It was a crazy day to head out kayaking – 35 knot winds, gale-force gusts and white-capped breakers on Middle Harbour. But tucked in behind the Spit Bridge is my usual launch site, Sydney Harbour Kayaks. Protected from the westerly gale-force winds, the waters between here and Chinamans Beach are almost glassy, even with this crazy weather. So with this in mind I dropped into Sydney Harbour Kayaks for a test paddle of one of their new line of boats (the Shrike B450 – more about that in another post to come) and was joined by Owner/Manager Shannon, taking advantage of the quiet day (not too many kayak rentals in gale-force conditions!).
Now Shannon is an outdoors man who has a real passion for snowboarding, but quite likes paddling as well, especially on a sunny work day! He has a fantastic attitude towards paddling, namely that it’s a sport/activity that should be available to everyone, regardless of their seriousness or skill level. His fleet of over a hundred hire kayaks reflects this – he has almost every paddle-craft available including serious composite sea-kayaks, plastic sea-kayaks & “Sit-On-Tops”, stand-up paddle surfboards and even a range of surf-skis.
He is also responsible for putting a Greenland Paddle in my hand (he is the distributor for the CohoKayak wooden paddle range). He stocks this range for virtually no commercial gain, because (in his words) “I give them space because it’s an art form we should encourage. Not many true craftsmen are left these days and it would be a shame to have the few paddle-makers remaining give it up through lack of interest or distribution opportunities”. In this age of big business and commercial objectives, he makes a good point.
Sydney Harbour Kayaks has one of the most beautiful launch points for paddlers on the Harbour, a point not lost on Shannon, and one of the reasons he recently bought the business after two years of managing the hire & sales store. He can’t help but smile when he says “Just look at where I come to work each day? Doesn’t get much better than this, hey?”. No Shannon, no it does not. Bastard *grin*.