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Information and recommendations on DVDs on canoeing and kayaking.

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown DVD Volume 1. This DVD is a companion to the book Sea Kayak: A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers, by Gordon Brown.

The DVD consists of eight coaching sessions. It is also a journey along the coast of the Isle of Skye - a group of kayakers, of mixed abilities, tackle a classic four-day voyage along the exposed west coast. The video is structured so that you can watch just the coaching sessions individually or all together, just the journey, or the journey interspersed with coaching sessions.

This will be a useful DVD for those who have taken the Introduction to Sea Kayaking course and want to learn more and have reference material.

Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown DVD Volume 2. This is the second in the series, of DVDs, which it now appears will stretch to 3 volumes and deals with Towing and rescues, what otherwise may be called incident management. The material is well presented and follows the same structure as volume 1 with the ability to watch the journey, the instructional videos or the journey interspersed with instructional videos. This should suit 3 star aspriants, but, will take them well into 4 star material.

The next volume planned is volume 3 which will cover navigation we await this with interest!

Expedition Skills by Nige Robinson and Olly Sanders This DVD is a Rock and Sea Adventures production from Nige Robinson and Olly Sanders based on Anglesey. It has a Slick and impressive trailer which can be seen here.

Unfortunately the production of the DVD does not live up to the production values of the slick and glossy trailer. The DVD Consists of a succession simple to the camera monologues by a roll call of top L5 coaches, including Nige Robinson, Olly Sanders, Nigel Dennis, Ray Goodwin, and Phil Clegg. These are interspersed and broken up occasionally and sporadically by video and still shorts from expeditions. These monologues seem to have been filmed as though the camera crew were attending a training course on expedition skills and simply filmed the course. The producers or coaches do not seem to have appreciated that the medium of video demands different presentation skills, (timing camera shots etc) than presenting personally to a group.

DVD covers everything from the basics through to advanced material and discusses: planning, Kit, Food/Fuel/Fluids, Personal well being. Safety, and contains an appendix of almost obligatory extra material. The DVD is divided into sections that group similar topics and these are grouped into the larger sections detailed above. Both the main sections and sub sections are viewable individually via the DVD's menus or you can watch the whole DVD in one go. That however would be a bit of a marathon at a total length of 3 hours and 49 minutes. The sections take us thoroughly (and some what exhaustingly in places) through all most all that there is to know about expedition paddling. Unfortunately the monologues are a bit dry in places and partially because of their dryness need to be broken up much more into shorter more bite sized segments.

The presentation could have benefited significantly from more post production, closer camera shorts of the equipment and skills demonstrated, some graphics to illustrate techniques and section and sub section summaries, especially when considering the overall length of the DVD. There is a lot of material and it will take several sessions to view all the material. This is not light watching and you will need to concentrate when watching to learn from this DVD.

Negative comments aside this DVD does cover practically every thing you will need to know for expedition paddling other than any local knowledge specific to your destination. It is just a pity that more time was not taken on the production and post production the absence of which makes this a bit expensive at £20.