Starring: Greg and Moira Schwarz, Gnarlydog, Adventuretess
Australia isn’t only about vegemite, koalas, mateship and cockroach races at the Story Bridge Hotel, it’s about living the Aussie dream and ‘having a go’.
After returning a day early from Fraser Island, I decided to spend my bonus day off pursuing my current Aussie dream, to hand roll my kayak.
An impromptu session with rolling mentors Moira and Greg Schwarz was arranged.
Watching Greg and Moira’s effortless balanced braces and Greenland rolls has inspired me to ‘have a go’.
It isn’t always pretty, but I have a lot of fun testing the boundaries of balance in my kayak. Without their guidance, balanced bracing would just be some weird thing that those kayak roll specialists do.
Armed with determination and a neoprene oven mitt, we met Moira and Greg among the patriotic hordes setting up bbq’s and esky’s along the grassy shorefront.
I’ve been attempting hand rolls for a short time and I just couldn’t quite pull it off. Almost reaching the back deck and then failing, my bare handed sweep wasn’t working for me. Warming up with a short paddle and a few rolls, I carefully studied Greg and Moira as they performed hand rolls.
I put the neoprene glove on and listened carefully to Moira’s instructions.
Before I knew it I had rolled and was lying on Sialuk’s back deck looking into the sky.
Tentatively I tried again, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Feeling more confident, I tried it again and sure enough, up I came.
By this time, I was getting excited and wanted to try it one more time before going commando (without the glove). Well, the magic left me and my hand rolling came to an end. Moira comforted me with assurances that this was common when learning to hand roll. It comes. And it goes.
Taking a break we all swapped kayaks and I watched as Moira hand rolled, Greg elbow crook rolled and Damiano butterfly rolled in Sialuk – his first!
Moira paddles an Avocet LV and the cockpit fits me very well. I decided to try the hand roll one more time and surprising myself, I managed to hand roll a further 3 times in the Avocet LV before the magic washed off.
We 4 left the beach satisfied. For a few short hours we’d all ‘had a go’ and ‘lived the dream’. Sharing celebratory ice creams afterwards, I was a very happy kayaker.