Introduction

Following a raft of positive reviews and awards for the first Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD, Simon Willis and Gordon Brown followed up with Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD Volume 2 which was released in October 2011. I reviewed the DVD for Ocean Paddler Magazine and was very impressed with the DVD. In particular I had access to preview copies and various small sections of the footage from Simon as I was preparing for my BCU 4* Leader assessment and found various sections of this DVD absolutely invaluable.

Review

As with the first DVD, the second DVD has two intertwined aspects to it – coaching sessions and a journey. The menu structure on inserting the DVD allows you to watch the whole DVD (2 hours content in all), just the journey footage or just the coaching sessions.

The journey footage follows a group of paddlers exploring St Kilda, a series of Islands and stack some 40 miles out into the North Atlantic. Based on a support ship, The Cuma, the group explore the dramatic, rugged and imposing scenery on a series of day trips. Within the group are paddlers with varied abilities as well as various ‘areas’ of expertise on the area they are paddling. The group is shown enjoying the plentiful caves, stacks, cliffs and bays of this extraordinary archipelago of islands and it is difficult to watch without pangs of jealousy!

During the journey sections of the DVD the viewer is presented not only with paddling footage but discussions about the local geography, geology, wildlife and history. In particular there is a highly engaging interview with and archive footage of Hamish Gow, who along with his partner Anne made the first open crossing to St Kilda.

The coaching aspect of the DVD is focused on rescue skills. There are coaching sessions on foundation skills, self and assisted rescues, contact and distance tows, rescue scenarios and technical landings.

In terms of both content and quality of presentation, the coaching sessions are quite simply superb. Gordon covers a vast array of skills, demonstrating them on both calm and then very rough water conditions. Simon Willis has managed to capture each of the skills from an impressive range of angles, including underwater, and then edited them skillfully to provide concise, detailed and clear demonstrations. Where relevant still images, annotations and side-by-side shots are utilised to ensure the viewer sees the whole skill clearly from both the perspective of the rescuer and casualty.

Throughout, the calm and detailed commentary from Simon adds context to the footage whilst Gordon’s authoritative explanations accompany his excellent on-the-water demonstrations with exceptional audio quality despite some challenging background noise.

Conclusion

Whilst there is no substitute for hands on training and practice this DVD provides a superb reference tool for sea kayakers, including those working towards coaching and leadership awards. I have dipped into the coaching sessions repeatedly over the last couple of months and am still picking up little nuggets of information, which have directly influenced my coaching and leadership on the water.

Overall, the quality of the Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown Vol 2 is stunning and however you choose to view it – as one film, or journey or coaching sessions – you are presented with gold standard coaching, superb high definition footage and commentary from a highly engaging duo in the form of Simon and Gordon. The good news is that filming for Volume 3 is already underway. Highly recommended.

Useful Links

Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown Website: Information and ordering – £19.95