North Head is one of Sydney’s major landmarks, a towering chunk of rock that juts out into the Tasman Sea at the northern end of the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Its huge cliff faces create a miss mash of rebound as they refract the ocean swell, causing a bumpy ride for paddlers brave enough to get out there.
I’d paddled out past North Head a few times but never all the way around it, and in an effort to continue my preparation for the Mauritius Ocean Classic only ten weeks away I decided it was time to paddle through the rebound and around the headland. Paddle mate Dez Blanchfield from Blast Paddlers joined me just after 5am to keep me company and offer any help if I required it, and together we paddled out through the early morning darkness on our way out.
Fortunately the morning was pretty calm and the difficulty not too high (although there were sections around the Head that were very far from flat!). We got to play in the rebound, surf near Shelley Beach, carry our skis through the beach-side suburb of Manly, paddle Gelo Cliffs, fall out at Gelo Cliffs, stop for repairs at Washaway Beach (not Cutaway Beach as I mistakenly put in the video – doh!) and then finish the paddle all before 8.30am in the morning!
For the full experience, make the video full screen to get an idea of this wonderful paddle. Cheers, FP