Packing A Sea Kayak

Packing A Sea Kayak

Packing a sea kayak is something that many paddlers spend time refining and tinkering with. There are no absolute rules but a few key concepts or ideas that can aid with packing in a more secure or organised fashion. The following two videos demonstrate two different paddler’s chosen methodology.

Roddy McDowell

Roddy McDowell is a BCU Level 4 coach and 5 Star Leader. He runs Kayak Bute as well as being Scotlands Tiderace dealer. In association with Lomo Watersports he has just released this detailed video on his strategy for packing a sea kayak. An interesting watch that not only shows how and where he packs his kit but also gives an insight into what he packs.

Paul Kuthe

Credit goes to Dave Johnstone at Paddling Instructor for alerting me to this short video from Kokatat Watersports on how to pack a Sea Kayak. Kokatat sponsored Sea Kayak instructor Paul Kuthe walks the viewer through his methodology for packing a sea kayak and shares some tips and tricks for making the most of the available space.

There are no huge surprises for the experienced paddler however for relative newcomers to sea kayaking it is a useful introduction to the packing a boat. It’s also the first time I’ve heard a deck hatch referred to as a ‘glovebox’!

NFKCC Fireworks Paddle

NFKCC Fireworks Paddle

Saturday night saw a handful of New Forest Kayak & Canoe Club members paddle up the Beaulieu River to watch the Fireworks Spectacular event from the banks of the river. It was a enjoyable way to spend the evening and see the fireworks. A huge mention to Jackie and Steve who organised the paddle but also went to such amazing lengths to decorate themselves and their kayaks. (more…)

Video: Sea Kayak Trip To The Needles

Video: Sea Kayak Trip To The Needles

Last weekend I was working for Isle of Wight Sea Kayaking and ran a two day Sea Kayak coaching course for a group of paddlers from Tower Hamlets Canoe Club. On the second day, the group undertook a short exercise to plan a day trip given the full set of tidal and weather information. The result was a stunning sea kayak trip to the Needles. I took the opportunity to play with the new Go Pro camera and capture some of the day. (more…)

Poole Harbour Survey

Poole Harbour Survey


The Dorset Coast Forum are running a Poole Harbour Survey at the moment to understand the value of kayaking and canoeing to Poole Harbour (as well as 5 other recreational activities).

The Dorset Coast Forum asks:

We are asking people who have been kayaking/canoeing in Poole Harbour over the last year to complete our survey, and you can also enter the free prize draw to win one of three prizes – £125, £75 or £50 vouchers to spend in a watersports shop or with the National Trust.

More information about the results can be found on their website.

The survey is available to complete online.

Review: Kayalu Suction Mount and Tough Bar

Review: Kayalu Suction Mount and Tough Bar

So having invested in a Go Pro camera, I then turned my attention to the issue of mounting it onto sea kayaks. I’d already picked up a RAM ball-mount for the Go Pro however realised that as part of a Kayalu Gear Navbeam system that I reviewed a while back actually contained all the ingredients I needed for a versatile mounting system similar to the specific Kayalu Suction Mount and Tough Bar package. (more…)

Video: P&H Hammer

Video: P&H Hammer

I’ve been out playing in the new P&H Hammer as part of my ongoing writing for Ocean Paddler Magazine. Having just invested in a GoPro Hero 3 camera I was looking for a test piece to start learning my way around the camera so shot some footage of flat water testing the P&H Hammer down on the Beaulieu River. Here are the results!

The P&H Hammer is a very unique boat and a very interesting and in some ways tricky kayak to test and review as it is different to a traditional sea kayak. P&H describe the Hammer as:

…a radical new kayak primed to take ‘play the sea’ and river exploration to a whole new level. Influences from the P&H Delphin and the Pyranha Fusion and aspects of white-water kayak design feature in the Hammer; giving both sea and white-water paddlers the opportunity to have some serious fun.

As the video shows, it certainly has handling characteristics of a River boat in terms of it’s ability to spin quickly with limited paddle strokes thanks to it’s planning hull.

The next stage of the review process involves getting it into some lumpy water and surf as well as exploring some rock gardens, stacks and caves. Look out for the full review in issue 38 of Ocean Paddler Magazine but in the meantime, take a look at the P&H Hammer in action in the surf in the video below, shot by Simon Osbourne from Sea Kayaking Cornwall. It looks like amazing fun!


A series of photos thanks to Steve Mead Productions.

Useful Links – P&H Sea Kayaks website.
Neptune Rangers – interesting review, photos and short videos of the P&H Hammer in action.
Adrian Durrant – Short write up with photos and video of the P&H Hammer

Kayaking Kit Shop

Kayaking Kit Shop

Kayaking Kit Shop 1

Kayaking Kit are based just North of Fordingbridge. They stock a wide range of paddling equipment but have a particular focus on both Sea Kayaking and Surf Kayaking. They have packed a huge amount of stock into their shop including an impressive array of Zegul, Tahe Marine and other Sea Kayaks. Similarly, in the clothing, equipment and accessories section of the store, a large range of kit is on display including a number of unusual and very interesting brands alongside some of the more well known suppliers. Kayaking Kit also provide mail order via their website.

I spent an enjoyable hour or so browsing around and chatting to one of Kayaking Kit’s owners. The welcome is very warm and I was told a decent brew is always on offer – something I can confirm to be true! I was also invited to help ‘impact test’ a prototype of their new Venom Neutron X surf kayak by smashing it with a large hammer – impressively not a dent or scratch to be seen in the ‘Secret Surf-grade Polymer’ construction and not something you are often invited to do in a kayak shop. I intend to post up more details of the surf kayak separately for folks interested.

Kayaking Kit Shop 2


A few other photos of the Kayaking Kit shop.

Contact Information

Unit 1, The Fairgate Centre

Tel: 0208 123 0739 (24/7)
Dir: 01425 655240 (Office Hrs) – Website and online shop for Kayaking Kit

Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD 3

Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD 3

Gordon Brown Simon Willis

October 2013 will see the release of the next Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown DVD 3 which carries the subtitle ‘Navigation, Rolling and Dealing with Emergencies’. Gordon Brown and Simon Willis have been hard at work over the past months filming, editing and gathering feedback for the next in their multi-award winning instructional series and have today released the first trailer.

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen various sections of the DVD during the production process in order to help provide a little bit of feedback so it’s great to see how the content has been polished and honed over time and having watched the final review copy a number of times now I have to say it is an absolute cracker – a full review will follow shortly! For now, here is the trailer and a few more details about the DVD.



Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown Volume 3 consists of four separate films, covering key sea kayak techniques of navigation, rolling and dealing with emergencies. Leading up to the release date, four short free films are being made available on the Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown website.

Handling Emergency Situations is the most ambitious production in the series so far, involving teams from HM Coastguard, rescue helicopters and lifeboat crews.

Sea Kayak Navigation is co-presented by Franco Ferrero, author of the definitive manual on the subject, and covers from tidal basics to advanced course shaping with an emphasis on practical techniques to use on the water.

Rolling Clinic is a uniquely interactive series of films, in which Gordon coaches a group of complete beginners, demonstrates the most common mistakes, then shows how to fix each one. You can then diagnose your mistakes and learn how to fix your roll.

First Aid Kits is co-presented by Rowland Woollven of the Wilderness Emergency Medical Services Institute, who advises on what items kayakers should carry and how to deal with medical emergencies.

DVD Gallery

A few shots from the filming process and/or still shots from the DVD (click to enlarge)

Further Information

Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD Website – Order copies of the DVD and view the free pre-release films via this website.
Simon Willis Website – Keep up to date with the latest news via Simon’s blog.

Sea Kayak Repair Kits

Sea Kayak Repair Kits

Howard Jeffs has recently created a superb range of sea kayak repair kits which are available for mail order via his website.

For those who have not come across Howard Jeffs, he has a long and established career as a sea kayak coach/guide as well as a boat designer and manufacturer. This includes time spent working for/with several well known brands including Valley and P&H.

composite1Howard has transferred his knowledge of sea kayak construction, modification and repairs into designing a range of sea kayak repair kits containing tried and trusted components for effecting repairs on both composite and plastic sea kayaks.

Each kit is vacuum packed to ensure it is waterproof and the contents protected. Therefore, the smaller kits can be dropped straight into a deck hatch/bag or PFD pocket. The larger kits can be further protected by being placed in dry bags alongside other kit or simply tucked away into day, front or rear hatches as desired.

For each kit, Howard has created a fully illustrated, step-by-step instruction sheet which can be downloaded from his website. Where a repair kits contains items with a limited lifespan, epoxy resin for example, Howard is offering a replacement and re-vacuuming service at a nominal fee if the unused kit is returned to him.

A brilliant idea and superbly implemented – something well worth checking out. For folks who like their ‘gadgets’ the micro welding torch looks ace!

Repair Kits Available

The kits available are:

  1. Micro Jet Gaz Torch Welding Kit
  2. Composite Kayak Repair Kit
  3. Flashband repair kit/
  4. Denso tape repair kit/
  5. EPOXY PUTTY/Pro Power GAFFA TAPE Repair Kit
  6. Surf-wax/
  7. Mini stretch wrap hatch/skeg repair kit/

Prices range from £2.50 to £27.50.

More Information Howard’s Website – repair kits found under ‘Resources & Shop’.

A Few Product Photos

Edging vs Leaning – Glenmore Lodge Video

Edging vs Leaning – Glenmore Lodge Video

This short video from Glenmore Lodge explains the difference between edging vs leaning as well as giving a clear indication of the need for sea kayakers to develop their edging skills to enhance turning.

Useful Links

Glenmore Lodge – The Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre

NFKCC Summer’s Evening Paddle

NFKCC Summer’s Evening Paddle

Over the course of the season, the New Forest Kayak and Canoe Club have a calendar of events. From rolling sessions in the Saltwater Baths to training paddles on the Beaulieu River. Interspersed throughout these regular events are specific trips organised by various club members. This week Vicky did a sterling job of co-ordinating what turned out to be a sizeable group for a paddle over to the Isle of Wight.

NFKCC On Route

Arriving at Lepe it I was a tad surprised by the number of cars, boats and paddlers. Turns out Upper Hamble Canoe Club had a similar trip planned. I managed to catch up with a couple of UHCC paddlers I had met going around the Needles the previous Sunday which was good. Being fashionably late, Steve and I set off after the main group to play catch up with Steve looking ‘at one’ with his New Ivalu and Novorca paddle.

Steve, Novorca and Ivalu - all in harmony

The paddle over went very smoothly with a warm summer breeze blowing and folks chatting away. I managed to catch up with Matt from the club and take geeky sea kayaking stuff all the way over. Once into the bay we landed and enjoyed a brew and some food for half an hour or so.

Thorness Bay

Coffee, food and a Chat

All too soon, Vicky gave the 5 minute warning and folks packed up their kit heading back onto the water ready for the return leg. Vicky had timed the trip so we returned at reasonably slack water so sights were set on the Lepe Buoy used as a waypoint.

Departing Thorness Bay

For the return journey, Mother Nature provided a stunning sunset for us to admire – amazingly similar conditions as enjoyed on this trip almost exactly 12 months ago. I spent a while taking photos then sprinting to catch up and repeat the process.

Stunning Sunset

Our arrival back at Lepe coincided with the return of the Upper Hamble crew who had visited Gunnard. Stories were shared and folks ran through the usual end of paddle se;f rescue and rolling practice before we all headed our separate ways. Evenings like this make you grateful and a little proud of how friendly the sea kayaking community is and make me very pleased to paddle with such as great bunch in the NFKCC. Roll on the next paddle!


A few of the other images from the evenings paddle.