80 years - same dreams - same rivers - new and old paddlers
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SPLASH - November 2016
Monthly magazine of the River Canoe Club
RCC Facebook Group
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RCC Website
 400 - Rise of Community

It is sometime after 4 am – I don’t know when. My GPS broke 50 kms ago.  It’s dark, I’m wet and I am exhausted.  As I approach the boat ramp, they are calling out 300, 300, 300 – it’s not a rallying call for Spartan hoplites, but a call for my land crew to come to my assistance, 300 being my race number.  As I reach shallow water, I make a final effort to sling my wobbly legs over the side.
Suddenly a stranger is there, in the water steading my boat.  I can get out with some dignity, but as my legs touch the concrete ramp, they give way. Instantly the stranger’s hand is there to steady me.  She put a medallion over my neck.  In the background I can still hear the call 300, 300, 300.  Ben is supposed to be here to help, but in the confusion of the night these things happen, I feel alone, exhausted and utterly vulnerable. 
My kayak now touches dry land. Two strangers swoop on my kayak – “where do you want us to take your kayak?”  I can barely think “next to the toilet block”. It is the only place I know. A third stranger slips their arm under mine.  He must be about sixty, never seen him before. He has no name.  He tells me he is going to take me to the first aid tent.  He tells me they have dry clothes to change into. He tells me I can have a massage – I couldn’t think of anything worse except food or drink.  He offers me food and drink.  My body feels like it wants to turn itself inside out.  I feel shattered, my mind is working at half pace, I am incapable of looking after myself.
Two weeks on from the end of the Hawkesbury Classic, I am in Canberra for a recovery weekend, I still feel haunted by this deep feeling of vulnerability.  All the strength and stamina, all the control and concentration of the previous 12 hours of being in my boat and paddling as hard of possible, evaporated to a sense of utter vulnerability. 

Over breakfast I read Gary Linnell’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald from 12 November – Sydney I love you, but it is time to leave your mean streets - Linnell argues Sydney has lost its sense of community, we have become alienated and disconnected, more like rats packed into a cage.  In many ways I think he is right.  In my street there is virtually no sense of community. No one seeks support from each other. No one pries. No one updates. People arrive and depart without acknowledgement.  Are we all just vulnerable individuals hiding in a city of 4 ½ million people, looking for those small breadcrumb trails which could lead us to some likeminded rats?  As I finish my Canberra version of smashed avocado, the Pialligo smokehouse bacon.  I find this a depressing question.
After breakfast I head to the Australian War Memorial, my favorite place for wasting time in Canberra.  I find my great uncle’s name R.A.Smith 2/18 Battalion on the Remembrance Wall.  His name is one of many in his battalion.  I step back and look at the whole wall.  His battalion takes up a large area.  You can easily pick those battalions captured in Singapore in 1942. So few came back.  My great uncle died on the Thai-Burma railway. Those poor bastards.
I am standing at the entrance to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  There is a bronze plaque with the raised letters of a speech.  Some say Australia has no really great Prime Ministers or leaders like the US’s JFK – ‘ask not what your country can do for you…’ or the UK’s Winston Churchill – ‘we shall fight them on the beaches…’ – but in doing so they overlook two of the greatest speeches in our history – Paul Keating’s Redfern speech, and this, his 1993 Remembrance Day speech. Keating does not glorify war or the generals, but talks about the ordinary soldier – ‘It was a lesson about ordinary people – and the lesson was that they were not ordinary’ – the lesson being about what happens when we endure hardship together, when we show courage, when we can be bold and resilient, when we can believe in ourselves, when we can stick together.  I take a photo of the plaque – these words are for keeping.
Back to the end of the Hawkesbury Classic.  My kayak is in the hands of complete strangers being taken away into the darkness.  Another stranger leads my helpless body to the first aid tent.  Out of crowd I spot a club member – I call out ‘Veronique’ – she looks at me, surprised to see me already, surprised by my dramatic change in appearance since she last saw me at 4pm the day before. She is instantly beside me. A sense of relief drains through my body, I am safe, I am with friends. We continue to the first aid tent, still in the arms of my stranger, but now Veronique is in charge.  The search for Ben has begun.  We are in the tent.  I struggle with my clothes.  The general questions of the stranger are replaced with precise questions and conversations from Veronique.  She tells me of the progress of our other club members, she ask me direct questions about my health.  Very soon Ben arrives.  He too was not expecting my early arrival and was still napping.  He brings me the one item I always crave after a paddle, my towel poncho.  Off with the wet clothes, on with the poncho, I feel half human again.  I tell Ben his job is now to get me home as fast as possible.  I have to get this body to bed before it collapses.
Three weeks on, and I have almost recovered.  Mentally the scars of hearing 300, 300, 300 have been replaced by the thoughts of 400, 400, 400. 
Four hundred paddlers took on the Hawkesbury Classic. Four were from our club members.
Four hundred land crew supported those paddlers. From our club, Veronique, Ben and Tracy devoted themselves to our care for almost 24 hours.
Four hundred volunteers gave up their time, stayed up all night, endured cold and discomfort, to make this event happen.
So three weeks on I can’t disagree with Gary Linnell more.  There is community in Sydney.  It’s not in my street, its not in my suburb, but it is in the connections between people, those who paddle together, in clubs, those who work together in associations to create something bigger than ourselves, such as PaddleNSW or the Hawkesbury Classic association, celebrating their 40th year.

Maybe Gary Linnell expects ‘community’ will be put on for him when he feels vulnerable.  It doesn’t work that way. Community, in Keating’s terms, is created by ordinary people coming together to work hard, show courage, to be bold, to be resilient, to believe in ourselves, and to stick together.  In the same way, our club is defined not by what we organise, but what ordinary members put in.  Every committee member, every trip leader, every helper contributes to building that community.  At the point which I was most vulnerable, being safe in the hands of strangers, that sense of relief in seeing Veronique, and the care given by Ben in getting me home – that’s all community for me.
For those paddling the Womdomnom next week, get to meet a great community.  The Womdomnom committee and volunteers are a perfect example of community, and what can be achieved by working together.
The Hawkesbury Classic is over for me for another year.  My time is irrelevant, my memories on the river are vague.  Its value for me, was all about what happened after 300, 300, 300 was called.

The Splash archive on the River Canoe Club website has now been updated to include all editions dating back to February 2012.
2016 RCC Xmas Party
This year's club Xmas party returns to Maianbar.  The vibe is a combination of Weekend at Bernie's, Deliverance and Point Break. Maianbar offers flat water, open water and just a hint of white water, enough to keep everyone amused.
Our preference is for you to paddle in, park your boat by Cabbage Tree Creek and socialise and paddle to you drop.  Please read below for extra information, or click here to view the full details

Hope to see you on the water or at the party.
  • 11.23 am - High tide
  • 1 pm - Build your skills with bracing strokes, edging skills, rolling practice, rescue drills
  • 2 pm - Ebb tide at the Footbridge - water drawing out of the Basin provides a great place to learn how to paddle confidently in moving water - available for both short and long boats.
  • 4 pm - Bundeena Spit Ebb Tide - surfing small waves in sea kayaks - the Bundeena Spit has a range of small waves perfect for fun and developing new skills
  • 6.03 pm - low tide
  • 7pm Sundower - Drinks on the deck
  • 7.45 pm - Fire up the barbie
  • 8.30 pm - Xmas dinner
  • 4.30 am - Dawn paddle to Jibbon Beach
  • 6 am - Morning coffee and breakfast on the balcony
  • 9 am - Flat water paddle to South West Arm or elsewhere
  • 12 pm - RCC Xmas over for another year

Please email our social coordinator if you are attending.
Please indicate if you intend to:
  1. paddle on either the Saturday or Sunday
  2. stay the night
  3. bring food
  4. bring your own kayak
Be sure to update your records with the new club bank account details:

Bank: ANZ
Branch: Sydney CBD
BSB:  012172 
Acct: 301865753
Name: River Canoe Club of NSW Incorporated
Mid-week Summer Paddle
Now until March 2017

The mid-week paddles continue to run during the summer months (making the most of daylight savings). The program offers two levels of paddles, one for beginners and another for fitness. Click here for more information.
Rob 'n' Roddy's Thursday Morning Fitness Paddle
On-going through Summer

A regular Thursday Morning Fitness Paddle with Rob and Roddy (photo may or may not be a true and accurate representation of Rob, but is definitely a good likeness to Roddy). Sessions may be cancelled at short notice due to water quality, so be sure to check in with Roddy if you intend on joining. Click here for more information.
24th - 27th November 2016

The gold medal event for recreational kayakers - four days down the gentle Macquarie River, 150 kms - fully supported by the local volunteers - This bring glamping and kayaking together in a single event. Options for Wednesday pre-paddle trip. Click here for more information.
Woolooware Bay trip
Saturday 17th December 2016

Paddle trip to explore the mangroves of Woolooware Bay, departing from Tarren Point. Click here for more information.
Royal Nation Park
Open Water

Wednesday 28th December 2016
and again on
Wednesday 4th January 2017

Departing from Port Hacking, the plan is to paddle down to Wattamolla for lunch, then return - 30 kms return - no short cuts, just tall cliffs and the deep blue sea. Click here for more information.
Dare to dream - Bass Strait Crossing 2018
Tempted? Contact Andy
The Sydney Circle
CANCELLED for 2016
Watch this space - the challenge has been set, so ready your paddles (and your stamina) for the 50km Sydney Circle in 2017.
A quick reminder it's time to renew your River Canoe Club membership.
Head over to the Australian Canoeing site and support your club.
  • Flight Centre group travel
  • Choice Hotels Australia up to 15% discount
Boats and Equipment
  • Performance Canoes & Kayaks 5% discount on  new kayaks
  • EPIC Kayaks Australia 5% discount not including Ultra
  • Bennett Paddles 10% discount on paddles and 15% on accessories
  • Floating Assets 5% discount
  • Think Kayaks 10% discount
  • Mirage Sea Kayaks 5% discount
  • Sydney Harbour Kayaks 15%-25% discount
  • Roof Rack City 5%-10% discount


  • Usana Health Sciences 25% off RRP
  • Megaburn Natural Nutrition
  • BUPA Health Insurance
  • CWX Conditioning wear 20% discount
  • Summit Gear 10% Discount
  • Smitten Merino 10% Discount
  • Catfish Designs 20% Discount
  • Experience Oz 10% Discount
  • Jervis Bay Kayaks 10% Discount
  • Cumec Magazine 40% off
  • Gift it Now 10% off
2016-17 Club Committee
President - Andy Singh - 0414922979
Vice President - Lynn Parker - 0406428331
Secretary - Tracy Hudson - 0411024088
Treasurer - Simon Wilkes - 0423779631
Flat Water Convener - Rob Walker - 0408446017
White Water Convener - Dave Burgess
Open Water Convener - Andy Singh - 0414922979
Safety & Training Convener - Nicole Bartels
Social - Deborah Doherty - 0418243527
House Officer - Nell Graham - 0402267246
Web Master - John Larsen - 0412038085
Splash Editor - Kim Wyles - 0414603725
Club Enquiries
Andy Singh
0414 922 979
This Magazine is copyright to River Canoe Club. No part may be reproduced without permission. Non-profit canoeing clubs may reproduce any article without permission, as long as the source and copyright is acknowledged. 

Meetings are held periodically at either the Clubhouse, situated at Richardsons Crescent Marrickville (opposite Tempe Railway Station and next to the Concordia Club), or depending on trips away by a river somewhere. 

Check calendar for the dates and venue.
Kayak Hire
Evening hire:            $5
Single day hire:        $30
Weekend hire:          $50
Hire price includes:
  • boat
  • PFD
  • spray deck
  • paddle
Helmets: Club policy requires all members to provide their own helmet that fits comfortably and meets relevant standards.  Helmets are required for whitewater and surf trips.

Kayak Hire Booking

Discuss with trip leader well before the day of the trip. Access to the club can be arranged through committee members (see contact list).

Payment Options

Cash to Trip Leader at commencement.

Payment via Electronic Funds Transfer:
  • Account:       River Canoe Club of NSW Incorporated  
  • Bank:            ANZ
  • BSB:             012172
  • Account No:  301865753
Advise the trip leader if paying via EFT. Include surname and reason (eg: ‘marqueJones’ or ‘boatJones’ in the payment comment).
Kayaks Available
  • Necky Jive x 1
  • Dagger RPM x 2
  • Dagger GTX x 1
  • Nomads x 4
  • Bliss Stick mini
  • Pyranha Burn
  • Pyranha Fusion
  • Jackson Rogue
  • Feelfree – literally feel free
  • Eskimo Topo (Double) 
    The Torvill/Dean of WW
  • Perception Minnow
  • Perception Spectrum
  • Australis Platypus x 2
  • Q-Kayak Tui x 2
Open Water
  • Wilderness Zypher 16
  • Q-Kayak Penguin
  • Winner Double
  • Dag Miwok

Next Splash Edition - December 2016

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NSW River Canoe Club · PO Box 251 · Canterbury, Nsw 2193 · Australia

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