Friday, December 16, 2011

Body Boat Blade Sea Kayak Rescues video review

Ok, anticipation was high when we received a copy of this DVD. Shawna Franklin and Leon Somme are co-owners of Body Boat Blade International, a kayak shop in the San Juan Islands of Washington that is well known for quality, high level instruction. The videographer is Bryan Smith of Reel Water Productions, who was behind the Pacific Horizons and Eastern Horizons films, both well done sea kayak porn worthy of adding to your library.

So, did the DVD live up to our expectations? Let's take a look at the good and the not so good:

The Good
The camera work and editing was excellent. The shots were clear, didn't look like they were taken through a salty lens, and the cameras were well-positioned. The look of the videos was better than most we've seen. And the sound was also excellent - no wind noise, appropriate volume, etc.

The opening scene of the paddler getting flushed out and separated from the kayak was a excellent way to catch the viewer's attention. And it was good to see rescues in challenging conditions. Classes generally teach how to rescue in flat water, but you aren’t as likely to wet exit in flat water as you are in waves and currents. Good reminder that we should practice the rescues in these tougher conditions.

The video had a good discussion of toggles and decklines – what they do and why you would want them.

The Not So Good
This video claims to “give all the tools” one would need, but we found that it doesn’t meet this goal. I guess that would be a tall order for a 30 minute long video (plus 5 minutes of extras). This video shows a variety of rescues in conditions varying from flat to advanced, but doesn’t provide the details one would need to learn these rescues from scratch.

If you are a novice paddler, watching this video may be good to show you the types of conditions that a sea kayak can be rescued in, but won’t do much to get you ready to do so. The Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown Volume 2 video, which also covers rescues, would be better. California Kayaker Magazine will be running a review of the Gordon Brown volume 2 video in the upcoming Spring 2012 issue (and the volume 1 video in a future blog post here).

We do think the Body Boat Blade Sea Kayak Rescue video shows much that an intermediate or advanced paddler could make use of, but they would likely need to watch it a few times to catch the details. For example, they sometimes use the heel-hook re-entry, sometimes the classic lunge on the back deck, and from time to time the swimmer will get back into their boat from between the two boats. Nothing is mentioned on when or why you would use one over the other, but it is good to see them done so you can get some info that will hopefully give you some things to try the next time you are doing rescue practice. No one rescue method works in all situations, so having multiple ways of doing a rescue in your repertoire is important.

You can take a look at the video’s trailer below:

Get it if you want a complete library of every sea kayak DVD out there. There are much worse ways to waste 30 minutes than watching this DVD.

Don't get it if you are looking for the 1 DVD that will teach you everything you need to know about rescues. The Gordon Brown video will be better for this, but in reality taking a rescue class would be much more useful, as they not just teach you, but also make you try the rescues.