Friday, February 10, 2012

Sea Kayaking with Gordon Brown Volume 1 – Sea Kayak Handling

Gordon Brown is one of Scotland’s premier instructors. He has the highest achievable certification by the British Canoe Union, and is the only American Canoe Association certified coach in Scotland. This is his second video production, having produced a sea kayak rescue video “Over… and Out” in 1993. He also has a third DVD on rescues and towing which California Kayaker will be reviewing shortly (and has plans for a fourth on navigation). He is the author of Sea kayak – A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Kayakers. Gordon owns and operates Skyak Adventures on the Isle of Skye.

The Sea Kayaking with Gordon Brown Volume 1 – Sea Kayak Handling video covers the foundations of sea kayaking – paddling, turning, steering, edging, etc.

They recommend watching the video in its entirety first, which switches between a chapter on a lesson and a chapter on paddling a stretch of the coast of The Isle of Skye. Then you can go back and re-review any instructional segments you need to. It is easy to select among the touring and lessons chapters from the main menu.

We followed this process when we viewed the DVD. Our reviewers enjoyed the first viewing because it showed an interesting area that we will not likely ever paddle. The alternating instruction and adventure chapters also kept either from getting tiresome.

The production quality of the video is very good. Very little wind noise or other background noises that many other kayaking videos have. The video quality is also quite good. They use an excellent mixture of on boat and on land cameras to make sure the right angle is provided to ensure the subject being talked about is understood.

The progression from paddler position in the boat to maneuvering around rocks and the presentation are logical and clear. Gordon does away with any right-left confusion by using red tape to identify the left side of the boat and paddle and green tape to identify the right side. Despite the clear progression and helpful use of colored tape, only the first two instructional chapters, paddler position and forward stroke, are for beginners. The entire DVD seems more geared toward intermediate and advanced paddlers and instructors.

One reviewer, an instructor for a local shop commented that “it is easy to pick up refinements in presentation from the video. For example, after the first viewing, I incorporated some of his instruction about boat edging versus boat lean in my class the following weekend.“

Overall, this video would be an excellent addition to a sea kayaker’s library. We don’t believe that any video could replace time in a class or 1-on-1 with a coach, but this video comes close.

Despite the generally good sound quality, there were a few words we missed. To help those of us who don’t understand the Scottish version of English, there is a free PDF transcript available from Gordon Brown's website.

Here is the trailer for this video:

You can purchase the Sea Kayaking with Gordon Brown Volume 1 – Sea Kayak Handling DVD at you local kayak shop for $29.95 or online from

1 comment:

  1. Learn all the kayaking basics with entry level kayaks for a smart start. Kayaking is one of the most popular outdoors activities in Australia. Enjoy your first trip with traditional Australian Kayaks.