Nigel Foster DVDs -- opinion

-- Last Updated: Nov-12-05 10:43 AM EST --

I have just finished viewing the Nigel Foster 6 DVDs and I know this has been posted here in the past, with some commenting on such things as too much advertising, dry demeanor, etc. I have to say, those comments are, in my opinion, unfounded. These videos are absolutely exceptional. I just purchased my first sea yak, a Prijon Barracuda, which is a big step from my 25 inch rec yaks; after tipping a few times I now see that there is much more for me to learn, high and low braces, sculling, the stepwise fashion to learn rolling, directional control, etc. These one hour videos (approx -- on the Nigel Foster website there is a minute by minute summary of contents of each video if you are considering only one) are packed with useful information and the editing, camera, lighting is superb from Starling Videos. Someone mentioned too much advertising, but other than the painful intro that is about 2 minutes that you cannot skip (ugh), there is no advertising. There are many demos, Nigel and others show all forms of teaching in the water and on the beach in FL. It really makes me think that no one can learn this from reading a book (although I have tried with a couple books). I know you will all say to take a class, and I might, but in the midwest it can be hard to find a class, esp this time of year. I have learned so much terminology and seen the demos and I can tell that these videos are worthy of review again this winter, and likely I will watch yearly. The demos, with various instructors showing techniques, is invaluable. Nigel is a very thorough teacher, and his calm and precise demeanor is exactly what I would wish for if I had a local instructor (chuck_IL had this great attitude the one day I paddled with him here in IL, too).

Special kudos to Greg Stamer, your Greenland segments on the two videos are steller. Your experience and training on this method is reflected in your ability to communicate the differences and nuances of the Greenland paddle, stroke types, bracing and roll. I honestly feel that I would like to try Greenland method after your segment. It is truly refreshing and well spoken.

Okay, this reads like an ad for the video, I know. But I do not work for the production company or Nigel Foster. Never met them. As an early intermediate paddler, I can just say to anyone on the fence about getting these DVDs, they are really wonderful. If anyone has questions about the DVD content, I can help as I just watched them. If anyone else has comments--good, bad or otherwise-- please do share.

I have taken a couple at rutabaga in madison. great people and a great time. well worth the drive!

Good athletes not always good educators
I value these videos, despite disagreeing with some major points shown in them. Above all, as an educator, I value the organization, clarity, step by step, logical and coherrent approach taken. He provides enough underlying concepts to be the glue that holds it all together too.

IMO there is too much dogmatism in both ACA and BCU nowadays. Thee videos are well balanced. Even if one feels a certain stroke should be done diffierently this material will help both students and instructors to learn.


We have Vol. 2 thru Vol. 6 and use
them as a refresher when we are off the water. We are pleased with the quality and layout of the DVDs. The only other kayak instruction DVD we have is “The Kayak Roll” so we don’t have a large base for the comparision with regard to the Nigel Foster DVDs.

The Kayak Roll DVD really helped me when I finally took an Eskimo Roll class at the 2005 Northern California BCU Skills Symposium this past October. It allowed me to progress quickly and nail the roll during the class! I don’t want to diminish the quality of the instruction provided in the class by Jennifer Fleck of Aqua Adventures (San Diego). Her instruction was excellent!

If there is a Northern California BCU Skills Symposium next year I highly recommend attending. This past symposium attraced people from the East Coast, Colorado, Alaska and many other states.

You can view some pictures of a surf zone class my wife took at the Bodega Bay symposium at You can also get your own FREE space by signing up at It comes with 30 MB FREE storage!

Nigel’s classes
I had the good fortune of hosting Nigel for a weekend with my club this spring, and took his boat control class. He’s a great teacher.

Low-key, non-dogmatic, and a lot of fun.

Someone in the class asked him if a particular turning stroke would work with a Greenland paddle, and his answer was “Of course – they (Paddles) all work”. And then he went on to explain how different paddles will work differently, but still work well when used right. I found that his only agenda was to make sure everyone learned what he came to teach.

If you get the chance to take one of his classes, do it!


just as a point of discussion what do you
disagree with in the Nigel Foster video’s the method, the information, the technique?

just as a point of discussion what
. . has been your experience with dogmatism in the ACA & BCU?

“IMO there is too much dogmatism in both ACA and BCU nowadays.”

Inquiring minds want to know . . . . . :wink:




– Last Updated: Nov-13-05 8:01 AM EST –

Plastic1, where in northern IL are you. I checked the Expose Yourself thread on p-net and you are not on there.

Wekayak, those pics are really neat. Your wife and the other ladies look like having fun in their Current Designs and Romany yaks. Like the two shot series where one of them in a red yak smashes through the wave, well captured by you with telephoto lens, I suspect. Nice pics.

That MSN photo site is great! It sure seems faster and less glitchy than webshots that everyone on p-net seems to use. I think I will sign up, thanks for the link.

The Nigel DVD reviews wave riding, and the low bracing such as in your pics, but I can see that a class would be helpful. I think I want to learn rolling (never thought I;d say that), as it can help with an unexpected flip. Nigel even teaches paddleless hand roll (another thread on here now).

I have number 3
I think it isn’t the most exciting video around but I learned 3 or 4 new things/nuances that I hadn’t seen before so I think that in itself is worthwhile.

Now I have to go back and refresh myself as to what it is I “learned”-). Oh yeah, one was the bow rudder with the blade near the cockpit instead of way foreward.

Bow Rudder
You know, funny you mention that, hare, I tried the bow rudder in the pond behind my house this past weekend and it is hard to do! I mean, once up to speed, sticking the paddle nearly vertically into the water near the cockpit (in front slightly) and trying to control the boat for a turn is seemingly dangerous… the boat wants to tip to that side and pivot around the rudder, but it sure seems odd to pull like that. The bow rudder is a very strange feeling move. on there is a link to minute-by-minute legend of the DVDs that might help you locate the bow rudder section precisely if you wish to go to it.

Why does it say in the DVD insert that this is a ten part DVD series. I guess they pooped out at 6. But would have been nice, for instance, to have a DVD on kayak navigation on big water, for instance. Mapping, compassing, etc.

Good (Moving Water) Move
can get a better idea of what it does better when the water is moving and you have to turn a boat, e.g. getting around a rock, turning bow to face out after low brace on the foam pile, etc.

Besides placement, most folks (me included) tend to think they have the paddle vertical enough when they really don’t.

Yeah, work on a roll too, it helps to with confidence in learning moves where you think you may go over with a mistake.


I just bought "Essentials Strokes"
And have not watched it completely, just wet exit, forward stroke, and sweep. So far it is pretty nice. He’s not super charismatic, but his no-nonsense style is just what I like. It was nice to watch and learn I had been doing almost everything basically correctly. Since I’ve been paddling for a while, I skipped Vol 1, and am watching vol 2 to make sure I am doing everything right, then might buy Vol 3, directional control, and vol 5, forward paddling. I don’t think I’ll need Vols 4 and 6, rescues and rolling and bracing since I paddle SOTs.

Waiting for marketing dept to get a clue
Not sure whose decision this would be but I would be more likely to buy the Foster DVDs if there was some sort of discount on the complete set. $30 a pop, or set of 6 for $180? Duh.

It may be silly on my part but that’s the reason I haven’t bought any of them yet.



– Last Updated: Nov-15-05 9:47 PM EST –

On eBay, Adventure Outfitters I bought all six new DVDs for $155 plus $11.25 shipping. That is cheaper than $180. They were top quality, and they are on there now too (this is an online store). I take guitar lessons. They cost $18.50 for thirty minutes. Even at $30 each, these Nigel videos would be $15/30 minutes. And you can watch again and again. And if you sell on ebay or p-net, I would guess you could get at least $15 each for the DVDs in resale. So, pretty cheap, actually.

I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that I thought the instruction/information contained in Nigel Fosters DVDs wasn’t worth the price. It’s a fantastic thing that guys like him are willing to put in the time and effort to produce such comprehensive tutorials. They deserve to get paid for their work.

Like I admitted it’s a silly quirk of mine. More procrastination than bargain hunting. I’m really only interested in 2 or 3 of the 6 titles but my obsessive/compulsive tendencies make me want to buy the whole set anyway. There’s something just not right about owning a partial collection.

It just seems very strange to my American capitalist psyche that no discount is offered on the set. I am certain if a discount were offered (like buy 6 for the price of 5) more people who pick and choose among the 6 DVDs would spring for the whole set. In the long run I think Nigel would make more money. And I would not still be wrestling with the decision to only buy the titles I want vs. paying full price for a couple of extra DVDs I’m not interested in just to have a complete set. I know, I’m nuts. But I hope this better explains the point I was making.

I will probably end up buying the set in conjunction with the “Paddling Perks” thing here. I’m definitely gonna get in line for Justine’s new DVD as well.

Hey, speaking of eBay…how do you like that BomberGear Hazmat paddling suit? I’m assuming you were the other bidder. I bought it for the wife and it seems to work pretty well. She came up surprisingly dry after a capsize and Eskimo bow rescue even with the neck not tightened properly.


Mork from Ork

– Last Updated: Nov-16-05 6:09 PM EST –

I feel like Mork from Ork, Mike. I mean, this thing is blue. I don;t know what to make of it. I might get nailed by some alien basher if I'm seen wearing this thing at the local marina, my put-in. Does you wife get ridiculed for wearing it? I am serious. I am ashamed to put it one, and the one time I wore it in my livingroom for my wife, she wound up on the floor laughing and saying, "Nanu nanu" Harry Houdini would have a tough time getting in and out of this thing. My first drysuit, Mike, so maybe it's me. Bottom line for me and my suit: I'm ascared of it. Thoughts?

space suit
LOL that’s funny.

The Mork image never occurred to me (until now) and my wife hasn’t expressed any fashion complaints. I’m certain if she thought it looked bad on her she wouldn’t wear it. We both, however, normally put on, and take off, the technical outer layers at the put in. I’m also fairly certain she wouldn’t wear it into a store.

I think it’s going to be hard to avoid the “space suit” look when it comes to dry suits. In a very real sense that’s what they are. I personally prefer a solid color to that diagonal blue/yellow scheme that Kokatat uses on some of their suits.

BomberGear stuff is top of the line IMO but they do run a bit small. I tried to get into the medium Hazmat suit but there was no way. I’m 6 foot 165lbs and can wear almost anything medium sized except one-piece coveralls. I don’t think I will relate the Mork from Ork similarity to my wife.


Maybe I’m being a…

– Last Updated: Nov-16-05 8:50 PM EST –

...ninny here, Mike. If you and your wife say this is the way these suits are supposed to look, then I suppose I'll take your advise and try to put it on at the put-in (rather than going into 7-11 with it for a crueller and a cup of java), and maybe, just maybe, I won't get shot. National Enquirer would pay the big bucks for a front photo of me, spead eagle on the boat launch, with some Elmer Fudd's Gore-tex boot on my chest and a shit eating grin on his face.

I wonder if Nigel wears a blue dry suit. If he did, it'd be more cool. He is like the Tony hawks of kayaking; not much to look at, but a powerhouse underneath. He likely needs more than a size medium too.

I will try the suit again. Honestly. I never would have if you did not mention it here.

costly and dead boring
Nigel is a great paddler and technically sound instructor. I would love to take a course with him someday. However, I’m afraid I couldn’t join your club because I find these videos to be terribly boring and tedious and considering they are videos…made with people…in kayaks… on the sea… I do expect more fun, laughter, playfulness and some goofing around in surf or big waves, all the while practicing the techniques! the rescue video in particular should have taken half the time to do the skills in heavy water, I mean come on. and mighty expensive to boot. my recommendation: for serious Nigel lovers only.

I’d say

– Last Updated: Nov-18-05 3:21 AM EST –

It looks like Nigel wears Kokatat.

(photo link removed)