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The Christmas and Silly Season is upon us!

Dear Friends, the Christmas and Silly Season is upon us. The first and last message in this time of great joy and loneliness is - for my money - not going to be blah blah Merry Christmas or Joy to the world as arms exports are up and defences are down…NO. My message today is a salient and stern reminder in respect of the ways of paddling.

FIRST: Safety. Remember wherever you go paddling or indeed carousing over the silly season bear in mind some practical safety tips. Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted. Thus check the water and wind conditions before you go out. Know the tides, and don’t cut that corner too tight near a reef. In carousing don’t go down darkened alley ways unless you have sent a scout up ahead to chart the way and bear painful witness to adversity. Tether yourself to practicality – use that leg rope and always wear a PFD. Remember the upright boat is the fast boat…as in paddling as in life.

SECOND: Positive Participation. Thus first visualise your paddling off the water and on the water undertake to put that strong visualisation into practice – commit yourself to the stroke and to the conditions. As the Japanese Master Miyamoto Musashi says When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void … With your spirit settled, accumulate practice day by day, and hour by hour. Until you realize the true way. The lesson of course is don’t be over bearing but commit commit commit – to your paddling, to yourself, to your family and to your country. Pro patria.

THIRD: Tell a friend and never stop learning. Have a paddling plan and commit that plan to a friend to include your expected hour of return. This may sound like safety but its more than that you know. People need people – if you are doing it tough over the Silly Season find a buddy or a mate or a good looking partner to talk to. You’re not alone.

Right I have done my bit to inject harsh meat hook reality into the Christmas season (and next year I may write the lessons for paddling emerging from ‘On War’ by Clausewitz). Keeping yourself on the true path will keep Christmas causalities down!

In the meantime ‘20 Beaches’ is done, that race whilst some may have kept the T Shirt is yesterday’s chip-paper (and next year’s meal). NOW we must not imbibe too much over Christmas as Makai awaits in early February. From Makai it is an easy paddle to selection for the World Championships in Portugal in 2020. Many from WSC will be called.

Have a wonderful Christmas. Give extensively of yourself. A note to remember our beloved Tom who would have been 67 today. If you are near his tree give him some love, share a coffee with him, and have a chat. When you are out on the water take the time to appreciate just how lucky we are to be able to see the sun-rises that we do, to paddle in this most beautiful harbour and the nearby most perfect (if some-what plasticy these days) Pacific Ocean. Be kind to others around you. And don’t forget every Saturday is the Best Time Trial Ever where you may hunt your friend’s down, overtake them and beat them to the finish line.

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