Each year, hundreds of kayakers, ocean skis of every description and SUPs take to Sydney Harbour in what is a veritable pilgrimage from the Harbour Bridge to Manly. The race takes the paddlers under the Harbour Bridge, past Government House around Cruise ships and ferries. circumnavigates gorgeous little bays as well as passes the two dramatically beautiful headlands of Middle and Dobroyd. Its 11.5 km distance is achievable for all levels of paddler, the fastest finishing in about 35 minutes and the slowest in about 2 hours (to roaring applause).
As the sub 45 minute fibreglass fleet of 300 plus vessels flashed past us yesterday, it was suddenly evident that there were only a handful of paddlers left in their chiselled wake, all of us battling our rudderless way through the residual chop but all with huge smiles on our faces.
We are the paddlers of the plastics, the unsinkable, the un-capsizeable, the turtles, the sloggers, the very seagrass roots of kayaking. Our journeys may take 3 times as long as our streamlined co-competitors, but we will burn 3 times as many calories, have 3 times the cardio vascular benefits and have 3 times the amount of fun (and our kayaks will cost about 90 per cent less than that of our so-called sexier counterparts). We may sometimes be unsure which way our paddles face or which is the bow and which the stern, but our abs and upper bodies will ache more in the morning and from a plastics perspective, all those flying fibreglasses are verging on cheating!
So we plastics will stand our ground (float on our flotsam), paddle our bath tubs into 2019, remaining smiling and unintimidated all the way to that lovely finish line at the Bavarian Beer Café, where we will truly deserve our free beer.
If you would like to join us next year, I run kayak fitness classes on Manly Harbour, in conjunction with Manly Kayak Centre, twice a week, all year round, proudly plastic!
Bookings essential, 0413 120 768
PS $20,000 was raised for the Fragile X charity this year