by Rod

Rod Swan

Rod Swan

My Paddling Experience


G’day Everyone, I thought I’d better introduce myself and give you a brief history of myself. I am Rod Swan. Given the name of this website I am highlighting my paddling history. I was raised on a canefarm 50km west of Mackay Queensland Australia. Went to primary and high school at Mirani, a small township about 5kms from our farm. Our farm is on the banks of the Pioneer River and behind the farm the river is quite wide and deep as it is in the backup of Marian weir about 7kms away. So consequently as a kid we spent a lot of time along the banks and swimming in the river.

It wasn’t until I was 16years old through the High School Adventure Club and Duke of Edenborough Scheme I was introduced to a couple people who had just formed the Mackay Canoe Club. These guys were engineers working on the construction of Kinchant Dam only about 5kms the other side of Mirani. These engineers had worked on dams all over Australia and where ever they went there was running water to go paddling in, particularly white water paddling. The PNC of the school found some funds and we quickly learn how to build our own canoes and kayaks out the Canoe Club’s moulds. We soon turned into a production line turning out many canoes for the school and our fellow students. In those days the materials for a 4 meter slalom kayak(which we were most interested in cost about $70.00).

Near the end of our school life we were allowed to drive up river to the Mia Mia bridge about 11kms upstream and paddle down through rapids ect. back to school by 3.00pm. so some of the students could catch the school bus home. The school by the way is on the bank of the Pioneer River as well. To think now I doubt students would be allowed to do that without adult supervision. We built many of the canoes and kayaks at school which students are not allowed to do now, handling those dangerous chemicals such as resins and catalyst.

After finishing school, I started my electrical apprenticeship but continued paddling every weekend. By the time I was in my early 20s I had been voted President of the Mackay Canoe Club. The engineering paddlers had moved on so with the help of other members and in particular Emil Hoogland who was a founding Member, the club grew. We did a huge variety of paddling excursions including family touring and picnic days, white water trips, marathon racing, canoe polo, slalom course paddling and even a bit of sea kayaking.

Highlights included paddling around the Whitsunday Islands, Organizing and racing in the Pioneer River Marathon Race, many other marathons in Rockhampton, Emerald, Townsville, Mission Beach, and Gregory River Race. We also played competition canoe polo against Townsville and Cairns Canoe Clubs. Of course there were the trips to Tully to paddle the rapids up there. I was also involved with the Board of Canoe Education and became an instructor for flat water Canadians and enjoyed teaching the Scout and Brownies some skills.

When in my late 20s my new electrical business and a young family got in the way of my paddling so although I remained keen my kayaks did not see the water very often. A few year ago I started getting back into it again, I’d sold the business and the family has grown up. Things have changed a lot now with plastic white water kayaks and the sky is the limit as far as equipment goes and that is why I want to put something back into the sport. My interests are still as varied, so I will probably cover a lot of different subjects including fishing, but of course white water and sea kayaking are my favorites.


This Website

I want to make this website as interactive as possible. So at the bottom of each post is a comment section where you can comment on that post. The form does ask for an email address but it won’t be published. All comments have to be approved before they are published but unless their not suitable I will publish them. Although I have call this a website, the more accurate discription is a blog and the nature of a blog is that it is constantly changing with new posts. So if you want to keep up with new posts why not subscribe to the RSS Feed either by clicking here or the orange button is on the front page top right hand corner.

In the right hand column of each page there are links for all those reference site we kayakers like to check while planning a trip, eg. Tide Times, River Heights etc. So you can use this site as a reference to find those sites quickly.

Later on there maybe an opportunity for guest blogs if you feel you have something to add.

You can always email me at: rod@kayaksnthings.com


Please leave a comment at the bottom of the posts.