A Manual for Intermediate & Advanced Sea Kayakers

Sea Kayak is a fantastic, modern guide to Sea Kayaking written by Gordon Brown, a well respected BCU Level 5 Sea Kayak Coach. Its 188 pages cover a vast range of topics, all well illustrated with colour photographs and diagrams.

Published by Pesda Press, Sea Kayak provides paddlers with a handy reference to technique, theory, physiology and history of Sea kayaking and in my opinion is destined to become the standard text on sea kayaking.

Although it is taglined ‘a manual for intermediate & advanced sea kayakers’ I would strongly recommend this book to paddlers of all abilities. Whilst the sections on stroke technique are aimed at the intermediate and above paddler in terms of the technical language and concepts used the sheer breadth of information provided within the book from the opening chapter entitled ‘What is sea Kayaking’ to the detailed information on equipment and safety, expeditioning and navigation make this book a ‘must have’.

Sea Kayak BookThe chosen topics for each chapter follow a sensible and logical route through all aspects of sea kayaking and demonstrate Gordon’s clear enthusiasm for and knowledge of modern day sea kayaking backed up by his many years of experience paddling and coaching. This made the book an enjoyable and entertaining read, rather than a ‘slog’ through a technical manual.

The design of the book is everything I have come to expect from a Pesda Press publication. The photography is stunning, relevant and up to date. One or two ‘revised’ editions of other Sea kayaking books still feature images taken when the books were first published in the late 70’s/80’s whereas this book is feels up to date and in touch with modern equipment, technique and concepts.

With any book trying to cover the whole discipline of Sea Kayaking, there are always going to be compromises between the size of the book and detail within each chapter. However, Sea Kayak manages to provide more than enough detail give paddlers an excellent grounding in a topic allowing you to move onto more ‘specific’ books to further develop your knowledge.

For example, I found the chapter on navigation to be incredibly well written and informative, with practical tips I have been putting to good use. Yet this chapter is suitably concise within the book as a whole at only 7 pages. I would always advocate Sea Kayak Navigation by Franco Ferrero as the best book on navigation but the combination of the two books is unbeatable.

Along with the standard topics you would expect to see covered such as equipment and stroke technique, I was pleased to see aspect of the psychology and physiology included. Sea Kayaking is inherently physical in its nature and for paddlers of all abilities, in all conditions has an element of risk whether small or large, real or purely perceived. To be fully prepared physically and mentally for a paddle is on a par with organising the correct equipment and planning the proposed route yet is often overlooked.


  1. What is Sea Kayaking?
  2. Boat Dynamics
  3. Paddle Design
  4. Preparing Mind & Body
  5. Applied Skills
  6. Safety & Rescue
  7. Seamanship
  8. Navigation
  9. Equipment
  10. Weather
  11. Strong Winds
  12. Reading the Water
  13. Method for Approximately Grading the Sea
  14. Caves
  15. Big Swell
  16. Surf and Surfing
  17. Rockhopping
  18. Tidal Race Paddling
  19. Competition
  20. Overnighting & Expeditions

If my review of this book seems somewhat ‘gushing’ it is because a book of this nature is long overdue. Excellent writing style and design, coupled with up to date, useful advice and information from an author who lives and breaths the subject. I really cannot fault Sea Kayak and would heartily recommend it to all Sea Kayakers.

Sea Kayak can be ordered online here via Pesda Press