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Information and recommendations on books about Canoeing and Kayaking.


  • Kayaking: A Beginner's Guide by Nigel Foster. Slim and basic introduction for beginners to all aspects of the sport. ISBN 1898660522
  • British Canoe Union: Canoe and Kayak Handbook - You will see references to this all over the place. It presents the BCU view of the world and is a good reference work. ISBN 0-9531956-5-1
  • The Practical Guide to Kayaking and Canoeing by Bill Mattos - An illustrated reference manual to introduce and develop kayaking and canoeing skills and techniques for beginners and intermediates. ISBN 1-84309-683-8
  • Kayak Rolling - The Black Art Demystified by Loel Collins - A visual approach to learning to roll a kayak. ISBN 0-9531956-8-6

Sea Kayaking

  • The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking by Derek C. Hutchinson - a very good all round text containing most things you will need to know about sea kayaking. ISBN 0713666757
  • Sea Kayak Handling: A Practical Manual, Essential Knowledge for Beginner and Intermediate Paddlers by Doug Cooper - another good book from Pesda Press. Details all the sea kayaking strokes with many pictures. ISBN 1906095183
  • Sea Kayak: A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers by Gordon Brown - a classic text for the committed sea paddler. Gordon Brown is a legend and has compiled his knowledge into this book for those who want to go beyond the basics. ISBN 0-9547061-7-X
  • Welsh Sea Kayaking by Jim Krawiecki & Andy Biggs. Fifty selected sea kayaking voyages. ISBN 0-9547061-8-8
  • Sea Kayaking - Rough Waters by Alex Matthews. Fine photographs too. ISBN 1-896980-26-0
  • Sea Kayak Navigation: A Practical Manual, Essential Knowledge for Finding Your Way at Sea by Franco Ferrero - good all round introduction to navigation. ISBN 1906095035
  • Sea safety, the complete guide Free booklet from the RNLI. See Safety resources for details.
  • Sea Kayaking by Alun Richardson. An excellent book for those going from 3 star to 4 star. Covers chart work, the weather, the environment, kayak design, safety, clothing, and leadership. ISBN 978-1-861268273


  • Surf Kayaking - The essential Guide by Simon Hammond. ISBN 0-9550520-0-9

Open Canoeing

  • Canoeing by Ray Goodwin ISBN 1906095264 published by Pesda Press.

Bill Mason's books are hard to find (and out of print) and the pictures and printing isn't great. They are however classics:

  • Path of the Paddle: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Canoeing
  • Song of the Paddle: An Illustrated Guide to Wilderness Camping
  • Thrill of the Paddle: The Art of Whitewater Canoeing

White water

  • White Water Safety and Rescue By Franco Ferrero - A comprehensive book on all aspects of White Water Safety. Created by giants of the Kayaking world such as Loel Collins and Dave Luke. ISBN 0-9547061-5-3
  • Kayak - the New Frontier: The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique by William Nealy - The updated edition of the black cartoon book. Has a kayaking spaceman on the cover. Great fun. ISBN 0897325893
  • Whitewater paddling by Eric Jackson. Illustrated guide to perfecting your paddle strokes. ISBN 0811729974
  • British white water by Terry Storry - Covers the 100 best white water rivers of England, Wales and Scotland. A bit dated but pocket sized. ISBN 0711224129
  • English White Water - The BCU guide to the white water rivers of England. ISBN 09-531956-7-8


  • British Canoe Union: Coaching Handbook - The definitive guide to coaching, at least according to the BCU. Comprehensive and detailed. Complements the Canoe and Kayak Handbook well. A good reference books for coaches. ISBN 0-9547061-6-1
  • Canoe and Kayak Games - 250 best paddle sport games - An excellent book of paddle sports games. ISBN 0-9550614-0-7
  • Top Tips for Coaches - Over 300 top tips and handy hints for canoe and kayak coaches collected by the coaches at Plas y Brenin. ISBN 0-9531956-6-X


  • RYA: Navigation Handbook by Tim Bartlett - a good all round book on navigation. Aimed at sailors but very useful reference of kayakers and canoeists. ISBN 090150193X


  • RYA Weather Handbook - Northern Hemisphere by Chris Tibbs - good all round book on the weather and introduction to meteorology. Aimed at sailors, but very useful reference for kayakers and canoeists. ISBN 1905104170