Friday, February 03, 2006


Kayak - The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique (book review)

by William Nealy (ISBN 0-89732-050-6)

At first glance this book is just an entertaining comic book about kayaking. It also provides an incredible depth of knowledge about whitewater, and an introduction to individual and group skills needed to run whitewater successfully. Nealy's book played a very big part in my transition from a "crash and burn" beginning boater into the more skillful class IV boater that I have since become.

The descriptions of paddling techniques, reading the water, and river rescue provide many of the critical skills and strategies that whitewater boaters need as they advance onto more difficult sections of rivers. Nealy describes reading the water and strategies for navigating the water. This opened my eyes to the challenge of analyzing what the river is doing and making better choices about how to safely get down each section of river.

Nealy also introduced me to the "joy of flood" - big water boating techniques. I do like the precise, technical boating that we can do year round in California, but for those who have the skills and accept the risks boating on flood-stage rivers is an extra special treat during our rainy winter months.

Although written for kayakers, much of the information in the book is equally applicable to people running whitewater rivers in other types of boats (i.e. rafts, canoes, dories). Every whitewater boater should read this book. I give it my highest recommendation (***** 5 stars).

More about: Reviews - Books, Videos, & Websites for Whitewater River Kayaking.

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