Whitewater kayaking is one of the clubs biggest sections and with good reason – we have by far the biggest range of brightly coloured plastics. The mandatory minimum of kayaking attire is also quite fetching, including a spraydeck which is commonly described as a skirt, and a particularly sexy life jacket.
To get a taste for whitewater, we will be running some beginner trips early in semester, probably on the Yarra and or the Goulburn River. These are run by the more experienced kayakers of the club and are designed for beginners. In addition the weekly Canoe Polo session at Monash Clayton Pool (Thursday nights) is a great place to learn and to go though the basics of kayaking (see the Canoe Polo section).
The Victorian kayaking season is an unpredictable beast and the plaything of the gods. In short when it rains properly we go kayaking. During the recent 10 year drought, the kayaking season was limited to scraping on rocks down most rapids and some of the wayward kayakers drifted towards rock climbing (oh the horror!). Then the 2011 floods happened and the season was so long that the Carnies at Latrobe Uni were still trying to run trips in January, but that is LUMC for you.
That being said the real kayaking season, when intermediate and higher trips occur, usually runs from June-September, when it sometimes decides to rain in Victoria. If it rains properly the rock-climbers cry, the kayakers praise the rain gods and we go usually go kayaking that weekend. So if you are keen on having a go at kayaking you should use the beginner river trips in the earlier part of the year to prepare yourself for tackling some of Victoria’s real rivers later in the year.
The Goulburn River or ‘the Goblin’ features a gentle introduction to whitewater, which includes a few small rapids, and just before take-out there are some more interesting rapids to be encountered, caused by the ‘pumpkins’. These are a bunch of manmade concrete blocks lobbed into the watercourse, just to spice things up. The final rapid, which forms the main wave, is big enough to get you stoked, but easy enough to navigate that nothing too horrible will happen to you.
We usually also run some Yarra trips to kick the year off, which are similar to the Goblin, but without a bigger rapid at the end. The big bonus about the Yarra is that we put in at Warrandyte, so it doesn’t take long to get to.
Bumbly Day Out will be your first opportunity to get out of the pool, with flat water kayaking on
Lysterfield Lake. It is the perfect introduction for beginners, so you should definitely bring some bathers and a towel if you decide to come. Try to make it to a pool session before this, or you will be shown how to exit an overturned boat in Lysterfield Lake, as opposed to Monash Pool. One is cold, the other is usually somewhat warmer…
So head on down to the pool learn how to get in and out of a boat and to propel it in the right general direction, so you can cruise down the river trips with some degree of confidence, and work up to the inter-university Mitchell trip in September. Kayaking trips, as with club activities in general, are cheap as chips (though you may well hear me complaining about the price of chips these days) at $10 for gear hire per day, and the only other costs associated are for food, and your share of petrol money to get you there. As with everything club related all events will be advertised via the email list. If you want any more details send me an email.
See you on a river in soon!
Kayaking Rep: Peter Uhe