Playing in tide races requires a level of skill and commitment. It also requires a level of fitness.
Unfortunately for me I've let my fitness level slip to the point that when I recently went out to practice in a one to two meter tide race I found myself doubting my sanity.
I had three objects in mind: do a little surfing, practice a few circles in the race then link two circles into a figure eight.
The surfing started out fine. I launched from Smugglers Cove or Maynard Bay and paddled up above the actual tide race in Baynes Channel. I let the kayak drift down backward onto the leading standing wave and easily caught a ride. I repeated the exercise for about twenty minutes then swung about to head directly into the heart of the race.
When I was well into the chaos of waves I started my turn. Unthinkingly I turned away from the nearest shore and toward the centre of the channel. This meant I had to fight counter clockwise through my planned circle and through the full measure of the current. If I'd turned the other way, toward the nearby shore, perhaps as much of half of the circle would have been assisted by the inshore counter eddy.
The consequence of my mistake was to be knocked about for a good ten minutes while I attempted to complete my circle. For a few moments I began to wonder about the out come. Would I be able to complete the circle? Should I abandon the circle and simply let the race carry me out through the bottom end? Should I start working out?
Was I managing the risk or was the tide race playing with me? Should I have kept that blond's phone number? Clearly I was in a confused state of mind.
Eventually I clawed my way out of the top of the race and slipped into calmer waters completely knackered. I'd had enough for one day.
Two days later I returned to the same scene but with small one to two meter waves. Surfed like a mad man, did two or three circle turns, a figure eight turn, then slid over to practice some break outs and break ins through a strong eddy line.
I've promised to get back into better shape, but have yet to start.