Surf play at Middleton — 21 August 2022

Preparing to surf

Some of the club members decided to get adventurous, and brush up our surf skills at Middleton on Sunday. Conditions were good, with a small, choppy but manageable surf, and some most welcome sunshine.

After some basic theory and warnings for those new to surf, we dragged the boats down to the water to get wet. It is always a problem knowing how close to get to the surf before trying to get into the boat: too close and you get knocked about by the waves before you are ready; too far away and you are left high and dry, waiting for a big wave to come and rescue you.

Once in the water, the less experienced paddlers stayed closer to the shore getting a feel for the waves while gaining a new appreciation of the necessity of bracing and support strokes, in-between practicing wet exits and emptying sand and seawater from kayaks.

Surfing in Middleton

Further out, the more experienced paddlers were managing to find a few nice rides amongst the choppy waves. They were mostly in control, but there was still the occasional upset. I think everyone had at least one swim.

With the cold water, it only took a few hours before everyone had enough. We then retired to the nearest bakery for a hot pie and coffee.

Check the YouTube video

White Water trip to Eildon, Victoria — 11-14 March 2022

It was refreshing and liberating to be back at Eildon after two years!

Most of us arrived on Friday. Charlie and Marina got there a night earlier and were surprised at the activities on the Sump. Fire rescue team and their rafts, Tafe students in their canoes and a few private little boats all practising. Never seen so many on the Sump at one time.

We inadvertently picked a long weekend in Victoria and were a little worried about the crowds. But this didn’t prove to be much of a problem. The only downside was that the group was spread across different sites.

Saturday

Challenging stretch in Goulburn river

On Saturday, Scott Polley did some instruction on the basics for those who had not done any white-water before; Esther did very well, Anthony showed no fear (trying to keep up with his son?), and Leigh is a natural (who would think he has never done any white water) as he soon ended up surfing the big wave at the Sump without much trouble. After a little warming up, Anne, Simon, Fred, Will, Marina and Charlie played around the pumpkins (big man-made concrete blocks designed to create turbulence and eddies in the river), the s- bend and, for the more daring ones, the Sump in the afternoon.

Fred and Will played the role of the two acrobats putting their canoe polo skills to use (Fred managed to position himself in his boat on a pumpkin). And Phil who was the elegant smooth wave rider.

Water levels were quite ok at first, then on Saturday they seem to have released water from the dam, and some of the pumpkins were soon under water. Luckily the water did not seem as cold as it normally is in January.

The Campsite

Kayak on rock in the middle of the river

Moored in the river

Besides people coming into the camp kitchen to do their dishes, we were lucky enough to have the kitchen pretty much to ourselves, as the local hotel was still closed so we had to cook in the campsite. Next year we will remember to check the Victorian calendar before pick a date! In all, we all surely had a lovely time, and Charlie and Marina finished their stay with a 52 kms downstream paddle to Molesworth on Tuesday, having enough water to paddle down at a good speed.

Surf Play at Middleton — 6 February 2022

About to catch the wave

Four intrepid paddlers had a very wet Sunday morning playing in the surf at Middleton. Apart from the side wind, which made conditions a bit choppy and caused us to drift away from the carpark, conditions were great, with mostly manageable waves and the occasional bit of rolling practice.

It was a nice warm sunny day, and the beach was busy with surfers and swimmers taking advantage of the good conditions. The waves were a manageable 1-meter waves, and the SE wind tended to push us along the beach, but at least did not make for steep waves.

After a warm up in the smaller surf near the beach (with a couple of worrying capsizes on my part, but at least my roll was working), we threaded our way through all the swimmers and surfers to find some bigger, cleaner waves out near the backline. We sometimes had a long wait between sets, but were rewarded with some lovely rides, with the waves dying out as they reached the deeper water of a gully rather than breaking right on top of you!

Anthony had a great time in his new boat, and couldn’t stop smiling. He must have doing ok because he had fewer capsizes than me. Simon was looking very comfortable, and even managed to show off by waving at the camera as he surfed past.

After a couple of hours of play aching muscles suggested that maybe it was time to call it quits. Unfortunately, while we had been having fun the wind had pushed us quite far down the beach, so we had a stiff paddle to get back to the launching spot. Deciding to catch one last wave back to the beach, we waited patiently for a good looking wave, and were rewarded with an excellent one, and had a good run in. This wave however was not so well behaved, and promptly broke right on top of me, tumbling me over a few times, knocking the breath out of me and wrenching the paddle out of one hand. Choosing discretion over valour, I did a wet exit and had the walk of shame back to the beach while the others watched, having made it back to the beach with their kayaks.

We retired to the nearest bakery for the customary pie and de-brief, and all agreed that it was an excellent day!