There are many books out there that cover all aspects of Sea Kayaking within one publication. Sea Kayak Handling is different. It foucses purely on developing kayak handling skills through detailed, yet concise coverage of strokes and associated techniques.
Written by Doug Cooper – a BCU Level 5 Sea Coach, and Head of Paddlesports at Glenmore Lodge, Sea Kayak Handling looks in detail at each of the strokes or combinations of strokes we use to propel, turn and control our Sea Kayaks.
The book follows a logical route through the strokes using clear photographs of each stage of the stroke along with step by step instructions on how to perform the stroke correctly. The photographs are numbered and referenced within the written instructions so you know which image to refer.
Instructions are concise and easy to understand yet provide more than enough detail. In my first glance through the book I picked up to things I have been doing wrong for a number of years and was able to apply Doug’s advice on my next paddle to good effect.
For example, cross bow rudder is a stroke I have played with a lot but never felt really comfortable with. It transpires I have been angling the paddle too low down rather than keeping it as vertical as possible.
Similarly, I fall into the category of paddlers who deploy the skeg with no real understanding of when or how much skeg to deploy. One page of Sea Kayak handling is devoted to a superb diagram which has demystified skeg use for me.
Pesda Press have also provided a set of videos which can be viewed online at their website. The videos are clear and very good quality and are a huge help in visualising what you are trying to achieve. These are available whether or not you buy the book, however the combination of Doug’s expert writing and the videos is the a real winner.
Although the book is focused primarily on stroke technique, each section has information on ‘equipment considerations’ and ‘environment considerations’ where the affect of differing equipment and weather/sea conditions on stroke execution is examined.
The book is also smattered with ‘top tips’ which build on the basic stroke technique described by looking at ‘extension’ activities/drills or alternative ways developing your technique.
The relatively small form factor of the book is very welcome ensuring it could be carried wherever and whenever you feel you may want to refer to it. I’ll admit to being ‘geeky’ enough to have carried it on a paddle and when I stopped for coffee dipped into it to check on a couple of techniques I had been practising while out on the water.
Overall, I think Doug’s book is potentially worth it’s weight in gold for paddlers who are looking to develop their handling skills. I class myself as an enthusiastic intermediate paddler and have learnt a lot over the last week, picking up ideas and techniques which I am already trying to integrate into my paddling.
Sea kayak Handling will not provide a beginner or other paddler with an all round introduction into Sea kayaking. For this I would always refer beginners to something like Paddle Your Own Kayak or intermediate paddlers and above the Sea kayak: A manual.
What Sea Kayak handling will provide is a fantastic, user friendly manual to developing your own paddling skills and when combined with the online videos provide a resource I believe you will come back to time and time again.
Sea kayak handling is published by Pesda Press and is available direct from their website for £9.99 (my copy arrived within 36 hours of being ordered) or from your local Paddling Store.