After my trip to the Great White North it was nice to get back to the fierce heat of Sydney in January. My old mate Nat had finally taken delivery of his new Epic V8 ocean ski and was dying to get out into some lumpy waters with someone. I also wanted to let my wife have a little sleep in after my recent work trip, so we agreed to meet up at 10am for a late morning session.
The day was going to be a stinker and I made sure I covered up head to toe – hat, long sleeves, the works. I got to the water a little early and spent half an hour practicing the storm roll techniques and exercises I’d learnt with Helen Wilson the previous week. Then when Nat arrived we took off heading south for the cliffs of Grotto Point Reserve.
As soon as we rounded the point the water started to chop up. The swell coming through Sydney’s heads was fairly small, but the wind waves coming from the north east were crossing perpendicular to the swell making for some fun lumps. Then add plenty of boat wake from maxi-yachts, ferries and fishing boats and suddenly the water became dynamic and bouncy for Nat’s first “non flat-water” session.
We pulled in close to the cliffs to experience a little rebound, before striking out for Dobroyd Point across the bomborra. The wind chop was now crazy with waves heading in all different directions, giving us both plenty to think about as we made our way in towards Manly. As so often happens, the second things calmed down a bit, Nat flipped off his boat and into the drink, and got to practice solo rescue #1.
After a quick water and laugh about Nat’s spill, we climbed back into our boats and took off directly across the sound, ridng ocean swell and lumps now racing along behind us. Both Nat and I criss-crossed each other’s paths as we took it in turns riding runners before Nat caught a lump broadside, snagging his paddle and throwing him off his ski. Now he had to pull himself back onto the ski in some good lumpy conditions, but he managed well and we were on our way again.
The sun was hammering down now as we made the final few kms back to Middle Harbour. After surfing boat wake for much of the way in, I practiced a few more rolls, mainly to try to cool down! The water was cool and beautiful but unknown to me then some damage had already been done. I’d covered up everything but my hands, which would later show just how hot it had become.
Nat had a great paddle despite his spills and I could tell he was raring to go again as soon as possible Clearly I’ve created another addicted paddle-fiend…. his wife will never forgive me. Cheers, and happy paddles! – FP