His mesmerising photos shot from the water have created a cult following with people as far flung as Norway and the USA. But it’s the impact that the Kayak Cameraman has had on the way Canberrans are experiencing Lake Burley Griffin, that is creating the biggest impression of all.
From having his kayak sniffed at by a curious cow, to being pulled across the lake by a hot air balloon, Paul Jurak’s daily paddles on Lake Burley Griffin take him on a different journey each time. And he’s documented each adventure with a series of stunning photographs posted on his blog almost daily.
Coincidentally, there has been a definite increase in activity on the lake since he first started more than five years ago, whether it’s people doing yoga on stand up paddleboards or taking in the views from a goboat.
Paul admits that he used to completely take the lake for granted. “I’d drive by it and cycle around it, but it never occurred for me to actually get in it,” he says.
Until one day, whilst driving back from having chemotherapy for his second bout of testicular cancer, Paul took a detour and ended up in a kayak shop.
“Chemo just strips you raw,” says Paul. “So I was looking for something that could rebuild me physically. Kayaking started off being 80% physical and 20% mental, but soon after I started, it became the other way around. Now it’s my form of daily meditation.”
Paul is now a kayak evangelist and has converted many people over the years, particularly those who were going through rough times in their lives.
“It really is like therapy,” he says. “It changes your whole perspective—literally and metaphorically. If you haven’t tried it, you really need to get out there and give it a go.”
Paul’s tips for getting on the water
Try before you buy
Wet Spot in Fyshwick hold regular demonstrations. So whether it’s a stand up paddleboard, canoe or kayak, you can work out what you prefer before investing.
Build it into your regular routine
To really get the most out of being in the water, you need to experience it on a regular basis. As much as I can, I go out daily—in every season. I just invest in the right gear to keep me comfortable all year round.
Practice the art of being still
It’s actually really hard for busy people to not just power through the water. But trust me, if you just let yourself be motionless, even if it’s for just one minute, you’ll get the true therapeutic benefits of being on the water, and you’ll start to notice things that you just don’t get to see from being onshore.