Book Reviews

Over the years I have met people who tell me how much paddling has changed their life in one way or another but it isn’t often that you find somebody who can truly say that kayaking saved their life. Well, now you can add author and friend of this site, Sean Smith to that short list. To get the full story you are going to need to pick up his recently released autobiography, The Fat Paddler in which Sean tells the very inspiring story of recovery which includes not one but two severe motor vehicle accidents, the 2002 Bali bombing (which he was a witness to), post-traumatic shock, extreme weight gain, and depression. The Fat Paddler hides behind nothing and it’s a very honest account of his adult life and how he dealt with those struggles. So how did kayaking save his life? Sean was introduced to the sport several years earlier but never really took it up until after one of the car accidents and he needed an activity that could accommodate his lower body injuries. Of course Sean got hooked on sea kayaking right away which helped him focus and get back in shape and ultimately recover from depression and other physical injuries. In a short-while he leveraged his fantastic marketing skills to develop the highly successful blog, The Fat Paddler as a way to document his recovery. I remember stumbling on his blog shortly after he started posting a couple of years ago and it’s been a blast to follow along with his adventures. I remember reading reports in the early days where he describes the massive waves that were at least six inches high; now that his kayak skills have considerably improved he is out on much bigger adventures. The Fat Paddler is a very inspirational story and I suggest that you check out. It’s currently being distributed throughout Australia and New Zealand so if you don’t live in that area you will need to import it through your local bookstore. E-book readers will be pleased to know that it has just become available worldwide on…
Navigation, Sea State and Weather - A Paddlers Manual is a brand new instruction book on the market written by Michael Pardy, JF Marleau, Andrew Woodford & Piper Harris.The goal of the book is to tackle some of the more complex theory topics that most paddlers have a hard time wrapping their heads around. Several of the topics include tides and currents, using a compass, navigation, and how weather works.  The authors of the book are all extremely well qualified instructors and authors. They are owners of the company called SKILS - Sea Kayak Instruction and Leadership Systems, one of the busiest intermediate/advanced instruction schools in Canada and they have probably taught more paddlers how to be instructors then anybody else in Canada. Michael Pardy is also a co-author of the book, Sea Kayaker Magazine's Handbook of Safety and Rescue so you know that the content between the covers is up to a very high standard.
Hot off the Pesda Press press is a brand new book by renowned kayak coach, Doug Cooper.Sea Kayak Handling is a practical manual for both beginner and intermediate paddlers who are looking to improve their boat handling skills. Strokes and manoeuvres covered in the book include forward paddling, staying on course, turning, moving sideways, support strokes and working with skegs and rudders.  I was very impressed with the huge collection of colour photographs scattered throughout the book making it very easy to see exactly the key elements of each stroke.
I recently rediscovered a fantastic little book published by Pesda Press called Tip Tips for Coaches.It is a simple, no-nonsense collection of 319 fantastic ideas and teaching tips for coaches assembled by the fine staff at Plas Y Brenin which is also The National Mountain Centre for Wales.
Pesda Press recently released the 2nd edition of their popular book, Sea Kayak Navigation by Franco Ferrero. The new edition is a completely updated layout including several chapter rewrites and updates to help explain the tougher concepts even better than before. A clearly written and very practical manual, this is a great book for anybody who is interested in learning more about sea navigation.  Topics covered in the book include: Keeping navigation simple Decktop navigation Tides and decoding tide tables Introduction to maps and charts Buoyage & lights Dealing with poor visibility
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