2018 News

Wed 19 Dec - LCRK XMAS event and presentations

LCRK’s end of year Xmas presentation was held on the evening Wed 19 Dec. Temperatures were mild, there was little wind and the tide peaked out with a 1.4m high at 6:45pm. A good turnout of 53 paddlers (well actually paddlers, friends, partners and children) arrived in 6 boats.

The Boatercross course was laid out by Wade Rowston with assist from Tony, Rich, Chris and consisted of a mirrored triangle - actually Wade was taking no chances and used his GPS to lay out a golden triangle (also known as the sublime triangle, it is an isosceles triangle in which the duplicated side is in the golden ratio to the distinct side). Wade has also devised first-over-the-line scoring system with paired paddlers running difference courses and vying for hole shot at the first corner. Freestyle tricks earned bonus points determined it would seem by noise level on the pontoon.

Needless to say those early on the scene were keen to get out on the water for the qualifying rounds, changing into their paddling togs faster than a formula 1 pit stop.

Unfortunately approaching storms (light and noise) meant we had to get off the water earlier than we’d hoped for The extent of the darkening skies is evidenced by the darkening photos.

A couple of highlights from the Boatercross:-

  • The children taking to the boats like ducks to water (and some taking to the water as well). Dave Hammond with Tommy, Areti; Tim Binns with Thomas, Dylan, Chris Johnson with Anna, Robert, Alex and Rob L-J with Emma.
  • Tony H, Keg and Rich Yates repositioning craft from the water back onto the pontoon (paddler still aboard)
  • Naomi Johnson (and Rich Barnes) both proving you can use a whitewater boat as a Sup (and Emma [Rob L-J’s daughter] emulating and showing it wasn’t really that hard at all).
  • Ruby demonstrating how eskimos roll
  • Rich Barnes nonchalantly adjusting his seat, footrest, lumbar support and rearview mirror (whilst others assuming they were a one-size-fits-all craft).
  • Rich Barnes doing a reverse seal launch with double twist from the pontoon (more than once)

Above: Now you see her

Above: Now you don't

The food 'spread' was literally that, with a great feed including nibblies on arrival, roast chicken, prawns, salads and a range of desserts.

In terms of the awards:-

  • HCC fastest LCRKers – Peter Fitzgerald and Brendan Trewartha 8:54:10 in a V10 double
  • HCC fastest LCRKer on handicap – Tom Simmat 9:18:48 in a SRec
  • HCC – Arrow Trophy (an official HCC Trophy for group raising most sponsorship) – Peter Fitzgerald and the SHocKers team (~$16,000 in 2018 adding to overall tally now of ~$230,000 raised!)
  • Womerah Cup (fastest womens singles averaged over 15 TT’s) – Naomi Johnson 63:22
  • Turrumburra Cup ((fastest mens singles averaged over 15 TT’s) – Dave Coward 51:31
  • Rookie of the Year (new Member, new to paddling improving and embracing the sport) – Chris Johnson
  • Most Improved - James Pralija and Peter Manley jointly.
  • Beat-your-age (12km singles paddling less minutes than years) – Tom Simmat (7.2 years younger!)
  • Doubles Cup – David Young 435pts
  • Coffee Cup – (not awarded)
  • Sugarloaf Cup – Ian Wrenford 445pts
  • Crudslime Cup – James Pralija 437pts

Above: HCC fastest handicap - Tom

Above: Beat-your-age - Tom

Above: Fastest Womens - Naomi

Above: Most Improved - James n Peter

Above: Rookie - Chris

Above: Doubles - David (+Allison)

Above: Sugarloaf - Ian

Above: Crudslime - James

Thanks are due to many people – pitching in to help with set-up and set-down, getting the course set up and the boats on and off the water (and washed). Particular thanks to Alanna who sourced most of the main course, Roger Deane for the prawns, Caroline/Ruby and who else for yummy desserts, Carly Rowston for trophy engraving, table decorations, Ian for transporting the boatercross boats (and 2nd Gordon Scouts via Rich Barnes/ Chris Stanley for making them available) etc etc - more to come!

2018 - a VERY big year - by Ruby Ardren

When the Very Big Year was introduced in 2017, I knew straight away I wanted to do it myself but just couldn't find the time that year. I figured I'd start my Big Year with the Massive Murray Paddle because it was a big commitment that I felt was the hardest one to complete and with that 400km in the bag I'd be well on my way towards the 1000km target. That was a good idea, but at the beginning of 2018 I got all motivated and decided this was the year and couldn't wait any longer, so a few days before the Canberra marathon, I sent in my list of nominated races to Shannon and embarked on my year.

When you align your Very Big Year with the calendar year it's a long slow start. The only races available are shorter ones, so you slowly rack up 20km races and finally get your first 100km after five marathons. For me my first hundred included racing at Canberra, Wagga, Woronora, Lane Cove and Grays Point (State Championships).

Canberra was a slow start to the year thanks to falling in twice out of my Vajda Spirit (once before the race had started), giving me the option of dropping to Division 6 in the Marathon Series - an option I took up at Wagga, as I had a history of not racing well there. I followed that day up by paddling a more stable Vajda Voyageur out onto the open lake for the 15km Burley Griffin Dash. I had planned to paddle the longer 30km Bash but wasn't quite up to backing up so early in the season. Wagga was hot and I, along with many others, was a little concerned about getting overheated and suffering from dehydration. Most solved this problem by falling in during the race. By once again resorting to a more stable K1 I didn't fall in, won my division and promptly got promoted to Division 5 again. I'm afraid Don suffered my wrath - I was a little unhappy about the promotion after paddling well over two hours. Reluctantly resigned to my fate, I had slow paddles at Woronora and Lane Cove, with a swim at Lane Cove after a disagreement with a steam boat belching thick fumes across the river about who was going to go right. He went right and I went right in. A quick remount and I finished. I paddled well at Grays Point and had fun in the doubles with Anjie.

That first hundred was hard work. By then I was already well into May and realised that I was going to have a lot of work to do in the latter part of the year.

The Riverland Paddling Marathon brought the chance to knock over 200km in one weekend and also satisfied the requirement to complete one race in another state. I travelled down with Duncan and Kyla and was wonderfully supported by Duncan, Craig, Richard, Keg and Alanna, as I didn't have my own land crew. What a great trip. I loved the Riverland the first time I did it in a double with Anjie because the scenery is spectacular with the cliffs glowing in the sunrise and the people are wonderful and this year was no different. This year wasn't too cold - we didn't even need beanies in the morning. I once again elected to paddle in a Voyageur and was pretty happy with my choice as I was able to put on a sprint to catch a wash ride when I needed to and found the wind and chop didn't stop me. I spent the majority of the three-day race wash riding two different doubles. One of them dropped out part way through day two and the other really didn't like me being on their tail and were overheard muttering that I was cheating. I also had people wash riding me, suffering twenty taps to my tail in one day from a double canoe paddled by the Routleys (yes I counted). I only let them off because they were otherwise such good company; they've now become friends that I've kept in touch with and seen in other races.

It was back to a few more short races after the Riverland with marathons at Penrith, Windsor and Davistown with a hiatus in between in Greenland. I hit my stride in this period, getting a place at Penrith and an actual Division 5 time (first time this year). The race at Penrith had never really appealed to me in the past because the course was straight and boring, but the much improved new course takes paddlers through continuous bush away from the urban scrum and only has ONE turn! Following a swim at Windsor prior to the race after losing a game of chicken with Rob Llewellyn-Jones, I continued on to come close to last in my division, but still scored some points for my club by doing portages having realised that I would probably be slow. Windsor is one of my favourite marathons. I like the course, there's an easy beach launch and it's just a nice atmosphere. Davistown was a nightmare of waves and wash from passing motor boats and ferries, but fortunately I had once again brought a more stable K1 and finished third.

Above: Myall done!

My confidence slightly boosted, I decided to paddle the Myall Classic the following weekend in my Spirit and finished soundly, not with a spectacular time but still with a trophy. I think this had been one of the easier Myall Classics in memory, at least for most - I followed along with Tom Simmat most of the way who stopped regularly to fiddle with his rudder. It turned out one of his pedals had broken at the beginning of the race and he had done a temporary fix by putting a stick through his rudder to hold it straight. It didn't seem to dampen his spirits much, but did slow him down a little.

Above: Celebratory swim at Burrill

I was now looking at October and still only had just over 400km under my belt. I became more concerned when I realised that the Central Coast Marathon of 30km I had banked on had been run in September (already gone) instead of October. I looked at a few harbour races and tossed around the idea of paddling an outrigger to get my single blade paddle requirement, but it was all too hard at the time. I finished my last race of the Marathon Series at Burrill Lake with a win in Division 5, and I was even paddling my Spirit. Wonders will never cease. It wasn't enough to get me a place in the division - something to set as a goal for next year maybe. The crowd was a bit smaller than usual at Burrill Lake, with some away at the Clarence 100km, some at the Sprint Series event on the Sunday at Narrabeen, and yet others deciding to begin their taper for the next week's Hawkesbury.

This year's Hawkesbury was tough. Fortunately I'd been able to attend the last Famil paddle from Wisemans Ferry to Mooney Mooney, which had some rough conditions after Spencer, similar to what I'd experience in the race itself. I surfed my way in a lightweight Voyageur K1 in the dark into Wisemans Ferry and then cut through some more surf for good measure when I got to the stretch after Spencer. I went home with my first Hawkesbury record, which I was pretty happy about. I was finally over the halfway mark in my Very Big Year. Are you kidding? It was already November!!

I was prepared to do the Murray in a K1 when my husband decided that he too would like to do the Murray and would do it with me in a double. This didn't mean he suddenly had a lot of time to commit to training, and I warned him that he had to paddle whether he liked it or not because I wasn't about to paddle a double home on my own a la Richard Barnes and Kenji. He embarked on the first day of the Murray with his longest paddle having been about 40km. I was a little nervous, but knew he was a stayer so the chances of us finishing were good. We decided not to race the Murray because we were both first-timers and wanted to enjoy it, so the checkpoint tour it was. We both really enjoyed the week despite the crazy weather, I caught up with lots of the paddlers I had met on the Riverland, and didn't even get tapped on the tail once. Suddenly I'd finished another 400km and the end of my Very Big Year was in sight.

Above: Massive Murray friends

I'd become friends with Brodie Cambourne, a friendship fraught with some competitiveness because she keeps beating me in every race we paddle in together (Riverland, Hawkesbury, Murray). Another goal I suppose! Brodie however, offered to bring her SUP to the Burley Griffin 24 Hour, giving me the opportunity to get my single blade bit done without having to go to another race. I decided to enter the 24 Hour twice - once as part of a K1 relay team with Naomi, Wade and Jeff, which would get me the remaining distance I needed, and once in a single blade craft (undefined at the time). At the last minute David Tongway agreed to lend both Brodie and I his TC1, which I was much happier to try paddling than a SUP after seeing the pain Meg Thornton had been in after doing one lap at Canberra at the beginning of the year.

The 24 Hour was the perfect way to finish my Very Big Year. Doing it as a relay was fun and nowhere near as stressful or exhausting as doing lap after lap on your own. Doing one lap in four meant you had time to eat and rest and all of us were only tired after the race, not sore. I did my canoe lap (and as a result have the record for the shortest ever 24 Hour race distance - one lap of 4.7km) and have to say I enjoyed it far more than I expected. I would happily try canoeing again. This was a surprising side-benefit of doing the Very Big Year and despite being a little sceptical about this rule to start with, I'm really happy I was forced to comply with it in the end. I saw Peter Faherty taking his newfound interest in canoes a bit further after finishing his paddle at the 24 Hour - giving a kneeler a go (and testing the water temperature while he was at it). I finished my Very Big Year distance requirement halfway through the 24 Hour but didn't abandon my team, which meant that I finished comfortably clear of the 1000km.

Above: The 24hr team

Above: Finished!

I was finally finished and so proud of what I had achieved. I'm not a fast paddler but I am a stayer so the 1000km Challenge was perfect for me. I didn't have to win anything or try and beat someone's time, I just had to paddle the distance. But it was so much more than that. I made friends, saw new places and genuinely enjoyed (nearly) all of the races. I've fallen in love with ultra-marathons, and am leaving the year behind with a new interest in canoeing.

Above: Really Finished!

''Above: The Trophy!'

The Very Big Year 1000km Challenge is absolutely worth doing for so many reasons. Save up your pocket money - getting to all these races and paying for entries isn't cheap; secure a land crew that has lots of leave or is retired; have a couple of kayak options; and get on the water. You won't regret it.

You don't win an award or get a trophy and there's no record but you'll have the satisfaction of setting a goal, and not an easy goal, and achieving it. Good luck!

Check out my Very Big Year video at the link up the top.

1st-2nd December: Burley Griffin 24hr Paddle Challenge

Race report by Naomi Johnson

About this time last year, Wade mentioned that he was keen to get a team together for the Burley Griffin 24 hr Paddle Challenge, specifically a team of K1s. Considering that the preferred LCRK craft is still the ski, this was rather an odd choice. Yet with the force of Very Big Year goals, recent Hawkesbury success and a thirst for just one more race before Christmas, we ended up with a competitive team of four who were all prepared to sit it out for the long haul in a K1. Named Lane Cove Lightning by Naomi and Ruby when they were short of alliterative words, the team was:

Naomi "sure someone said 5km sprints" Johnson
Wade "can sleep anywhere" Rowston
Ruby "Ms Very Big Year" Ardren
Jeff "ACDC me up" Hosnell

And then of course, there was the fabulous support crew:
Frazer "mostly in it for the pizza" Ruddick
Laura "packed to feed a small army" Hosnell
Laura's parents, and Bailey the dog.

Noticeably absent went Caiomhin "when in Canberra, go rock climbing" Ardren and Carly "when the paddlers are away, have a baking weekend" Rowston.

Above: Naomi kicks off the race with a sprint.

Our preparation for the race mostly involved reading Rich Y's report on the sagas of Team Pablo in 2015. We decided it was safest to copy many key features of their plan, including single 4.7km laps during the day and serious attention to one's on-bank arrangements. For some reason, though, we didn't copy their Tim Tam plan. In fact...we didn't have a Tim Tam plan at all!

9:00am at Molongolo Reach and we were all raring to go. Wade had brought down the Lane Cove marquee and two K1s, along with Richard "24 hrs in the boat or go home" Barnes' kit in a large white tub. Richard himself had chosen to take the train. With the marquee erected, the Lightning team set to confirming the race plan and compare all the food we'd packed. Richard piled half his supplied into a BGCC-loaned Epic 18x, and donned a well-worn pair of pyjamas.

Above: Jeff finishes a lap and hands over to Naomi.

9:30am and most paddlers were on the water ready for the start. Naomi went for the tactic of get in front and stay in front, kicking off with a sprint that set the fastest lap time for the whole race at 25:25. Others set off at a more leisurely pace, with Peter "Very Big Hobbiting Year" Faherty missing the start by half a minute, and another VBY paddler turning up an hour later!

LCRK Lightning quickly settled into a rhythm of swapping laps, with the incumbent paddler sitting out in the middle of the river waiting for the change. Ruby decided to test the water temperature on one of those occasions, but she hadn't been tagged in yet so it doesn't really count. The day grew hotter and the wind gradually increased, with the marquee shade gradually shifting across the grass. Jeff seemed to be settling in for most consistent paddler of the race, and Richard just kept paddling.

Above: Ruby getting down on the TC1 paddling technique.

Along with the K1 relay team and about 30kms of VBY paddling, Ruby also needed to complete the single-blade component of her 1000kms. After a few minutes testing canoe stability and technique in the shallows, she polished off a lap in a TC1 while waiting to tag back into the relay. She hit the 1000km mark mid-afternoon, posed for some photos, took a deep breath and tagged in for her next lap (yes, it was beginning to feel like the same two hours on repeat).

Above: Richard takes on provision.

Along with Richard, there were a handful of other paddlers aiming to go for the full 24 hours. Mad Mick and Stephen in a double canoe (huk to you too) gleefully called out "still smiling" every time they passed the timekeepers tent. James in the single canoe paddled with a much steelier look while the Dawsons powered along in a sea kayak. Joanne from Scotland had a well-oiled support crew for her 24-hour SUP endeavour and was usually out on the water with a buddy in tow. We were amazed at how chatty and enthusiastic she was through the night!

The sun finally set into a fiery sky, and both the temperature and the wind dropped suddenly. Richard pulled over briefly to don his lifejacket and take on more supplies, though stayed firmly seated in the boat. Frazer ordered his pizza, Laura and her parents retreated to their hotel, our BGCC hosts lit a brazier and everyone started to think about the optimal tent-free sleeping arrangements. Naomi, Frazer and their becurtained van definitely won on this front, offering a more refined night's rest than Wade's camping-mat-by-the-river option. From 10pm the Lightning team switched to double laps, aiming for one hour on the water and then three for sleeping. Richard just kept paddling.

Above: Molongolo Reach just after sunset.

Out on the water at night was eerie and beautiful. Far from the isolation of the Hawkesbury, there was definitely a city somewhere out there in the distance. Car lights flickered past, shining the occasional glance on a mercifully still river. The family of geese who had been making themselves known on the bank earlier were totally oblivious to the ongoing race. They sat right in the centre of the paddle line, honking with offence if a boat came too close. We chatted with boats that we passed, cheered those that came past the beach, and marvelled at the stars.

Above: Wade circa 5:30am.

Dawn finally came, with the geese still claiming ownership of the river and Richard still paddling along cheerfully. Wade wanted to be convinced that Naomi was up for another double lap at 6am, dashing down to the river a little after she crossed the changeover line. For those that had got some shut-eye, the returning light increased average speed by half a km per hour, and suddenly it seemed like the 24 hr mark might be achievable. As we got closer to 9:30am, we realised that there was a distinct possibility of fitting in a final lap – bringing the total to 51 – before the cut-off. But we would have to be quick about it. Another 26-and-a-half minuter from Naomi, and then Wade headed off as the morning wind began in earnest. If he could make it in by 9:02am, we had chance of one final lap. Jeff plugged himself into ACDC for maximum motivation. Wade crossed the line at 9:01am, and the race for the final lap was on. Jeff pulled out a cracker of a paddle to finish with a minute to spare, and the team Lighting sprint for the line was a fabulous conclusion to the 24 hours of racing.

With 51 laps up our sleeve, Lane Cove Lighting paddled a total of 239.7kms, the furthest of the three relay teams. Richard clocked up 178kms, with reported lap speeds ranging from 34min to 41min overnight. In the style of Team Pablo 2015, we're also fairly sure that LCRK was the loudest team, had the biggest marquee, took the most showers (Naomi managed three) and the most photos. By general consensus Richard was the craziest paddler out on the water, and had the smelliest set of pyjamas by the end.

Above: Team Lightning at the end of 24hrs. Still smiling!

BGCC were fabulous hosts, welcoming us into their clubhouse space and cheering everyone along no matter what time of the day or night. While the 2018 edition of the 24hr paddle challenge was on the light side, it would be fabulous to see some more relay teams take on the race next year. Team Lightning is already discussing tactics to fit in a few more laps, maybe with a Tim Tam plan!

Massive Murray Paddle 19-23 Nov 2018

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.

50th Massive Murray Paddle - Race Report - by Ruby Ardren

The representation from Lane Cove at the 50th Massive Murray Paddle was slim this year but we still made ourselves known.

Everyone was agreed at the end of the event that it had the craziest weather anyone had ever experienced. Veteran paddlers said they had never seen the like. We started off on the Monday with a heatwave, with everyone paying a lot of attention to fluids and sun protection. Tuesday was by far the best day until there was a thunderstorm in the early afternoon that brought with it heavy rain, thunder and lightning that struck disturbingly nearby. The storm was short lived and followed by heavy humidity, so I think some would have preferred the storm. Wednesday was tolerable and probably the better day of the week, and with a slightly shorter distance of 80km, it felt almost easy. Thursday fell apart early. Overnight in Echuca it had rained mud - everything we owned was covered in it - our cars, boats, gear, tents, everything. It was soon washed off by the continuous light rain that fell all day. Unfortunately this rain was accompanied by colder temperatures and 20 knot plus winds. By Checkpoint B Ruby was shaking so much she had to visit the car to change into winter paddling gear including a cag. This worked for a little while, but there was much shivering every time there was a stop. Paddlers fell like flies on this day, withdrawing from the race with many on the verge of hypothermia. To top it off, the slightly slower paddlers were hit by hail close to the end of their day's paddle. Friday only improved in terms of dryness; the strong winds and cold weather stayed. Fortunately the river meanders constantly, so the wind was never in your face for long, but also never seemed to follow for very long either.

Start of Day 2 - Photo: MMP Facebook

Despite this wild assortment of weather, the event was great fun. Tom wasn't seen by many all week because he was on early starts and stayed in front, usually finishing in the top five each day. Ruby and Caoimhin saw lots of people because they were on a late start, passed lots of people, then passed them again, and sometimes again (this happens when you stop at all the checkpoints). Richard and Linden saw Ruby and Caoimhin every day, and spoke to everyone they passed (of course), even an older couple of farmers sitting on the riverbank on Day 5 watching their last ever Murray from their property, as they've just sold up. Richard and Linden appeared to spend much of the race sitting in trees over the river (Ruby and Caoimhin spotted them in this type of position twice). On one occasion, they found a koala between them (there is photographic evidence), and saw a koala on another occasion too. Ruby spent the remaining days scanning the trees to no avail.

Tom Simmat won the entire event on handicap, with a handicap time of 25:18:24, coming tenth overall with 33:30:36. Christine (the current wife) was ever present, supporting Tom and bemoaning the fact that Cathy Miller no longer had a landcrew that paddled upstream of the checkpoint to deliver tea and food on the water.

Age and boat did no favours for Ruby and Caoimhin Ardren, who in their SLR2 came 19th overall with a paddle of 35:45:53, but slipped to 27th on handicap. Given this couple decided to enjoy the Murray as a second honeymoon, which included stops at all checkpoints and a couple of other spots as well, this wasn't a bad result. They have also disproved the theory that doubles are divorce boats, as the event saw them getting on very well (except when trying to pull the boat in to checkpoints).

Above: Ruby & Caoimhin.

Above: Ruby & Caoimhin.

Richard Barnes took the recreational approach, fitting a bit of bushwalking, tree climbing and picnicking in with his sister Linden. I think Ruby even spotted them set up one lunch time with their land support's caravan and a table and chairs - very civilised. They were paddling Kermit, festooned with several small ducklings {Ed: Team name - 2 Barnes and 6 ducks}, which led Ruby at one point to gesticulate wildly just after passing Richard and Linden because she'd just seen a real duckling of similar size! Richard thought Ruby was suggesting he duck, rather than look for a duck...

Some of you will know Kim Navera, who spent many time trials at Lane Cove partnering Jason Han in the canoe. He's more commonly seen in a ski these days, but had Jason landcrewing for him in the Murray. He was always cheerful and finished well with a time of 36:57:32. Cathy Miller was seen legs out on a Mirage sit-on-top and did the Murray minus landcrew because she had volunteered to ferry boats to and from the event for the organisers. She came in with a very similar time to Richard, even though they were rarely seen together on the water...

Honorary Lane Cover's the Hobbits won the entire event in a battle to the death with Steve and Kate Dawson. With a lot of strategic moves that involved never EVER stopping, the Hobbits finished in 28:58:58, which was also a UN2 record. After five days, with different boats winning on each day, the Hobbits only beat the Dawsons by 11:42, which shows just how close it was.

Some of you will know Marg and Rob Cook, who paddled hard (also in an SLR2) to finish 7th overall, keeping Tom on his toes on the handicap award but eventually giving in to come 3rd on handicap.

The report by Susan Williams that can be found on the club's Facebook page {Ed: a link to a PDF of Susan's report is up the top of this report} is well worth a read, giving very detailed feedback on the race.

Ruby and Caomhin proudly finished the race without a single blister between them and no other sores or soreness either, despite Caoimhin never having paddled more than 40km in a day before the event. Tom and Richard are such veterans that you wouldn't have even known they had just paddled 400km, and the Hobbits were, well, shattered - understandably.

Above: LCRKers past and present

Above: Tom gets the handicap gong

Above: The Hobbits get the Outright gong

LCRK Training Paddle Report - Sunday 7th October Wiseman's to FINISH.

Wiseman’s (Naughty Wiseman’s) to Mooney Mooney Pontoon (Hawkesbury Classic finish)

Despite it being post the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, the weekend of the famous Bathurst 1000, the middle of the School Holidays and even the start of daylight saving at 2:00am Sunday morning and on top of that a pretty grey 6:30 assembly with a 30km/h plus wind blowing pretty briskly own the fetch from Milson Island, 12 warmly clad Kayakers said “Let’s do it!”

We had all come to make the final LCRK training paddle from Wiseman’s to the pontoon at Deerubbin Reserve, Mooney Mooney.

This was also the last paddle in our experiment to utilise the club trailer and cars to transport as many boats and paddlers as possible to avoid the normal two way shuttle to the finish and back again.

Though still time consuming, an hour and 10 minutes, it gave us another hour to paddle instead of sitting on the road.

We arrived at Wiseman’s buoyed by the change in weather conditions. The rain had stopped. The wind disappeared and the only movement on the water was an indication of the still incoming tide.

Frazer and Naomi were beginning to wonder whether we were coming at all, but we arrived shortly after 7:30am. Time to prep boats for a first departure at 8:15 after a course and safety briefing. With an experienced group of Lane Covers we were able to quickly organise start times and decide who would be paddling with who.

The K4, still in her cradle on top of the trailer, decided to show off the amount of water she can carry on her own........ Or so we thought..........

Yes, the rain affected the K4 too.

But wait.. no it’s our venerable coach up to mischief

It also took somewhat longer to get the K4 organised. Everything is multiplied by four. 4 times as much equipment, paddles, spray deck covers, caps, caggs, water, nutrition bladders, food and changes of clothing. It’s a wonder the old lady could accommodate it all.

Wendy! soooo much stuff.

David, our driver, wonders what an earth he’s looking at

Making it to Wiseman’s in the Hawkesbury means you’ve broken the back of this famous journey down the Hawkesbury. It just remains for you to complete the stretch to Spencer and down to the infamous Bar Point and up through the slot inside Milson Island to the finish.

The last 10 km can be the making or breaking of your success in the Classic and if the weather is up as it was this morning it was going to be a challenge for the K4 women and the rest of us.

So it was with this on our minds that we set off in pairs to complete the last two legs.

Ruby in her K1, Nick in his sea kayak, Rob and Duncan in their ski’s set off into the incoming tide at 8:15am. With the K4 following 15 minutes later and Tony in his Vampire, Naomi in the club Bettong and the now famous “Hobbits”, Peter and Gareth in their SLR2 in hot pursuit at 9:00am.

Following Tom’s tips on beating the tide we all made it down past Low Tide Pitstop in fairly close company before the tide turned to run us to the finish. A metre too far off the bank could mean losing over half a kilometre an hour round the big bends and not cutting the corners at the right point and time could mean you’ll end up paddling an extra two or three kilometres over the full distance, maybe an extra 15 to twenty minutes on your time on the night.

Seeing Ruby and Nick taking a quick break on the only ‘beach’, the K4 couldn’t resist and took a break on the mudbanks opposite Spencer. They found sinking up to the their thighs in mud wasn’t hard.

The rest of us rounded the final corner leading to the long straight down to Bar Point only to be met by a strong Southerly blowing against the outgoing tide. Waves stood up in parts a metre high and it was on for young and old.

Braving the short passage across to the left bank and then hugging the shoreline proved to be the best strategy. Whilst the pairs stuck together, the double turned back to check on the K4 to find them struggling to escape the mud. Thanks, Peter and Gareth. Great support. Hope you made your 50th Birthday Party.

With advanced notice from the double appearing on the scene, the K4 and double were too, able to break free of the effects of the wind after half a kilometre of challenging paddling, and reach the calm waters down to Bar Point where we all found the wind had died off and the waters had flattened out. There was only the rushing of the tide through the the slot to the finish left to challenge everyone. Incredible after the scene we faced at 6:30am this morning. Time: A little over 4 hrs for most.

David, Darren and Craig and friend decided to start out at 6:00am from Mooney Mooney and had to endure pretty tough conditions out and back. So it could have been different.

Finally, the K4 Women’s Hawkesbury Classic Campaign has been supported by many club members making up the numbers on training paddles, by the club providing new equipment in pumps and spray deck covers and facilitating the updating of seats, foot plates and the addition of foot straps, all installed or fitted with the help of skilled members. The use of the club trailer and Clayton, doubling up as the driver and transporter for the rest of us. Avery big thanking to all who have assisted and supported them.

Wendy, Kerrie, Jana and Anjie after months of training and careful practice and preparation announced at the end of today’s paddle they are ready to take on the Classic.

We hope the rest of you participating in this year’s Hawkesbury Classic are too.

I hope, for those of you who were able to participate, you got everything you were looking for out of the Training Paddles your club put on. For those of you who didn’t.. maybe we’ll see you next year.

Good luck, fair and safe paddling to all those taking part.


LCRK Training Paddle Report - 2nd LCRK Training Paddle -Windsor to Sackville

Sunday 19th August - Windsor to Sackville. Start:
TIDES: Windsor HIGH at 07:33am (1.21m) LOW at Sackville at 12:13pm (.6m)

Who said you can’t fly on the Windsor to Sackville Leg of the Hawkesbury Classic?

Above: Windy you say?

The back bone of this year’s LCRK Hawkesbury Representatives braved the coldest day in a month on a clear winter’s morning to take part in the Club’s second Hawkesbury Training Paddle. The rest must have been put off by the prospect of strong and gusty winds forecast by the weather bureau for past week. Anjie, Jana, Wendy and Richard, standing in for Kerry, showed ominous form blasting down the course in quick time with Rodrigo, in his new Infusion K1, in hot pursuit for all but the last 4kms. Naomi, in the Club’s Bettong K1 struck a lone figure behind them. Duncan and Matt, in their Elliott Zero Tolerance stood by Rob in his Vault as he tested out his ideas on seat cushions for the Classic.

Our young journalist on the spot filed the following commentary from exhilarated paddlers. From onboard the K4 - Richard commented “I’m having a great time. Lots of fun in these trying conditions. The River is angry this morning but Anjie is a cool Captain and Wendy and Jana are soaking up the conditions (literally) and asking for more”.

At the finish, “Anjie, care to comment on your experience today?” “It was a great run for us. I have to tell you, Richard is the King of Eye Spy with something starting with R. It took us several kilometers to work out reflection. Rodrigo wash rode us all the way until the final turn down to Sackville and then took off into the rolling white capped waters making it look easy”.

“and Jana and Wendy you women okay? Jana: “Yes, we had a great time. I think we are starting to work really well as a team”. “and Wendy?” “Hi, OMG. I’m still pinching myself I’m still alive and not at the bottom of the Hawkesbury. There were times I thought we were in the ocean such were the tailwinds and times when I thought we were going down like the Titanic, but I feel tougher and stronger but slightly more apprehensive as to what Anjie has signed us up to”. Jana: “Yes, the gale force winds at the end were very challenging. Good training though, but I hope it’s not going to be like this on the day.

Naomi, glad to finish? “I had a lovely paddle, though on my own for the whole 30kms! It was a good chance to test the tide, corners and my mental staying power. I had some fun with the Bettong in the waves on the final approach to Sackville”.

“Rodrigo, care to comment on your performance today beating everyone home?” “Huh! I wasn’t sure if we were training for the Classic or the Avon Descent. At times felt like a downwinder in a K1. Everyone managed the conditions really well just hope we are not facing near gale force winds and white caps in the Classic. Never seen the Hawkesbury River so angry”. “Rodrigo, I believe you have a new nickname?” Wendy: “Yes! The ‘Chris Froome’ of paddling! He stuck with us all day, and then left us for dead in the home stretch”. Shipping was few and far between on the river this morning with the exception of some skiers. Richard thought the air force had come to town as some ski race competitors ramped up their practice for the “Hawkesbury 120”. Made us all feel rather pedestrian.

However the real culprit of the day was the wind. With a forecast for strong winds for coastal waters and up to 30km/h on the Hawkesbury for Sunday, nobody expected what was thrown at us in the closing stages of the Windsor to Sackville paddle

Above: Windy apparently?

When Rob and Matt were asked for a comment there was simply silence and perhaps that is where we should leave it. But for a shout out to Clay and Frazer for your support and providing the essential transport. Many thanks, guys.

LCRK Training Paddle Report - 29 Jul 2018 1st LCRK Training Paddle - Sackville to Wiseman’s

LCRK always provides a series of training paddles to prepare for the HCC.

Sunday 29th July - Sackville to Wiseman's. Briefing: 7:30am First Start: 7:45am.
TIDE Sackville 07:15am LOW

A day full of foreboding turns out to be a perfect day to get to grips with the “Big W”

A promise of 5 degrees, a strong incoming tide and 30km/hr plus winds had everyone more than a little unsettled on Saturday night. Duncan’s warnings and precautions to be taken just raised anxiety further.

The dawning of a new day after a spectacular eclipse, and what a perfect way to introduce our prospective Women’s K4 crew and committed members to the most challenging part of the Hawkesbury Classic - 14 degrees and windless.

Above: The K4 crew - Jana, Wendy, Anjie, Kerrie

14 paddlers arrived at “Naughty Wiseman’s” to load their boats onto our club trailer for transport upriver to the start at Sackville. With the K4 coming on board it was decided to use the trailer to see if we could reduce the time spent shuttling equipment and paddlers back and forth. Apologies to Pete who, keen as ever, ended up on his own at Sackville very early in the morning! It worked a treat with our K4 team able to get the support they needed in manouvering the K4 off the top of the trailer.

Above: early morning at Sackville

Above: and we're off

After an excellent briefing from Tom Simmat on how to tackle the Sackville to Wiseman’s leg against the tide, including a detailed map, and more wise words from our wizards, Jezza and Dave Young, it was onto the water with the tide turning to challenge us.

Chris Johnson, looking to take part in his first Classic, was sent off 15 minutes early and showed he’s well placed to do a good time on the night. “Hot shots” Pete Manley and Dave Young decided to paddle off upstream while the rest headed off to Wiseman’s and of course were later to prove their worth. Jezza, Don Johnstone, Naomi Johnson quickly set the pace upfront. At Dargle they appeared to lose their way in broad daylight keeping to the right on the river around the sharp left hand bend. Maybe they were just testing the waters?

Coming from behind, the K4 caught the back markers just before Lower Portland with plenty of "working out who was suppose to be doing what" going on. It is clear though with good style and rhythm there is the making of a good crew for the Classic. Good on you Wendy, Kerrie, Jana and Anjie!

Tom Simmat, with Rob Llewellyn-Jones and Duncan Johnstone were taking Tom’s advice to heart and really testing speeds over the shallows, finding the eddies and cutting the corners to get in behind the strong incoming tide.

The low water afforded some crews picnic-like opportunities en route to Wiseman’s. Greg Morris and Warwick Sherwood were on occasion seen to be taking a break, facing the wrong way up river. Perhaps a last minute decision to duck into an attractive looking beach to stretch the legs or was it a weed freeing exercise? You need a retractable rudder, guys!

Expectations were high that we were going to be accompanied by Mitch and Suzie in their Boost. Either we were too slow, or they decided tidal issues were going to make it a hard day on the water. They started from “ Naughty Wiseman’s and turned 20kms up river from Wiseman’s to top the distance covered (40kms) for the day.

So everyone, you only experienced my dire warnings with a km to go. I think an excellent way to lock in the route to take in October. Good paddling until then. Look out for details of the next LCRK HCC Training Paddle.

22 Sep 2018 - Myall Classic

Race report compiled by Naomi Johnson

Tucked away north of Newcastle is the idyllic Myall River, winding north from Tea Gardens into what feels like the middle of nowhere. For some, it's a fast and furious race for the line, for others a gentle paddling getaway, and for many a test of whether this year's Hawkesbury might be on the cards. With 47km, 27km and 12km distances on offer, it's a race for all goals and abilities, and there's a fabulous atmosphere. Needless to say, Lane Cove was out in force for the event, with paddlers across all the distances and many smiling faces in amongst the volunteers as well.

Above: Saturday morning view of the Myall. Beautiful conditions and a stunning spring day!

Saturday 22nd dawned bright, clear and warm, with spring arriving somewhat unexpectedly overnight. Whether to wear long or short sleeves seemed to be the question of the morning (for LCRKers at least...one school group was overheard debating which end of the boat was the front), and all had an eye on the volatile Myall tide. Would it turn during the race? If so, when?

Race director Tony Hystek shares his thoughts on both paddling and the organisational side of things:

"Having spent the last 5 years watching paddlers heading off on their annual pilgrimage to Tamboy, I was very grateful that Bob Turner insisted I paddle this year. That is until around 15km from home, when a wall of water appeared in front of me. The group of six I was travelling with seemed to get through it unscathed but I was left floundering behind.
It had been a great ride till then, with six of us often line abreast, other times squeezed against the shallows, with a huge wash wave formed behind that would put Bondi to shame on an average day. James P and Peter M shared leads most of the way up, with the Robinsons VJ team, the hobbits (Gareth and Peter), Mark H and Caroline M, myself and a couple of others on occasions. We had a target ahead, the fast-starting crew of Suzie and Mitch, who seemed to be able to put in another effort any time we looked like making ground.
The river was just as I remembered, even down to the same bits of pipe along the bank and the same masses of weed in Brasswater, the beautiful scenery along the way, and the perfect weather. Tony, the local Maritime BSO did a great job as usual co-ordinating the river closure and negotiating with Myall River Camp patrons. Motorised boater behaviour was the best I have seen, with only two minor incursions at the top end, both turning back when advised.
The usual afternoon sea breeze from the northeast created choppy conditions across the broadwater near home, and James Harrington the early singles leader and still suffering the effects of a prior illness, had to slow his pace. Local improver James Prajlia took the singles honours, previously won for four year straight by Matt Blundell. Original co-organiser of the Myall Classic, Liz van Reece, took home the winning female singles trophy, a fantastic achievement. The perpetual trophy is named after her and husband Murray!
Organising the Myall is another aspect entirely, and without Bob taking over the reins this year, either race management would have fallen in a heap, or my business would have gone belly-up. As it was, Alanna and I managed to finish work at 1.00pm on the Thursday, throw everything in the car and be off to Tea Gardens by 4.00pm. Arrived at 7.00pm, and looking for my dinner jacket realised I had left ALL my clothes at home! Frantic phone calls to work staff had them breaking into home and grabbing the WRONG bag of clothes, so I ended up with plenty of paddling options and not much more. My problems pale to insignificance compared to Anjie’s traumas, which I’m sure are documented elsewhere.
Friday was spent doing safety boat deployments, shopping, signage, briefing notes, PNSW grant applications etc, then up at 4.30am on race day to set up the site, then do the paddler and safety crew briefings. Oh dear…I have to paddle too? Off to grab the boat, throw in the compulsory gear and pretend nothing had happened.
The results system was an improvement on past years, with a TV monitor displaying the results and presentations conducted half an hour earlier than usual. Even though the tides were unfavourable, there were only a handful of turn-backs due to insufficient progress, while there were also 4 x time adjustments back to 4hrs 30 for early finishers who should have entered the later starts.
The future of the Myall is looking rosy, as we try to improve the event each year and involve more locals. The major problem however, is the shortage of volunteers. Without the huge contribution of Lane Cove paddlers and families, we would not have had an event to run, and PNSW is very grateful to all who contributed. Nigel Weeks, a local paddler from Buladelah, also worked like a Trojan all day, one of the unsung heroes who gets things done in the background. He just phoned me one day a few years back offering his services, and has been coming ever since.
This is a very special event, and one that will continue to grow and improve if we can find enough volunteers."Tony Hystek

Above: James P flying to victory in the Men's Singles

Above: Tony looking very happy to be paddling.

Tony and the lead pack seem to have been going a bit too fast to notice the tide, which everyone else would report was ripping out for just about the entire race. From Tea Gardens, the course heads upstream, across the blustery broadwater and into the more enclosed part of the river proper. For the first few kilometres there are houses and campsites to be seen along the banks, which then stop abruptly. Up at Eagle's Reach, both the 13km checkpoint and 27km course turn-buoy, the lone jetty feels almost out of place on the otherwise deserted riverbank. The odd cabin here, another jetty there, the channel markers across Brasswater, there isn't much more to indicate human habitation.

For those doing both the 47km and 27km courses it was a hard slog up to the top turn, and everyone was much happier coming back down the other side. Wash ride or not, as least the boats were now pointing in the direction of the finish line!

Chris Johnson was paddling the Myall for the first time, and for the photos looks like he was having an absolute ball:

"Things went a little 'pear shaped' getting ready when my number plate would not slot into its holder, so I borrowed some tape from Anje then realised then number holder was broken. Got that sorted and then borrowed some sun cream, then started to stress out that we had to carry a mobile phone (my brain had forgotten this safety requirement). Got 2x glad bags and promised my new work iPhone 7 I would not fall out of the kayak.
The event (not really a race for me) started by getting into boat, an interesting challenge on the beach! I must admit the waves from the other kayaks were making my boat unstable but I got past the first few green markers and on the tail of a couple of other kayaks. A running mate Jono P from Sydney Uni was also on my wave so paddled with him more or less to the turn around.
On the out stage I paddled hard, but technique is not up to scratch really. Highlights of this stage were talking to a chap from Tamworth who paddles on a dam with 6% capacity, plus being overtaken 4 km from the turning buoy by a Mirage double, single sea kayak and Jono, who encouraged me to jump on the back. It was about this stage I noticed some new blisters on my hands. I made it to turn around buoy and promptly forgot to get back on the tail of the double, so meandered my way back somehow in roughly the same time it took for first half. I could still see Jono and the Mirage double for most of the way though.
It was great to see so many participants in the other events. The final sections were a little choppy, certainly made it interesting. I must admit the last 8 km was a long way. Elizabeth van Reece swept past not far from the end, she was going well. Finally at the finish line, greeted with lots of smiling Lane Cove faces, I requested one of the chaps from TAS to hold my kayak as I got out at the end so both I and the iPhone stayed dry!
My total time was 4:56, and the 47 km distance is a long way! Technique needs to improve, and I need get lighter and fitter. By Sunday, I felt like the muscles near my glutes needed replacement, and the tops of my thighs were pink too!"Chris Johnson

Above: Richard with a different take on doubles paddling

Above: Chris on the way upstream.

Ian W and Paul van K decided that the best view of the river was definitely not achieved by paddling on it, and join the small army of volunteers that made the day run so smoothly. Ian's only regret, it seems, was that he didn't get back to Tea Gardens in time to photograph everyone crossing the finish line:

"Paul van Koesveld and I again took on one of the safety boats for this year's Classic. Our duties were largely a 'roving' role keeping an eye on some of the known trouble spots and taking the opportunity for a bit of photography between rescues. Having pre-launched the boat (PNSW IRB) the night before it was nevertheless an early start helping to set up the site, attending the safety briefing, slapping on the 50+ etc.
We headed off a matter of minutes ahead of the 8am 47km start. The 4 knot limit for the first kilometre meant we were predictably being hauled in - but before they could catch our wash, we were out onto the Broadwater and able to sprint ahead and set anchor just at the Dredges Island exit. Some minutes later the lead boats rounded the corner with some tight bunchings of boats manoeuvring four abreast round the navigation markers. Some came close, keen to get photographic evidence of them still fresh, and others were head down focussed purely on the job at hand. Some of the lead boats already looked like they'd have been better off in the 9am start (to ensure they didn't return before the finish line opened at 12:30pm).
With a 1 hour gap for the 9am 47km start, we motored up to the 12km turn to ensure the turn buoy was correctly positioned then returned back to the top of the Campground for the 200 series boats. This is where most of the fast (and winning) boats were entered and tight groupings of boats were again in evidence. The next start was the 27km student challenge and we had positioned ourselves at the Slot to ensure they followed the correct course - well at least as far as the Campground which seemed the distance goal many had set! The two 'proper' 27km starts then followed at half hour intervals from the students with many of the faster paddlers having overtaken the students in the first 5km - despite the half hour head start. These paddlers were much more spread out all finding their own way to tackle the difficult tide.
The closest we came to a rescue was refitting a boat number to one of the student boats (came loose in the startline melee apparently) - oh and we also rescued boat number 330 (just the number, not the boat). Highlights for us were:
  • A very happy Liberty Blundell in the double with Matt, charging through to win the VJ 12km class.
  • A chattering Alanna and Allison broadcasting their presence from hundreds of metres away.
  • An enthusiastic Rich Barnes paddling solo in Kermit (Mirage 730) - couldn't see his smile due to his sun protection, but we could hear it!
  • Rich and Craig (8am starters) charging through to the finish line (so they could wait for it to open).
  • Greg and Warwick having to check with the Safety boat if their paddling was photogenic (ie. synchronised) - yes, no, yes, no, yes, no.
  • The smile on Tony Hysteks face - finally having the opportunity to paddle the Myall (vs. supervise it from shore).
  • Phil G's bellowed "Aaagh" of pain and frustration one km before the finish as he reminded himself that semi-fitness for a 12km paddle is not a great basis for entering a 27km event with strong tides and shallow water.
  • The Students, all very much into the spirit of the day with accompanying music and ever willing to stop paddling and pose for a photo (some took it seriously too). We spotted a total of three student picnics and four raft-ups, and are sure there were more!
  • The Maritime boat and Captain (another Tony), who did a sterling job of preventing powerboats going upriver from Tea Gardens (his first job with Maritime was overseeing the Murray Marathon - 400km at ~4 knots..).
  • Paul really enjoyed being able to stand up in the rubber ducky this year without any hip or back-provoked wobbles. Not yet confident that this improved balance translates to better paddling balance.
  • The lucky dip lunch goodies bag, provided to relieve the hunger pangs caused by strenuous safety boating (Alanna traditionally prepares a packed lunch for ALL the safety boat crews - thanks Alanna)"Ian Wrenford

Above: Warwick and Greg's photo evidence

Above: Liberty: Dad...I'm sure you can paddler harder!

The SHOcKERs have been much more regular faces at Lane Cove this year, and they were out in force at the Myall. No doubt honing their race plan and paddling formation for the end of October:

"Out of the SHOcKERs group, Fitzgerald/Trewartha managed to pilot the Red7 to a fast time despite it having the weight characteristics of a log in the shallow water. Fitz seems to have an affinity for heavy doubles post Yukon adventure! Trevor Nichols continued his speed increase doing 4hr12, 40min ahead of last year's time. The Williams snr /jnr combination of Reece/Darren improved with a PB on very little training. Lastly for me my hastily devised weed deflector seemed to work well with much more weed on top of the V10s than dragging below."Craig Sallked

Above: Craig on the way downstream

Above: Trevor on the way to a sizeable PB.

Trevor Nichols continued the speculation on the Fitz/Trewartha double:

"I am over the moon with my time. I registered for the 8am start but luckily John Duffy suggested I change to the 9am whilst we were time keeping on Wednesday. He said you are likely to be faster than 4:30 so would arrive before the finish gates opened at 12:30. He was right and I had a 40 minute PB from last year.
The Myall was a trial for Fitzy and Brendan in the Red7 double. Although their time was respectable the experiment ended with them agreeing to either do the Hawk in singles or a faster double. Also Craig Salkeld’s son Kyle won the uni students 27km." - Trevor Nichols

It was fabulous to see a Lane Cove K4 padding the Classic, with Anjie's great work coordinating the team and boat maintenance in recent months coming to fruition. Kerrie was out with family commitments so Gaye Foster kindly stepped into the second seat at late notice, joining the crew of Wendy, Jana and Anjie.

"We had a great start full of enthusiasm chatting to some marathon veterans for the first 12kms. After the top turn we aimed to have a pee stop but it proved to be difficult to park K4 and so took several tries. It was nice to pick up tide on the way back but at about 13km to the finish Gaye started to have serious problems with her back. We stopped again to give her a rest and take some drugs. The sweep boat was right behind us and Gaye declined to have a ride. Stubborn as she is she paddled on, determined to finish. Hitting headwinds about 5km to finish was really hard work while Gaye continued to struggle almost lying flat on the boat, but pushed on and finished. Lovely waterway."Jana Osvald

Above:The K4 crew on the way upstream.

The K4 crew received the K4 Cup perpetual trophy for their paddle, along with Peter Manley taking out the Masters 50+ award and James Pralija leaving everyone shocked by winning the Open Singles trophy over the full distance. Richard and Guy Robertson set a new record in the Vet-Junior category, posting a stunning time of 4:06:08 over the full 47km distance to claim the trophy. It was also fantastic to see the Williams and Blundell Vet-Junior combos encouraging younger paddlers to give the race a go.

Of course, 47kms isn't for everyone, and the 27km and 12km courses were also strongly contested. With a massive list of some 27 paddlers contesting the 27km Masters 50+ race (five of them were from Lane Cove), a great spread of boats across all the other classes, and of course a host of students, there was still plenty going on after the 9am start.

Lachie Wrenford was among the paddlers in the final start for the 12km course:

"Despite having some doubts about doing the Myall Classic, it turned out to be quite an enjoyable and challenging race. Having the latest start I was quite eager to get stuck into this race. The start had a few shaky moments but I was soon able to settle down. The trickiest part of the race was getting through the more open water areas. As the wind battered the boat it was always a relieving feeling to make it into the more closed sections. In the end I managed to complete the race without consecutive sleeps with little Nemo!"Lachie Wrenford

Above: Lachie heading for the finish line

Above: Alanna and Allison, the chatty duo.

A big thank you to those that make the Myall such a special event, in particular Tony and Alanna for their tireless efforts in getting everything ready and making sure that everything went well on the day. Anjie towed the trailer (with a few more boats than the K4), Lesley Manley was instrumental in getting the Myall-standard fruitcake, oranges and watermelon on platters in time for the finishing paddlers, and Ian W, Lachie W, Allison B, Phil G, Paul vK, Frazer R and Kieren W (of team Johnson) were all on hand to help out with tasks through the day. Hopefully nobody has been left out!

Above: Results for LCRK associated paddlers

Sep 2018 - Tony Hystek & Tim Hookins Life Members of PNSW

From PNSW:
Induction of PaddleNSW Life Members

Above: Tim and Tony receive Life Membership

Tim Hookins and Tony Hystek have been inducted as the 24th and 25th Life Members of PaddleNSW respectively. The huge accolade occurred at the 70th PNSW AGM held at Tempe in the presence of existing Life Members Helen Brownlee AM, Jeff Cottrell and Lynn Parker.

Both gentlemen have given magnificent service to PaddleNSW and their respective clubs for more than a decade - both being past Chairperson of PaddleNSW for many years. Tim was also the Chair of the PNSW Harbour Racing Committee and the champion driver behind the PNSW Harbour Series. Tony is still a PaddleNSW Director and coordinates the state iconic events Myall Classic and Parra Paddlefest, as well as chairing the PNSW Safety Committee.

The conferring of Life Membership is the ultimate honour in any organisation, and Tim and Tony are thoroughly deserving of this highest possible recognition

Sep 2018 - ICF Canoe Marathon Masters World Cup in Portugal

Day 1 Results - Australians K1 Men 65-69 19km (27 starters) 12th Ron Clarke 18th Geoff Baggett

K1 Men 55-59 19km (37 starters) 12th Stuart Bryson 25th David Little

K1 Men 60-64 19km (28 starters) 6th Peter Currie 10th Mark Lawson 17th Peter Clyne

K1 Women 35-39 19km (7 starters) 4th Laura Lee

K1 Women 40-44 19km (9 starters) 2nd Cathy Venning 3rd Jenni Bateman

K1 Women 50-54 19km (12 starters) 5th Daniela Torre

K1 Women 55-59 15.4km (7 starters) 3rd Pauline Findlay

K1 Women 60-64 15.4km (7 starters) 2nd Lorraine Harper-Horak

K1 Women 65-69 15.4km (3 starters) 2nd Ann Lloyd-Green

K1 Men 45-49 22.6km (32 starters) 11th Mario Vesely 27th Darren Tye

K1 Men 50-54 22.6km (36 starters) 4th Brett Greenwood 7th Darren Lee 16th Dominic Scarfe

K1 Men 40-44 22.6km (33 starters) 9th Brad Hagan

Day 2 Results - Australians K2 Men 50-54 22.6km 5th Darren Lee / Elio Henriques 12th Dominic Scarfe / Stuart Bryson

K2 Men 60-64 19km 2nd Peter Currie / Mark Lawson 12th Geoff Baggett / Peter Clyne

K2 Women 40-44 19km 1st Jenni Bateman / Cathy Venning

K2 Women 60-64 15.4km 3rd Dallas Newman / Lorraine Harper-Horak

K2 Mixed 40-44 1st Darren Lee / Cathy Venning

K2 Mixed 50-54 1st Brett Greenwood / Daniela Torre

K2 Mixed 55-59 2nd David Little / Pauline Findlay

K2 Mixed 65-69 1st Ron Clarke / Ann Lloyd-Green

8 Sep 2018 - PNSW AGM and Annual Forum

The PaddleNSW Annual Club Forum will be held at the clubhouse of River Canoe Club of NSW on Saturday 8th September 2018. Location is Richardson’s Crescent, Marrickville. Park at Concordia Club or Tempe Railway Station next to Unwin’s Bridge.

The Forum will include the AGM, Annual Awards presentation, Club/ State/ National Forum, all preceded by a social paddle if interested.

  • 9:30am - Social Paddle (Cooks River - boats supplied)
  • 12:30pm - BBQ for the hungry.
  • 1:45pm - PNSW Club Forum
  • 4:00pm - PNSW AGM and Awards
  • 5:15pm - Close

4-5 Aug 2018 - Avon Descent

RACE REPORT - from Richard Barnes

5am Sunday, race day 2. Its been raining on and off all night. River height 2.1m. It hasn’t been this high since who knows when. Michael Laloli, our host in WA, has finished the race three times before and run the rapids at many levels, but never this high. He decides to pull the pin and opt to stay safely ashore. Dave Hammond has already had his share of swims on the river at lower level on Day 1. His decision is also sealed to stay on land. My partner Chris Stanley has to decide whether the risks outweigh the thrills to continue our doubles run in our cacky green plastic 515 named Gangrene. Safety rules, and Chris too opts out.

To Plan B, and Michael is willing for me to press on solo in his Wavehopper downriver racer. A quick switch of gear, aided by Michael and I being similarly sized, and I’m off on a flood-fuelled dig-dipper ride of exhilaration. All goes just fine up to 40km, and the last rapid of the day, Bells, before the flat run into Perth. There is a long low footbridge across the river, and its full of hundreds of spectators. We’ve run it two days prior in practice, unlike most of the other rapids I’ve just run blind. The safe route was just to the left of the second yellow pole. Or was that just to the right? But now there seem to be 5 yellow poles. Which one? Indecision freezes my mind, and instead of making a rational choice, I run squarely straight into the closest yellow pole. If only Chris was still in the back being my memory. The bow of Wavehopper wedged into a gap between the pole and a bridge pylon, and then the rest of the kayak proceeded to be swept round at 180 degrees to its bow. Things were looking grim. I was able to step out of the cockpit and onto the cross-bracing of the bridge, underneath the crowd, and rest my paddle on the underside of the bridge. From there I wrestled the kayak upstream to unjamb the bow, restraighten it and then empty some of the water out of the cockpit. With cold hands I held onto the kayak with one and fumbled for my paddle with the other. I gave up on trying to refit my spraydeck. I knocked the paddle off its safe perch, then watched it bob out of reach and disappear downstream. That left only my hands to help negotiate the second half of the rapid in a submersible craft. Luck played a hand, and we washed down a few drops then safely into the far bank. With a lot of duct tape, I was able to wrap the bow of the kayak sufficiently to plug a 70mm crack in the hull. At that point, Dave, who’d been watching the drama, popped up with a spare paddle. After eating a slab of fruit cake, I was on my way again to the finish with no further dramas.

Above: Exemplary host, Michael Laloli shares lunch break

Above: Riverside repairs below Bells Rapid to the Wavehopper

Some of you will remember Michael Laloli from last year’s Hawkesbury Classic. As part of his quest to complete Very Big Year, he flew over to Sydney, and LCRK took him under our wing and landcrewed him to his first Classic finish. He was so encouraging for LCRK members to fly over and join him in WA’s big race. It was only with his help and encouragement that Dave, Chris and I were able to enter. Michael arranged a fabulous plastic double for Chris and me to paddle. Gangrene had been paddled by its owner John Hayes in previous Descents, so it was a proven reliable finisher. Gangrene is also lighter, faster and more manoeuvrable than our usual Wednesday night racer Kermit. Mike and his partner Christie arranged all our weekend accommodation, food and transport.

Dave and his family Maria, Tommy and Areti took two weeks holiday and drove across the Nullabor to get an Epic V7 to the start line. Dave’s parents were to drive the rig and caravan home, whilst they flew back to school and work.

There was plenty of excitement for all on Day 1 of the Descent. The motorboats screamed off first from the start at Northam, and had to cope with the worst of the morning rain. By the time we started, the powerboats were almost at the finish 52km downstream.

Kayaks are started in grids of around half a dozen craft. It makes the pile-ups on the concrete ramp of Northam weir 300m from the start slightly less hectic. By chance Dave and Gangrene were in the same start. Dave won that initial flatwater duel, and successfully led us down the ramp. Dave’s Epic had legs on Gangrene on the flats, whilst swims on the rapids turned the tables. Next meetup was a picnic break on the bank for morning tea. Dave stopped only briefly; then sped off not to be headed before the day’s finish.

Michael also caught us from his late grid start at morning tea. We were to spend the rest of the day in close proximity. This was to be particularly advantageous at Extracts Weir. We’d surveyed this signature trouble spot prior to the race. Chris was in control of deciding whether Gangrene would run or portage the 5m drop. At race start the verdict was to portage, as around 50% of the field opted to do. Yet with Michael alongside, and confirming he was a runner, Chris made a last minute decision to give it a go. It turned out to be the highlight of the day. Memory has a way of blotting out big fear, like on a bungy jump, and Chris doesn’t remember the middle section of the run. He knows our approach was according to plan, and the elation of still being upright in the ripples and foam at the bottom of the drop. There was also a huge smile to accompany still being alive. We had avoided being part of the reported 40% swimmers who tried Extracts. Chris was even able to share the moment of triumph with his wife Judy back in Sydney whilst paddling on from Extracts via the whiz-bang technology of a wristwatch mobile.

Above: Pre-race practice for Dave on Waylunga

Above: Chris Stanley in heaven after safe descent of Extracts

Ti-trees are a unique feature of the last 10km of Day 1. Alien to eastern state paddlers, the paddling experience is like following the edges of a jigsaw piece. Twist and turn to wind through tree vegetation that chokes the whole river. Throw in high level flow, and this game is played on a swiftly moving baseboard under the tree canopy. We had Michael part time as a guide. There was the need for some swift coordinated manoeuvring, and a fair bit of ducking and weaving. Gangrene took on a fair bit of barky debris and displaced spiders in the closer calls. But we didn’t tangle with any other kayaks, or any solid trees. We didn’t get scooped out of the cockpit by any ultra-low limbo branches. And we didn’t run out of water on a dead-end eddy. We felt like apprentice jigsaw masters by Day 1 finish line. Who knows how the powerboats get through ti-trees?

Our thanks in bucketloads to Michael Laloli, Christie and John for their hospitality and support. We’d highly recommend other LCRK head west August 2019.

RACE REPORT - (from our WA correspondent Michael Laloli)
*Michael Laloi 13 page report PDF - wow!

Sat 4 August - Update on the LCRKers at Avon... Dave Hammond slogged through a big day and beat the rest of us into cobblers pool. Didn’t see much of him so seems to be going well.. Chris and Richard are having a great time of course , asked me if I was shooting extracts 500m out... so they agreed , and nailed it! Hilarious because of course the plan was to portage and river levels came up significantly overnight... They were buzzing for about the next 10km.. river is big, flooding in parts and fast, now flooding at 2m. But a lot of enjoyment and a big day tomorrow;)

Above: Rich n Chris

Above: Michael and Dave

Sun 5 August' .... Wow, wheww , OK where to start ... It was off the charts, almost literally! The water gauge didn't have much height left on it!!

OK yesterday and overnight the rains continued... I woke up and the river was at 2.25m at Walyunga. We had paddled it the day before at 1.3. I had previously paddled the valley at 1.3 and a small sect at 1.9. I made the decision I would not start day 2. Which was a big call. We were feeling , fit , skilled and had total control during day 1. But I was aware of the severity of consequences of small mistakes and while waiting for baby number one to come next month decided this risk was unnecessary. Dave Hammond made the call the night before of the same. And so at breakfast both Richard and Chris were surprised but understood. We discussed the situation and Chris then decided he was best to stop... And so left was Richard.....

With absolute zero hesitation, Richard still wanted to run it and I agreed for him to switch into my WWR k1 "short plastic wavehopper".. we got to the start , adjusted the boat.. The water had now lapped into the boat holding area and so organizers had changed to a land based start given you could not hold your boat in a fast running river.

We had "acquired" a valley access pass and managed to follow Richard through the valley, speed checking him with the car speedo, Richard was cruising at a gentle 20-25km/hr, looking in total control and carving through the rapids.

Richard had no opportunity to recce the valley rapids and was reading the river at speed.. I could not recognize anything... Rapids I was looking for were gone, rapids I did not know exist had surfaced, and the river in flood was forking into unknown territories.

We saw Richard hit Moondyne through the chicken chute, see several skis, switch to a separate flow and carve past with ease..

We lost sight of Richard and witnessed the angriest , most bad arse avon I have ever seen.... Such a contrast to Richards personality but he was slaying this monster.. Syds had turned into a multitude of rivers with rapids, containing plastic skis wrapped around trees, a diversion to a waterfall which looked like a monster standing up and turning the river over upside down... To our dismay we could see paddlers being sucked against their will through it and prayed Richard knew to KEEP LEFT!!!!

We could not stop at Bells but Dave Hammond was on the bridge. Bells is one of the few man made obstacles in the race and few rapids we had reviewed on Friday . Richard knew what to do here and the lines to take to avoid the jumbo stoppers that had developed...

We received calls from Dave Hammond... Richard needed a spare paddle... But how could this be , he had one tucked up into the wings of the boat? How did he not know this... Then we started getting messages about the story..

Above: One bent boat

Above: Down the creek without a paddle

Richard, had crashed into bells going under the bridge, wrapped the boat. Climbed out of the boat. placed his paddle on the bridge. Spent 5min removing the boat from the pylon, the commentator had not seen him come out the other side.. The bridge covered in people could not advise as could not see what was going on... And so Richard then loosing his paddle while perched onto the pylon, climbed back into the mangled boat and proceeded to paddle the swamped wreck 500m down bells ... What the hell??...

He hit the shore , re grouped, gaffa tapped the boat and paddled it into Bayswater a further 30km to the finish..

So while we were all disappointing not to complete the race , we made the right call and expect everyone was happy with what we got.. the storied are flooding in , and numerous top level Perth paddlers had very rough days.. But we saw some amazing paddling from Richard today... Give this guy a microphone when he gets back to Lane Cove he has some stories to tell!

3 August 2018 - LCRK AGM

LCRK held their Annual General Meeting on Friday 3rd August - which was well attended by 44 members, partners and guests at the North Ryde RSL. Good venue, good food, good company.

Named roles for the Committee are:

  • Alanna Ewin - President
  • Tracey Hansford - Vice President
  • Duncan Johnstone - Secretary
  • Ian Wrenford - Treasurer

with extra ordinary committee member roles taken by Oscar Cahill, John Duffy, Phil Geddes, Jana Osvald, Wade Rowston, Louise White, Rich Yates.

Thanks are due to the outgoing committee, particularly now ex-President Phil Geddes who had reached the 2 year limit for that role. Phil also made special mention of Paul van Koesveld who after many many years on the Committee including a stint as President is now stepping back just a little (although we expect he'll still be in the thick of it).

Above: The 2018-19 Committee

A number of awards were also made:

  • The Frank Harrison Memorial Prize for literary contribution went to Naomi Johnson for her continued contribution to Marathon Series, Myall, HCC Race Reports. Always looked forward to.
  • Awards were made to our regular photographers - Lesley Manley, Ian Wrenford, Jana Osvald, Tom Holloway and Oscar Cahill
  • The award for best 'Vivid' light display went jointly to Oscar Cahill (for the great lighting around the shed and pontoon) and Ian Wrenford (for his Sydney Harbour Bridge themed boat)

Zambezi River Trip – July 2018 – John Duffy

When planning a holiday in Africa, I was interested in including a 4 day/3 night canoe safari down the mighty Zambezi river that I had heard about from a friend who did it some years ago and assured me it was safe. Natureways Safaris conducts these guided tours down the river which borders Zimbabwe and Zambia.

While Jessica and I got back in one piece and so you could deduce it was safe, some of the risks were probably a bit understated but I would do it again in a flash. In fact I would propose the longer 10 day version.

The wildlife was plentiful, especially the thousands of hippos, hundreds of crocodiles, many elephants, buffaloes and antelope. The beautiful array of birdlife was something we learned to appreciate more as the days progressed. Scenery was spectacular and it was a great feeling to be on a river which I had heard about since childhood. Many times I just stopped to fully appreciate the environment and where we were.

Above: Did we mention the scenery?

The river runs at about 5 km/hr and so covering 70km was not a strenuous undertaking. You needed to be alert at all times to spot and dodge the hippos, and to ensure the boat went parallel to the river and in single file (again to reduce the risk from hippos).

The camping aspect was really roughing it, except for the three hearty meals a day which were prepared by the two guides. These river guides are very experienced and their qualification includes a minimum 1,000 hours of day time guiding. Our lead guide had 20 years experience and the second guide was well and truly qualified. We become very close to these fine men. They were very appreciative of us doing the trip as it provides them more continuous work opportunities in a country where the official unemployment rate is around 95%.

Jessica commented one day that “Lane Cover River won’t cut it after this”. It certainly was different and terribly exciting but I will always point my bow to Lane Cove.

Above: But can't hippos swim?

Above: John and Jessica with guides

27 Jun - 1 July - Yukon River Quest

Per the official website: The Yukon River Quest is an annual marathon canoe, kayak and stand-up-paddleboard race. Paddlers come from around the world to test their endurance, racing day and night to the Klondike on one of North America’s great rivers. It is open to solo and tandem canoes and kayaks, solo SUP, and C4 and Voyageur canoes.

It's summer in the Yukon which means average min/max temperatures in the 8-23 celsius range (although 36 celsius was experienced back in 2004). Summer that far North means they days are looooong with a ~4:30am sunrise and a ~11:30pm sunset. And civil twilight runs from ~11:30pm to ~4:30am which means it never quite gets dark! That's why they call the YRQ the "Race to the Midnight Sun"

LCRKers Tony Hystek (Team #41 Sheepstations) and Peter Fitzgerald (Team #5 SHockers Lane Cove) are both heading over to tackle the Yukon River Quest. Details will be added here as reports come in. The tracker above will give you their current locations once the race starters (find them in numerical order by Bib #)

Above: Google map showing general location of event - and proximity to Alaska. Blue path is showing the walking route - it's shorter than the paddle!

Putting iconic Australian paddling events into perspective - the race briefing for the YRQ includes the following snippets:-

  • If you are lucky you will see “charismatic mega-fauna”: moose, bear, sheep, fox, etc. Nine times out of 10 they see you, you do not see them. They are not interested in the race, or the racers. Don’t make them interested in you, keep your distance.
  • It can be hot: Drink enough, watch your electrolytes. If you are hot, dip your hat in the water. If you run out of water, drink the river. Dehydration is an immediate threat, giardia takes much longer to affect you
  • The YRQ is a RACE, not a trip down the river. Be good sports! No interference with another team’s progress or you could face disqualification. Do not dawdle. Drop out and become a tourist if you have to, but do not waste safety boat and volunteers’ time. You have 14 hours to reach the end of the Lake, 35 hours to get to Carmacks, and '84 hours to get to Dawson.
  • Lake Laberge: The lake is long - 49 km. In good weather, crossings take 6-7 hours (faster teams) to 8-10 hours (slower teams). Teams must make the crossing by 2 a.m. Thursday to remain in the race. The lake can be rough with waves up to 2m (6 feet)
  • If the lake becomes too rough and unsafe for passage after teams are on the lake, an airplane will signal teams by waving its wings (weather permitting). Use good judgment! Teams should pull off at the safest spot possible. Watch for a return of the plane waving and dipping its wings when it is safe to resume. If weather is too bad to launch a plane, use your own good judgment and stay on shore until it is safe to proceed.

Live Reports

Tony Hystek 180624: Been a few days without WiFi so a bit of catching up to do. Now, where were we…oh yes, the search for sheep stations in Hawaii. They’re here somewhere (evidence), but no substantial sightings. We must abandon… Off to Vancouver, which is remarkably similar to Sydney, only more compact. We met our travelling companions Eric (Alanna’s brother), and partner Liz. A nice feel about the place. Bit of shopping at the HUGE outdoors shop MEC (could have spent a week there), and off to Whitehorse. We collected our land yacht (RV), and attempted to get a local phone connected, without much success. Left it too late to get a spot in an RV park for the night so we joined the multitudes in Walmart carpark for the night. We sure did feel trashy! A sleepless night, with the street sweeper circling the carpark most of the night. Day 2 and we are off to Skagway for a ride on the White Pass train following the route of the gold rush prospectors to the headwaters of the Yukon…spectacular scenery, and 2 brown bears thrown in for wow factor. Back to Whitehorse and the first test paddle today…after doing an hour’s work sanding the shoddy repairs in the rented Epic 18x sport. One saving grace…the boat is incredibly light for this model….maybe they forgot a layer of fibreglass? It’s a roughie but a goodie. Hire company is a bit lackadaisical but nice nonetheless.

Peter Fitzgerald 180624: Fitzies have arrived in the Yukon - carb loading at the Dirty Northern Pub first - then off find kayak which looks like Barnesy Kermit ! Green and white

Above: Kermit

Above: Carb loading

Above: Found Tony!

Above: Fitzys best ever photo of Tony - following!

Tony Hystek 180625:We were entertained by a local band at the council rotunda..apparently a free concert every day from 6pm - 7pm. Now that's community! Test paddles are definitely a must, especially with a moose sighting. Not quick enough to get the camera out, unfortunately.

Peter Fitzgerald 180625: After Tonys cross training hike he / Alanna took us on the Fitzgerald’s more beer carb loading at Gold Pans Saloon with some country and Western

Above: Aussie flag flying

Above: Kermit on the water

Tony Hystek 180626: Yesterday’s paddle was in interesting company. One woman paddling a timber boat she made off the plan...very similar to Alan Newhouse’s boats. And Wolfram from Germany who brought his boat over in the plane... a folding rubber skin boat he designed himself, looks very sleek. Unfortunately he hadn’t finished a Yukon yet. Hope this is his year. Will send photos when I can get my technology to talk to each other. One double set off today with the paddler in the back seat, paddle back to front. Didn’t notice... Another said the test paddle today was their first time on the water. Then there are the fast ones! Heaps of 18X sport kayaks here. Almost half the fleet of single kayaks I think

Above: More carb loading

Above: The lake to be paddled tomoz

Alanna Ewin 180627: Along with my trusty personal crew, brother Eric and his partner Liz, we are arrived in Carmacks! Had a win on the RV site - powered and looking straight down to where the paddlers disembark! Tony will be pleased - a 50m walk to shower, tucker, bed. We were super organised this morning and had our first ever truly relaxed race start. Tony got off well - he did run to his boat and was in his boat pretty fast and off! Photos are a mix of the trip so far including a day trip to Skagway Alaska, a little canoe trip Eric Liz and I took from Whitehorse to Takhini Bridge and race prep and race day. And off I go now to cook up a bolognaise storm for Tony to eat when he arrives at Carmacks some time tomorrow (after 24hrs or so on the water!). Weather is all looking good for the entire race. Maybe some rain last day but we could be lucky. Temperatures good. Cool, but maybe a 24 degree day into Dawson. I'm a bit buggered so just can't think what you'd like to hear so if you have any questions just ask! I'm on the net for a while now. All is well, and as Emma Llewellyn-Jones observed at the tender age of nine, after her father entered the HCC: Eat Sleep Kayak Repeat!

Above: Bol test in the RV

Above: Miles Canyon suspension bridge

Above: Positioned for start

Above: Ready for Le Mans start

Above: Tony (middle of pix) is off!

Above: 50km Lake Laberge (YRQ FB picture)

Above: 50km Lake Laberge (YRQ FB picture)

Alanna Ewin 180629: Tony left Carmacks not feeling great, noisy campsite and didn't get a lot of sleep. Saw him at Minto and he was looking pretty good and in good spirits. Pleased to see some Aussies! Now sleeping at Coffee Creek and we will see him at Dawson about 11pm our time. Tony was coming 1st in the solo kayaks for most of the way to Carmacks but had to get off the water for an hour or so and slipped back to third. Internet awkward and I'm just busy. I'll post from Dawson with pics and full story.

Above: Carmacks stopover (YRQ FB picture)

Above: Carmacks approach

Above: Tony comes in

Above: Charismatic mega-fauna?

Above: Fitz's at Carmacks with landcrew

Above: Tony's hands after ~23hrs paddling

[Progress - some 52 hours into the race (of which circa 42 hours of paddling) Tony is currently 5th in the solo kayaks, and John & Peter Fitzgerald 7th in the double kayaks - with Tony about 12km (one Time Trial!) ahead of them. Distance to the finish line looks like another ~150km, a HCC and a bit]

Above: Proximity to finish line 2 days and 5 hours into the YRQ. Scale shown on map

Alanna Ewin 180629: Carmacks was noisy! Tony had a problem with the water after Lake Laberge, along with several other paddlers, leaving him crook and losing time. Some helpful paddlers gave him some immodium but according to the race doctor it was a double dose and knocked him out for an hour. Anne at one of the checkpoints (pictured here - black jacket) saw him struggling to stay awake, and kindly helped him out of the water, laid him down next to the fire, woke him after an hour and told him to get back in his boat and finish his race! He was very grateful (as am I) and I've spent some fun times with Anne since.

Above: Anne

Above: 2nd day Bol is best!

So he came into Carmacks disappointed by the forced delays having lost his well earned first place to two other solo kayakers (Lake Laberge was pretty tough so he really nailed it on that flat water), and woke even more disappointed as he really didn't get much sleep at all with the noisy campground. He came into Minto looking content and with a double that I think he may have been sharing stories with? I think he's been slowly catching up to boat 57 AlaskaEileen. Look her up. She is a delightful cheery lady (like a dignified version of Mad Mick chatting to the crowds as she passes by) and I believe she made the boat she is paddling. It's beautiful and clearly pretty quick in her trusty hands. So it's now up to Tony to see what he can pull out of the bag. Expecting him at Dawson in the wee small hours (around 1.45am) As support crew it has been busy. Just when you think you can have a moment there is something that needs doing - cooking, driving sleeping, washing, leaning, sorting. It's run smoothly in our RV and been an interesting journey. The company of my family has made all the difference and it would have been a bit stressful first time around if I was on my own. Lovely country and lovely people. The Canadians I have met have all been very gentle, kind and helpful. There is a contented relaxed manner about the volunteers and it seems everyone is a friend. It's the 20th Anniversary of the race and there was a party at Carmacks and the Coal Mine Campground did the catering from the menu for everyone for free! Lots of fun and we even got ice cream! Photos attached describe the trip best [see the Flickr link above]. Thanks to everyone for your support and sorry to not do much updating. I don't think I've had all that much more sleep than Tony! There is no darkness and mostly just a dimming of the sun from about midnight to 4am and that's about it. Quite bizarre and has us all having very late nights and odd eating habits! Anyway......now we wait....... I just checked again he is dropping back a bit I think. Not sure how accurate the race tracker is but looking like a 55 hr race for him at this stage

Above: Dawson City - the finish!

Alanna Ewin 180629: He is in and pretty content! Third solo overall. Loves his thermal skins! In pretty great shape really and said the scenery on the paddle is beautiful. I asked him if he'd like to say a word to you all but he declined suggesting he couldn't think of anything funny to say :) It's now 3am, he is now sound asleep and I will be following close behind him! Goodnight :)

Above: Done!

Above: Can I sleep now?

Above: Tony - 3rd in the Solo Kayaks!

Above: Peter & John Fitzgerald - 7th in the Double Kayaks!

9-11 June - Riverland Paddling Marathon

Above: Results for the LCRK team]]

Hosted by the Marathon Canoe Club of SA since 1988 the Riverland Paddling Marathon (RPM) is not just a marathon it is a festival of paddling marathons with 6 possible events over 3 days on 1 weekend in the chilly month of June each year. Every June long weekend paddlers from all over the country gather on the Murray River in South Australia’s beautiful Riverland to meet, greet and most importantly to paddle.

The Six events which run consecutively over the weekend include –
The Murray 200 – a 208 km continuous paddle over 3 days from Berri to Morgan
The 200 Relay – the same 208 km course from Berri to Morgan but paddled in relay with baton exchanges
The Murray 100 – a 93km course over 3 days covering sections of the longer Berri to Morgan course
The Murray 50 – a 49km course over 3 days, sharing day 1 and 3 with the Mini and day 2 with the M100
Single day paddle – on Sunday of the event weekend, 26km from Devlins Pound to Waikerie
Mini-marathon – an opportunity to try the event by paddling 11 or 12km on any single day or on multiple days

From LCRK for 2018 we have a number of paddlers - including Kyla Johnstone, Duncan Johnstone, Ruby Ardren Rich Yates, Keg D'Andretti, Craig Ellis, Tony Hystek and Alanna Ewin

Above: The LCRK team

Fri 8 June

Ruby: After the first day's racing I'm behind Kyla by a nose. Duncan Johnstone hasn't yet found his boat or his team and Tony Hystek is way behind because he's elected to take the scenic degustation route.

Alanna: On way to RPM, some of us on the Hay Plain, some of us in a plane over the Hay Plain and Craig Ellis just plain old waiting for everyone to arrive. Breakfast involved a few different carb loading strategies....

Above: On the road again...

Above: Rich n Keg - carbing up?

Sat 9 June

Alanna: Kyla will get cracking soon on her RPM100. She got to sleep in unlike the full distance bunnies up before dawn. Everyone off to a good start and the sun has come up now after some very welcome rain overnight.

Above: Tony making sure he paddles downstream

Above: Rich helping get the boat off the kayak stands

Sun 10 June

Alanna: Day 2 catchup- all well and happy and did some great times. Tony Hystek not particularly enjoying the 18x as he can’t really race, but then it’s all about Yukon prep right??

Ruby: Absolutely wrecked tonight because I stayed on wash rides all day that really pushed me. 69km today (7:00:05 so again about 10km/hr), running total is now 145km in 14:49:38. Have to get up again in the dark tomorrow to do another 63km and then start the drive home. I’m in the blue kayak

Above: Another lock - another day.

Above: Ruby - wrecked, and relieved!

Mon 11 June

Alanna: Last day of the RPM and everyone’s feeling it. With a headwind dampening the spirits and the relay suffering rudder problems they’ve been doing it a bit tougher. Happy landcrew though with coffee cakes and brekky at The Claudo sangria winery checkpoint! Oh and Kyla is out. Pulled up sick this morning with her cold returned.

Above: check out that backdrop!

Alanna: All done! Ruby Ardren second lady home - not by much and a good record set! The relay team hammered it home after yet more rudder trouble steering them up the garden path. Although Sally Ellis said the lads didn’t try hard enough because they didn’t puke when they got out of the boat! I’m just hoping they didn’t beat our time from last year or I might have to do the race again! The big fella Tony Hystek managed yet another of the prized orange caps for fastest vet 55 in the 18x (that gave us all a bit of a giggle). Kyla Johnstone enjoyed her day 3 as landcrew. Soaking up the sun we chatted the day away as we waited at riverside checkpoints for our paddlers to come through. All in all a great club and family weekend as usual. Fabulous to have the Yates and Ellis partners and kids along again. They visited the zoo and wineries and cheered on the paddlers from the winery this morning! Thanks everyone for the well wishes and support. We’ve all had a ball.

Above: Tony coaches a K4 (Photo: Carolyn Cooper).

Above: Duncan and Kyla - tis done!

31 May - LCRK does VIVID (as part of our normal TT)

This event coincides with Sydney's annual VIVID festival. It's an opportunity to light up your boats, yourself and the river with a bit of a light and sound show. Contributions range from the simple (recycled Christmas lights, glow sticks etc) to more extravagant programmed LED light shows and kayak modifications.

Check out the Flickr album and Youtube footage at the links above ....

Above: 2018 LCRK Vivid - the pontoon walkway - Photo: Oscar Cahill

4 March 2018 - Clean Up Australia Day Report

Clean Up Australia Day 2018. We had a great turnout for Clean Up Australia Day this year with nearly 20 folks turning up for a few hours on Sunday Morning.

Feeling empowered in my official fluoro vest, I quickly put folks to work in various different parts of the river. Double kayaks, canoes and skis were dispatched upstream as far a Wirrong Boat Ramp while Adrian Clayton towed his garbage kayak downstream for others to fill with Crudslime accoutrements. Others took to the carpark and banks of the river on foot.

Bags were quickly filled, particularly around the carpark. More than once Jeff Collins was seen lugging a bulging bag of rubbish back to the shed, like some Anti-Santa, despite the smile. The boats returned with mother lodes of rubbish including sofas, tyres, bottles and rusty boat snaggy bits of metal. Most of it from downstream.

Oscar and Daughter Emer turned up with the widest canoe I have ever seen. Great for this type of work. It fit better sideways on the roof of Oscars car. As well as Emer, we had Dave Hammonds two kids Areti and Thomas plus Chris’s son Robert. What a good parent and child bonding opportunity!

Out of interest it seems the most common rubbish type was bottles, both glass and plastic. I was encouraged (but not surprised) to see a distinct lack of tape remnants, Gu sachets and other paddling mess around the shed and river.

Not much in the way of treasure, Oscar found most of a $5 note and has generously offered it to the person who finds the missing corner next Wednesday night. Johns number remains at large somewhere on the river. On a barter system of 30 seconds per kg of rubbish found, the following folks should have PB’s of around 53.30 next Time Trial:

Chris Johnson, Rodrigo, Jeff Collins, Adrian, Don, Kenji, PVK, James P, Duncan, Warwick, Wade, Oscar, Dave H, John D and Pete M (55:30). Being supervisor I’ve awarded myself the course record, sorry Matt. (I told you the fluoro vest was empowering).

Thanks everyone involved. It’s a satisfying job. Well done.

Rich (Thanks John Duffy for all lead up organising work)

22 Apr 2018 - LCRK Marathon Series #5 - Special Doubles Round

Lane Cove Marathon – paddler options Our Lane Cove Marathon, Round 5 of the 2018 Marathon Series is on Sunday 22 April. This Round has been nominated as the 2018 Doubles Round with the intention of attracting additional paddlers to try the joys of competitive doubles paddling and maybe even to try competitive Marathon paddling itself while sharing the effort, risk and reward with a mate. If you haven’t tried a Marathon Series event or haven’t competed for a number of years, this is a great way to get a taste of competition AND help our club compete for the Brian Norman Club Trophy for the most successful club in the 2018 Marathon Series.

What does this offer on 22 April? In additional to the up-to 50 club points that participants can earn depending on their race position, a further 80 club points is offered for each doubles craft that finishes, irrespective of position in the race. The usual rules apply to the competition for the up-to-50 points: paddlers need to enter the correct Division – PNSW will police this, especially for new Marathon Series combinations.

Unlike in any other Round, a doubles combination does NOT need to have completed a ranking race beforehand to earn club points on 22 April. A combo can come together just for that day (but, hopefully, some will really enjoy the experience and continue to compete together).

What does this mean for you and LCRK? Points up for grabs - 80 Club points per double that finishes PLUS - 40 Individual points to each individual doubles paddler that finishes PLUS - Individual place points as normal

Here's where we are currently at - firstly the almost definitely (subject to any late shuffling):

Paddler 1DivPaddler 2DivDoubles DivBoatBoat sourceEntered?
Suzie Rhydderch4Mitch Coffey11Carbonology BlastOwnyep
Tony Hystek1Alanna Ewin61K2ownyep
Tim Binns2James Pralija31Epic V10Ewin/Hystekyep
Mark Hempel2Caroline Marschner81V10Ownyep
Trevor Nicholls-Brendan Trewartha-1Red 7 skiFitzyep
David Young3Peter Manley32CarbonologyLCRKyep
Craig Salkeld-Peter Fitzgerald-3Carbonology skiFitzyep
Naomi Johnson4Alex Brown43Vadja TornadoLCRKyep
Richard Yates4Keg D'Andreti63Sladecraft SLR2Ownyep
Greg Morris-Warwick Sherwood-3Zero ToleranceOwnyep
Don Johnstone4Jeff Hosnell53Stellar skiJack Kesbyyep
Stuart Reid-Johanna Diment-3Stellar S2E skiOwnyep
Rob Hiley-John Rowberry-4Knysna G42 skiOwnyep
Darren Williams-Graham Cleland-4Mirage 730Ownyep
Anjie Lees7Meg Thornton?6K2 ClubLCRKyep
Tim McNamara8Jana Osvald?8Simon K2Geddes/van Kyep
Kerrie Murphy-Wendy Andrews-8PopemobileLCRKyep
Tom Simmat4Tim Hookins58SladecraftOwnyep
Matt Swann6Bruce Goodall99Zero ToleranceOwnyep
Paul Burges10Dave Veivers?9VulcanLCRKyep
Duncan Johnstone5Phil Geddes59Stellar DoubleOwnyep
Matt Blundell1Liberty Blundell-13?Ownyep

NOTE: Master tactician Duncan Johnstone has been overseeing and addressing questions, giving advice etc - and is still happy to take questions..

Below is an evolving list of LCRK volunteers who are helping to make this all happen.

Here's the portage detail:

Here's the offsite parking detail for Avian Crescent Lane Cove:

and for Magdala Road North Ryde

Paul van Koesveld (LCRK Marathon rustler)

18-20 May 2018 - AC Marathon Nationals - SA

The Australian Canoe Marathon Technical Committee and Paddle South Australia hosted the 2018 Australian Canoe Marathon Championships between 18 and 20 May 2018 at Westlakes, Adelaide, South Australia.

Only a few LCRK members in attendance - but check out the results anyway!

January 2018 - Classic Bass Crossing

Nicole Bartels, Kevin Kelly and Richard Barnes (words by Rich)


When is an expedition to the summit of Mt Everest complete? When the expeditioner reaches the summit? When this person is within 100m of the summit? Or when the party has made it safely back to Base Camp? Did Andrew Macauley make it in his kayak to NZ when he was in sight of land? These thoughts went through the minds of the Classic Bass team as we waited for windows of calm weather around Flinders Island. We had made it across the “big” crossings, from Wilsons Promontory to Flinders, via Hogan and Deal Island hops. These legs were respectively 55km, 45km and 65km, or 9.5hrs, 7.5hrs and 12.5hrs paddling time. Then there were only the shorter legs along coastlines of the Furneaux Group Islands and a final crossing of Banks Strait to negotiate. We had waited a day on Hogan Island, as a storm with windspeeds recorded over 100kmh swept over us. It was hard even to walk up to Hogan Lighthouse, let alone be out in a kayak that day. Then we had waited 4 full days on Deal Island as winds over 20 knots kept us cosily off the water. There was plenty to see and do on Deal, including walking up to the highest lighthouse in the southern hemisphere, and sharing tea and scones with the current lighthouse caretakers, Jo and Justin and their seven year old son Murphy.

Above: 100kmh winds at Hogan Island lighthouse ..and.. Scones with Deal lighthouse caretakers

However five days waiting meant there were few spare days left if we were to make it to Tasmania in time to catch Spirit, the ferry to get us back the easy way across Bass Strait northward to Melbourne. Could we hitch a lift on the barge that services the little town of Whitemark on Flinders, or even fly out from one of the grass strips on Cape Barren or Long Islands, and still claim to have crossed Bass Strait?

Fortunately weather forecasting is more reliable now than ever in the past. On my first crossing in 2001, we tuned in on a crackly radio with a wire aerial strung between trees, to hear someone reading a forecast for the whole of Tasmania for the next day. Now forecasts come via BOM on the internet to mobile phones, with predictive maps for windspeed, swell and wind direction, in 2-hourly increments up to four or five days into the future. For our last week of paddling, they showed generally relatively strong winds, but with small windows of calm. And so it turned out.

Ultimately, we targeted two relatively calm weather windows to make the final crossings of Banks Strait, splitting the 35km distance from Clarke Island to the NE tip of Tassie into two with our final camping night midway on Swan Island. These were to be our two hardest paddles. Our one and only team capsize occurred on the leg from Clarke to Swan, just off Swan Island. Strong counter currents slowed our pace so the weather window became too short to reach Swan Island. Just off the lighthouse, the rising wind broke the top off big steep swells, and Kevin got caught by one of these breaking giants. However Kevin has a great party trick, a re-enter and roll. Whilst his kayak was upside down, he did an underwater somersault to get back into an inverted seating position in the cockpit, then proceeded to roll up. It would be impressive at Lane Cove, but it was doubly so in rough water.

Calm weather along Wilsons Promontory ..and.. Rough weather off Swan Island lighthouse

The very last paddle was a mere 7km direct from Swan Island to Little Musselroe Bay. The weather decided to have a final hurrah, and combined with strong adverse tide to thwart our expedition arrival. For the whole Bass Strait crossing, we covered just on 400km, in a total time in the kayaks of 76hours. That is an average of just under 5kmh. Not quite Matt, Dave, Brett or Stu’s 12km lap speed at Lane Cove, but realistic for Mirage kayaks each weighing around 200kg fully loaded. Our final 7km took 3 hours, an average just over 2kmh. As we wryly noted, we could have walked the kayaks along Musselroe Beach faster than we were able to paddle. The moral is that the journey is never over, until we step across the finish line. For us, that was a greeting from our invaluable landcrew Dee Taylor and Andy Singh, two of the original team from Rivers Canoe Club who had planned to be paddlers on this crossing. From a starting crew of ten or so hopefuls, just two, Nicole Bartels and Kevin Kelly, had made that finish line. Both are Hawkesbury Classic regulars, so perhaps that is a key step in training for a Bass odyssey.

I had joined Nicole and Kevin only a few months before the trip. One reason was to help make sure their dreams were realised. Another was to use this crossing as a trial for a prototype Tasman sea kayak. This prototype started life as former LCRK member Ken Holmes’ Classic-completing Mirage 730.

Above: Prototype One
With a lot of guidance from LCRKer Tom Simmat, I constructed a pod over the front cockpit large enough to potentially be sleeping quarters. It certainly solved all issues of lack of space for equipment, but did bring its own set of steerage problems in strong winds. In the time we waited on Deal Island, I constructed a fin out of our emergency fibreglass repair kit to try to help control my prototype kayak’s wayward wanderings.


Space is at a premium in a single Mirage. We set off from Port Welshpool with 15 days food supply, and about 20 litres of water each. Add in tent, sleeping bag, stove, clothes and spares, and the last of the equipment usually ends up sharing the final corners of the cockpit with the paddler. Food and equipment sums to around 75kg, and made the 580s float just below the deck join line. Both Kevin and Nicole still found room for luxuries such as sleeping mat and pillows. Oddly, Kevin pulled out a grater on Deal, along with real potatoes, and set about making us hash browns. Kevin’s occupation is chef, so he also couldn’t be parted from his creamer, a huge device which is pressurised by C02 cannisters and turns longlife cream into whipped coffee mousse. Kevin is not a camper, and borrowed a tent and camp chair from John Duffy. He commented on being woken by sore elbows when his arms slipped off his narrow camp mat and rested alongside on the hard ground.

Above: Chef Kevin and his grater

Inner Sister Island

One of the goals of this trip was to try to camp on Inner Sister Island, off the north tip of Flinders. It promises safe landings with beaches on both sides. This would be something new and a little unique, as this island is not part of a regular crossing being slightly north of the most direct route. We set out from Deal with our bearings set for Inner Sister. Along the way were the landmarks Wright Rock and Craggy Island. Wright Rock is only 20km from Deal, but is small and only visible from about 10km. At about that distance one’s sense of smell confirms its proximity, as the large seal colony there is very smelly. We’d aimed to paddle in amongst the seals. However tide had other ideas, and after battling counterflow, our closest pass to the seals was 3km before we turned away. Next waypoint Craggy, where the ebbing tide looked like it would sweep us past its northern rugged shore, on course for Inner Sister. After a few more hours paddling, we were closing on Craggy. The tide turned, and suddenly was flowing strongly SW, against our course and into the rising westerly breeze. I promptly got seasick and threw up. Nicole got nervous running downwind in the big swells that developed. Kevin chimed in with a preference to head for whichever was closer of Inner Sister, or the traditional Flinders landing at Killiecrankie. Consulting our GPS, Inner Sister was 22.3km northeast, whilst Killiecrankie was 22.2km east. Destiny diverted, Inner Sister remains an elusive goal for some future Bass journey.


Above: Flying porpoise show

The Wrap

Bass Strait remains a paddlers’ Mecca, combining so many of the features which create an epic journey. At 400km and 16 days, the time and distance are of grand proportions. Paddling is at times out of sight of land, so there is a real reliance on self to achieve the day’s destination. The campsites are pretty wild and special. Some, like Whitemark, are relatively suburban, with access to showers, a hotel, general store, cafes and a bakery. The wildlife is always interesting, and interested. Seals are abundant, and always inquisitive. So too are the gannets and large Pacific gulls, whilst albatross fly by imperiously. Penguins are so human in their characteristics, especially when their regular path from sea to burrow is blocked by one of our tents. We were particularly lucky this trip to have a pod of killer whales glide toward and around us. The sea can be wild, but with patience there is always a window through which to paddle safely. Scenery always amazes and alone is adequate temptation, in particular the red lichen-covered granite boulders and sculptures round Cape Barren, Clarke and Flinders Islands.


Above: Campsites at Thunder & Lightning Bay and Rebecca Bay

Sun 28 Jan - Paddle4Good - Newcastle

Newy Paddlers has shared details of a fundraising paddle event (~10km) being held Sun 28 Jan. Go to the link above for all the details.

“Paddle 4 Good” this year is supporting a local Women’s Refuge that is in need of appliances for their venue. The refuge is a community based organisation and is currently self funded which is why they are in seeking assistance. The Refuge helps women and families that are under enormous stress and do amazing work in finding these women and families support in housing, financial, counselling and legal assistance. Please note that all proceeds will be going to the Women’s Refuge

  • When: SUNDAY, Jan 28th, 2018
  • Registrations: will open from 8:00 - 9:00am
  • Race briefing 9:15am
  • Race starts 9:30am (slower boats will be sent first)
  • Where: Throsby Creek “Beach” - Tully Street Carrington (Newcastle)
  • Cost: A donation of $10 (entry fee) which all proceeds are going to the women’s refuge.

2019 News

2017 News Archive

2016 News Archive

2015 News Archive

2014 News Archive

2013 News Archive

2012 News Archive