YOUR favorite Kayak book/DVD?

-- Last Updated: Nov-06-09 7:32 PM EST --

What is your favorite kayak book and/or DVD? What book or movie really hit you? What did you read or watch that helped your skills or gave you some good ideas?
Personally, Take a Paddle: Fingerlakes is my favorite kayak book, but that's because it talks about areas just a few miles from my house. It is purely a guide book.

I am having a hard time finding other books that deal with my style of paddling... which is just quiet water. Bird and wildlife watching and enjoying the time outside is my main focus.

book troubled waters (nt)

book troubled waters (nt)

"The Ultimate Guide to Sea Kayaking"
by Ken Whiting is probably the best single instructional DVD that I’ve seen. It shows all the basic strokes and techniques in a very clear and concise way. There’s stuff on surf etc that you won’t need for quiet water paddling, but the core section on strokes applies to all kayaking. There’s a nice friendly vibe to it as well.

The Nigel Foster series go into more detail on strokes but takes multiple DVDs to do it and ends up costing a lot more.

And it’s available on paddling,net

“Kayak” by William Nealy
The cartoon format works for me – the images stay stuck in my head.

It’s probably a tie with Bill Mason’s “Path of the Paddle” book and video (canoe).

There’s not a lot written about flatwater kayaking, but there are books about being on the water in other small craft that might appeal to you. Rowing, canoeing, and small-boat sailing folks often have common interests.

What’s To Say…

– Last Updated: Nov-08-09 9:09 AM EST –

about your "style" of kayaking? This is not a put down or anything. But, if you are just into some getting on some small quiet water and mostly in warmer temps, basically just about any boat and paddle will do and not much technique involved.

Of course, you can get a book about and brush up on some of the basic strokes and some gear considerations. These just about cover your bases.

Beyond that, it is purely on the level of subjective and individual enjoyment. With your preferred type of paddling, no, there probably won't be lots of long books describing the joys of putting into some small creek, beaver pond or whatever. It ain't the stuff of best sellers. These types of observations would show more likely in little essays here and there on the blogs or 'net forums.


2nd That for WW
I got to agree. A really nice and informative write-up once you start moving past the very early stages of WW kayaking.

"Sea Kayaking Illustrated"
by John Robison. A book chock-full of good information, fairly comprehensive, illustrated with really funny, spot-on cartoons by the author himself.

That’s an introduction to sea kayaking. There are lots of other good books too: For adventure writing, “Southern Exposure” by Chris Duff; for more quiescent, philosophical prose, “Water Trail” by Joel Rogers; Lee Moyer’s book on kayak navigation; Ray Killen’s Simple Kayak Navigation; etc.

Lots of good DVDs: EJ’s “Bracing and Rolling”; John Dowd’s DVD on kayak navigation; Nigel Foster’s DVD #3 (directional control); the entire “This Is The Sea” series. Nothing good on surfing that I’ve seen.

I agree
What do you need a book or video for? If you want info about bird watching from a kayak, your best resource is just to google that. If you want to share the joys of quiet paddling, there are many blogs devoted to that. I guess I don’t understand why you would ask.

I disagree
Internet has only been around for a little over 10 years. Blogs even shorter. There’re a wealth of experience out there in BOOKS that blogs don’t cover.

Now, if we’re talking about techniques or guide books, basically “information”, I’d agree internet has enough for most people’s need.

But for someone who enjoy the “quiet” part of outdoors, the more “inner” enjoyments, I bet there’re a lot of books touching on that subject which isn’t on the internet!

Example, I once read a book by Chris Duff: “Southern

Exposure”, in which he shared with readers his trip around the south island of New Zealand. The planning, the paddle, the set back, the inner struggle and the joy of success… It was written before the blogging age and he didn’t put the whole book on the internet. So if you want to read about it, you’ll have to get the BOOK!!!

Now, the OP may want a different author and the tale of a different trip. There’s no guarantee that’s available on the internet!

You might be surprised
I am, often. Stuff that I would never guess that anyone would make available on the internet is there. In particular, older stuff that people want to preserve or make available to newer persons in the discipline is often out there. This is not to say that valuable material in older books is always on the net. It obviously isn’t. But certain categories of material are quite likely to be there. These are reports of experiences that people found emotionally, intellectually, or otherwise significant and wanted to share with others. You can learn a lot from this stuff and, more importantly, you can enjoy experiencing vicariously what others have found worthwhile.


– Last Updated: Nov-08-09 9:35 PM EST –

Not an entire book
Not that I know of, kayak related or otherwise.

The only “online book” I know of are computer technology subject matters. And it’s not free. So what’s the point? I’d buy the book.

plus, some people just enjoy books

‘sea kayak strokes’ by doug alderson
i’m on the cover, so i’m highly biased towards this most excellent tome…

Not A Diatribe Against Books…

– Last Updated: Nov-09-09 6:44 AM EST –

but good luck on finding and referring a list of books that is aligned with the OP's self ascribed "style of paddling."

Chris Duff's idea of "quietude" is paddling a 12 hour leg of some hardcore expedition, where meditation on the meaning of life is very much amplified by his literal paddling on the edge of life and death.

PS. The reality is that the 'net has provided a venue for the distribution and dissemination of writing, music, videos, etc. by individuals that would have never made it pass the publishing/production houses because of their perceived lack of "marketability." It's a brave and more "democratic world" for the aspiring writer/artist.


Path Of The Paddle - Bill Mason
But it an’ it ain’t no bloomin’ 'yaker movie. Bill never carried any dag-blamed 'yaker’s cooler either, 'specially Andy_S’s.


One of my favorite paddling documentaries is Riversense.

My favorite guide book is–Kayak-Georgia/ .

It was recently revised and it is very weathered. I can’t tell you how many times I looked up rivers and dreamed about paddling them because of this book. It also has never steered me astray when using the maps to the access points. Google maps can and will be wrong, but the Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to GA is always right on the mark!

books to inspire
I think your question is interesting for the responses it evoked. And I think Jamie Higgins hit on a great answer – the right kind of book is the one that makes you dream of waters you want to paddle. (I worship maps and charts for that reason. I paddle coastal North Carolina in my mind, hoping to get back there soon and often.)

I do a lot of the kind of paddling you do – alone, quiet, observing nature. Some of it is purposeful: spring and fall bird counts by kayak. I’m also a volunteer eagle nest monitor for the Corps of Engineers on our local lake. I can’t think of any kayaking book that specifically addresses what I love about being in a kayak except maybe one: Audrey Sutherland’s “Paddling My Own Canoe.” This is an extraordinary book about an extremely unusual person. She demanded solitude, and on her annual vacations, before she had any money she swam out around Hawaiian sea cliffs to find her place to camp; later she had an inflatable kayak to get there. She paddled alone a lot in Alaska, but that’s not covered in this book. A book about the place of nature in a person’s daily life that really spoke to me is Sue Hubbell’s “A Country Year.” No kayaks in it, but I loved it. And the article that changed kayaking for me was a long-ago story in “Canoe and Kayak” magazine on skin on frame boats built by Corey Freedman and his students. That article made me aspire to have such a boat and to gain skills to voyage on tougher waters than my local lake. I built a skinboat in a class, I learned to roll, and I’m gaining the navigation and surf-handling skills to paddle alone and with others on the ocean. So, yes, the Internet is fine; but words on paper are grand for inspiring us to want more and do more. What’s life worth without any dreams?

Ginger in NC