Sunday, 07 August 2011 22:52

DVD Review: Sea Kayak Essentials - Intermediate and Advanced Boat Handling Skills

Capture: Sea Kayak Essentials Volume 1

BCU Level 3 Coach, Nick Cunliffe and Matt Giblin recently released their second instructional DVD in the Sea Kayak Essentials series. Last time they focused on foundation kayak skills aimed at beginner and intermediate paddlers but this time they are stopping it up a notch as they focus on intermediate and advanced boat handling skills.

Sea Kayak Essentials covers a wide range of topics including open water forward paddling, moving water skills, tide race paddling, rock hopping and surfing skills.

The paddling nerd in me really liked this video. Be warned that in some areas it’s very technical which could turn of casual paddlers looking for pure entertainment. That being said; they do a fantastic job breaking down some very technical skills (eg. tidal race paddling) and present it in easy to digest chunks.

If you are the self learning type of paddler then this DVD will appeal to you. You know who you are; you read info in books or watch a DVD then go out and practice yourself and figure it out. This DVD will be right up your alley.

One thing that I do really appreciate is that the producers have also written 40 pages of technical notes to go along with the DVD allowing you to get even more detail out of the video. It’s a great resource for students but I believe it will also be a fantastic resource for instructors who are looking to increase their technical knowledge for rough water paddling skills. You can grab a copy of it on their website.

Except for Jennifer Lopez’s masterpiece Gigli, no film is perfect. One thing that I do wish Nick and Matt did was to spend more time explaining some techniques from a boat. Nick does a great job as host and instructor but I sometimes noticed the editing formula would be to introduce the skill and explain the key concepts while standing on a rock then cut to a boater in rough water doing it with nice background music. There was a couple times where I was longing for a voice over or specific graphics so I knew what to look for. As somebody who easily got distracted by the amazing rough water footage and scenery, it would help snap out of dreaming mode and back into learning mode. Of course didn’t happen all the time but it was a noticeable point to me.

Final verdict? If you are looking for a solid video textbook to get you going I found it for you.

You can grab your copy for £19.95 if you live in the UK or £21.95 if you are living anywhere else in the world. Sea Kayak Essentials is available in both PAL and NTSC formats.

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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