Paddling strong

Canoe club by Andrew Gills
Canoe club, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

I got out to the West End Canoe Club today for my first paddle on the Brisbane River. To say it was wonderful is an understatement.

It was quiet at the club due to the holidays so I had my choice of boats. I took out a yellow TK1 called ‘Buck’. It’s the first fibreglass boat I’ve ever paddled and the experience was delightful. In the past, I had a sit-in plastic bathtub kayak and I’ve also paddled plenty of sit-on-top sea kayaks too. The fibreglass TK1 was much quicker in the water and had a rudder (I’ve never paddled with a rudder before).

I paddled up the Brisbane River from West End to the green beacon with K. We caught up with D as we paddled (she had left earlier than us) and I sat on their wash for about 500m enjoying the new sensation of bow riding. I can see why this is a useful skill to learn for energy conservation. Especially when paddling into the tide.

At the beacon (4.4km) we turned to paddle back to the boat shed. I was paddling out the front of the group with D. We talked as we paddled, the tide pulling us swiftly back to the ramp.

Paddling on the river is a new way to see my city. It’s pretty out there. We had to dodge rowers and negotiate the waves coming from the City Cats (motorised catermeran passenger ferries). The TK1 handled quite well over the waves, even when the waves bounced back from the sections of the river with concreted walls. D said that I should try a faster boat next time I go out; that I’d be able to handle it despite it being my first time with the club (I used to paddle with Sandgate Canoe Club for about two years in 2005-6 so I’m not a total novice but I used to paddle a plastic bathtub there).

I am excited about joining the canoe club. I’ll fill in the forms this week and start training twice a week.

Total: 8.8km kayak


7 responses to “Paddling strong

  1. I’m so jealous that you could go out kayaking/paddling today. πŸ™‚ My husband built me a beautiful kayak in 2010 that I wish I could use today. If you are interested in the build process, we put together a blog (my first) at Some of it is boring, some fun.

    • Ooh, I’m going to go look at your springrun blog to see how you built the kayak. I am slowly learning to be better with my hands. I never used to have the confidence to do mechanical or building work. A few years ago, my partner and I separated for a little while. During that time, I built all this furniture for our house. It was just shelving and a TV cabinet, and it’s all a little wonky. But I only used a hand saw and power drill on the ground πŸ˜‰ Now that I’m learning to fix my bike, I’m gaining a lot more confidence. I’m also learning from the building mistake by actually buying the correct tools for the jobs πŸ˜‰

      So who knows, one day I might just learn to build a kayak too πŸ˜‰

      • Awesome. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is the man with the tools. You will learn that the only project worth building is one that requires you to buy new tools. Just like you wouldn’t use a road bike or time trial bike in a forest, you wouldn’t use a band saw when you should use a shoulder plane πŸ™‚
        I know what you mean, though, My first husband broke a hammer trying to put up a photograph on the wall. I’ve always leary about trying new things, but this man is so amazing. πŸ™‚
        Do it πŸ™‚

  2. By the way, I like the new look . . . are your widgets on the side (countdowns to races) just the text widgets that you update, or are they something special that count down on their own? I’d love to have some like that for upcoming races.

    • The widgets I’m using (from top to bottom) are:
      – Text (for the stats): I just update the tallies manually
      – Text (for the geocaching stats): I grabbed a html code from to make it look pretty
      – Follow (for the follow)
      – Text (for the upcoming training list): I just manually change it every week
      – Milestones (for the upcoming events countdowns): I move them around as events change – I have three milestone widgets atmos
      – Recent posts
      – Archives: I set it to drop down and ‘show number of posts’
      – Links (all the blog rolls): I created multiple blogroll titles and they all just list themselves in alphabetical order
      – Topic cloud
      – Flickr feed

  3. Andrew, you are just amazing! How do you manage to pack so much adventure into a 24 hr period of time — and still work, eat, sleep, and foster a relationship???

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