The 10 Best Kayaking And Paddling Books Reviewed For 2023 (Factors, Comparisons Explained)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: December 18, 2022
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Some of the best kayaking and paddling books are The Pacific Alone: The Untold Story of Kayaking’s Boldest Voyage, How To Paddle A Kayak: The 90-Minute Guide To Master Kayaking, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Canoeing and Kayaking, The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking, Fifty Places to Paddle Before You Die, Recreational Kayaking: The Ultimate Guide, etc.

Top 10 Best Kayaking And Paddling Books Of 2023

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Best Kayaking and Paddling Books

Reviews Of These 10 Books In Detail

1. Recreational Kayaking: The Ultimate Guide

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Print length192 pages
Publisher‎Heliconia Press
Publication dateSeptember 1, 2008

This is the tenth book of an award-winning series of books and DVDs published by a renowned kayak instructor, Ken Whiting. The first book of this series was published way back in 2008. If you are a beginner kayaker and want a head start, then this is the appropriate book for you. Ken Whiting is a very popular kayaker, and there is nothing better than learning about kayaking through his eyes. This book will definitely help you learn new skills about kayaking, and you will be able to enjoy kayaking more. This is easy to read the book and perfect for beginner kayakers.

This book will help you learn how to choose the right equipment, the important strokes, maneuvers, and paddling methods, information on capsizing recoveries, kayaking on the ocean, paddling in surf zones, kayaking on rivers, kayaking on lakes, and moving current, etc. You will also learn how to get the most out of the kayak, how to keep yourself safe in the water, as well to learn about rescue procedures. This book includes beautiful kayaking photos and a step-by-step guide to take you through all the strokes, movements, and techniques. So you won’t feel bored while reading the book.

About the Author: Ken Whiting is the 1997/98 World Freestyle Kayaking Champion, 1998 Japan Open Champion, and a five-time Canadian National Champion in whitewater kayaking. In 1998 Ken Whiting opened a kayak school. He is the founder of the Canadian Freestyle Kayaking Association. For over eighteen years, Ken Whiting is sharing his kayaking knowledge through teaching and publishing award-winning instructional books and DVDs. To recognize Ken Whiting’s contributions to advancing the kayaking sport the Paddler magazine, named Ken Whiting one of their “Paddlers of the Century.” 

2. The Art of Kayaking

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Print length328 pages
Publisher‎Falcon Guides
Publication dateApril 1, 2017

This book is written by Nigel Foster. This book focuses on everything that a kayaker needs to know about paddling. The best part of this book is; it is available in both paperback and digital versions. The Art of Kayaking: Everything You Need to Know About Paddling contains information that includes skills, techniques, types of kayaks, and more. Proper planning is very important for a successful kayaking trip. In this book, you will find maps, tables, and diagrams that will help you walk through the necessary kayak trip planning steps. There are a lot of color photos available in this book to help the newbies learn skills and how to apply them.

This book is perfect for all skill levels around the world, and it offers more details about commonly used techniques. So regardless of your skill levels, you will learn a lot of valuable lessons. This book comes with a huge number of methods and techniques that have never before been published in a single volume. No matter which type of kayak, paddle, or style of paddling you prefer this book clearly and concisely will develop your kayaking skills. So make sure you read the book thoroughly and access as much information as you can and gather knowledge. If you start reading this book as a beginner, then you will progress to learning more information to become a pro!      

About the Author: Nigel Foster is a very renowned English sea kayaker, kayak designer, instructor, and author. Born on October 17, 1952, in St Albans, United Kingdom, he is the first and youngest paddler to circle Iceland by kayak. Nigel Foster started his kayaking career when he was only 15 years old. He is a Pro in whitewater, sea kayaking, and surf kayaking. He is an excellent kayaking instructor with the British Canoe Union (BCU) national qualifications:

1. BCU Level 5 Coach Sea Kayak

2. BCU Level 5 Coach Surf Kayak

3. BCU Level 3 Coach Inland Kayak (also 5 Star Award Inland Kayak)

4. BCU Level 3 Coach Open Canoe (also 5 Star Award Open Canoe) 

3. Fifty Places to Paddle Before You Die

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Print length224 pages
Publisher‎Stewart, Tabori, and Chang
Publication dateSeptember 16, 2014

From the title of the book, you will realize what to expect from the book. Fifty Places to Paddle Before You Die is the newest book of the Fifty Places series. Chris Santella is the author of this book. In this book, the author described the best destinations for the diverse sport of paddling. This book includes the world’s 50 top spots for kayaking, rafting, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. You will find destinations like the Grand Canyon, Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Baja California, Indonesia’s Komodo Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, etc. If you love kayaking, as well as love, visiting different places around the world, then you should read this book.    

Kayaking or paddling is considered one of the most recreational outdoor activities in the world. By paddling, you can visit and explore a lot of stunning places. By reading this book, you will gather knowledge about fifty amazing places to paddle. Moreover, in this book, you will find vibrant photographs of these places, so you will get the visual experience of these beautiful places. The best part of this book is; it includes plans and travel tips for all these stunning places. So if you are planning to visit one of these places, then you can get a lot of ideas about the place from this book. So you can make your trip more exciting and fun-filled with memories.

About the Author: Chris Santella is from Portland, Oregon, and he is the author of 21 books, including 15 titles in the Fifty Places series. He is a freelance writer and marketing consultant, as well as a regular contributor to the Washington Post and the New York Times. His writing has also been featured in The New Yorker, Golf, Travel & Leisure, Travel & Leisure Golf, American Lawyer, San Jose Mercury News, and many more. He is a passionate fly fisher and golfer and frequently writes on these topics.    

4. The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking

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Print length296 pages
Publisher‎Falcon Guides
Publication dateJune 1, 2018

If you are a fan of sea kayaking, then this book is a must to read for you. This book is written by Late Derek C Hutchinson 1976, who is an internationally famous sea kayaker. Though this is the new 40th-anniversary edition and it has been completely updated with the latest sea kayaking developments by Wayne Horodowich. Wayne Horodowich is a close friend of Hutchinson’s and the founder of the University of Sea Kayaking. In this book, you will find all the nitty-gritty of sea kayaking. While reading this book, you will gather knowledge about types of equipment, basic techniques, advanced techniques, weather, navigation, and many more.

The best part of this book is; it includes the authors’ own drawings, illustrations, and color photographs, which is excellent for kayakers of different skill levels. So this comprehensive guide about sea kayaking is like a torch for the beginner and an invaluable reference book for the experienced sea kayaker. If you want to discover the excitement and adventure of paddling on the open sea, then you must read this book. This 40th edition of this book contains supplementary material on the history and beginnings of the kayak as well as new information on navigation.

About the Author: Late Derek C Hutchinson was regarded as an international authority on sea kayaking. He joined the British Canoe Union Coaching Scheme in 1963. He has run major kayaking tours all over the world and travels broadly throughout the United Kingdom and the USA. The current author of this book Wayne Horodowich is a disciple of Derek Hutchinson’s teachings, and he is the two-time former captain of the US Surf Kayaking Team’s world championship teams. In 2000, Wayne Horodowich started the University of Sea Kayaking to support sea kayaking education worldwide.        

5. Quiet Water New Hampshire And Vermont

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Print length336 pages
Publisher‎Kindle Edition
Publication dateNovember 11, 2011

If you live in New Hampshire & Vermont and love kayaking, or if you are planning to visit New Hampshire to spend your vacation, then this is going to be an excellent kayaking book for you. In New Hampshire, there are lots of flatwater ponds, lakes, and rivers available, and you will learn all about them if you read the book. This book is a fully updated guide to AMC’s popular Quiet Water series. While reading the book, you will have an overview of the soothing sound and beauty of paddling on the lakes and rivers. You will also find 95 great paddling trips through the Green Mountain and Granite states of New Hampshire & Vermont.

This book includes all the details about the beauty of the ponds of Pillsbury State Park, and information about camping overnight, so this will help you plan your trip properly. New Hampshire & Vermont is rated by a lot of kayakers, and it’s an excellent place to spend time as an angler, canoeist, and kayaker of all skill levels. Moreover, you will find maps and photographs of all ponds, lakes, and rivers in this book. So you will never get bored reading this amazing book. Apart from that, you will get information about local outfitters, safety and equipment, GPS coordinates, driving directions, and many more.     

About the Author: John Hayes and Alex Wilson is the author of this book. John Hayes is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Pacific University. He is an experienced kayaker and kayaked extensively throughout the world. Alex Wilson is the co-author of this book, and he is also an avid canoeist and naturalist. Moreover, he is also a widely published writer on energy, building technology, and environmental issues.

6. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Canoeing and Kayaking

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Print length401 pages
Publication dateJuly 6, 2004

Well, the name of this book may be a little offbeat, but trust me; this is one of the best kayaking guides written for newbies to learn more about kayaking and canoes. This is an excellent book where you will learn all the differences between kayaks and canoes. This book is filled with more than 100 photos and illustrations, so it will be an ideal guide for beginner kayakers. In this book, experienced kayakers share their opinion on what new paddler needs to learn before they go out in the water.

Once you finished reading this book, you will be able to choose a kayak or canoe, understand paddling techniques & strokes, learn about how to plan, how to cloth, and many more. If you want to discover the excitement of kayaking, then you must read this book. The best part of this book is; it includes plans and travel tips, so it will be very handy if you want to go out for a kayaking trip.      

About the Author: Dennis Stuhaug is the author of this book, and he is a former editor with Canoe & Kayak magazine as well as a former paddling instructor. He is a very experienced kayaker, and for more than 30 years, he has been paddling the lakes, rivers, and coastal waters of North America. He has also taught whitewater kayaking programs and assisted a number of paddlesport companies and builders in developing better boats and paddling gears.

7. How To Paddle A Kayak: The 90-Minute Guide To Master Kayaking

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Print length119 pages
Publication dateKindle Edition

If you are one of those people who are in, harry to learn how to paddle a kayak or to look for a shortcut to learning to paddle then How to Paddle a Kayak: The 90 Minute Guide to Master Kayaking is the best book for you. The price of this book is affordable, and you will be able to learn how to paddle in only 90 minutes! Scott Parsons is the author of this book, and he has shared expert techniques on how to stay safe and paddle like a pro!

The best part of this book is; it is available in both paperback and digital versions. So you can read this book on any platform. While reading this book, you will discover basic kayaking techniques, and how to diminish hazards and risks, as we as techniques for advanced kayaking, whitewater kayaking, and extreme kayaking. So, if you like clear and easy guidance, easy-to-learn methods, and practical advice from experts, then it is the appropriate book for you.

About the Author: Scott Parsons is a seasoned water sports and camping expert. He started his career as a scout and then became a leader. So over the years, his outdoor skills were developed, and he shares his experiences through writing.

8. Kayak: The New Frontier

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Print length178 pages
Publisher‎Menasha Ridge Press
Publication dateJuly 1, 2018

If you love whitewater kayaking and want to learn the intermediate and advanced techniques of whitewater kayaking, then you will love reading this book. This is one of those books where information is provided in a hilarious way. So you won’t feel bored while reading this book. In this book, you will find a lot of hippy hair boaters or insane youngsters kayaking through steep and rocky creeks. This is the completely updated version of the previous edition, and it includes the latest paddling equipment and kayaking methods.

In this book, over 400 illustrations are used, so it will be very easy for you to understand the complex kayaking skills and techniques. You will also learn a lot of difficult whitewater kayaking techniques, which are very difficult to find online. You will find this book very funny; in fact, you may break a rib laughing. The author of this book makes sure you find this book entertaining.

About the Author: Late William Nealy is the author of this book. He is a world-famous cartoonist, as well as a cult figure in the world of outdoor sports with his mixture of instruction and artful cartoons in his kayaking and mountain biking books. He was born on February 4, 1953, and died on July 19, 2001.

9. The Pacific Alone: The Untold Story of Kayaking’s Boldest Voyage

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Print length184 pages
Publisher‎Falcon Guides
Publication dateOctober 1, 2018

The Pacific Alone is not an average kayaking book where writers share different kayaking techniques but a journey of a young man on a kayak who sailed from California to Hawaii on a kayak. The name of the boy was Ed Gillet, and in 1987 he was able to achieve what no person has accomplished before or since, solely cross from California to Hawaii by kayak. While reading the book, you will enjoy the relentless paddling while taking the pounding of the big ruthless swells from the Pacific through the eyes of the writer.

You will learn the story of how the 63 days of kayak journey went, and how the boy reaches Hawaii while starving for the last four days. The adventure, the enjoyment, and the uncertainty makes it one of the best kayaking books currently available in the market. Author Dave Shively brings Gillet’s remarkable story to life in this excellent book. He writes the book based on Gillet’s logs as well as an exclusive interview with the legendary paddler himself.

About the Author: Dave Shively is an award-winning journalist. He worked as the Content Director for TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s Paddlesports Group. Dave Shively has a respected voice in this sports sector because of his unique profiles and travel narratives in paddling experiences documented from Nunavut to New Orleans. He has won the prestigious 2017 Folio Eddie Award for the ‘Healing Waters award.

10. Paddle Pilgrim: Kayaking the Fjords of Norway

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Print length143 pages
Publication dateNovember 1, 2018

Norway is considered one of the best countries for kayaking and paddling. This country is famous for the breathtaking views of Fjords, mountains, and the midnight sun. It is very difficult to find a country like Norway where kayakers and paddlers can find lots of stunning places for kayaking. This book shares the story of the author’s family who emigrated from America in the 1850s. You will read the story of a month-long paddle adventure on the magnificent Sogne and Hardanger Fjords in Norway.

In this book, the author shares detailed daily accounts of experiences on the water and mountains, magnificent photographs, and many more. The author also describes those experiences and their significance to the readers. This book includes a wonderful story of adventure as well as a fast-paced travel log that will take you into the story. If you are thinking of visiting Sogne and Hardanger Fjords in Norway, then this book will be a great help in planning your kayaking trip.

About the Author: David R. Ellingson is the author of this book. He is a renowned adventurer, author, and speaker and taught courses in spirituality, environmental ethics, human development, and youth ministry at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, Wash. He is also a distant runner and a kayaker. He has experience of paddling the Mississippi River (2350 miles), the Erie Canal/Hudson River (500 miles), and the Sogne and Hardanger Fjords in Norway.

Final Thoughts

A book is the best companion of a human being. There is nothing more satisfying than reading books in my leisure time. The enjoyment of reading books multiplies if the book is related to what we love to do. I hope our list of the 10 best kayaking and paddling books helps you find the right book for you. Let us know if you think we left out any book that should be on the list. Feel free to share the name of the book in the comment section. We will add the book to our list. 

Last update on 2023-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API