Leo Hoare and Olly Sanders, two highly respected sea kayak coaches, have produced this video, which I am certain will become a valuable resource for all paddlers who are interested in recreational sea kayaking.

This is not a DVD to watch in one sitting, but it is one that you would want to return to time and time again reviewing the advice and going out to practise the skills which have been demonstrated. All of the rescues are shown from a number of different angles and demonstrated in calm water and in more realistic conditions. At first it appears that Leo is speaking too slowly but it quickly becomes clear that this is a deliberate strategy to allow the viewer time to absorb the information. Each technique finished with a further demonstration without talking, just frozen frames with a written description. I found this section of the DVD particularly useful.

There are the normal rescue techniques such as the X Rescue, Scoop, Re-entry and roll to name a few but there are others which are less well known such as the Ladder and Baz's Bomber. I know that when I get on the water tomorrow I will be experimenting with these techniques!

In many sea kayaking videos references are made to "students" but it was nice to hear that when the Stirrup rescue is being described the person in the water was referred to as the "friend". It is recognition that we don't always paddle with students, in fact most of the time we are with our peers and these techniques are equally valid when we are leading groups or with friends.

The use of the Coastguard and the Lifeboat man was an effective way of getting the safety message across to the viewer. In fact, the Coastguard stated that sea kayaking was safer than many other water sports, good to hear that we are not viewed simply as an eccentric group of irresponsible risk takers. Both officials offered sound advice on safety issues and the nature of the equipment that we should be carrying as responsible sea farers. This was followed by Olly offering advice on where this equipment could be carried.

It was a refreshing approach that it wasn't too prescriptive. Suggestions were offered, but it was also recognised that there might be alternative techniques which could be equally effective.

All that we can do as coaches is inform paddlers of a variety of techniques but they have to make their own minds up on which one to use, depending upon the conditions and the nature of the group.

Perhaps my only real criticism of the DVD is that the section on the locations around the North Wales coast was too short but I also recognise that it wasn't designed as a publicity tool for the area. Its prime function was as an educational tool, looking at safe practise in sea kayaking and it certainly succeeded in this remit. Sea kayakers of all abilities would find this DVD stimulating and informative and something which they would want to refer back to on a regular basis.

Take a look you won't be disappointed!

Kevin Mansell