Monday, July 27, 2009

I don't feel safe in a dinghy!

David, my regular paddling buddy, used to paddle off the Ayrshire coast with John Young in the Kyle Canoe Club (now KKC). John designed and built his own Kyle, skin on frame, sea touring canoe. It was a fast boat as he was interested in speed and trained with Alistair Wilson of Lendal paddles, who competed in kayak sprints in both the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. John also introduced his son Jock to kayaking at the tender age of two. Jock went on to develop an interest in surf kayaking and was Master Longboat Champion at the 2008 British Surf Open.

Back in 1976, Jock took part in a film of a "coastal journey" from Glenfinnan down Loch Sheil, down the River Sheil and falls, into Loch Moidart, then round the Ardnamurchan peninsula and into Loch Sunart. John paddled his father's Kyle kayak. His three companions, Rusty Baillie, Sue Edwards and Liz Elliot paddled composite Valley Anas Acutas which were the latest development at the time, though they did not have either bulkheads or hatches.

The film is beautifully shot and features a great scene where they ask the Ardnamurchan lighthouse keeper (think Peter Sellers does Thunderbirds)for a weather forecast.

The closing seconds of the film feature Jock and Rusty paddling along the dark rocks of Ardnamurchan in a huge swell. Jock turns just in time to meet a monster wave and his sea canoe gets tossed high into the sky, with big air below his keel. As the film fades he is heard to say "I don't feel safe in a dinghy."

When you see this clip you will know what it takes to be a Master Surf champion!

I would love to track down the original of this wonderful film. It deserves to be shown again, perhaps at the Perth Canoe show. Simon Willis was not aware of this film but has kindly agreed to use his professional contacts to try and track the original down.