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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 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


Open Canoeing

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