Why We Made This Film

and why it is different from other instructional videos

Sea Kayak Rescues DVDWhy did we make this film?

  • – To create a visually exciting instructional film.
  • – To show current rescue techniques that work in a wide range of conditions that are actually shown in those conditions.
  • – To use current coaching methodology to set a new standard in instructional films.

Our reasoning:

  1. To create a visually exciting instructional film. This one is simple. So you watch it, hopefully many times and each time you do, you get something new out of it! Lengthy, verbal, detail orientated instructional films are hard to sit through more than once or twice and because they are not exciting - you learn less. Positive emotion puts things in long term memory the quickest and makes you want to come back for more. (It is as simple as Eddie Izzard's "cake or death" choice - I choose cake!)
  2. To show current rescue techniques that work in a wide range of conditions that are actually shown in those conditions. A sea kayak rescue must work in the conditions we paddle in. To spend time learning and practicing techniques that limit your ability to go out on the sea or worse put you in danger is not time well spent. By showing these rescues performed first on flat water and then fast and effectively in very dynamic conditions hopefully shows that they are worth the time to learn and practice. We avoided showing rescues that have limited success in order to keep the film positive, and so new paddlers wouldn’t get confused or overwhelmed with too much information.
  3. To use current coaching methodology to set a new standard in instructional films. The short technique clips added at the end of the film as a bonus gave us the idea of how to present the information in the main film to our intended audience. They are a project we developed with Canoe & Kayak Magazine and Bryan Smith - a series of short visual films with a few key points to help paddlers learn a skill. This format was hugely successful as we got loads of positive feedback from many paddlers but also from coaches and many of our personal mentors. This made us change the rescue film project into the film it is today. It made us think about how we might introduce the rescues in an on water classroom.

Rather than try to put into our own words why we as coaches choose to produce a primarily visual film as opposed to a “talking heads” version we quote from the British Canoe Union Coach Level 2 manual:

"8.1 Demonstrations" The proverb "A picture paints a thousand words" has never been more appropriate than in sports coaching.

Research suggests that:
83% of learning occurs through showing
11% of learning occurs through hearing
6% of learning occurs through other senses
This shows just how powerful and effective demonstrations are.

Since birth we have learn to do things by imitation. Our childhood and even adult life is characterized by watching others and reproducing their actions. The beauty of demonstration is that it is effective at every stage of motor learning; for novices it gives a general model of movement and for experts it highlights specific points in a technique or skill. Demonstrations give information to learners that cannot be conveyed verbally, they allow us to perceive information on the timing and flow of a movement. This picture is encoded by the brain and turned into a physical representation of what we have seen."


We wanted an instructional film that was a more visually stunning and exciting format that can be watched many times. We wanted it to be fun to watch, show safe worthwhile rescues to practice, and like a good coaching session have it be “short and punchy” so the student wants to come back for more.

A wise coach mentor of ours once said to us "a student will never hate you for experimenting but they will never forgive you for boring them" This is an experiment and we think it will create better sea paddlers and that is our job.

So...we ask you to watch the film. Try what you see on the water, come back and watch the film again and then compare your actions to those you see. Visualize yourself doing the rescue. Work at getting your rescues done in the same time frame as the paddlers in the film. If you continue to have trouble ask a coach for help. A film can not replace a good coach, it is merely a tool to help learn a skill.

Be Safe, Have Fun and Learn!


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