Feb 2021 - Struer K4 - the phoenix arises!

Is approx. 1985 model Commander, and unsure how it came to Australia, but probably used for Olympics preparation. Was broken in half possibly on Sydney Harbour when there was racing years ago to the Opera House, but expertly repaired.

Above: Struer gets a run - 24 Feb 2021

Was used for many years by BGCC, with several Murray Marathons (one I think establishing the outright race record), and then residing in the BGCC clubhouse till renovations required its removal. With no-one able to store it in Canberra, a consortium of 4 LCRK paddlers (Tim Hookins, Jeremy Spear, Steve Paget and Tony Hystek) purchased it and Tim transported it to Sydney direct to Tony’s warehouse.

First thing needed was our own boat trailer. Tony purchased a large boat trailer, stripped it of fittings and he and Jezza constructed the framework needed for the 11-boats it could carry. The club paid for materials used.

Now we had as boat trailer, the club purchased its own K4 Struer copy from Central Coast Canoe Club, which sat forlornly on the trailer in the back street at Tony’s till the new clubhouse was built.

The Struer meanwhile sat in the warehouse high on one wall, occasionally getting some work done to seats, footplates and general wear and tear. It had been well used! Finally, with Covid allowing some breathing space in the warehouse, the finishing touches were applied….enough at least to get it seaworthy.

It still needs some additional touch-ups on the timberwork but is largely good to paddle. As proven last night it is a great boat, stable, comfortable and smooth, and a little lighter than the club K4.

We are hoping for some regular K4 races now we have the two craft, though Tim and Tony will probably have a regular spot in the ‘woody’, there are still two spots available, and 4 more in the club K4.

Last night was a lot of fun, with the K4 crew blasting off the line but unable to maintain that pace over the longer distance. As the Struer crew wearied towards the finish, the Club K4 made a late charge and almost pipped the Struer at the line. Great fun all round

Above: Strava track for the 12km time trial

Paddlenote: The K4 course runs downstream around the 12km turn pin, but then keeps going around the green pin and through under Figtree bridge. Proceed straight for the southern red floaty, around the point then head directly for the centre of the Harbour Bridge, usually emblazoned with a red light at the top. Do a U-turn when your GPS indicates you have paddled 6km.

The same route back, around the green pin but not around the 12 course red pin to avoid collisions with paddlers coming the other way!

January 2020 - 20 Groynes!

The 2021 20 Groynes - Sat Jan 9 8am

Welcome to the "Dolls Point 20 Groynes", ......a Community Paddling event.

The "20 Groynes" is run over 4 hours, offering a paddling challenge on the ever changing waters of Botany Bay, where competitors will paddle a 4 kilometre lap course, completing as many (or as few) laps as possible within the four hour period.

Paddlers should expect to pass at least twenty (20) of the infamous Botany Bay 'Groynes' each hour.

This is intended as a 'fun' event, and paddlers of all craft and ages are encouraged to enter.

You can paddle the full distance/time on your own, or you can get a few mates together, have a bit of fun, and paddle the event as a Relay.

Relay Teams can be any combination of boats/gender/ages (Singles, Doubles, Combination)

November 2020 - Reverse HCC to celebrate 19 years of living!

by Trevor Nichols

With the HCC cancelled and in a moment of exuberance, Darren Williams mentioned to a few of us that it might be fun to paddle the length of the Hawkesbury socially. Darren found an article from an early HCC when it was once 100 mile, and with the pain of last year’s HCC long forgotten 100 miles seemed like a tremendous plan, so Craig Salkeld, Don Johnstone and Trevor Nichols signed up.

Don and Trevor did a recce paddle in early Oct from Devlin Road at Castlereagh down the Hawkesbury towards Windsor. Well that was the idea.... Because there had not been much rain, the water level was low and they spent a lot of time portaging around rapids and in 2 hours had only paddled as far as the Bells Line of Road bridge where the river becomes tidal! So the plan was changed to start from this bridge and “only” paddle the ~110kms down to Deerubbun Reserve (Mooney Mooney) as going through rapids and portaging with skis was not appealing.

We decided on paddling over 2 days so we could stop overnight to rehydrate and watch the mighty Wallabies in action. Darren found a lovely cabin exactly halfway between Windsor and the finish called Clifftonville Lodge which we highly recommend (google it - waterfront and road access). Having dinner from their BBQ area above the river watching the sunset was a highlight. We chose 6th – 7th of Nov as we would still have our fitness from the Morison 50 and it marked the 19th anniversary of Darren’s bone morrow transplant. Being given an 8 month life expectancy due to his Leukaemia diagnosis then a 20% survival chance for the transplant is a good reminder why we need to enjoy the camaraderie, fitness and joy of life on the water that paddling offers us. One drawback of this weekend was the tides were more suited to starting from Mooney Mooney than above Windsor. Luckily Fitz quickly worked this out and suggested we consider doing the event in reverse. Naturally we ignored his advice and continued our planning.

As usual the week before the event involved a lot of text messages between us to finalise planning and to share some excitement / nervous energy. With the pain of the last 25km of paddling into the tide during the Morison still fresh we wisely decided to start at Mooney Mooney. Thanks Fitzy. We even could have a leisurely 9am start to maximise the run in tide.

Day 1
Come Saturday and the conditions were promising with a fairly stiff southerly predicted from mid-day. First stop was at a new cafe in Spencer that has just opened. They do a mean breakie roll even though they are a Thai restaurant- we highly recommend supporting them. After that, we had a nice down-winder and running tide to Wisemans. Just what we all signed up for!! We even had a massive cruiser came past with a swell that would interest ocean paddlers. Don began smiling as he saw the wave and managed to get several bursts of speed as a couple of waves went past. His new GPS told him he reached over 20kmh! He was still grinning by the time we stopped for our next feed at Wisemans. We learnt this weekend that Don is truly a yes man; would you like extra everything on your breakie roll Don? There’s a huge cruiser travelling at 30 knots kicking up a 2m wave Don, should we try to wash ride? We’ve now paddled +100km so Don should we sprint the final few K’s? Don’s answer is always yes!

The final 10km of day 1 was a prelude to day 2. Many ski boats zooming past and a slight head wind. We arrived at Cliftonville just before 4pm where Darren’s wife Anne had arrived with all our bags, cold beer and the finest steaks on offer. Life was good and then the footy started. Life got better for most of us. Darren being a Kiwi knows his rugby and shared with us his views on the ref’s top notch officiating.

Above: Cliftonville's ramp

Above: Steak n plonk

Day 2
After 30 minutes of day 2 we knew we were going to get some serious practice at handling bumpy conditions with all the wake boarders, skiers and lunatics racing their boats along the river. Keeping the paddling line gets somewhat perilous when crossing someone attempting a water speed record. Luckily they are easy to hear coming with not only thundering/wailing inboard/outboards, but also even louder Aussie rock classics. We did a bit of a side trip up the Colo river to regain composure - it looks just beautiful and does not get much boat traffic. Watch this space for a future expedition...

None of us had actually seen the river up to Sackville in daylight so enjoyed that experience. Wasn’t that the tree/boat buoy/reeds I hit that year in the HCC?? After a packed lunch on the beach where the HCC stop is, we continued for the last leg thinking surely the tide will start running soon. It never really did and perhaps some of this was due to flow from recent rains? The boat traffic was nonstop for 30kms making us a bit slow and appreciative of the slog back for all the Morison competitors. We quickly decided to finish at Windsor and not near Richmond at the Bells Line of Road bridge.

Overall a fun weekend with great mates on a beautiful river. Just don’t mention the rugby....

Above: Pitt Town pit stop

October 2020 - Clarence 100 and more

by Jeff Hosnell

2020 Recap

What a year 2020 has been I had so much to look forward to National’s and then World’s in Norway teaming up with Rob L-J! but then Covid arrived and our life’s changed, all racing called off, time trials postponed. Duncan and I were lucky we travelled to Albury and Batemans for races early in the year so we had those good memories.

Thanks also to Brett at Australian Paddle Sports for organising the Virtual races to coincide with the cancelled marathon race dates. We at least had something to push ourselves to get better, and a chance to say hi on the water to other paddlers. When on the water I think we all noticed the amount of recreational paddlers on the water, I think the sale of boats must have increased during the lock down.

We finally had a chance to do an actual race in late August at Windsor and we had a good turn out and everyone did there best to limit the contact with others, then we were told Wyong was on 30k’s I was so looking forward to that race then it was cancelled, again we had the virtual race to at least have a go, Duncan and I also did the Gregory River Race as a virtual we received a great Polo and Hat and stubby cooler hopefully next year we will go and do it for real.

Then all the Ultra Marathon Races were cancelled in order Myall, Hawkesbury and finally Clarence, Duncan and I had made our accommodation bookings for Myall and Clarence and decide we would still go and treat them like a race.

Above: Jeff and Duncan - visions of a real kayak race?

Myall Classic

Saturday morning start for the Myall we had a good paddle tide coming in and for a few km’s we were flying I was in the front in Zero then the river offered no help so a hard slog to the top turn, during this time I noticed Duncan kept hitting me on the right shoulder I thought it was to go faster but this started happening all the time, so on the return trip we switched spots much better I tried so hard to hit Duncan but couldn’t reach I must lengthen my paddle next time, we were happy with 4.44hrs. Pity no others came up for the weekend.

Clarence 100

There was a good turnout of Lane Cove Ultra Marathon Paddlers, Brett, James, Wade, Michael, Daniela, Rodrigo, Karen, Annie L-G, Duncan and Jeff. There were about 30 paddlers who came up to race or just to have a paddle. Ben the organiser supplied us the best times to start each day these were very helpful, each day we had 2 start times early for recreational, slower and SUP’s then the faster paddlers 30mins later, at the start one of Ben’s friends from the race organiser’s was there to take names and give us information about the river, he was also at the half way point and finish ticking of names a big thank you.

Above: Most of the LCRK crew

Duncan and I decided to paddle a ski instead of Matts Zero, on the Monday before we left we tried the LCRK clubs V10 and Carbonology, I have only paddled a ski once before, after taking each up and back to the top bridge 3kms Duncan wanted the V10 I wanted a challenge so we decided to take the other.

Day 1 42kms Copmanhurst to Grafton We were to start with Rodrigo, Daniela and Michael but they didn’t wait for us so they were always 500 meters in front of us. Wade started with Brodie.

Well 40+Kms is a lot different to 4kms, about the 20km mark my left arm was hurting and I was chafing on my lower back, I was pushing back on my seat to try and get leg drive but I couldn’t get any, so the whole 40kms it was all arms.

The conditions were fast and the ski was easy to get speed, but the first day we found it very tippy so lots of slap supports coming in stroke, stroke, slap etc.

Daniela, Rodrigo and Michael had a great paddle although Daniela went a bit hard and Rodrigo and Michael were suffering at the finish as a result.

Brett, James and Brandon in a ski from Wollongong who won it last year started 15mins after us, the conditions were perfect for the K1’s. Their time was so much faster than last year, Brandon did amazingly to stay with them.

That afternoon I sent out a request to our club paddlers on how I can get leg drive and be more comfortable, I had a great response and moved my foot pedals further forward to get off the back seat.

Day 2 Grafton to Maclean 44kms We started with Daniela and Rodrigo. Wade, Michael, Brett and James didn’t paddle, again smooth conditions out-going tide but today we had a deep fog you couldn’t see the sides of the river you could only see a few feet in front of the boat this was with us for nearly 10kms, we took the front and Daniela and Rodrigo on either side, it was a very fast paddle straight down the middle, last year we had to hug the banks it was so windy and in-coming tide Duncan and I took nearly 30 minutes off last year’s time. I thought we all had a great paddle but Rodrigo told us later he really struggled - he really wanted to call it a day so many times, he just kept saying to himself another km and then call it a day, then I had trouble with my foot strap and stopped 3 or 4 times - he said that saved him.

Above: Deep fog at the start

We had such a fun time paddling together Daniela singing Opera and me a couple of Beatles and Queen songs.

Day 3 Maclean to Yamba 24kms This leg last year was really bad - strong cross winds in coming tide, lots of capsizes! This year the river was like glass!

Today Michael joined us and we set off at a really fast pace again Duncan and I in front it was really fast hitting 13’s 14’s 4.42min kms splits I have never gone under 5min kms! Again straight down the middle, then Brett and Brandon caught us and Daniela jumped on their wash and it was on, following them pushed us then after 3-4kms Daniela had found it too hard and dropped off their wash. Amazing effort, she had put nearly a km space between us and we couldn’t close the gap. Towards the end there is an island with channels left and right, last year we were told you had to go right, I was always looking where Daniela was going and she would have been following Brett, she went left and we were in that channel and were flying. Duncan wanted to go right and me left - well the boat nearly got split in half but in the end we went left! It was a great choice we were hitting high 13’s the hairy part was we had to go through a narrow break in the storm wall with incoming tide and side chop Rodrigo and Michael could see we were having trouble and gave us plenty of room which helped them because they also found it tricky, after lots of support strokes we got through and hit the finish line 1hr 57 (vs last year 2hrs 20). On this leg we had everyone on the water, SUPs etc, so everyone stayed and supported the boats as they came in!

I would like to make special mention about the paddle Karen H did over the 3 days, she is a new paddler from Manly but comes to Lane Cove often, she had never paddled further than 20kms on her own so to take on the Clarence 100 is truly amazing, on the second day both her hands had large blisters and burst. She was so determined to paddle day 3, the ladies in our group rallied around and got her hands wrapped, Wade volunteered to paddle with her - he said she just kept going averaging around 11kms hr well Done both of you!!!

All in all I have had some great races in 2020 even though they didn’t happen.

Bring on the Morison 50 Race!!!

I have fond memories of Joan Morison - when I first came from New Zealand I paddled with her club, and she was so kind, she lent me the clubs Canoe and I took my daughter and dog up Woronora river and camped up the gorge for 4 days.

October 2020 - Richard Barnes Q and A

An excerpt of the article below - click on the link above for the full 6 page PDF

In December this year Richard Barnes is planning to paddle his purpose-built kayak, Blue Moon, out of Sydney Harbour across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. His goal is to be the first person to complete the journey solo and unsupported, and without making landfall on the way. Early in August Richard took the time out between his job and his expedition preparation to answer some questions put to him by your editor about his quest.

Richard: Well, I’m coming up to 60 years old. If all goes according to plan I’ll have my 60th birthday alone in the middle of the Tasman Sea. I am a civil engineer by profession. I got introduced to paddling through Venturers within the Scouting movement. I started paddling white water, then tried canoe polo and then got serious about marathons and did my first Hawkesbury Classic in 1981. I’m down to do my 40th HCC this year. In 2014 I did the Yukon 1,000, paddling a double with the legendary Buzz Powell. I’m a member of the Sydney University Canoe Club and we’ve done white water paddling in New Zealand, Nepal, Ecuador and Chile. Sea kayaking came later – a little at first then a sampling in Patagonia and the Antarctic. In 2007. I paddled a Mirage 580 around Tasmania with my very good friend Phil Newman paddling his Greenland kayak....

Sep 2020 - PNSW Awards

We're delighted to report that two LCRKers have been recognised in the annual PNSW AGM awards. Details below including nominations.

Naomi Johnson – PaddleNSW Female Paddler 2019/20
Naomi had a huge 2019/20. Serious focus on training led to Naomi competing in 2019 as part of the Australian Team at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Shaoxing China where she paddled a double kayak with Windsor paddler Laura Lee competing against Olympic level female paddlers. A key local achievement was the 2019 Hawkesbury Canoe Classic seeing Naomi cross the finish line at Mooney Mooney just before 2:45am in an official time of 9hrs 28 mins 55 secs. In doing, so Naomi achieved a number of firsts:-

  1. Broke the existing HCC Women’s Open K1 record by almost half an hour.
  2. Set the fastest EVER Women’s time in the HCC’s 43 year history
  3. Was the fastest finishing woman on the night
  4. Was fourth fastest single boat on the night (male competitors in first three positions)
  5. Was fourth fastest on handicap for the night.

Naomi whilst particularly pleased to have set this record is keen to see more female paddlers competing in the HCC and kayak racing generally. Before its’ ultimate cancellation Naomi was instrumental in promotion and publicity for the 2020 HCC event.

Her outstanding achievements in 2019/20 were recognised by Paddle Australia when Naomi was announced PA Open Female Marathon Paddler of the Year, and now leading female paddler in NSW & ACT can be added to the CV.

Naomi had this to say: Many thanks are in order for this award, most importantly to Lane Cove for both the nomination and your belief in me throughout last year. I set myself some pretty crazy goals, and it was great to have such an enthusiastic team and cheer squad behind me when the going got tough (and it always does!). I don't think that the Hawkesbury Classic record would have been possible without the club, both for your huge wealth of knowledge, and the buzz that you bring to the night itself. Records and goals aside, paddling is such a fun and community-focused sport, and I really hope that this factor will help it to become even more diverse and vibrant in years to come. And also a big shout-out to Tony H, whose coaching award is incredibly well-deserved. Thanks for your patience, belief in me, pushing my beyond where I felt comfortable, and in the Classic for letting me chill out on your wash most of the way to Wiseman's!

Tony Hystek – PaddleNSW Coach of the Year 2019/20
Fittingly – Tony Hystek has been recognised for his ongoing Coaching efforts with PNSW Coach of the Year. Below is the nomination. As a coach, Tony is committed to engaging with the whole range of paddlers at their own level. He is the regular volunteer coach of Lane Cove’s Tuesday/Friday morning squad, leading a mixed-ability group of up to 16 paddlers with an eye for inclusion and core skill development. In 2019/20, this group has included one open-age Australian representative paddler, high-performing masters, and several who have been paddling for less than two years or are new to K1s.

The camaraderie and sense of team growth fostered in the squad is important for many of these paddlers, giving them a sense of structure in their paddling, and a community who are all committed to improvement.

Outside the squad, Tony is extremely generous with his time, always finding the space to work with a new paddler on basic technique or to work on specific skills with individual club members. Though he has personal paddling goals, he seems to take the greatest pleasure from seeing those around him improve and achieve their goals, and as such is an irreplaceable part of the LCRK paddling community. Congratulations to PNSW Life Member Tony and thank you for all the selfless work you do at club and state level.

Tony provided this reflection on receiving the award: Coaching is something that improves over time. I’m grateful that LCRK has given me the time to build up my coaching skills, and the patience to put up with my sessions that may not have been ideal. There is still more work to be one. The camaraderie of the morning squad, and the willingness and gratitude of those individuals who sought specific training has made coaching a very rewarding paddling activity for me. Thank you LCRK.

Above: Coach of the year accompanies Female Paddler of the year - Jan 2020 TT

Sunday 16 Aug - LCRK AGM

The Annual General Meeting of Lane Cove River Kayakers Incorporated will be held on Sunday 16th August 2020, 11.00am, seated outdoors (to be Covid compliant) in the carpark of the Rotary Athletics Field carpark. Wet weather arrangements are under the canteen shelter. RSVP's are ESSENTIAL - email the Committee

Sun 1 Mar - Clean Up Australia Day - LCRK

Satellite photos of NSW over summer just showed bushfire smoke covering Sydney and the whole east coast. Contrast that with today’s photo that shows a brilliant sparkle bouncing off Lane Cover river because 20 volunteers worked to give our favourite waterway a good scrub.

Excluding the two wheelie bins collected, there was less “big stuff” to pick up this year on account of previous successful clean up days but the early February flood in the river deposited significant amounts of small items that are just as big a blight on the environment. Some 30 bags of rubbish were extracted from the river banks between Wirong and the 6km turn; unfortunately we could probably pick up another 30 bags if we went back tomorrow.

The biggest job was the 3 hours spent removing the tangle of logs at Fullers bridge. A big thank you to Trevor Nichols who brought his purpose built motor boat and worked with Don Johnstone and Darren and Anne Williams to untangle it all then shift the wood to a location for Maritime to hopefully pick-up. Darren even went home to collect his chainsaw so the big logs could be cut up and moved above the high water mark.

Oscar Cahill and Ian Wrenford concentrated on removing the hundreds of plastic bags high up in the mangroves but only managed to get as far as the first rocks upstream from the pontoon (Fairyland rocks). There is much more to do but that will have to wait to another day. Stay tuned.

Jeff Collins was happy with himself when in the first 15 minutes he found a $5 note in the mangroves near the pontoon. He was ecstatic when he then found a $100 note at another spot. Despite our insistence that he respect the “finders keepers” rule, Jeff graciously donated the $105 to the club. (That story should get more kids along next year.)

Many other volunteers worked tirelessly in the mangroves, the car park and athletics oval to pick up lots of trash. I am sure they all went home with the same feeling of satisfaction that they have when they cross the finish line on Wednesday night time trials.

The crew collected the obligatory car tyres and old rusty fish traps, but plastic in all its forms represented the bulk of the trash. It really is a sad reflection of society, however with our great club’s help much of the rubbish does get removed (around our area anyway). But of course there is more to do.

It was a hot and humid day and not easy work trudging around so it was really appreciated that 20 club members volunteered, and were able to enjoy a hearty BBQ prepared by Justin Paine at the end. The club is grateful to these members who were able to help out … Oscar Cahill, Ian Wrenford, Kenji Ogawa, Duncan Johnstone, Don Johnstone, Trevor Nichols, Darren Williams (and wife Anne), Justin Paine, Jeff Collins, Matt Swann, Tony Hystek, Rodrigo Matamala, Paul Gibson, Jeff Tonazzi, Merry Sugiarto, Wade Rowston, Peter Manley, Naomi Johnson and Chris Johnson.

Thanks to Willoughby Council for attending to the truckload of rubbish now near the amenities block and of course a RIP to Ian Kiernan – founder of Clean Up Australia – who died in October 2018 but whose legacy lives on.

Until next year (or until the next call up to finish what we started) …

John Duffy Site Supervisor

Sun16 Feb - Oura to Wagga Bidgeee Bash

Quoting from their website: ''The iconic Oura to Wagga Bidgee Bash is back after ten years!

Quoting from WCC FB post: Well, the Oura to Wagga race has been run for 2020, albeit after the course was altered after the river dropped around 80cm in the last couple of days. Although we had smallish numbers, it was pleasing to see those that attended enjoy themselves despite the low water.

The Mitta Mitta club had the most members represent their club out of the visiting clubs, and their members performed admirably, with Russell Wood and Emma Flower being the fastest male and female respectively.

A very big thankyou for all those that took the time and effort to take part. It's the visitors that make events like this worthwhile and the Wagga Bidgee Canoe Club very much appreciates your involvement. There were plently of volunteers who made the day possible, who also deserve our gratitude. Thankyou to all.

Sat 11 Jan - 20 Groynes (Dolls Point Paddlers)

Thanks to the generosity of Dolls Point Paddlers and the Sutherland Shire Canoe Club, all proceeds from this Saturday's 20 Groynes Race will go to bushfire affected communities on the South Coast.

The detail below is copied from the Entry Page
Welcome to the second running of the "Dolls Point 20 Groynes", ......a Community Paddling event.

The "20 Groynes" is a Community Paddling event, run this year over 4 hours, offering a paddling challenge on the ever changing waters of Botany Bay, where competitors will paddle a 4 kilometre lap course, completing as many (or as few) laps as possible within the four hour period.

Paddlers should expect to pass at least twenty (20) of the infamous Botany Bay 'Groynes' each hour.

This is intended as a 'fun' event, and paddlers of all craft and ages are encouraged to enter.

You can paddle the full distance/time on your own, or you can get a few mates together, have a bit of fun, and paddle the event as a Relay.

Relay Teams can be any combination of boats/gender/ages (Singles, Doubles, Combination)

As an example, in the "Relay" category, it is absolutely acceptable to enter a Team made up of combination of OC6's, OC2's and Ski's, and even SUP's, paddled by a mix of ages and genders.

''You must nominate a Team Name in your entry, whether you are a Team of 1, or a Team of 20. It is important that in Teams of more than 1, that ALL paddlers enter EXACTLY the same Team Name.''

Your Entry Fee also includes a drink in the bar at the Georges River 16' Sailing Club afterwards, where the Presentations will be made while we all enjoy a few laughs and swap some tall tales.

All entries close at midnight Thursday 9th January.

Paddler Check-in from 7:00am on race day, and Race Start at 8:00am.

Presentations, Drinks and Lunch in the bar from 12:45pm.


A dedicated parking area has been provided for this event, and is accessed via McMillan Avenue, Sandringham. Please DO NOT use Sanoni Avenue or park in the 16' Sailing Club Car Park. It is important that we leave the public car parking available for the Club and Kiss the Barista (Coffee Shop) customers.

A Parking Permit will be provided to you when you enter the McMillan Ave car park

Massive Murray Paddle 18-22 Nov 2019

Quoting the MMP website: The Massive Murray Paddle is an amazing 5 day paddling adventure & paddling race, that raises funds to assist local charities or community-driven programs. We will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Massive Murray Paddle this year in November

Above: MMP 2018 Race briefing.

More sooooooon......

October - ICF Marathon World Championships

Race report by Naomi Johnson

One thing I’ve learned in spades this year is that there’s a big difference between a race lead-up and the lead-up to a BIG DEAL race. And, having done a bit better than expected at Australian Marathon Nationals, the biggest and in many ways scariest race of my life was the Open Women’s K2 at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Shaoxing, China on October 20th. With months of solid training under our belts, doubles partner Laura Lee and I knew we were lining up with the fastest marathoners in the world. No matter how you look at that, it’s a tiny bit daunting!

In many ways it was a relief to actually get on the plane to begin the tour proper. It meant I had already sorted my visa, ticked off all my gym sessions, put Alanna’s lovely K2 in a China-bound container, booked this and that, and paddled my way through a winter of very chilly mornings out on Lane Cove river. I was in the best shape of my life strength and fitness-wise, and the improvements I’ve made as a paddler this year have both surprised and delighted me. With a rousing send-off from LCRK the night before, I finally felt like I had earned the right to wear my Aus team tracksuit pants on the plane. It was the right choice – those things are very comfy!

Two flights, an Aussie gang at Hong Kong airport and a late-night bus ride later, and we were at the Shaoxing Holiday Inn, our home base for the next week and a half. I was sharing with VIC-based C1 paddler Reka Abraham in a room that looked like it might have been designed for the younger age group, but with a nice skyline view of the modern part of Shaoxing. The World Champs course was a shuttle bus ride away, or a 40-min walk when one got sick of trying to predict shuttle bus times!

Above: the Australian Masters contingent (photo-bombed by Naomi) at the ICF Worlds (photo: Australian Paddle Sports).

Everyone was keen to get on the water and check out the course. Not paddling singles, I managed to borrow a boat from team manager Max, though by the time I’d by the time I’d got my head around the pedals Laura and Daniela had taken off and my first trip out was solo. Not at all sure of the course and its various bridges, I managed to take a wrong turn under a bridge that was very much off-course and had a rather confusing lap around a canal bordered by small allotments. Back on the correct canal for the race, I was rather pleased to find it wasn’t quite as scary as the map made out. Yes, there were some rather tight bridges, and a few more of them than shown on Google Earth a few weeks ago (!!), but at least there was always a choice of arches, and water to spread out on in between. My resolution for the rest of the week was to avoid pedal steering at all costs!

Masters raced singles on the Monday and doubles on the Tuesday, with the Australian Masters team the biggest and loudest of the lot. It was a pity that more hype wasn’t made of this part of the event, with the Chinese organisers still in the process of finishing off the venue and basically using the Masters paddlers as course guinea-pigs. The singles racing saw four starts of K1s and C1s, with paddlers ranging from 35+ to those in their 70s. While the men’s races, particularly those in the 45-65 range were well-populated, many of the others were not, especially the women’s classes. Worthy of a mention was the Men’s 55-59 K1 race, with no fewer than seven Australians among the 12 starters! Brett Greenwood took out the gold medal with a solid lead on the field.

Among those in contention for the most races of the competition, Laura paddled to a decisive win in her 40-44 K1 race, while Daniela fought right to the finish line with a South African paddler to take out silver in the 50-54 class. It was great to watch the energy and enthusiasm of all the paddlers, as well as paying close attention to the course and the way they dealt with the various buoys and bridges. Then it was time for the Masters to make last-minute adjustments to doubles before an early night, and for me to sneak out in Laura’s K1 for a bit of paddling myself.

By Tuesday, there was finally some clarity about when finish line and short-course buoys were in play, and yes, all the Masters K2s could go through the finish line buoys on their first lap (it would’ve made sense if you were there)! Along with a solid contingent of all-Australian K2s, a couple of paddlers took up last minute offers of international partnerships – when at the World Championships, why not paddle? Laura and Daniela were undeterred at being the sole paddlers in the Women’s 40-44 K2, setting themselves up as the fastest women’s crew and paddling a solid raced despite having only been out in Alanna’s K2 the afternoon before! Brett G teamed up with Brett MacDonald from WA to win gold in the Men’s 50-54 K2.

Above: Laura and Daniela ready to race! (Photo: Naomi J)

Paddling in NSW where most of the paddlers are of a masterly age, I spent most of the first half of the China trip hanging out with the Masters paddlers, doubly useful since they had worked out where the good coffee was! So naturally I ended up at the Masters ‘after-party’ on the Tuesday evening before undertaking any racing at all! We all trekked out to a hot-pot restaurant around the corner from the hotel, where each table was presented with two steaming bowls of hot spicy liquid in which to cook our selection of meat and vegetables. It was lots of fun to sample the various skewers of lotus root, unknown veggies and tofu (being vegetarian, I didn’t make a beeline for the unknown meat!), though the general consensus was that we might need some local knowledge to bring out all the different flavours. I noticed I was the only one dunking my veggies in the spicier of the two soup options!

Wednesday, and I was able to tick ‘has attended an opening ceremony as one of the athletes’ as one of my new experiences for the year. With an impressive stage set up beside the main lake, we were treated to speeches, videos about Shaoxing, and theatre and dance spectacles that showcased the local culture. One of the most interesting features of the region is a small canal boat that the oarsman powers not with his hands but with an oar attached to his foot. A second short oar out the back is used only for steering. Far from looking cumbersome, the wizened old boatmen made it look ridiculously easy – one even managed to play a short flute with his spare hand!

That evening, I ended up attended the team managers dinner, a ‘rice wine tasting’ at the more upmarket of the two competition hotels. Clearly designed to impress the team managers, ICF officials and other ‘important’ people, the dinner had some twelve courses of creatively presented food (quite a lot of meat, quite a few soups), with each new course seeming to come out the moment we had finished the previous one. The little old Chinese ladies busily changing over courses were also keen for us to drink as much rice wine as possible, and it seemed to cause mild offence that I stuck with Sprite. Dipping a finger in the rice wine, and it tasted like thin port with a slightly bitter aftertaste – not necessarily something I will be looking out for in the future!

Competition began early on Thursday morning, but Laura and I were out earlier, catching the first shuttle bus to arrive at the venue for 6:40am. With almost back-to-back races, early in the morning was the only sanctioned time to train on the course, and we wanted some solid time in the boat together now that Laura’s Masters commitments were over. Out onto the glassy lake, round the canal and under tight bridges. Was this the best line through here? How shallow did the water get around that corner? Nope, that’s a rock. For the rest of the day, we were treated to the U/18 K1 races and then the Open Short Course Marathon. Despite my reservations about whether Short Course is really marathon, the 3.5km race with two portages is certainly an exciting addition to the marathon championships. It’s fast and furious, favouring paddlers with a keen eye for tactics, excellent portaging skills, and the speed to keep them in the game. Aussies Kate Leverett and Josh Kippin finished 7th and 6th respectively in their short course races, giving the team a great buzz to round off the first day of competition.

Above: There have always got to be a few touristy moments! (Photo: Laura Lee)

Along with Hungary and Spain, China was the third country to field a full complement of paddlers in every event. We had been watching these paddlers with interest throughout our training paddles – while China doesn’t have a particularly strong history in marathon kayaking (read: one or two paddlers at a World Champs, ever!), they are also known for stringent training and a lot of money put into sports they want to excel in. We had also heard that most of the squad were sprint paddlers rather than marathon, witnessing an early morning portage session which looked like the first time some of the team had ever tried to exit the boat at speed. Given that, the Chinese paddlers did surprisingly well in the U/18 races, going out very hard and sometimes managing to hang in the top five or ten right to the end. They even took out two bronze medals in the U/18 C1 events! All the paddlers were tall, with tiny hips and big shoulders, not just in a way that says many paddlers look like that, but in a way that says they had been selected for that look, probably rather young.

Day two, and I was sick of sitting around and ready to race. Arriving so early and not racing until the very last day meant a lot of time to paddle on the course, but also a lot of time sitting around watching everyone else race. It was great to watch the tactics involved, especially as racing started to move up the age groups. The grand stands had a huge screen set up with the live stream, so that we could watch paddlers travel round the course and then cheer them on in real life as they came hurtling through the portage. This really was a standard of racing beyond anything I’d seen in Australia.

Day three, and I was trying to convince myself that the butterflies were excitement and not gradually mounting nerves! The Open K1 races were fabulous to watch, showing the strength, stamina and race savvy of the world’s very best paddlers. Kate Leverett hung on in her K1 race to finish a fabulous 5th, while the Hungarian woman again took out the gold and silver medals. The Men’s K1 came down to a hair-raising final portage and sprint that had the whole grand stand on its feet cheering for a young Dane Mads Pedersen (he also won the U/23s!) to hold off paddling veteran Andy Birkett from South Africa. As for me…I felt strong, fit and as ready as I could be, but some of these people were from a different planet! The start, a focus of my own personal anxiety, was dancing around in my mind. We had been seeded right on the end of the pontoon, so while there were fewer wash choices we could also head up the side with relatively flat water. But I still hadn’t experienced the feeling of being snuggled up close to all the other boats with someone firmly holding your tail. Early dinner, final race plan in place, kit laid out and checked for the next morning, then me and my butterflies headed for bed.

Above: Absolute focus! (Photo: Carolyn J. Cooper)

Race morning arrived with a strange sense of calm. I finally unpacked my one serve of oats (be prepared not to get along with hotel breakfasts) and we headed over to the course with plenty of time to get everything organised. The weather was warm and a bit humid, nothing too extreme though it would pay to be well-hydrated. We caught the shuttle bus (happily on time) to the venue in time for the final laps of the Open Men’s C2 and with plenty of time to get organised. Perhaps too much time – I was a bundle of bouncy excited energy next to Laura’s meditative calm. It felt surreal to pin a racing bib to my Australian team singlet, to go through the final checks and then have a tracker fitted to the back of the boat as we headed to the water for our warm-up.

With out spot on the end of the start pontoon nice and accessible, we ended up backing in almost the moment that we were called up. Looking down the line of boats and paddles, I felt at once terrified and excited to be sitting on the start line with such a stellar line-up of women. Hungary, Spain, South Africa, France, so many of the big names in marathon paddling.

Then it was “Ready, Go” and we were off in one collective surge. My eyes were fixed on Laura’s back, trying to be a perfect mirror of motion coupled with as much strength as I could possibly muster. We were in the fray of the wash waves, trying to keep powering forwards while looking for a spot in a pack. One moment you’re there, and then you’re a boat length behind looking for the next best option. But the first turn – a long sweep round to the right – we were sitting a boat length or so behind the Swedish crew, with most of the other boats forming into two packs a little further ahead. We settled in for the chase, eyeing up how much water was between us and the Swedes. Were they forming up into a pack with a Chinese crew and the other Aussies Bec and Hannah? Or was that group falling apart?

Round into the canals for the first time, through the bridges and round the pre-planned corners. We could definitely catch that Swedish boat! Locals on the bank called out “Jai-yo, Jai-yo”, which several days of competition had taught us meant “Come on, come on”. Out of the canal and round the back of the island and Laura kept us tight into the bank. Two more bridges, another turn to the right, and we were approaching the first of our six portage. Running through the lanes in front of the grandstand felt like something else, with the assembled crowd shouting and cheering. “Go Australia”, “Go girls” spurred us on as we got back in and refocused for the next lap.

With so many laps of the course to get through, my memory of the blow-by-blow from here gets a bit foggy. I think we caught the Swedish pair a couple of hundred metres before the next portage, arriving into the pontoon with them before they sprinted off at speeds unknown to my legs. But then again, it might have been the portage after that. It was becoming clear that we had a very slight edge on them in terms of marathon grind, but that their portages were far slicker, and they wanted to catch the Chinese boat just in front. Portage four and I grabbed a gel. Was that the one where we overtook the Chinese crew as well? They were fading, particularly clear in their attention to detail on the portage pontoons, but the Swedish girls were proving harder to pull in.

The penultimate portage and we were both feeling the burn and still focused. My exits were becoming decidedly less graceful, but we were on track for a solid time and enjoying ourselves in the boat. The Swedish crew seemed to have final burst of energy, opening up the gap between us again. Despite having eyeballed them for almost two hours, we were destined to finish behind the identical pairs of blonde braids! As we rounded a corner just before the canal entrance, we were within spitting distance of the front end of the pack and their final short lap.

Through the canal one more time, round the back of the island and into the final portage. The venue played ‘The Final Countdown’ as paddlers ran through the portage lane for the last time, and suddenly it was us running through, cheered on by the crowd. We had agreed to sprint at the end no matter where we were or how we were feeling, and yet as we jumped back in the boat at (finally) the second exit pontoon the distance to go felt like the longest yet. 350m up to the short lap turn buoy, then eyes fixed on the finish line, and with 200m to go we threw everything at a final sprint. We finished 12th out of 15 boats, about 12 minutes behind the Hungarian crew that won. I couldn’t stop smiling!

The journey to China and the World Championships this year has been a huge challenge and yet so much fun. Jumping in a boat with Laura has taught me a huge amount about paddling and been a wonderful new friendship. I hope the partnership will continue! Tony H’s commitment and enthusiasm as a coach has been second to none, and the generosity of Lane Cove paddlers and committee in supporting this venture has made me feel so very loved. Alanna’s lovely K2 has been an integral part of the team, journeying with us to Nationals and then China by much longer routes than we ourselves took. It feels awesome, almost surreal to wear the green and gold to paddle for my country, and this race is something I will hold with me for a very long time.

Above: Laura and Naomi at the finish - a great effort! (Screen snip from live Youtube stream)

Above: results for the Womens K2 (from Planet Canoe)

Above: results for the AU Open, U/23 & U/18 squad at Marathon Worlds

October - the Spirit of Kayaking - Justin Paine

14 Sep - PNSW AGM

Notice is hereby given that the 71st Annual General Meeting of Paddle NSW shall be held on Saturday, 14th September 2019 at River Canoe Club of NSW, Richardsons Crescent, Tempe, commencing at 3:30pm sharp. Members are most welcome to attend.

For catering purposes, please notify the State Office of your intention to attend no later than Friday, 6th September. Email – Phone – (02) 8736 1254

10 Aug - MHYC Spit to the Zoo

Above: Results for LCRKers and regular TTers

Above: James, James and Brett - winning combo Male long distance (Photo: Marg Fraser-Martin)

Welcome to The 2019 Spit to the Zoo Race, hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club (assisted by SIP) This is NOT a PNSW Harbour Series event. It is sanctioned by PNSW but you must be a member of PNSW or be covered by a PNSW Day License or a member of Australian Sailing or SLSA to enter.

Spit to the Zoo Race takes place wholly within the enclosed waters of Port Jackson / Sydney Harbour. Long Course ~ 16km Short Course ~ 8km Long Course paddlers must be able to cover 9km within an hour or risk being DNF. Pls enter Short if unsure. In the event of heavy weather we may elect to run the Long Course as 2 laps of the Short Course in the more sheltered waters of Middle Harbour.

Several Wave starts (Long / Short / Doubles). Deep Water Start. The finish is between a buoy and the Marina Arm at MHYC for all divisions.

Race notes:

PFDs to be worn by ALL paddlers in this event. Leg Leashes to be available for use on the day for all paddlers in this event. Race Director will make call on day if to be worn. SUPs to wear Leashes.

Standard Entries are $35 per paddler and close at midnight on Tuesday 6th August Late Entries are $45 per paddler .

All entries close at midnight on Thurs 8th August

There will be No On-The-Day Entries

Paddler Registration is compulsory on site from 7am to 8am. All paddlers MUST attend Registration to be checked in to the race. No Rego = No Result (DNS) Race Briefing - 8:30 am. Race Start - 9:00 am.

Trophies / Awards / Prizes from our generous sponsors may include: - Surfski purchase discount vouchers; - Paddling gear, accessories & apparel - Medals for Divisional Categories >4 entrants.

Other Long Course prizes awarded on the day eg: 1st Double (M / F / Mixed) 1st OC1 (M / F) 1st SUP (M / F) 1st Sea Kayak (M / F) Lucky Draw prizes for all entrants

3-4 August Avon Descent

A snippet from Anjie Lees (ex FB): Definitely been a tough Avon. 1 paddle lost and 2 paddles broken. 2 holes in the boat fibreglassed last night (special Thank you to Byron from Albany Surf Club) another big one today and I have had no other choice than to pull out just before Emu Falls this morning. Super tough year with very low water levels meant I portaged probably 50 times yesterday meaning I missed the last checkpoint by 3 mins. So awesome to get back in this morning cant wait to see some pics from this morning

26 July - LCRK AGM and Social Evening - Willoughby Hotel

LCRK's AGM for the year ended 30 June 2019 was held at Willoughby Hotel, 315 Penshurst St, North Willoughby on Friday Jul 26, 2019.

The venue for 2019 was a switch from prior years with a more informal event and a really good vibe in private upstairs rooms at the Willoughby Hotel. Food orders from the Bistro required a bit of upstairs/downstairs exercise but didn't seem to cause any issues - and the Hotel was very accommodating with our needs.

The formal part of the evening was the AGM. Alanna Ewin provided an excellent Presidents report for the 2018-19 year (shortened version to go in the PNSW Annual Report), and Ian Wrenford an update on the Clubs financial position. In general business there was some discussion on the prospects for future redevelopment of the Athletics Field buildings. The 2018-19 Committee were stood down with elections then held for the 2019-20 Committee. Your Executive Committee for 2019-20 comprises Alanna Ewin as President, Rich Yates for Vice, Wade Rowston is Secretary and Ian Wrenford as Treasurer. Also on the Committee are Oscar Cahill, John Duffy, Phil Geddes, Tracey Hansford, Duncan Johnstone and new for this year Trevor Nicholls and Grant Kretzmann.

Naomi Johnson, with the support of the Committee was running a fundraising raffle to support her upcoming trip to the Marathon World Championships in China. Naomi was well pleased with the result and provided the following: Thanks so much to all who took part in my raffle, raising some money to help me get to the World Marathon Championships in Shaoxing, China this October. I was really blown away by everyone's enthusiasm for my goal, and their generosity in supporting it. The raffle raised $425, which was a lot more than I was expecting! With the Committee's offer to match anything I raised up to $500, the total from last night comes to $850. This will cover my team uniform ($298), visa ($109), the Paddle Australia tour admin fee ($200) and probably boat transport costs as well! (We're still waiting on a quote for the boats) The World Champs are now three months away, and I'm feeling really excited to keep training hard and make LCRK proud!

Richard Barnes provided an update on his planning for a non-stop, unassisted paddle across the Tasman Sea in 2020 - including progress on his much-modified double Mirage. There was plenty of interest from attendees.

A lucky door prize (well, prizes!) was on offer including a $200 voucher for Prokayaks (funded by both the $5 registration fee, and a Prokayaks contribution). David Young had the winning ticket and a big smile.

Thanks to the Willoughby Hotel for helping us make the event 'work' - there's been plenty of positive feedback all round.


11 August - Three Rivers Challenge - Port Macquarie

(Looks like circa 20km - will try and find out exactly...)

Sat 4 May - Lane Cove Seaside Scavenge

Willoughby Council and Seaside Scavenge have organised a clean-up with a difference at Rotary Athletics Field this weekend. Quoting from the website:
Did you know that 60-80% of marine debris is coming from land!? That’s why it’s important to make sure that we approach the problem at the source.

We have our first Lane Cove Scavenge happening in May. We’ll be set-up at Rotary War Memorial Athletic Field from 9am-1pm with all the trash trading action, pop-up, pre-loved markets, live music and all round good vibes to be enjoyed.

Do you like getting out in nature? Listening to live music? Learning about conscious consumerism and hanging out with passionate individuals who are out to make a change!?

Then come on down and get amongst it! The Seaside Scavenge is a litter clean-up where your trash, once sorted, becomes the currency in our pop-up, pre-loved market to purchase the funkiest of threads, books, toys and more that have been donated by local community!

Sat 4 May - MWKC State 10,000m Challenge

Quoting from the webscorer details:
MWKC challenges you and the rest of the State to test your skills over 10,000 metres. The State 10,000m Challenge will be held on Narrabeen Lake at the Manly Warringah Kayak Club on Saturday May 4.

Entries online till midnight Thursday May 2
Briefing: 10:30am May 4
Race Start: in four or five starts from 11am.

ALL FUNDS RAISED WILL GO TO THE MWKC JUNIOR COACHING PROGRAM organised by MWKC Coaching coordinator David Hipsley.

Entries will be accepted for ICF and non-ICF craft in all age groups U12, U14, U16, U18, U23, Open, Vet 35, Vet 40, Vet 45, Vet 50, Vet 55, Vet 60, Vet 65, Vet 70, Vet 75, Vet 80. SUP in U18, Open and Masters 35+. C craft and others can apply for a division by emailing or just enter as "Other".

The course will start at the club and head north with a 3.33km loop. It is a wind-free friendly course with good views for spectators.

Entry fee $22 for PNSW members $6 for juniors U18 per participant, so doubles need to pay individually (and list their partner).

This is an ideal race for those marathoners preparing for the National Champs, a final competitive hit out.

Certificates will be issued to all place getters in all ages that participate.

Parking is available at the nearby Berry Reserve Car Park. A combination of free and paid parking ($10) exists. Be early to secure a parking spot. You can also park on Pittwater Rd.

  • Note: This is a MWKC event (not a PaddleNSW event).

3 April - There is a light at the end of the K1 tunnel

Ruby Ardren

I’m unstable. I’m sure some would have something to add to that, but in terms of balance I can’t walk a slack line and even struggle to walk along a decent sized log. I was paddling a carbon Sladecraft Sonic, which was very lightweight and tippy enough itself. I’m not sure why on earth I thought I should take on a K1 but I do remember being encouraged to by Tony Hystek, who was in the early phase of his crusade to get Lane Covers into ICF boats.

In late 2014, with the marathon season over I decided to spend the next year competing in the K2 with Anjie Lees while I took on my husband’s old red K1. We think it was a Lancer type and it was a challenge to paddle. I was in tears one day when I fell in at the start at Lane Cove and tried three times to get back in next to the timekeepers with no success until Keiran Babich came down and showed me how to brace the paddle across the cockpit to the nearby ground. I managed to finish 12km after that without falling in, which was hugely satisfying.

In winter 2015, I bought my Vajda Spirit K1 and I was so proud. I’d found a boat I could fit my hips in and keep upright for more than a few metres. I spent months timidly inching my way around Narrabeen Lagoon, never more than a few metres from the edge. The morning training group at Lane Cove waited patiently on many occasions as I fell in and was rescued by Tony. I tried racing at Narrabeen but couldn’t survive the mass start. I lost several minutes off my regular time, falling in so regularly that I ended up saving my Spirit for training sessions and using the club’s Burn for Wednesday time trials and marathons.

Above: Spiriting towards the light..

I barely raced in 2016 due to weddings and honeymoons and various other distractions; so had my first marathon in my Spirit at Windsor in 2017. I fell in on the bottom turn right where the timekeepers could see me and ended up winning the Nemo award. I promptly returned to paddling more stable club K1s. Over the next year I became very disillusioned about my K1 and felt like I was becoming the club joke. People seemed to be far more focused on how much I was falling in rather than where I’d made improvements with my paddling. I discouraged any further nominations for Nemo and actively avoided paddling my Spirit in company.

Having moved to Narrabeen in 2016, I’d had to give up paddling with the Lane Cove squad in the mornings, as it took far too long to get home in peak hour traffic. I almost gave up my K1 altogether and on 21 November 2017 posted this plea on Lane Cove’s Facebook page: “I'm interested to know at what point people would accept defeat and drop back to a more stable K1. I've been paddling the Spirit for two years now and still fall in every few weeks, and while generally I feel more stable, I can't paddle to my full potential because of the time lost to maintaining stability (eg. bracing and not being able to aggressively wash ride).” The response was mixed, but in the end I decided to battle on and not allow this boat to defeat me.

In 2018 I ventured along to the squad Brett Greenwood runs at Narrabeen twice a week. I’m not sure what everyone thought of me – I was largely unknown to members of Manly Warringah as I’d been paddling on my own in the mornings up till then. The KAOS squad made a big difference to my paddling. Every session included multiple mass starts so I just had to harden up and learn to survive. I took a leaf out of Marni Kay’s book and learnt how to self rescue in deep water. I fell in twice each session, twice a week for the first six months, and then suddenly into winter and the dark I stopped falling in.

From mid-2018 a swim became an irregular occurrence rather than standard. I still used a more stable K1 in races when I knew it was going to be rough, and it’s only now in 2019 that I can confidently say I will paddle my Spirit no matter what. At some stage this last summer I became stable. I don’t know what changed, but suddenly I could get in my K1 and feel completely confident no matter what the conditions. 'And today I finally got my first PB in this K1 and my first PB in exactly three years.

Above: K1-ing the 2018 Myall [ED: won the Open Female Singles just quietly]

It’s taken me a very long time to become confident in my K1 and a lot of people have helped me along the way. The biggest improvement came with pushing myself to paddle in uncomfortable conditions. I suffered through the swims and still swim every now and then when I stop concentrating. It’s a relief to finally be able to paddle and enjoy it. No stress, no fear, being able to jump onto and off wash as I wish. You most likely won’t take as long as me to find your stability, but if you do take a while, push on because you’ll get there. I did.

24 Feb - Clean Up Australia Day!

For something so relatively low key, not directly associated with kayaking and not associated with competition, our Clean Up Australia day on the river was very well supported and by all measures another great success.

Above: Administration office

Above: Work in progress

Above: Holly & Kerrie

Above: Dave & Rich

We lost count of the number of full bags of rubbish that was collected (from up near Wirong to down to the 6km turn) because a Maritime Services barge showed up out of the blue and graciously helped us out by taking most of the rubbish bags directly from the river bank. Maritime were impressed by the number of our volunteers and want LCRK to call them if we ever have a need to remove obstacles from the river.

Above: Justin and Oscar

Above: Paul

Above: Jessica & Wade

Above: Maritime to the rescue

While it is completely bewildering that so much rubbish finds its way into our treasured Lane Cove river (mostly by carelessness), and this is unfortunately seen as normal, events like Clean Up Australia show the commitment to do something about it, reverse the trend and help educate the next generation.

Many thanks to Kerrie Murphy and her daughter Holly, Trevor Nicholls and his son Ewan, John & Jessica Duffy, Craig Selkeld, Jeff Tonazzi, Tim McNamara, Richard Yates, Paul van Koesveld, Dave Hammond, Oscar Cahill, Wade Rowston, Justin Paine, Kenji, Elke (complete with cupcakes) and Michael Thom.

Above: Tim McN

Above: Tim - where's the rest of it?

Our large turnout, in addition to helping make a big difference, was noticed by the elite athletes and their training teams who were using the oval. I received a couple of comments along the lines of “you’re voluntarily cleaning up the river?” and “amazing job”.

John Duffy LCRK Clean Up Australia co-ordinator

17 Feb - Ella shares Gold in NZ K2 500m sprints!

LCRK Member Ella Beere has been competing in the ICF Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships in New Zealand. The highlight perhaps the K2 paddle with Lisa Carrington in the K2 500m.

"It was probably one of the best days of my life" says Aussie Ella Beere, who had just teamed up with New Zealand legend Lisa Carrington to strike gold n the K2 500m. (source: Canoe Racing NZ)

Above: Ella and Lisa - happy!

Above: Race Results

9 Feb - Makai Cup

from Jezza Spear
Several LCRK paddlers competed in the Makai Cup and Mini Makai on Sat. Conditions on the day started very calmly with the 10km Mini Makai Cup from and to Ulladulla on a beautiful calm, still morning with very hot and flat conditions. The Makai Cup was then run northbound from Bawley Pt to Ulladulla in a building strong and gusty Westerly from 1pm. Organisers kept the fleet inshore and close to headlands via seamarks/gates. Winds were strong which pushed up a small strong WNW wind chop from the fwd left qtr, so not much assistance. The last third of the ocean leg offered a bit of almost tailwind assistance before skirting reefs rounding the headland closely for the final work into Ulladulla Harbour which sent in headwinds with gusts up to 46kts (85kph) recorded.

Some solid LCRK results.

Shark Island Paddlers sent a strong contingent and did well in results, as did the Northern Beaches crew. LCRK ski paddlers - you really should consider adding this event to your calendar next year - it is a fantastic event run really well by an excellent and very welcoming team from Makai.

Above: Track

Above: Portage detail

Above: Results

Above: Weather

2-3 Feb - Whitewater Weekend - Childowlah

Report from Warwick Sherwood
A series of white water training weekends is currently underway as part of a familiarisation for the Avon Descent later in the year. The idea is to develop white water skills as well as to have some fun in more challenging water. All are welcome so keep an eye out for communication on our web site.

Myself, Wade, Chris , Rich, Angie as well as three very talented Rover mates of Chris made a late Friday dash down the Hume to set up camp in the dark around 10.00pm

Saturday morning arrived to find light rain persisting over breakfast which did not dampen our enthusiasm The campsite was a stunner beside the river and under trees with the only complication not having any 'facilities'. Team members disappearing up the road looking like one of the seven dwarfs complete with a shovel over their shoulder was amusing.

A short drive to the launch site quickly alerted the LCRK paddlers to a possible gap in their experience. The 3 Rovers simply mounted their Creek boats and slid down the steep bank into the water while the rest of us struggled down to the water and timidly squeezing into our tight Creeker boats

We were informed the water was running at around 3000 mega litres and the rapids were grade 1-3. My view had them as minimum class 4-5

The morning was spent getting used to the new boats and taking valuable instruction from Rich, Chris and the Rovers. Getting used to Eddying Out, Ferry Crossings, Pressure Waves , Tail Flicks etc was great fun. Angie went great guns in her V5. She had some impressive runs and stayed (mostly) in the boat. A group lunch using an upturned boat as a cutting board/ table came just at the right time.

Above: Anjie in her element

Above: Warwick paddling uphill

The afternoon spent on more demanding sections tested the flat water crew riding pressure waves and more difficult fast sections. By now the Rover boys were doing one hand rolls going down the rough sections. Rich kept them honest with some amazing surf skills. His boat control and stroke selection enabled him to move in faster water with aplomb

Fifteen km later we ended the day in quiet water in front of camp with some rolling practice and a swim

A great bbq and a few refreshments enabled a solid night sleep to set the team up for a return run the next morning

Everyone was much more relaxed and we cruised quickly, selecting larger water to try out our new skills . Chris and Wade sitting in pressure waves and picking great lines looked to be having a ball. Angie looked to be completing smoother, faster runs and sharper turns in her longer craft. Rich continued his sharp routine and balanced attack. A great run ended too quickly once again at our camp site for the long drive home.

Another great white water weekend. Thanks to Angie for organising us and Chris for all the equipment!

Report from Wade Rowston
Richard Barnes has a plan to encourage more LCRKers over to Perth for the Avon Descent this year . Chris Stanley and Anjie Lees are already starters and Warwick Sherwood is likely, plus others have expressed interest. So it was that Richard, Chris and Anjie organised a white water weekend at short notice and Childowlah, south of Yass, water level was good.

After doing the Whanganui journey last year my taste for white water has returned and I joined in. Chris and Richard are leaders in the 2nd Gordon Scout Group who have a great set of white water plastic boats (same ones been used for boater-x at the last two LCRK Christmas Parties). We were joined by young Rovers (i.e. +19 year old scouts) Ben, Peter and Luke.

After arriving late on Friday night in the absolute darkness with a magnificent starry view we set up our bush camp. Saturday morning kick off was delayed by a bit of a storm then we drove to the start and put in about 8kms upstream.

We spent the next 6 hours making our way down the river playing around and having heaps of fun in the mostly friendly white water. Anjie paddled her Epic V5 with aplomb as it may be her boat for the Avon. Richard showed us all how to master white water and the lads Ben, Peter and Luke were dynamic, often tipping over deliberately just to practice their various rolling techniques. Warwick was getting stuck in, as was Chris. Lunch stop on the river bank was catered for and prepared by Ben, Peter and Luke using and upturned plastic boat as a chopping board.

Above: Chris "I have a dream...."

Above: Chris - dreaming

On arriving back at camp there was more mucking around in boats. The lads had a go at Anjies’ down river K1 which was also brought along to test. They were surprised at how tippy it felt but also at how fast it could go. A bit different to the short plastic. I attempted my first roll in over 20 years and lets just say I awarded myself 5 out of 100. I abandoned ship very quickly in the cold and dark water.

Sunday was hot on land but just right on the river, air conditioned by the cold water. We did the same section again over a 3 hour period. Everyone had a great time on the river. Special thanks to Chris and the lads for loading and carting the boats for the 4 hour drive each way. Where is the next one?

Sat 26 Jan - Cockatoo Cupcake Cup

Below are the results for LCRK associated paddlers - including top place overall in the 14km distance (James Pralija), top female (Caroline Marschner) - and also top place overall in the 7km distance (Brett and Jill Greenwood).



Sat 12 Jan - Dolls Point 20 Groynes Report

Report on The inaugural 20 Groynes run by Dolls Point Paddlers and PaddleNSW - by Jeff Hosnell (photos thanks to Mark Sundin!).


With a total of 40 entries Lane Cove was represented by Duncan Johnstone, Tony Hystek Jeff Hosnell in singles and the double pairings of Greg Morris/Warwick Sherwood, Caroline Marschner/Mark Hempel and the Hobbits of Gareth Stokes/Peter Faherty (semi LCRKers).

It was great to start the race at 8am because it was going to be scorcher. The format was 4K laps, past Dolls Point then bottom turn at the Sandringham swim nets Conditions early on were flat so Jeff in his first ever paddle in a ski thought this is easy! Well that changed after 6 laps with tides and breeze and boats, the water became very choppy moving in different directions, Dolls Point became very tricky. Jeff was worried he would end up on the rock wall - not good for the club boat so he went out wider and this turned out worse - big waves and strong currents not a happy chappie, and after 7 laps called it a day, little did he know they would drag him out again.

Duncan was out for a practice paddle "A really good way to start the New Year and for me to kick of my last minute decision to enter the Very Big Year Challenge. I was happy to do 15 as a warm up for the Cockatoo Cup, but Managed 20 in good but deteriorating conditions and being a little short of training was happy with my day after just under 3 hours. An event worthy of much greater support."


Tony started very conservative then really got going pulling in all the single and some doubles the only ones he couldn’t catch were Caroline and Mark they were so much faster then any others on the water. However Tony finished early "due mainly to my increasing instability in the conditions in the V14, but mainly due to my tender coccyx which was rubbed raw after I took my seat pad out (due to stability problems)! I hadn’t paddled the ski for 12 months, so wasn’t quite up to the conditions in what is a quite tippy ski. Fancy that! Was keeping good company with the leaders till a couple of hours in when things started turning sour. Some excellent performances on a very hot, windy day on the water. Next year, a different ski etc…who knows. I might even finish."

Caroline and Mark were in a 4 person team and did the first leg of an hour and set the rest of the team up for the race win, they became the first winners of The Best Groyne Trophy. Caroline also won first female across the line in the 50m sprint at the start this was because she was in the front of the double Mark just missed out in a photo finish.


Greg and Warwick in their new ski got around for 7 laps but had to stop because of an injury to Greg, this is where Jeff gets dragged back out, Warwick after 7 laps of suffering from the worst hangover, decides to ask Jeff if he wants to go in the front, he agrees but Greg’s around 6ft Jeff’s a stretch at 5’8 and they didn’t adjust the pedals, Warwick shouting power on try doing that when your lying flat!

Second lap we adjusted the pedals - lots of power but Jeff’ s stuffed so Warwick did all the work.

The Hobbits of Gareth and Peter used 2 boats the SR2 and a Ski. Gareth was using this race to complete his very big year - he needed just 49.25ks and they completed 13 laps (52ks) so both hobbits have had an amazing journey, down rivers, crossed lakes and many oceans and Peter also got to see his baby boy born. A very big year indeed!!!


This was a brilliantly run race, very safe course even if you fell in not far to swim to shore, the layout was good so that we had no trouble from pleasure crafts.

Like Burley Griffin’s 24hr race this is a good ultra marathon race, great for singles and relay teams.


Sat 19 Jan - MWKC Super Circuit

Manly Warringah Kayak Club have invited use to come and join them for an exciting new race - the Sydney Super Circuit.

Any Age Welcome!

Format: Record your fastest time in a 3 km hot lap and try as many times as you like. Craft: You can do this in a single, double or K4 craft. MWKC can supply K2 or K4 boats. Date: Saturday, 19 January 2019 Time: 10 am - 12 pm Cost: $20 - drink and sausage sizzle provided


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