It’s a travel video (aka a journey), no it’s an instructional video (aka coaching) — stop you’re both right! Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown is indeed both. It is, in my opinion, one of the best, if not the best sea kayak instructional video produced to date. Besides Brown being one of the top coaches in the United Kingdom, the camera work and editing by Simon Willis is superb! There’s close ups, there’s wide shots, there’s shots from different angles, there’s actual speed, there’s stop action, there’s slow-motion. To accompany the great video work, Brown and Willis have an uncanny ability to describe what we are seeing. They are so effective that even though I was sitting on the couch or in a chair during my viewings, and not my kayak, I found myself moving my body as though I was in the kayak. The sound quality is excellent throughout–often on-water videos have a lot of wind noise, or just poor voice quality. Neither are issues with this production. The progression of initially teaching the strokes in calm water, then showing how they are put to use in more lumpy conditions is very effective.
The journey is fun too. The group of 9, covers the usual wide range of experience levels one gets on such a trip. They explore the shore of the west coast of the Isle of Skye, Brown’s home waters. I’ve been all over most of Scotland, but never to the Isle of Skye, so this is certainly a treat for me. And, who can argue with a campfire complete with local music and Talisker single malt whisky? These are a few of my favorite things! The only nit that I have is that I would like to have seen some coaching of those on the journey by coach Brown. On the other hand, that could have pushed the production beyond the limits of watchability; but I do enjoy, and learn much, from watching other instructors and coaches do their thing.
Within the past week (mid-November) the NTSC version (this is the US version that will play on DVD players in the United States, as well as certain other countries) has arrived in the warehouse in the US. While distribution is starting out slowly, I’m certain that it will be available soon at your favorite paddle shop. Can’t wait? I couldn’t either, so I contacted the US distributor directly and they shipped my copy directly to me. I’m told that Sea Kayak should be available to order from the distributor very soon. In the mean time, if you are in the “can’t wait category”, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and order directly.
You should already own the book Sea Kayak A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers, by Gordon Brown (Pesda Press, 2006), now get the video. However, be warned that the video only covers a small portion of the book, and we are told that there will be future videos produced to compliment the book. I can hardly wait, but guess I have no choice to do so!
Finally, for a preview, click the image of Gordon in the tidal race: