“Read the Water” is a small booklet written by respected South Wales sea kayak coach, Nige Robinson. In full colour this is a useful addition to the library of an paddler who pursues their hobby on the sea.
The focus of the book is in helping sea kayakers acquire that almost indefinable quality described as a seamanship. There are chapters covering such diverse topics such “Fundamentals”, “Observing the water”, “Change”, “Wind and weather”, “Surf”, and “Moving Water”.
The book has a pretty unique approach to instruction, not so much telling you what you need to know but prompting you to question what you see. Encouraging you to try and make sense of what you are seeing and if possible to predict any possible changes. Experienced paddlers are always assessing their environment, the interaction between the water, air and land and deciding what is an appropriate course of action.
What do these clouds mean, what is the consequence of tidal change on the water, interpreting colour to decide what the sea bed and sea shore consist of. Once you have interpreted the data it is possible to make an informed judgement, as to whether the trip can continue or whether it should be amended or even abandoned.
In addition it encourages paddlers to use all their senses. How often have you heard experienced paddlers say “The tide is against us here”. They have developed a feel for what the water is doing and are able to come to a conclusion without being reliant on visual information.
This is a book to dip into on a regular basis, as opposed to just sitting down and reading it in one go. Look at a few of the photographs, interpret what they are showing and then head out on to the water to put it into practice. It is certainly a novel approach for a book but it is well worth pursuing. A worthwhile investment.
Read the Water is available by mail order for £10.99 from Nige at Sea Kayak Guides,.