Kayaking is a water sport, which inherently carries a degree of danger with it, if you are interested in getting into kayaking, it is imperative that you arm yourself with all of the available information.

The best thing to do when you know nothing is, of course, research, and the best thing to do when you know a little but want to know more is, of course, research! Well, luckily for us, we have the books at our disposal.

Below, we have compiled a list of books that speak not to only the novice, but the semi experienced, who would like to expand their knowledge.

Books on Kayaking For Beginners

Before you set out on your maiden journey, or if you’ve been out on the water a few times and are still learning, it is important to become familiar with both kayak and water safety. The following books are perfect for those who have little to no knowledge on kayaking.

1. How to Paddle a Kayak: The 90 Minute Guide to Master Kayaking and Learn to Paddle Like a Pro – Scott Parsons


Scott Parsons is an American Olympic Kayaker who has penned a beginners guide to learning to paddle as well as the pros do. The book covers common paddling mistakes beginners are prone to make, selecting the right paddle and kayak for yourself and what you want to do on the water, launching and balancing on your kayak properly and paddling in the most efficient manner.

The book is great for beginners as it also covers what steps to take if you should fall off of your kayak into the water and how to accurately read tides and currents through the use of water/weather condition techniques.

2. The Complete Sea-Kayaker’s Handbook: Second Edition – Shelley Johnson


Shelley Johnson is a professional kayak instructor and guide and has penned numerous books specializing in sea kayaking, including “Sea Kayaking: A Woman’s Guide” and “Sea Kayaker’s Pocket Guide”.

The Complete Sea-Kayaker’s Handbook includes information on getting to know and controlling your kayak, navigation, information on dealing with hypothermia, sea kayak safety, information on how to posture yourself more comfortably in your kayak and how to get onto/into and off of/out of your kayak which can be more challenging on the sea than on the still waters of a lake. The book also covers touring and planning out your kayaking journey before setting out on the ocean.

The second edition also covers new sea kayaking gear and materials, and safety techniques.

3. Whitewater Safety and Rescue: Essential Knowledge For Canoeists, Kayakers And Raft Guides – Franco Ferrero


If you are interested in kayaking mostly rivers (or any environment with constantly moving water), this is a must read for you. In this book, Franco Ferrero (a certified Rescue Emergency Care first-aid provider and Rescue 3 instructor) looks at how to read the whitewater you are going to enter, accurately assessing the hazards and risks of the whitewater and planning your descent into the whitewater.

The book also goes into great detail about how to recover paddlers who have gone overboard, incident management, moving paddlers who have been injured and first aid and resuscitation. Reading this book will not only make you a safer and more efficient whitewater paddler, but also an asset to anyone paddling whitewaters with you.

4. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Canoeing and Kayaking – Dennis Stuhaug


Part of the famed “Idiot’s Guide to” franchise, this book covers all of the most basic information you need to know before dipping your paddle into the water. This book is filled with photos and illustrations and easy to digest instructions, making it a truly foolproof guide to getting started on your kayaking journey.

5. Kayaking made Easy, 4th: A Manual for Beginners with Tips for the Experienced (How to Paddle Series) – Dennis Stuhaug


The second book on our list written by Dennis Stuhaug, former paddling instructor and editor at Canoe and Kayak Magazine, is a clear step by step guide for beginners and beginners to intermediates.

Kayaking Made Easy covers basic maneuvering, choosing the hull that suits you best, navigating rip tides and hazardous weather, outfitting your kayak, putting together a kayaking wardrobe and making your kayaking experience enjoyable for you and your kayaking companions.

This book is littered with personal anecdotes from a seasoned kayaker and the personal humor throughout Kayaking Made Easy makes it an enjoyable, as well as informative read.

6. Recreational Kayaking The Ultimate Guide – Ken Whiting


Recreational kayaking covers exploring all possible water environments and provides invaluable tips and advice for those new to kayaking, as well as a few that may be new to intermediate kayakers. The book includes pictures for easier technique understanding.

Ken Whiting is the holder of various kayaking championship trophies won worldwide. His wealth of knowledge and experience comes through in this comprehensive guide to recreational kayaking.

Books on Kayaking for Intermediates

Being an intermediate kayaker, you might already have a fair bit of knowledge on how to safely and effectively challenge and enjoy yourself on the water, be it on rivers, lakes or the sea. These books were written to build on that knowledge and give you the tools to take your kayaking to the next level.

7. The Art of Kayaking: Everything You Need to Know About Paddling – Nigel Foster


Nigel Foster shares the information he has collected over years of designing paddles, kayaks and kayaking equipment in The Art of Kayaking.

Describes as a “definitive manual designed to stand the test of time.”, this book holds invaluable information about techniques for paddling and kayaking. The book begins with the most basic information aimed at those new to kayaking and progresses with information aimed at intermediates all the way through to pros. Apart from being on the water, it also covers everything from what gear to choose and how to ready it before getting onto the water. Also included, are technique diagrams, maps and tables, which add to the clear and concise instructional layout of the book.

The Art of Kayaking is a must read for kayakers of all levels.

8. Sea Kayaker’s Deep Trouble: True Stories and Their Lessons from sea Kayaker Magazine – Matt Bronze and George Gronseth


An interesting read for sea kayakers, this book holds twenty stories of real life sea kayaking accidents. This book offers a unique chance to learn from the experiences of others who lived through life and death situations out on the ocean.

This book is recommended for everyone, from beginners to seasoned kayakers.

9. Sea Kayak: A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers – Gordon Brown


Award winning sea kayaking guru Gordon Brown shares his wealth of knowledge and experience in this informative and acclaimed manual. Brown covers the history of sea kayaking, kayaking physiology and the dynamics between the paddles and the kayak itself.

The book also concentrates on navigating sea waters, paddle stroke techniques, forecasting weather and tidal races, and what to consider before setting out on a day or overnight sea expedition, and offers numerous resources and helpful tips to those who love sea kayaking.

Sea Kayak includes numerous diagrams and photographs for easier understanding. You will find Sea Kayak to be a book filled to the brim with modern and relevant information and techniques.

10. Kayak: The New Frontier: The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique – William Nealy


Whilst humorous, Kayak: the New Frontier is an incredible informational book. The highly illustrated manual breaks down complicated techniques so successfully that they become easy enough for even a beginner to understand.

Laugh your way to an extensive sea kayaking knowledge!

Interesting Books For All Kayakers

Apart from instructional guides to kayaking, there are many books detailing the feats of kayakers from around the world, sure to inspire both the beginner and the intermediate kayaker. These books are sure to fuel your love for kayaking and spark your sense of adventure!

11. No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon – Erik Weihenmayer


In this almost unbelievable true life story, Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind man to scale Mount Everest, recounts a few of the most amazing adventures of his life, including kayaking the Grand Canyon.

Sure to inspire you, you will not be able to put this book down!

12. Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent – Joe Glickman


Fearless is the true story of former athlete, Freya Hoffmeister’s year long adventure kayaking alone around Australia. This book is hair raising in parts, detailing close encounters with the country’s infamously dangerous wildlife, and absolutely astounding in others.

13. On Celtic Tides: One Man’s Journey Around Ireland by Sea Kayak – Chris Duff


On Celtic Tides describes, in great detail, the author’s incredible three month journey on the seas around Ireland. If you are an avid sea kayaker, you will be absolutely absorbed in this book!

14. All the Way Around – Stuart Trueman


All the Way Around recounts one man’s amazing, solo, sixteen month marathon around Australia. The book explores the terrain, wildlife and physical pressures and perils the author faced on his unbelievable voyage.