We're an all-welcome, free, surfski training group operating out of Rose Bay in Sydney's Eastern suburbs. Join in, you're welcome. Get fit, build skills, start early, enjoy the harbour, earn your big brekky....what could be better?
For mid-week training show up at 5.45am on Tuesday or Thursday at Woolahara Sailing Club or Lance's shed. Or every Saturday at 8am we hold a time trial on Rose Bay beach near the Sailing club, anything between 8km and 12km depending on weather and mood. If you just want to find out more, come down after the time trial (around 9am as we return to the beach) and say hi to any of the ski paddlers pulling up.
Our roots go back several years to the encouragement by local champion paddlers Tommy Woodriff and Lance O'Connor in getting training groups going in Rose Bay. A couple of groups were formed and trained religiously on various early morning sessions for years until coming together as a single loose-knit group that became Shark Island Paddlers. Tuesdays and Thursdays the skis go out together (byo ski), and on the other weekdays Tommy runs a cross-training session on plastic kayaks (provided) is run by Tommy (fees apply to this group, info here). Come rain hail or shine, these groups are on....no weather stops us (if it's really, really bad we just stay in the bays).
Post-squad brekkies following Tuesday and Thursday sessions are a midweek-tradition at our spiritual home Vanilla Jam cafe in Double Bay where Matt provides spiritual guidance in the form of great coffeewith eggs on the side.
Along the way, Lance imported some cheap Kiwi labour to build a kayak storage shed (and rental operation) at the west (Point Piper) end of the bay (below the police station) and Woollahra Sailing club made more kayak storage available too. The sailing club offers warm showers, Lanc'e shed offer tranquility and a nice beach...debate continues about which is superior!
Early in the piece, Tommy and friends established the weekly time trial every Saturday, which is the regular get together of our community followed by even more drawn-out breakfasting (are you seeing a theme here?). A volunteer keeps the time sheets and emails them around so the TT is a great way to measure progress as well as test rivalries on the water - there have been a few epic showdowns over the years. It's a handicap race, so nobody falls (too) far behind even the fastest paddlers (who might be giving you a 12 minute start!). If you want to receive the TT results by email, register at the TT site.
We also host/organise a couple of formal Paddle NSW-sanctioned races as part of the Harbour Series, namely the Rose Bay Challenge and the Tingira Open winter race. Both raise funds for chaitable organisations. To ensure adequate provision of Paddle NSW marketing, safety and timing assistance for these races, in 2013 Shark Island Paddlers incorporated as a club under Paddle NSW.
The community spirit of SIP is unchanged - no money changes hands for the training group or Time Trial (apart from Tommy's sessions for which he provides plastic sit-on-tops). No leaders, just paddlers; it's a social, supportive bunch, everything is voluntary, everybody looks out for each other but takes ultimate responsibility for themselves.
* Shark Island Paddlers morning training paddles are not led or supervised & as such everyone who participates does so at their own risk. Whilst we all look out for each other you should be aware that paddling is a dangerous recreational activity and injury and even death can occur very quickly.
* If you paddle with us you agree that neither the person/s who decide the course nor any other paddlerspresent or otherwise are liable for any injury or accident. You paddle at your own risk and must apply your own discretion at all times and not rely on the judgement of the other paddlers.
* For your own wellbeing you must be aware of NSW Maritime regulations and safety guidelines in relation to kayaks & paddle craft including the use of flotation, suitable marine lights & safety gear. See here for safety information and here for pfd information and legal requirements.
* Each paddler must wear a PDF, and we strongly recommend you use a paddle leash attached to the boat and/or paddle, carry flares, a waterproofed cell phone, a wedge to lock the rudder in case of cable breakage, a pea-less whistle. Appropriate lighting front and back is a legal requirement in the dark.
* It is recommended that participants carry suitable insurance and join Paddle NSW. They provide you with insurance cover in the event that you cause injury to other people whilst paddling. Your membership and/or participation of either the Shark Island Paddlers or the Rose Bay Time Trial means you have read and accepted the above.