Paddling wide river surrounded by cliffs and trees

Kayaking Books

A selection of books on all things paddling

The following kayaking books help to provide some additional information or simply for some inspiration for your next adventure!


A couple of selected books that cover general paddling.

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The Art of Kayaking

Everything You Need to Know about Paddling

by Nigel Foster

A comprehensive manual on kayaking; from the basics to boat repair.

2017 328 pages

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Sea Kayaking

The Classic Manual for Touring, from Day Trips to Major Expeditions

by John Dowd and Freya Hoffmeister

Covers the basics of equipment and technique, essential skills as how to read the weather and the water, how to navigate and group paddling.

2015 288 pages

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The Packraft Handbook

An Instructional Guide for the Curious

by Luc Mehl and Sarah Glaser

A comprehensive guide to packrafting, with a strong emphasis on skill progression and safety.

2022 432 pages

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The Art of Stand Up Paddling

A Complete Guide to SUP on Lakes, Rivers, and Oceans

by Ben Marcus

Covers buying a board and getting started on your local lake to paddling rivers and surfing ocean waves.

2016 360 pages

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While first hand practise with an instructor is best, a few books on paddling techniques.

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Sea Kayak Strokes

A Guide to Efficient Paddling Skills

by Doug Alderson

A comprehensive manual on paddling strokes including edging. sculling, sweeps, rudders, braces, draws and rolls.

2007 168 pages

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Kayaking with Eric Jackson

Strokes and Concepts

by Eric Jackson

More advanced stroke work in a white-water context.

2017 128 pages

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Kayaking with Eric Jackson

Rolling and Bracing

by Eric Jackson

More advanced skills with bracing and rolling.

2016 96 pages

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Safety and Rescue

General reference book and some real life stories to help you avoid making mistakes that others already have.

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Sea Kayaking Safety and Rescue

From mild to wild, the essential guide for beginners through experts

by John Lull

A comprehensive look at kayak safely in a marine envirnoment. How to detect and handle hazards, fundamental recovery and rescue skills, including rolling.

2013 515 pages

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Sea Kayaker's Deep Trouble

True Stories and Their Lessons from Sea Kayaker Magazine

by Matt Broze, et al

An analysis of 20 harrowing, real-life tales of sea kayaking accidents.

1997 192 pages

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Sea Kayaker's More Deep Trouble

by Christopher Cunningham

Another 20 real-life tales of sea kayaking accidents.

2013 192 pages

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How to get to A to B.

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Fundamentals of Kayak Navigation

by David Burch

everything you need to know, from traditional map and compass navigation through state-of-the-art electronic navigation.

1999 352 pages

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Other Skills

Two definitive reference books on knots released a century apart.

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The Knot Bible

The Complete Guide to Knots and Their Uses

by Nic Compton

The complete and definitive bible of knots for seafarers.

2013 288 pages

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Knots, Splices and Rope Work

by A. Hyatt Verrill

A much older treatise on ropework that stil covers most of the knots used today.

1917 144 pages

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A general guide to fishing downunder and kayak fishing from an American perspective.

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Australian Fishing Guide

by Steve Cooper

Covers over a thousand destinations, 60 fish species and tips and tricks for fishing in Australia.

2012 408 pages

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The Ultimate Guide to Kayak Fishing

A Practical Guide

by Joel Spring

Covers various types, transportion, outfitting, vital safety information with key insights for a successful kayak fishing experience.

2017 288 pages

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Flora and fauna

Not directly paddle related, but useful reference books to help identify animals you see along the way.

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A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia

by Peter Menkhorst and Frank Knight

A comprehensive guide to identifying all 379 species of mammals known in Australia.

2004 288 pages

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Birds of Australia

A Photographic Guide

by Iain Campbell, et al

Covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants using more than 1,100 stunning color photos.

2014 392 pages

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Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia

by Harold G. Cogger

The definitive guide to the 830 species of frogs, crocodiles, turtles, tortoises, lizards, and snakes that comprise the herpetofauna of Australia

2014 1036 pages

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There are numerious books from peoples kayaking adventures from around the world and this is just a small sample of these from an Australiaian viewpoint.

The circumnavigation of Australia is the ultimate test of paddling endurance, skills, fearlessness and maybe most importantly sheer dogged determination. You can still count the successful attempts on one hand:

Paul Caffyn 28 Dec 1981 to 23 Dec 1982 (362 days) from Queenscliff Beach, VIC. The first circumnavigation of the country.
Freya Hoffmeister 18 Jan to 15 Dec 2009 (333 days) from Queenscliff Beach, VIC. The first female paddler.
Stuart Trueman 11 Apr 2010 tp 27 Jul 2011 (474 days) from Broome WA. The first completely circumnavigation without a support team.
Jason Beachcroft 12 Jan 2013 to 28 Jun 2014 (534 days) from Rose Bay, NSW. The first to include Tasmania.
Bonnie Hancock 19 Dec 2021 to 28 Aug 2022 (254 days) from the Gold Coast, QLD. The current record holder on a surf-ski with full support crew trailing her in a catamaran.

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The Dreamtime Voyage

Around Australia Kayak Odyssey

by Paul Caffyn

The first solo kayak circumnavigation of Australia, a 15,000 km epic taking 360 days.

1994 186 pages

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One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent

by Joe Glickman

The mostly unsupported second sucessful paddle around Australia.

2012 216 pages

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All the Way Round

by Stuart Trueman

A 16-month voyage to circumnavigate Australia by kayak that included crossing the Bass Strait twice to circumnavigate Tasmania.

2013 336 pages

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Keep Australia On Your Left

A True Story of an attempt to circumnavigate Australia by kayak

by Eric Stiller

A true story of an attempt by Eric Stiller and Tony Brown to circumnavigate Australia by kayak.

2002 352 pages

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With a shout out to those that have attempted to cross the ditch; the trans-Tasman crossing from Australia to New Zealand. These are even rarer than circumnavigation of Australias with only three successful crossings, Richard Barnes being the thrid in 2023.

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A Man. A Kayak. An Ocean

by Vicki McAuley

Chronicles Andrew McCauley failed trans-Tasman attempt

2010 372 pages

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Crossing the Ditch

by James Castrission

Two mates, a kayak, and the conquest of the Tasman

2010 336 pages

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by Scott Donaldson

A Story of Grit and Endurance from the First Person to Kayak the Tasman Solo

2019 272 pages

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And a small sample from overseas:

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Amazon Woman

Facing Fears, Chasing Dreams, and a Quest to Kayak the World's Largest River from Source to Sea

by Darcy Gaechter

A womans 148-day journey with her two companions down the Amazon, with encounters illegal loggers, narco-traffickers, murderous Shining Path rebels, and ruthless poachers in the black market trade in endangered species.

2020 304 pages

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Cape Horn is not a Gift!

The First Circumnavigation of South America

by Freya Hoffmeister

Documents four years of paddling to complete the continent, stretching from the Panama Canal to Cape Horn, over thirteen countries, and 27.000 km.

2017 258 pages

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The Pacific Alone

The Untold Story of Kayaking's Boldest Voyage

by Dave Shively

A 63 day journey from California to Hawaii by kayak.

2018 184 pages

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