Extreme paddling

By Jim on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The end of the season for Australian paddlers has ended in spectacular fashion. Big waves, strong winds and rain. Australian paddlers, for some reason, view this as fun.

Australian Surf Life Saving Titles in QLD are the highlight of the surf paddling in Australia.

Surf racing is the home to many of Australia's great kayakers; Clint Robinson, Grant Kenny and latest kayaking Gold Medalist Ken Wallace.

Surf paddling is a tough type of paddling, as it requires strength, courage and brains to workout commit to, and choose, the best path to take without getting wiped out. As you see from the gallery of pictures below, it also requires a touch of madness.

When I arrived on the beach to see the surf and the conditions I thought of two things;

1. I can go a whole lot better now then I first thought I could
2. how great is it going to be to ride one of those big waves

The reason I thought I was in with a bit more of chance is because the surf levels everyone out. Olympian or average paddler both have a chance in those conditions.

The surf can be difficult, scary, hard to handle but, at times, your best friend in racing. The surf sometimes opens up on your side of the race to let you get out without getting wet and 10 paddlers to your left get hit by massive walls of water. This is tough, I should know, this happened to me on more then one occasion.

This was my 21st National Titles, and it was the first time, in a single ski race, that I did not even get through the break. I tried for more then 15 mins to get out through the break without luck. My last wave I tried to negotiate was my biggest enemy. It broke my paddle and rudder and my ski got washed into shore. I then put my head down and had to swim all the way in.

There is a saying in Australian Surf Ski Paddling, 'That's Surf'

Don't I know it.