The other day I wrote about an ocean paddle I had at ‘The Haven’ at Terrigal, just to the north of Sydney. It was a great day, but unfortunately there was little in the way of the ocean swells that can come that way, it was full of promise, but when we arrived there was very little happening…
The Skillion is a prominent feature in the area and is a promontory on the southern-end of Terrigal that commands excellent 360 degree views of the ocean and surrounding beach. It is also a popular whale watching spot and they are currently on their annual migration north…
We had a lot of fun out there, catching small swells and sprinting through to the beach on them, a great work-out for those who would like to give it a go!
And as I had the Go-pro running (don’t you love them!) I put some footage to one of my favourite Aussie rock-bands, The Black Sorrows.
And it makes a change to all the climbing I have been doing recently. Mind you there is plenty of that coming up very soon in New Zealand and I’m excited (very excited) about that!
I paddle three different kayaks, one is an Epic V10, which is a very fast boat, especially on flat water, but it is also designed to perform exceptionally well in larger ocean swells. It weighs in at 15 kilograms (33 lbs), is 6.5 metres in length (21.5 feet) and is made of fibreglass, carbon fibre, and Kevlar. And despite its narrow width, it is quite stable once you get used to paddling this type of craft.
It only just fits into The Shed…
The second is a Fenn XT, a great all-round boat that I have competed and paddled the Hawkesbury Classic Bridge to Bridge race in Sydney on. The race covers 111-kilometres and starts at 4pm on the last Saturday of October each year and runs through the night, supported by a cast of volunteers.
And if you haven’t paddled at night under a full moon, give it a go!
Starting as the sun slips lower on the western horizon the race usually has around 600 starters in all kinds of kayaks, and it is a great feeling covering those last few kilometres heading east watching the first strands of light appearing on the eastern horizon.
And after about 11 hours in the kayak you are suffering numb-bum… I’m calling that a technical kayaking term!
Anyway the Fenn XT is slightly heavier weighing in at 17 kilograms (38 lbs) and 5.8 metres in length (19 feet). It is full fibreglass and that is what makes it slightly heavier.
I usually use this for ocean paddling as it is more stable and much easier to get back on in an ocean swell than its bigger brother, the Epic V10.
And yes, I swim every so often when that rogue swell or wave hits you and catches you off guard! Although, when you’re a kilometre or more offshore the thought of a great white shark lurking kind of encourages you back on pretty quickly…
My other boat is a K1 race boat, very old, and I have kept it for TomO, my son, to use! They are typically very unstable due to the narrow width, but extremely fast in the right conditions, and with a good paddler.