Friday, 8 July 2011

Surf lunch

At lunchtime I had my first lesson in surf landings. Unfortunately most of the lesson came after the landing attempt....

We headed (appently downhill now that I look at my photo!) to Crovie for lunch. My camera was still rather wet from rounding Troup Head so the photos aren't as clear as I'd like due to water on the lens.

There was some surf on the beach, so our coach, Alan, gave us some brief advice about landing in surf - mainly to keep straight and that if we capsized we should make sure we came up on the seaward side of the boat so we didn't get brained by the boat after we'd capsized! This proved to be very useful advice...

We watched some of the others head ashore nicely, only to get rather wet as the waves came in too fast for them to get out of the kayaks quickly enough before the surf either dumped on them or tipped their boats over. After a bit of fiddling with the rudder, and enlisting the help of another paddler to pull it up in the end, it was our turn to head for the beach.

As we found out from Alan afterwards (during a clearly explained lesson which I hope I'm remembering correctly) in surf the kayak can do 3 things - spin you on top of the wave, turn you side on to the wave, or tip you over. Myself and my paddling partner kindly demonstrated all 3 at once for the others to see! I hope they learned from it!!!

Luckily there were plenty of others already ashore so there were plenty of willing hands to right and empty the double kayak! And we'd followed Alan's instructions and come up on the seaward side, so no bruises for us either. I came up laughing which was quite a relief as I've always been scared of wary about putting my face in the water, let alone actually turning upside down in a boat! I've done it many times in practice, but still have to psych myself up for it each time, so it was great that I reacted instinctively and got myself out safely - and, in a perverse kind of way, enjoyed it. With hindsight, I'm really glad I capsized as I'm now not nearly as scared of capsizing 'for real' as I know I can cope with it. Of course, having confidence in your fellow paddlers and their ability to rescue you if necessary also makes a huge difference!!

I think getting the double safely ashore in surf also needs better teamwork than we had - another useful lesson learned for the future.

While we were having lunch ashore Alan gave us further instruction about landing in surf. Later in the day I was to witness a perfect example of what he was telling us... (more on that in a separate blog entry.)

After lunch we launched into the small surf.

I managed to catch another photo to explain why at least one paddler was merely copying the experienced paddlers when he lifted his paddle right up (nearly with disastrous results) every time he met a wave. :-)

"Jelly for tea, anyone?"

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