The recent persistent East coast lows have provided some fantastic dynamic sea conditions in and around Huskisson for some rough water fun in my trusty whitewater play-boat. On a recent dark and wet afternoon, with rain pelting down and the swell breaking against the outgoing tide of Currambene Creek, the surf break was messy and the ripping tide created standing waves and fast running channels. While not for the purist surfers, I have always found confused surf conditions like these excellent cross training for a range of crucial sea kayaking skills – and as you will see from the clip, its plain out and out FUN (and yes these squeals of delight you hear are real).
It’s often been said that a kayaker doesn’t have a roll until they can roll in the surf – I think the same can be said for those crucial edging and bracing skills as well. For the intermediate paddler who has developed a solid level of bracing, rolling and boat control, it can be difficult to hone these skills and take them to the next level in a safe environment. For years now I have ventured into surf to muck around and practice, starting with very gentle conditions at first and gradually building up my skills and confidence while keeping things safe and not getting beaten up too much (but just enough). I’ve often looked for small and messy multi directional surf breaks which are closer to an open water sea state where swell and wind often move in different directions (and this usually provides some open space with no surfers to run over). I have also divided my surf time between my sea kayak and a smaller play-boat which is more nimble and easy to control. I’ve found that my sea kayaking skills and confidence in rough open water conditions have really benefited from this cross training. Whether it’s a sea kayak, whitewater play-boat or a high performance Mega surf kayak, this provides an excellent option to already experienced paddlers – and can be highly addictive. Remember to think safety first, start slowly and go out and have some FUN. Enjoy the clip.