Monday, November 26, 2007


Not tempted to join the outrigger canoe club.

You'd never believe it, but I. Am. SORE. Muscles in my back screaming 'WHAT IN GOD'S NAME HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?' sore.

What kind of deluded maniac would expect not to be after jumping in an outrigger canoe and paddling like the clappers around a buoy for around 600m?

Three times.

After about half an hour of "training" the day before.

I'll give you the tip: swimming does NOT prepare your body for that sort of fast and furious onslaught - not when you're my age and fitness level anyway.

On top of that I've buggered my knee again too. First race - standing thigh deep in water, as waves roll in - I go to "leap" into the canoe, propelling myself off my left leg, and the knee got buffetted at an angle or something - all I knew was excruciating pain as I fell into the boat clutching wildly at my leg. I fell back off the damn seat (looking like a complete goose) and had to haul myself back upright, with the knee still hurting like buggery. (And all I hear is the WTF?s coming from the Dearly Beloved two seats back.)

The canoe club person holding the boat offered to paddle, but I'm nothing if not a martyr - and I wasn't using my knee to paddle - so I stayed in..

We almost won that race, but placed third as two other contenders got a better ride on the wave back into the beach. My knee was still complaining bitterly as we walked back along the beach, and it was all I could do not break down and sob because my knee was so effing sore. I have probably set back its recovery a few weeks.

We got second in the next race - and then scraped through into a semi-final spot.

It was hardly an evenly matched contest. The outrigger club supplied the 'steerers' in the back, and they weren't supposed to paddle, though we reckoned some did, and obviously some were better than others. The starting 'line' wasn't clear - so some teams appeared to have a few metres start - and nor was the finish line. Even the boats varied - some appeared sleeker and longer than others. And the crews were far from evenly matched - some had all blokes...some had very fit looking blokes.. although of course it's not all about strength - some of it is timing. And given all those variables, and the fact that is really a 'social' day, you still give it your all, paddling as if it's the world championship or something. The competitive spirit in all of us.. go figure.

... But here's one for my Queenslander friends.. We were talking about the unevenness of the crews, and Marc commented that one crew had 'bloody Mal Meninga' in it... I assumed at that point that he was making an analogy to some fit, burly bloke who looked like Mal Meninga - a former Australian rugby league star. Some time later I look over to where another crew was sitting and I thought "Gee, that guy really does look like Mal Meninga.. Um.. actually... that IS Mal Meninga." (Yeah, der, says Marc...)

Caitlin would not have recognised him from his Rugby playing days, but was aware of him from being the inspiration for the Chaser's Mal Award (which is explained further down the page in the above link) - and which was presented for this election campaign in last week's Chaser Decides. Very topical!

Later we were explaining to Zoe who he was, and she asked naively "So why was he here?" Cute. "Because, chook, even famous sports people have a real life, with family and friends - and so he obviously has friends or family around here, and they invited him to go in the day - just like we did."

Anyway, back on track... There we were in a semi-final, but outclassed, and rounding the buoy a good boat length behind the other boats. We'd handled every other turn with consummate ease, but not this time, though we still have no idea what went wrong. Three of us were paddling on the left (the side of the outrigger), so it's not like we all paddled on the right and tipped us over. But fall in we did. All in slow motion as the outrigger swung pendulum-like over head, and took us past the point of no return.

Well, we weren't going to win, so at least we did something spectacular, and it was quite warm enough for a swim. While the steerer was all very serious about it, all we could do was laugh. Never mind if all bodies were accounted for - did we still all have our company caps on?!! We got the boat upright and scrambled back in - and the club members sent out another crew, and for some reason we swapped into their boat while they finished bailing ours.

So we kind of finished on a high note of laughter and jokes. The idea of the corporate day was, apart from earning the club a bit of dosh, to hopefully attract new members. I think the organiser guy was a bit disappointed that none of us were converts. "So, you going to come to our beginner's day next Sunday?" Ahh.. no thanks... we said. And that was before my muscles really seized! I can think of more things I'd say to him today about bloody outrigger canoe corporate days.

Marc and I, for one, will stick to our kayaking - when we get around to getting our kayak out again that is. With many kilometres of double-bladed paddling under our belts, we think we prefer that sort of motion, and not having to quick-change the paddle over to the other hand every dozen or so strokes. We were never into sprints, and at our age, the smooth and easy, rhythmical longer distance is more up our alley - or waterway.


We were wondering how it went. Me and Jebus....what fun having him visit *grin* and being able to talk about you. *bigger grin*

Good for giving it a go. I'd have been standing on the beach.
I wondered why my ears were burning! So?!! Spill! Email me. I want to hear all about his visit, and I want photos too!! Then his ears can "burn" as well. :)

~~ Seems Marc and I are the only ones who are sore! The other two guys and Caitlin aren't. Which means? (And no, the other two guys are NOT fitness freaks...)

That sounds like fun, I mean, if you discount the knee. I canoed quite a bit when I was younger, and LOVE being in the water in a non-motorized boat. However, I've never done an outrigger, and never in the ocean surf.
check your emails
ha ha ha ha - you needed Mal on your team. Might be a crap politician (which is kudos in my eyes) but the man is a LEGEND! (He was also once a ball boy at Biloela - noticed they didn't put THAT in his Wiki!)

Sorry about the knee. Definitely you guys were carrying. And about my comment the other day that Dragon Boat racing was non-capsizable? Seems it did os on the weekend and they lost 5!!
Rootie, while I'd like to talk it up, it wasn't open ocean! It was held in the small harbour. (Here's a link with some pics)
A swell does come through the opening, and was a bit on Sunday. One of the races as we moved out to the 'start line' we had to take the not quite breaking wave at an angle, which took us up and then *smack* down onto the water beyond it. Another time I copped a wave breaking right on my chest! I really did cop the dud seat with the #1 spot. It was as the canoe club guy recommended for our team, but even Marc reckons it's a tough spot because the front paddler is having to break the still water.

E! - thanks for emails and pics!

Jeanie - the Mal story was for you (and Brissiemum when she pops in!) I was going to ask him where the cast was on his arm that he played with for so long.

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