Home' Afloat : AFLOAT May 2016 Contents Take monthly with water May 2016 53
ON THE WATER with David Lockwood
Time for some
just so easy to store I wouldn’t leave the
berth without one.
My last few SUP outings have also seen
me tuck a rod under my arm and sally forth
for a spot of fishing. By golly you can sneak
superb. With an ultra-light outfit and some
tiny lures you can tempt all manner of fish
that have no idea of your presence. The
bigger bream, whiting and flathead will
even pull you along before you scramble
to shore for the release photo.
At the same time, May heralds the
start of the boat-show season. The 2016
Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show
is being run concurrently with the 2016
Gold Coast Marine International Expo.
The former has a spread on luxury cruisers,
while the latter is the place to wander the
trailerboat displays and Riviera’s premises
with its open-door weekend.
I’ll be at both boat shows, covering
what’s new, talking to suppliers about
the gear on my boat that requires DIY
maintenance or parts, and most certainly
looking at the watercraft and wondering
if I should buy the latest one to add to
the fleet. The new Hobie Mirage Eclipse
stepper-propelled SUP looks good. Could
really do with one this May. h
Stand-up paddleboard day at the RMYC
Newport. Everyone is doing it and May is a
great time to strike out.
Shags perch on gibbers and flap
their shiny wings, as chestnut teals
paddle to the duckboards looking
for their daily bread. Sea mullet splash and
swirl en masse for their annual sea run,
and luderick start courting their partners
over the seagrass meadows. The winds
blow briskly from the south west and it’s a
cue for everyone to think about tomorrow.
In May, the transformation in the
animal kingdom is under way. Boaties
certainly don’t escape the change. The
average sortie appears to be relegated
to a few hours on a sunny Sunday. The
lengthening shadows and dew y mornings
keep many folk indoors. There are winter
sports getting in the way of sleep-ins. Lace
up Little Johnny and look for a car park.
Throw down a banger on a bread roll for
breaky and the Lions Club.
But getting out on the water doesn’t
need to require great mental or physical
effort. May is a terrific month for
maintaining your active lifestyle. You’ve
got this far after a busy summer of doing
all things you love outdoors. Don’t let it
go to waste or waist. Just think a little
differently, perhaps more about being on,
rather than in, the water.
To this end, May is the absolute
prime time for striking out in a small
craft: a paddle craft, a ’yak, a stand-up
paddleboard or SUP, a sailing dinghy, a
nice timber rowboat or just a knockabout
tinnie. Think up the creek with a paddle,
sun-drenched bays, calm water lapping
the shores at high tide, mangroves and
sandbanks, brackish water exploration.
As something of a paddle enthusiast,
I’ve got a bunch of self-propelled watercraft
at my disposal and recently added to the
fleet. The new family members include a
second inflatable SUP and a small white-
water polyethylene kayak, minus neoprene
skirt, that someone had on the side of a
local street for $75. I hit the brakes, slid
into the gutter sideways, leapt out, parted
cash, and shoved the craft in the boot.
Another toy and for a song or sea shanty.
Having paddled a bunch of ’yaks over
the years, it’s my opinion that the Hobies
are still hard to beat. I say this having paid
full retail to share this unbiased evaluation
and view. I base my conclusion on the fact
there’s some hydrodynamic design about
Hobie hulls. The tend to track better than
cheaper yaks, they tend to be more stable
due to wider aft sections, they deflect water
off their forward chines or swooping sea-
kayak like bows, and they are cool.
Kayaks still require maintenance and a
lot of the fittings on my Hobies have pulled
out due to pretty ordinary self-taper screw
fixings. Also, the early brass spring-loaded
clips for the seats seized no matter how
often you rinsed them in fresh water. A lot
of these fittings have since been improved.
But the plastic hulls remain indestructible,
affordable, and just a great source of
amusement and adventure.
Pack a waterproof bag with your
personal effects, mount a GoPro on the
bow, strike out with a small flick stick
and clutch of lures and you can enjoy
some calm-water estuary fishing with a
’yak. You might be pleasantly surprised
by the calibre of the catch. Big kingfish
and jewfish are willing victims and among
the impressive Sydney catches shared to
social-media fishing sites these days.
In the last few years, I’ve also jumped
on a bunch of SUPs. Paddleboards have
supplanted ’yaks for quick commutes to
shore. The boating anchorages are full
of stand-up paddlers working on core
strength in the morning and afternoon.
You see SUPS lashed to bows of all kinds
of boats and the inflatable models are
Fishing from a SUP is a novel
and effective method in calm
estuaries like Pittwater.
Bream on a popper from a stealthy SUP.
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