Following on from his hugely successful book Sea Kayak, Gordon Brown brings his vast experience and unique style to this latest publication Sea Kayak Safety and Rescue.
Each chapter begins with a real-life incident which sets the scene and helps to emphasise what follows. The underlying principles are highlighted, practical lessons learnt and the hard skills explored in detail. Numerous colour photos complement and illustrate the text.
This book is essential reading for any sea kayaker, and will be enjoyed and valued by both novice and experienced paddlers alike.
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Gordon Brown has recently moved from the Isle of Skye in Scotland to Vancouver Island in Canada. He has a lifetime’s experience of kayaking in all its forms and well over thirty years of coaching sea kayaking. In 1992 he completed both sea kayak and white water kayak BCU Level 5 coach qualifications, and was involved in the development, training and assessment of these awards until they were discontinued when the award scheme was reorganised. In 2016 he completed a Masters Degree in Performance Coaching and has produced a set of three instructional DVDs in the Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown series, the world’s first sea kayak rescue video, Over … and Out, as well as writing the book Sea Kayak also by Pesda Press.
Gordon believes that everyone has the potential to achieve more, and that a creative and supportive environment can lay the foundations for the greatest advances in personal development. He values the importance of taking time to reflect and learn from the experience. His most rewarding experiences are when helping someone else achieve their potential.
He likes acoustic folk music, close friends and good food although not necessarily in that order.
Gordon has previously said that he has the best job in the world. He still believes that to be true and looks forward to his time on the water with all students.
An ideal handbook to sea kayaking which was an invaluable resource as I prepared for my sea kayak leader award. I found the book very readable and informative on all sorts of things I had sort of picked up as I went but needed something in black & white to clarify exact practical points. These details helped me clear up a lot of grey areas in my knowledge and understanding and helped me feel more confident in my practice.
That’s the best way I can describe Gordon Brown’s latest book.
This shouldn’t be too surprising as Gordon, one of the world’s most qualified and experienced sea kayak coaches, wrote this book after completing his Masters in Performance Coaching.
Full disclosure: I shadowed Gordon in Scotland in 2003 while training to be a BCU coach, and I have hosted him and his wife, Morag, also a fantastic coach, at my home in New Zealand.
This is Gordon’s second book, and follows four instructional videos.
It covers to a remarkable degree the physical skills of rescues, with many, many variations of self and assisted rescues. There are real-world examples of rescue situations, most of them Gordon’s personal experiences, and details of what worked and what didn’t. Other subjects covered include surfing, towing, rock gardening, communications and equipment.
Yet Sea Kayak Safety and Rescue is much more than a manual of techniques. With a lot of information on risk assessment, fear, decision making and planning it has gathered together many of the peripheral skills that make a safe kayaker.
On the subject of ‘safety’, Gordon is far from an advocate of wrapping people in cotton wool and staying indoors.
He states; “Safety is a state of mind” and quotes:
“But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing and becomes nothing.” (Risks, William Arthur Ward 1921 – 1994)
Personally this book has reinforced many of my views, while also challenging some. Before taking a lesson on towing for a group of instructors I refreshed myself by reading his chapter on this subject, and decided to build a towline Gordon suggested. To my surprise I found it was better than my own system that I had often defended, and it has since become my go-to.
As well as providing examples of problems and suggested solutions, Gordon has also “debriefed” the events, with encouragement for the reader to do the same as they may then discover other options. As a coach, and in this book, Gordon avoids hard and fast rules; rather he looks at the issue in context, invites the paddler to consider the options, and gently guides them to a successful outcome.
The book is well laid out, with many photos explaining points covered in the text. Diagrams and charts are used when they aid communication.
This is not a book I have on my shelves alongside other sea kayak titles. Rather, it lives on my bedside table and is frequently dipped into for a refresher.