few photos from Ian, Philip, Charles and Mike to show you how it’s done.

First make sure there are no small waves coming.

Ian (L) and Philip (R) show excellent wave judgment

Remember a support stroke might be needed to stabilise your kayak.

Ian effects a support stroke

Don’t worry if water splashes over you, it’s a wet sport.

Sometimes the wave might slightly impede your forward motion.
If a wave splashes towards you remember to close your mouth

When approaching a small wave lean forward to keep the kayak on an even keel.

Mike keeping it under control and on an even keel

Hope you have a nice day.
Ian, Philip, Mike, Charles and Robyn (our Photographer)