Review - Sea Kayak Handling by Doug Cooper

Sea Kayak Handling does not touch on rolling, rescues or many of the myriad skills which make a good sea kayaker. That’s not the brief Doug Cooper has set himself.

Instead he will steer you through the following: Foundation skills (how to connect with the boat); forward paddling; travelling in a straight line; reverse paddling; edging; static turning; forward turns on the move; reverse turns on the move; stern rudders; moving sideways; support strokes; use of skegs and use of rudders.

All this comes from the Head of Paddlesport at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Centre. Any fool can waffle on for ages. Distilling their great volume of knowledge into the essential elements is a complex skill in its own right. Doug clearly knows what he’s doing, both on the page and in the kayak.

A truly innovative idea by Doug was to link the book to a website with videos of him performing the strokes. I shot those clips with Doug and now I see the whole package together I realize what a superb idea it was. I suspect we’ll see more of this – and hopefully I’ll get to film it.

Here's an example. E-mail to purchase higher quality clips on DVD.

The size and layout of Sea Kayak Handling by Doug Cooper is very similar to Sea Kayak Navigation by Franco Ferrero, and both bear the sub-title ‘A practical manual’. Both are recommended as support material for BCU courses which should ensure they sell well.

Don’t take this to bed expecting a cracking good read. Do take it to pool practice sessions. Better still, buy two copies, cut one up and laminate the pages so you can take them out on the water.

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