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Training, Shopping and Spills…

May 30, 2011

Another wonderful week on the water. I managed to squeeze in a number of training paddles but given that my wife and kids came down with a bug this week – I didn’t get out as often, or as long, as I would have liked. Nonetheless, I enjoyed two particular highlights.

The first was a nice long 17km training paddle which took me  2 hrs 15 minutes to complete. I launched from the Putney boat ramp into the Parramatta River and paddled hard and non-stop following the shoreline, up and under the Gladesville Bridge, round the point at Woolwich and into the mouth of Lane Cover River – which I followed all the way up to the pontoon near the Mowbray Rd Athletics Park. My longest distance thus far and not a bad time over-all.


I’ll use this as a bench mark over the next 2 weeks to see if I can improve on both my time and distance. Ideally I’d like to get in at least a couple of  20km paddles each week along with my shorter recreational paddles.

This training run taught me a few things – one, I’ll have to toughen my hands (or buy gloves) as I began to manifest a few small blisters by the end of this, and two – I’ll have to learn a more efficient stroke. I’ve been training with the same paddle I bought with my yak 2 years ago. It’s a large heavy square blade that clearly wasn’t designed with either distance or efficiency in mind. I liked it at the time because I thought I’m a big bloke with big shoulders and this would give me a great workout. Well I think I’ve outgrown this paddle now – and the advice I have received is that if I want to do distance then I’m going to need a better paddle – and know how to use it !!

So today being Monday, I took ownership of my new Werner ‘Corryvrecken’ red paddle.

It’s lightweight with fiberglass laminate blades and a carbon blend shaft. The blades are designed for a high-angle stroke and being a larger blade will still suit my style of paddling. The way I see it – I’ll use this paddle for training in distance and a general workout. I’ll keep the heavy square paddle for Rock Gardening (The Fat Paddler reckons they are ideal for that since they will get bashed around the rocks a fair bit), and lastly, I’ll eventually get myself a Greenland Paddle for recreational fun and as a spare/alternate choice for distance / touring.

I’ve also booked in with a certified instructor to  improve my stroke and also learn to roll. As soon as the weather clears (hopefully by Friday) we can get out and do this !!


On the topic of new equipment – I bought a few other nice accessories this week – a wetsuit, a helmet, a spray-skirt, a paddle Jacket, and a marine compass.

This paddle jacket has to be one of my favourites.

This baby wears really well, is waterproof, has soft adjustable seals around the waist, wrists and neck and when paired with a good thermal – will probably be my garment of choice for the Hawkesbusry Classic !!  🙂

Now the downside….. I’m sure I spied my wife thumbing though a few clothing catalogues too – I reckon she is about to go shopping in a big way and I wont be game to say anything after my little splash out on gear….. Rats !!

The second highlight of my week was going out again this week with Sean (AKA The Fat Paddler) and enjoying a Rock Gardening session.   I also met a Team Fat Paddler (TFP) Angelo (AKA Lt. Gelo) whose company was as equally enjoyable !!

Gelo & me

Gelo & I in a calm rock garden waiting for a wave...

Gelo has a reputation as a bit of a wild man on the water and is always keen to throw himself into the mix – often with him swimming after his yak as a consequence. Well this week it was The Fat Paddler himself who practiced a little scuba diving amongst the rocks – as he took a spill inside the very Rock Garden he calls a second home.

Sean & Me

Sean & I captured on his GoPro

I’m pleased to say he survived the ordeal – albeit a little worse for wear – given his shoulder at one point was the fulcrum to his upside down yak. Sean wrote an insightful blog entry on this session here. It is a timely reminder (especially for me being such a novice) that even in a low swell and familiar surroundings, paddling in a Rock Garden requires constant attention, analysis and respect.

Lt. Gelo and I got to practice a successful rescue and we went on to enjoy a  few more hours in the harbour.

rocking 2

Timing my exit...

rocking 3

Hey is that a camera pointed at me??... *smile*....

So to wrap up this weeks post you might notice that I pinched a bunch of these pictures from The Fat Paddler’s FaceBook page. I’m pleased to include his logo in my future Blog posts as I have asked to join, and been accepted as a Member into Team Fat Paddler !! I’ve been a fan for some time of The Fat Paddler and I’m very excited to a part of this group, and to get to spend more time paddling with this diverse and interesting bunch of people.

I get to cut my teeth, and earn my stripes, this weekend when I paddle under Team colours at the Paddle For The Planet event scheduled for this coming Sunday.

Stay tuned for some pictures and an update from the day 🙂

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2011 11:47 pm

    Nice work Mike. Don’t get gloves, just let your hands toughen naturally. A few blisters won’t kill you, and you’ll want to toughen your hands up before October anyway. Then on the HCC you can still wear gloves if you want – but at least you wont start to blister up until later in the race.

    And I hope you enjoyed my demonstration on what to do if you ever fall out in the rocks. It was completely planned for your benefit, honest. 😉

  2. Eileen Stelzer permalink
    May 31, 2011 10:41 am

    Yes Baby, I have already visited Victoria Secret, True Religion & an LV Handbag I have been eyeing for months 🙂

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