From the Chair’s Chair – June2017

It was good to get over to South Australia for the Riverland Paddling Marathon this last June long weekend.

It is one of the iconic Australian ultramarathons run by the Marathon Canoe Club of S.A. down the grand Murray River.

And didn’t it spruce itself up for the occasion. Glorious weather, spectacular scenery, no idiots hooning around looking for trouble on the water…besides us!

And 5-star landcrewing from our relay buddies.

Broke my heart to hear the bad weather we were leaving behind in Sydney. I was almost tempted to return and help mop up.

If you ever get a chance to do it, do it.

 

Was also good to get away from the pressure of negotiations with NSW Maritime over the lifejacket issue. Yes, there will be some who say ‘what does it matter, just wear one’, however PaddleNSW acts in the interests of all its members, and there are some for whom wearing a lifejacket in hot conditions doesn’t make sense, and is potentially dangerous.

 

After many meetings and discussions with interest groups within the PaddleNSW community, we have developed a proposal for the creation of club-based ‘training zones’ for competition paddlers. These will incorporate areas where club paddlers regularly train, and where the conditions are well known.

The proposal would allow for clubs to take responsibility for their own training areas, and determine whether conditions required the wearing of lifejackets or not.

Paddlers would be assessed by qualified club officials for their ability to swim in their training waters (say 100m), and their ability to self-rescue and rescue others.

The winners?

Well, everyone who wishes to train without a lifejacket in their training zone will have been assessed as competent to do so. Those who need to brush up on their skills will be reminded to do so. Those who don’t mind wearing lifejackets will still wear them. And clubs will be encouraged to get paddler qualifications so they can perform competency assessments. Clubs officials will also determine whether conditions require lifejackets to be worn, such as during colder months.

The above proposal is just that…we still have to take it to NSW Maritime, so please wait till it has been approved (or rejected!)

NSW Rowing has used a similar management system to enable rowers a lifejacket exemption. They have coach boats attending, whereas we usually have accompanying paddlers who can render assistance. We are hopeful that commonsense will prevail and enable our paddlers who are currently training illegally to become legal.

 

Apparently the local Harbour Series race on the Long Weekend Saturday was a cracker, with visiting W.A. marathon paddler Brett McDonald teaming up with local legend Brett Greenwood in a double to talk line honours. Great to also see ex-Olympian Yanda Morison at the event too, and encouraging for more female entries in the series.

Of course, I found the results pretty quickly on the PaddleNSW website. What a great resource!

 

Tony HystekPaddleNSW Chairperson