I’ve been enjoying a bit of white water kayaking of late at Penrith White Water Centre.
One thing about the Penrith WW Centre is most folk are nice to chat to and offer their perspective. One fellow I met was David Burgess, a particularly good guy with a smile and the hand of friendship to all. Dave has been a bit of a mentor for my WW skills and some time ago gave me the encouragement to add this skipping routine into my WW skills arsenal to improve my skills and confidence. So thank you Dave.
The manoeuvre is essentially skipping across Main Wave. Main Wave is the largest drop at Penrith. All of the water funnelled down a steep and chute. At the bottom, a large tail kicks up and looks ugly. However, most of the water flushes through and the stopping power isn’t great. Behind the tail are further waves and turbulence that can equally unseat a paddler. To each side, there are hard eddy lines with swirling waters within. Hitting the rapid slightly off-centre seems logical to avoid the tail but if you drift out far enough then you’ll hit the eddylines so you need to have your edge control and fell all sorted out. The eddy on river right has its own issues with shallows getting in the way of paddle strokes and an overfall that, while seeming small by comparison, has unseated me. Taking it all on as a new endeavour is intimidating to say the least.
So Dave says, ‘Just punch in hard pointing the bow at the bollard to cross the eddyline as high up in the eddy as possible’. Believe it or not, he was right. It takes courage, balance, a few solid strokes and edge control as the water direction switches up twice in a heartbeat. Now I’ve been doing it for 12 months, it is a cool fun feature to hit on the course.
Penrith WW Centre is a top fun facility on our doorstep in Sydney and I’d encourage other kayakers to get there for enjoyment, thrills and skills development.