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Books / DVDs

  • Book - Outrigger Canoeing - The Ancient Sport of Kings - by Steve and Mandy West
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    RECOMMENDED BY THE LONELY PLANET GUIDE BOOKS TO THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

    426 pages mono and colour pages over 1000 photos / illustrations
    soft cover perfect bound A5 210x 148 x 43mm (8.27" x 5.82")

    1. OCEANIA VA'A

    Canoes of all manner of shape, size, construction and material, designed to function in a variety of aquatic environments, are present in most parts of the world. Va`a, which include an outrigger framework, are uniquely different from other types of ‘canoe’. Whether possessing a single or double-outrigger, double hulled, paddled or sailed, they were at their most prolific and developed to their highest form throughout the islands and cultures of Oceania (Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia) – though also present in Madagascar, the Comoro Islands, East Africa, Southern India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia.

    2. PEOPLES OF THE VA'A

    Polynesian culture was the last of the great Oceanic cultures to flourish and develop. The inherent skills of va`a architecture, seamanship and navigation acquired through the pioneering maritime skills of the Melanesians and Micronesians, undoubtedly paved the way for the Polynesian voyages across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

    3. CEREMONIES

    The va`a was considered by many cultures of Oceania as a living entity, providing a direct link to their entire existence. It was a means of harvesting food from the ocean, a way to travel near or far, and on occasion, a vehicle for warfare and recreation. Felled and hollowed out, the living tree in some sense underwent a process of death and rebirth, as it was transformed from tree to va`a through the hands of ‘its creator’, and it held with it a great deal of spiritual significance. This was not the case for all va`a forms, as there existed a correlation between the size of the va`a, the effort required in its creation, the sourcing of the raw material, and the purpose for which it was intended.

    The Paddler’s Guide to Outrigger Canoeing, is an incredibly comprehensive and beautifully presented book covering everything to do with outrigger canoeing, from the technical aspects of the paddle stroke, steering, rigging and catching bumps, through to the cultural heritage and evolution of canoe designs, paddles and races. There is something for everyone in this amazing book, whether a new or experienced paddler. Every time I pick up this book I learn something new and am inspired by the stories and photographs.
    — Amanda Ozolins - Australia

    4. HAWAIIAN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

    The va`a has been the principal mode of transportation in Oceania for thousands of years. While its direct role in everyday life throughout the Pacific region has diminished, giving way to the outboard motor and boats of contemporary design, va`a racing has created a renewal of the passion and an assurance that the legend of the va`a will live on forever and thereby nurturing the cultures from which they manifested. Wa`a racing evolved as a natural extension of the ancient Hawaiian's everyday relationship with the single-outrigger wa`a, which was used primarily for coastal fishing. While the ocean supplied most of their food, it also provided for their sport and recreation.

    5. HAWAIIAN ACACIA KOA WA'A

    A koa wa`a is a functional object of beauty, transcending conventional notions of art. It is a manifestation of vision and purity of purpose. The creation of a single wa`a requires a time line of several hundred years from the time the tree starts to grow, matures, is selected, felled or falls, blessed, carved and finally named, to be reborn once again in what is considered a living entity - the wa`a.

    6. DESIGN LIMITS

    As the sport grew throughout the Hawaiian Islands, design specifications were introduced. Two major factors which lead to the introduction of the specifications were the influx of Tahitian designers into Hawai`i in the mid 1970s and the unprecedented 1976 victory of a Tahitian crew in Hawai`i’s prestigious Moloka`i to O`ahu race. While some native Hawaiians were involved, the changes were primarily brought about by Anglo-Hawaiians, setting out in strict empirical terms what defined an ‘Hawaiian’ team racing wa`a.

    7. EVOLUTION FIBREGLASS HAWAIIAN WA'A

    Over the past forty years, without the actions of a few, the sport of Hawaiian wa`a racing may have entered the twenty first century from a completely different direction. Had wa`a officials in Hawai`i in the 50s listened more intently to Louis Kahanamoku and ‘Toots’ Minieville, the introduction of the fibreglass Hawaiian wa`a may have developed more favourably and been accepted earlier than 1963. It is said that when Duke Kahanamoku was asked about the chance of the sport of Hawaiian wa`a racing taking roots on mainland USA, he voiced doubts as to whether it would gain any interest.

    The most important item a paddler should own, is The Paddler’s Guide to Outrigger Canoeing. Without the knowledge of how your equipment works, or where it comes from you may be spinning your wheels. This book is a great read and a must for every paddler. Even the most seasoned paddler will find a benefit to owning this book. For those of you that do get the book, don’t lend it out, you may never get it back!
    — Chris O'Keefe, San Diego, California

    8. NEW ZEALAND WAKA AMA

    As with each successive discovery of new lands, the va`a became an integral part of ancient life. Historically, many waka (va`a) variations existed in Aotearoa, they were used for warfare, trading, voyaging and fishing. With an abundance of raw materials, the outrigger assembly itself was not as critical as it had been in many other island regions of the Pacific. Hulls could be built wide enough to create greater inherent stability and ‘voyaging’ was gradually coming to an end by this point in Polynesian history. Although waka with outrigger assemblies existed, they were ultimately not as prolific or produced with the same vigour as in tropical island regions.

    9. KANU TYPES

    Euro-centric researchers and those who assisted in the development of the sport of wa`a racing, ignored the use of 'wa`a' in preference for ‘outrigger canoe’, perpetuating a disregard for the Hawaiian language and ultimately for the wa`a itself. The term ‘Hawaiian' outrigger canoe suggests there was but one single type of wa`a in use in ancient Hawai`i. In fact there was a broad and varied range of wa`a types, essentially originating from the Marquesas and Tahiti, modified to suit Hawaiian waters.

    10. WA'A COMPONENTS AND ACCESSORIES

    For the purpose of this work, we are primarily concerned with today’s racing va`a, the likes of which are strongly influenced by Hawaiian and Tahitian artisans. While you could be forgiven for believing Hawai`i is the leader and dominate force in this unique paddle sport, the fact is, Tahitian influence is omnipresent. From these isolated exotic isles, a veritable plethora of knowledge and talent, serves as an aspirational chalice from which the rest of the world sips, but rarely gulps. This is due to the fact that the Tahitians are overshadowed by Hawaii’s ties and association with America to the extent that the notion of Hawai`i being a mythical isle, and a part of Polynesia, seems but a romantic notion long since forgotten.

    11. RIGGING MATERIALS

    When it comes to selecting a suitable lashing material for rigging, it is necessary to consider the alternatives. Each type of fibre performs differently under stress, especially when wet and in a marine environment. Ideally, you do not want the lashing material used to be overly rigid or too flexible, it is the balance between these two qualities which form part of the art of `aha hoa wa`a or wa`a rigging.

    12. RIGGING KNOW HOW

    If you paddle a team wa`a, then you better know how it all fits together. If you were a sailor, you would need to know how to rig your yacht, dinghy or windsurfer, so why should this be any different? Not only will it allow you to check your rigging before setting off, but you will also be able to re-rig slack rigging or replace it where necessary.

    13. RIGGING PROCESS

    The ancient Hawaiians used many different lashing configurations to secure the i`ako to the ama and the i`ako to the wa`a. However, today’s rigging process has been diluted to only a few lashing configurations, especially using cord. Whether rubber, cotton or webbing is used, the primary objective remains the same, to keep it all together. Each configuration performs uniquely and if a failure occurs, there are substantial differences.

    The Paddler’s Guide to Outrigger Canoeing, is the most comprehensive book on outrigger canoe paddling yet. Essential reading for novices and experienced paddler alike.
    — Michelle Shortis - Hong Kong

    14. THE PADDLE

    A well designed, handcrafted timber paddle is surely a work of art. Beautiful in form, soft to the touch, the va`a paddle represents to the paddler, the most important and expensive accessory they will purchase. More than just a handy implement for propulsion, the paddle has taken on powerful symbolism throughout many canoe-cultures. Its form has been revered in sculpture, jewellery and drawings. Even with the march of progress, whether all wood, carbon or a mix of materials, a well crafted paddle is the pinnacle of art, form and function.

    15. EVOLUTION OF PADDLING TECHNIQUES

    Prior to the arrival of the missionaries in the Hawaiian Islands in 1820, Hawaiians clearly had their own defined paddling style. For over fifty years however, when there was an effective ban on paddling, the intricate nuances of the Hawaiian paddling style were partially lost. Hawaiian wa`a paddling technique was introduced back into Hawai`i not through written text, but ideas passed down orally - a tribal dissemination of knowledge. It has been suggested that the so called ‘Hawaiian Style’ of paddling that was reintroduced, was not an accurate copy of the original, given that most of the elders had past on.

    16. SINGLE OR DOUBLE BEND PADDLES

    The decision to use either a single or double-bend paddle is, for many paddlers, a decision based on ergonomics and how comfortable the paddle ‘feels’. However, we need to take this ‘feeling’ one step further. Through constant use of one type of paddle over another, techniques have been unintentionally developed that have subtle yet different paddling styles. Switching from a single to double-bend or vice versus, is not just a matter of a different paddle, but one of a different technique also.

    17. DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS

    In a rapidly changing sport, the wa`a racing paddler is increasingly concerned with perfecting a personal paddling style. While we may define a particular paddling technique as ‘best’ for a given paddle craft, we must remember that there is no one style that is best for all paddlers. Technique is essentially a defined how-to. Style is inherent to (and often limited by) the biomechanical and physiological make-up of the paddler. What suits the individual ‘best’ is what tends to work best.

    18. FUNDAMENTALS

    There are some fundamentals paddle skills, commands and seat position rolls you should know. With regards to paddle skills, while this is generally termed 'technique', the 'how to' element of paddling, this will ultimately be affected by your individual 'style'. Your style, is an unavoidable consequence of your unique biomechanical and physiological make-up, which need not be a hindrance to sound technique, indeed some paddlers excel at being less conventional than others. Provided sound principles are being met then there is no reason why good should not make for a good paddler.

    19. THE FORWARD STROKE

    Many arm-chair theories regarding the va`a paddling stroke exist yet they rarely considered the issue holistically. Dragon boat or C1 forward stroke theories certainly take into consideration the craft, the paddle and the paddler, yet when this cross-flow of opinion is dragged screaming into the context of the va`a, essential differences seem lost in the translation. They are mutually exclusive to each other, unique, different, in short they are poles apart.

    20. WORKING WITH THE OCEAN

    The term paddling ‘downwind’ is as it suggests paddling with the wind behind, chasing a moving or following sea. The experienced paddler reads the ocean as a series of ever rising and falling peaks and troughs or ‘bumps’ into which they steer their craft, attempting to remain on the ‘fastest’ sections which provide the most assistance - the downward slope or forward face. As a snow skier might move left and right to carve a path between the bumps as they ski down the mountain, the ocean paddler seeks a similar path. In the context of a team va`a, this skill comes down to the steerer.

    21. CALLING THE 'HUTS'

    It’s one of those things that is apparently so easy to do. No one ever tells you how to do it and it is taken for granted that anyone can do it. In reality, it’s a skill, an important detail which, like all the other details that go together to make a successful, well oiled crew, has the potential to either hinder or help you. As always, the tougher the race conditions the more crucial this calling becomes and the more expert you need to be in order to do it right.

    22. BAILING

    Bailing is one of the single biggest neglected concerns and it is a skill that many outrigger canoe paddlers lack. Bailing is seen by most to be a waste of time, incorrectly believing that it’s better to keep paddling to keep up the speed. However, the very thing that will contribute to an ultimate decrease in the speed of a va`a is the 30, 40, or 60lbs plus of water sloshing around underfoot.

    23. CAPSIZE

    The capsize of a wa`a is a very significant event, and the manner and speed with which the crew deals with it is critical. Though va`a are prone to capsize, the reality is that even when well rigged, capsize is nearly always due to the fault of the crew.

    24. CHANGE OVERS

    Distance races that incorporate change-overs add a dimension to va`a racing that is totally unique to the sport. It adds a dynamic that gives it a hardcore edge, an element of danger and intensity which increases the potential for error, putting added pressure on everyone from coach to paddler through to the support boat driver.

    25. CREW SELECTION

    No matter how fair and reasonable the system may be that the coach has in place for determining crew selection, someone will always feel hard done by when left out of a crew. It is important that the coach be able to justify their reasons as they refer the paddler back through the selection criteria. If  you have no system in place, you fail to create an insurance policy which you can use and refer back to when explaining your final cut.

    26. SAFETY ISSUES

    Outrigger canoeists have been extremely fortunate in terms of avoiding tragedy, though there have been incidents. Death from hypothermia occurred in Oxnard, California in 1999. Inappropriate clothing, cold water and inexperience contributed to the deaths of two paddlers in only 45 minutes when their va`a over-turned and became disabled. Without the benefit of statistics, heart failure seems to be the most common cause of death while paddling. For some die-hard paddlers, perhaps it’s the noble way to shoot off this mortal coil. To what extent such cases were avoidable, I am not sure.

    26. ROAD TRIPS

    One of many factors making participation in this sport so enticing, addictive and alluring is the uniquely beautiful locations where it is practised. In so many ways, the sport allows you to combine overseas travel, vacation time and sport all in the one package in a way that few others can emulate. Additionally, the strong cultural affinity the va`a commands in many areas of the Pacific makes the experience educational and culturally enlightening.

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  • Book - Outrigger Canoeing - The Art and Skill of Steering - by Steve and Mandy West
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    168 pages mono pages over 500 photos / illustrations
    soft cover 
perfect bound A5 210  x 148 (8.27" x 5.82")

    1. QUALITIES OF A GOOD STEERER

    While anyone can learn to steer, there are some key qualities, natural or learned which will separate good steerers from average.

    2. PADDLES

    A paddle is the paddler’s tool of trade and while they may get away with an average stick, the importance of a suitable, efficient, well designed steering paddle cannot be understated. All manner of handling problems quickly reveal themselves as conditions become more challenging. If a steering paddle fails to perform in the calmest of conditions, it stands to reason that its performance diminishes in direct relation to bigger seas, rougher water and higher winds.

    3. STEERING STROKES

    Looks at all of the various steering strokes required by the steerer; poking, over-steering, quarter poke, half pokes, full pokes, steering in front of the body-line, vertical pokes, reverse grip, steering behind the body-line, leg positioning, removing the paddle, power/paddle steering, pitch stroke, draw strokes [seats 1,2,5,6], stern post/kahi, pry stroke, dynamic pry, static pry, back paddle, pushover stroke, brake stroke, steering double canoes.

    In Steve’s book, everything’s covered from all the great steerers in the world. There’s 20 years of research in the The Paddler’s Guide to Outrigger Canoeing and the Steering book. I have a copy of every volume of Kanu Culture and consult them often.
    — Ian 'Rambo' Newland Australia

    4. STEERING FROM OTHER SEATS

    Considers the steering roles and strokes required through seats 1,2 and 5. Take into consideration steering responsibilites from the front, draw stroke, bow  post/kahi, bow rudder/uni, stern post/kahi [left], stern post/kahi [right] and draw strokes.

    5. COMMANDS AND MOTIVATION

    Steerers need to communicate and motivate; mean what you say, say what you mean, watch your tone, establish lines of communication, empty vessels make most noise, build trust, avoid the negatives, develop a positive belief system, stay in the here and now, it's only water, creative visualization, maintaining enthusiasm, dealing with fear, controlled aggression, who does what and when, pet hates, specific commands.

    6. STABILITY

    Understanding stability, linear motions, angular and rotational motions, displacement, draft, free-board, list, heel, trim, loll, dead-weight, load displacement, centre of gravity, buoyancy, centre of buoyancy, transverse stability, equilibrium, moment of statical stability, stiff and tender, free surface effect.

    7. RIGGING

    Why steerers need to know how to rig, concerns of stability, toe-in, fundamentals, the value of note taking, using wedge / chocks / shims.

    8. REGATTA/SPRINT RACING

    Lane distinctions, flags and buoys, landmarks and transits, adjacent crews, commands and instructions, race start procedure, the line up and start, steering along the course, overlapping lanes on the straight, the approach/set up and turn, rules at the turn buoys, steering combinations at the front, overlapping lanes at the turn mark [3 buoy and single buoy system], common collisions, race finish.

    9. OPEN OCEAN

    Open ocean steering is a complex skill. Some of the issues considered include, learning to trust your judgement, finesse not brute strength, paddling smoothly, positioning the drop in, recognising a runner ahead of you, finding the sweet spot, anticipation and concentration, physical and mental endurance issues, bobbing, the capisze factor, finding the quickest route, variations between canoe designs and handling, seat 5 role, running the cliffs, punching upwind, working the flat spots, steering with wind/swell on your quarter, dealing with wind, bouncing the back of the canoe, preventing the ama from being swamped.

    10. CHANGE OVERS

    How to approach change over races, drop off and pick up of crew, communication with the support boat, the basics, missed paddlers and hangers on, changing steerers.

    11. RACE STRATEGIES AND PREPARATION

    Discover the differing ways to approach racing. Pre-race preparations, analytical preparation, race day, race strategy, three basic strategies, lead and pace, even pace, negative split, strategies over distance, the start, after the start, dealing with problems, collisions, t-bones, rounding the marks, wake riding, climbing the wake field/bow wave, riding the inside wake, crossing backwash, in the draft, drafting the ama, riding the outer wake, interaction.

    12. MARITIME RULES AND RISK MANAGEMENT

    This chapter covers some of the issues relating to international maritime rules, collision avoidance, right of way, paddling in the dark, lighting, knowing your limits, club policies, checking equipment, ensuring proficiency of paddlers.This chapter covers some of the issues relating to international maritime rules, collision avoidance, right of way, paddling in the dark, lighting, knowing your limits, club policies, checking equipment, ensuring proficiency of paddlers.

    13. CANOE SURFING

    Whether canoe surfing or paddling off from the beach this chapter provides some great tips regarding paddling in surf areas, preparation, the paddle out, the line up, the drop in, left hand break, right hand break, basic manoeuvres, the wipe out, recovery, returning to shore. By Chris Maynard.

    14. CANOE SAILING

    Sailing is growing in popularity, this chapter considers steering a sailing canoe, where to begin, paddles, poking, over correcting, steering via the sheet, downwind sailing, over sheeting and being over powered. By Nick Beck, Holopuni Canoes.

    15. SAFETY ITEMS

    GPS, mobile phones, hand held radio telephones, marine first aid kit, lighting, flares, hydration systems, food, sunglasses, cap, bailers.

    16. STRETCHING AND STEERING INJURIES

    Injuries, stretching, warm ups, four forms of stretching, stability and balance, dealing with discomfort, massages, yoga.

    17. PREPARING FOR LONG RACES

    Terry Wallace details issues regarding 'planning to succeed'; delegation, travel, accommodation, basic stuff, bags, rigging bags, rigging tools, capsize and safety gear, clothing and other essentials, food on Moloka`i, money matters, water, sea sickness, food on the escort boat, needs of the steerer. Terry Wallace details issues regarding 'planning to succeed'; delegation, travel, accommodation, basic stuff, bags, rigging bags, rigging tools, capsize and safety gear, clothing and other essentials, food on Moloka`i, money matters, water, sea sickness, food on the escort boat, needs of the steerer.

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  • Book - OC1 - A paddler's Guide - by Steve and Mandy West
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    306 pages, mono and colour pages, soft cover, perfect bound.
    A5 210mm x 148 x 43mm (8.27" x 5.82")

    1. EVOLUTION OF OCEAN SURF SKI RACING 

    From the point of view of the evolution of the OC1, it's fitting that we also fill in the blanks regarding the origins of the surf ski together with some of the evolutionary design features added, which later went on to be copied by OC1 designers.

    As we will see, the onward journey for development of the OC1 ultimately came down to being a hull approximating a hybrid ocean racing surf ski with an outrigger assembly attached - though a major difference being an OC1 hull can be narrowed to take advantage of the functionality of the ama. Both of these paddle sports emanated ultimately out of a desire to produce an open ocean solo paddling craft.

    2. OC2 PIONEERING YEARS 1978 - 1999 

    The evolution of the open ocean OC1 was not without contention, though ultimately it was totally embraced as paddlers, associations and rule makers came to grips with this quasi-traditional variant of the Tahitian V1. Hybrids tend to evolve from mixed concepts and plagiarised ideas to give us something less than purebred, irrespective of whether it's better or not. There often comes a point where it is no longer what it began life as, in concept or application and so it is with the OC1 when compared to its close cousin, the V1. Had we seen an advancement of the V1 or merely the evolution of a new paddle sport altogether?

    3. 2000 ONWARDS 

    From 2000 onward, there have been few major points of advancement, save for many micro-management adjustments to rudder positions, ama design, seat comfort, rigging adjustability and tweaking of hull designs, but during 2013 and 2014 there has been a major rethink of ama design in particular. 

    Downwind specific canoes have became more advanced and specialised to meet rider needs as skill levels have escalated. Some canoes have been made for 'flatter' conditions, but for pure flat water OC1 paddling conditions, there has been little demand for investment - this remains the domain of the V1 rudderless craft.

    4. NOTES ON RIGGING 

    The relationship between the primary hull and the secondary hull (ama) is critical to the overall handling of the sum of the whole. This is the best way to consider the ama - as a secondary hull rather than a mere appendage which should be negated out of the equation by having as little contact with the water as possible. Rigging is entirely about the ama's relationship with the canoe, not the other way around. 

    5. PADDLES 

    Naturally, you're going to want to kit yourself out with a decent paddle and I say 'decent' in the literal sense, as I have always maintained the view, that a well designed, well balanced, light weight paddle is in no way a luxury or something to aspire to, it is in short an absolute necessity if you're to maximise your enjoyment and time on the water and therefore make the most of your OC1.

    6. OC1 PADDLING TECHNIQUE

    As a consequence of some limiting factors relating to seat height (read on further) there's over-whelming evidence which supports the fact, that OC1 paddlers will often tend to rely somewhat more on the biceps, triceps and forearms to generate power on account of a compromising of the ability to rotate (twist) into the stroke and engage the core muscle groups as readily as with paddling in a team canoe.

    7. DOWNWIND PADDLING

    This particular form of outrigger canoeing, is essentially the catalyst which set in motion the development of the OC1 craft, the foundation of major races and the nurturing of a branch of the sport which truly tests the paddler's abilities in combined surfing and paddling skills; dependant on endurance and an entire repertoire of ocean skills and physicality which may be honed over many years of devotion to an ocean sports lifestyle.

    8. LEASHES, CAPSIZE AND RECOVERY

    Being 'leashed up', sounds like madness when you first encounter the idea, but based on a variety of ocean/water and wind conditions there are times when it is totally applicable and sensible. We take an in-depth look at solutions and challenge the conventional knee to forward i'ako arrangement and look at waist worn leashes and capsize, recovery scenarios.

    9. LIFTING, CARRYING, LAUNCHING AND RETURNING

    You may wonder why I include a section devoted to carrying and lifting, but the fact is, good technique (physics) is required when handling not only such a relatively delicate, expensive and no doubt 'precious' craft, but one which is ultimately awkward on account of it's length and the added issue of the i'ako and ama. Regarding these issues, there are a few basic things to consider.

    10. SCIATIC NERVE COMPRESSION AND OTHER DISCOMFORTS

    If there's one commonality shared by many OC1 paddlers in particular (less so with V1 paddlers on account of the higher seat and no footwell)  it's pain and numbness radiating from the left buttock, along the hamstring (seemingly) into the back of the knee and on occasion resulting in pins and needles or even a numb left foot. In some cases it's just sheer pain in the butt. The culprit in all of this is the sciatic nerve extending the length of the left leg.

    11. RACE PREPARATION, CHANGE OVERS AND OTHER STUFF

    The concept of race strategy and preparation is a complex issue, it is however what sets those who take their racing seriously from those who 'also raced'. Ultimately it is a form of management. Preparation is primarily a pre-race strategy for success, a strategy which brings together all the facets of that pre-race preparation when on the start line and once the race begins, to ensure the greatest success.

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  • Book - V1 - A paddler's Guide - by Steve and Mandy West
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    292 pages, mono and colour pages, soft cover, 
perfect bound.
    A5 210mm x 148 x 43mm (8.27" x 5.82")

    The complexities which V1 paddling can present on account of being rudderless and its asymmetrical geometry, may well combine to make it one of the most challenging paddle craft to master. With Tahitian mastery of the craft, an accepted cultural reality, the isolation of these beautiful and mysterious islands is a summation of the sport itself, a beautiful graceful art when perfected, but for the most part, something of a mystery as to how to make it so.
    — Steve West
    I really appreciated the way Steve explained the differences between paddling on OC1 and paddling a V1. It is very well said and I will be quoting him in the future, to make others understand why I prefer spending some time learning to steer a V1 instead of riding an OC1 and hopefully end some unfruitful debates!
    — A reader from France

    1. VA'A EVOLUTION AND ORIGINS

    V1 racing serves to provide continued connection to the craft and the skills associated with its handling and historical lineage between the family of cultures of Oceania.

    2. FUELLING THE FIRE

    The evolution of the V1 racing craft has been fuelled and therefore nurtured not just out of cultural pride, but largely because of the existence of key festivals, events and the International Va'a Federation, which have kept this graceful and highly skilled sport growing and growing. We have the people of French Polynesia to thank for this, together with those visionaries who have made the sport what it is today.

    Hello Mandy, the V1 and SUP books arrived today and I look forward to devouring them both. Thank you so much and please send a big “Thank you” to Steve for taking the time to organize and share his wisdom and knowledge of all things ocean paddling!
    — With Appreciation and Aloha, Joey in California

    3. PARA-VA'A

    On the 11th December 2010, in Guangzhou China, para-canoeing was given a positive vote by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to become Paralympic. The net result of this recognition, has brought respect, greater world-wide recognition of the sport and increased future investment by companies and paddlers alike.

    4. V1 DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

    V1 sport really began its metamorphosis from around the mid 1980s, morphing from being a cultural touchstone into full blown going concern as an area of high end specialisation. V1 design had to be reconsidered and along with it, paddling skills were elevated along with training regimes and the prestige associated with winning emerging V1 specific races, which singled out the islands leading exponents and stars of their national sport.

    Dear Mandy and Steve, being as I am new to paddling as a newborn puppy, I am desperately in need of all of Steve’s good tips, so I am really looking forward to the book, thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge and skills!
    — Kindest regards, Jan-Willem

    5 TA'AMURA'A TE VA'A - RIGGING

    Ta'amura'a te va'a (Binding together of the va'a). Whether you're a novice or elite paddler, you'll want your V1 to run smooth and straight and much of the secret is in taking the time to rig the ama so as to be in near perfect tune with the primary hull, your paddling style, body weight and the conditions.

    6. PADDLES

    From the outset, if it's not already obvious, double-bend paddles are the preferred choice of paddle for either V6, V3 or V1 for the Tahitian paddler. The question you may be asking is 'Why?' the answer to which has very much more to do with off-handed remarks, that, '. . . it's just a question of personal choice and ergonomics' a summation which signifies a lack of understanding as to the real reasons which go way beyond merely executing a forward stroke.

    7. V1 FORWARD STROKE

    The forward stroke for V1 craft, brings emphasis on bio-mechanical 'smoothness' with the greater part of power being generated through the arms and shoulders with only marginal amounts of rotation and torque applied in the process. The exit and recovery also rely heavily upon arm and shoulder extension and movement.

    I have a Phd in fluid mechanics as an aerodynamic engineer. I really enjoyed the description of the physics beneath the strokes; the way the pathlines are altered by the paddle and how it impacts the steering of the boat. It is clear and relevant and very useful for a guy like me who needs to “understand how it works”. Thank you again for this book which I’m sure will be very useful for me and my friends.
    — A reader from France

    8. V1 PADDLE STEERING

    Away from the Tahiti and her islands, much of what is promoted as the technique for steering a V1, are techniques borrowed from open Canadian styled canoes and while some are certainly transferable, some fail to bring about specificity to the mechanics of steering what is after all, a uniquely different craft.

    9. DOWNWIND PADDLING

    In the hands of a highly skilled and conditioned va'a paddler, the upper limits of control can be maintained and the craft will do most all that which an OC1 will do -  this reality is only relative, relative to the skill levels of the paddler.

    Dear Mandy, many thanks for your prompt arrangement. I received the books signed by Steve yesterday. It was very fast. I am impressed so much to see the contents of the books. They really are the “Bible of SUP”and ”Bible of V1”. It will be challenging and rewarding for me to read through Steve’s sophisticated English for more than 500 pages. Sleepless nights will ahead!
    — A reader from Japan

    10. RACE STRATEGIES (INC SPRINTS)

    The concept of race strategy and preparation is a complex issue, it is however what sets those who take their racing seriously from those who ‘also raced’. Ultimately it is a form of management. Preparation is primarily a pre-race strategy for success, a strategy which bringing together all the facets of that pre-race preparation when on the start line and once the race begins, ensures the greatest success.

    11. LIFTING, CARRYING, CAPSIZE AND RECOVERY

    You may wonder why include a section devoted to carrying and lifting, but the fact is, good technique (physics) is required when handling not only such a relatively delicate, expensive and no doubt 'precious' craft, but one which is ultimately awkward on account of it's length and the added issue of the i'ato and ama. So delicate are some of the racing V1 that the there is an art and protocol in place with regards to how they are handled.

    The books were waiting for us in the mail box this afternoon, thank you Mandy. I had the books beside me when my daughter (14yrs) got home from school, haven’t seen them since LOL. Great timing, school holidays in 2 days going to be a great read! I should of asked to get them signed (drats). A couple of my friends are also keen on the books after my daughter put them up on Facebook. Until the next book!
    — Bernie in New Zealand

    12. SCIATIC NERVE COMPRESSION  AND OTHER DISCOMFORTS

    If there's one commonality shared by some V1 and OC1 paddlers it's pain and numbness radiating from the left buttock, along the hamstring (seemingly) into the back of the knee and on occasion resulting in pins and needles or even a numb left foot. In some cases it's just sheer pain in the butt. The culprit in all of this, is the sciatic nerve.

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  • Book - SUP Stand Up Paddle - A paddler's Guide - by Steve and Mandy West
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    510 pages mono and colour pages over 1000 photos / illustrations,

    soft cover, perfect bound. A5 210x 148 x 43mm (8.27" x 5.82")

    Accelerated via converging influences, stand up paddle boarding has been on a sleigh ride of expansion, defying even the wildest expectations of contemporary evangelists. In peeling back the layers in consideration of the sports evolution, West considers the sport way beyond the short sound-bytes of information to be found on the internet. Here is a publication of epic proportions and purity of intent in bringing clarity to the madness, connecting with the reader in such a way as to make for compelling reading.

    FOREWORD BY TRAVIS GRANT

    Steve West is synonymous with the Pacific-wide sport of outrigger canoeing, not just as a writer, but as a competitor, trainer and mentor. For as long as I remember, Steve’s books have been a part of my paddling life. His colourful stories, educational pieces and obvious passion for the sport, have not only influenced myself, but the global 'ohana' of fellow paddlers and readers, a community drawn together by a love of the sport and the ocean around which we live.
    Within the pages of, 'Stand Up Paddle – A Paddler's Guide' Steve draws strong parallels between stand up paddle boarding and outrigger canoeing, a background from which many of the sport’s leading competitors and ambassadors have emerged.
    As a lifelong outrigger competitor, I have no doubt that there is indeed a strong synergy between the two disciplines and this instant appeal is certainly what led me to begin stand up paddle boarding in the first place. In this context, Steve will be recognised as one of the sport’s most respected authorities on this subject.
    This book exposes the sport in a refreshing new light amidst all the noise and clutter of so many other ideas and beliefs. The contents presented, will not only make a better paddler of you, but will also serve to bring greater depth and meaning to your participation, as could only be expected by a writer and journeyman who has lived and traveled so extensively throughout the Pacific, dedicating a major part of his life, to the art and sport of paddling.
    As a lifelong paddler raised on the Gold Coast, Australia, ocean paddle sports have always been a consistent, omnipresent part of my existence. My journey has been influenced by some of the world's most elite waterman and women. Stand up paddle boarding has come along at just the right time in my life, whereby I can explore new possibilities and take my paddling lifestyle further than I could have ever imagined
    I am stoked to have been able to race with Steve, as team mates in outrigger canoe crews and shared experiences together in beautiful parts of the world such as the Marquesas Islands (Tahiti) Hamilton Island and Hawai`i. Now, I’m proud to watch, as he pushes himself once again and continues his own journey in being a constant in yet another emerging global paddle sport.  
    Steve's publications, have provided many years of positive impetus to the sport of outrigger canoeing, assisting the spread of the sport, through his passion and dedication to clarity and presentation of ideas and facts. This publication sets out to do the same in the context of stand up paddle boarding, on a level yet challenged.

    Be inspired by "Stand Up Paddling – A Paddler’s Guide" and join us as we ride the oceans of the world together.'

    FOREWORD BY SUPRacer.COM

    This is the best book about Stand Up Paddling you’re ever going to see, and if you’re into SUP, I recommend you go and buy your own edition today. Stand Up Paddle: A Paddler’s Guide by Steve West is now available to order, and it’s a fascinating read.

    It’s part history lesson, part forward thinking, part guide book, part “how to”, part reference manual… From start to finish, the whole thing is quality. Even before you open up the book (and start reading the foreword by world champ Travis Grant) you straight away get the sense that this is a quality piece of work.

    The best way I can describe it is this: Have you ever travelled overseas and taken a Lonely Planet Guide Book with you? Well this new book by Steve West is the Lonely Planet Guide Book for SUP. Or in other words: It’s the Bible of Stand Up Paddling.

    That’s a pretty hefty claim, so why is it so good? There’s a lot of reasons why I loved this book, and why once you buy it, it’ll go with you everywhere your paddle does. But first, who is this Steve West guy?

    The guy has been writing paddling books for almost two decades. If you’re into outrigger canoeing, you definitely would have heard about Steve’s earlier works (such as Outrigger Canoeing: The Ancient Sport of Kings).

    Steve West’s background is pretty unique; He was born in Africa and grew up in more countries than you could count. Was a pro windsurfer in the 80′s and helped popularise the sport in the UK. Spent years in Hawaii and Australia getting deep into the outrigger canoe culture, winning championship races in 6-man teams that included many of the stars of the OC world. Spent time as Australia’s National Outrigger Coaching Director. Has countless coaching and writing accreditations. And finally: Steve’s been a mad keen Stand Up Paddler since 2005, before most people even realised it was a sport.

    As Travis Grant says in the foreword to Stand Up Paddle – A Paddler’s Guide:

    “Steve West is synonymous with the Pacific-wide sport of outrigger canoeing, not just as a writer, but as a competitor, trainer and mentor.”

    You get the idea that if there’s one guy capable of writing about Stand Up Paddling, including everything from its historical roots through to technique and training, it’s Steve West. So why’s the book itself so good?

    What I really noticed about Stand Up Paddle: A Paddler’s Guide is that on almost every page, you read something that makes you stop and think. Almost every chapter includes a hot-button topic that could easily make for one of those endless forum debates. But instead of taking a one sided view, Steve presents the issue, relates it to some other similar sport, describes the possible ways it could move forward, and then gives his own take based on his years in the ocean.

    Steve doesn’t just look back at the history, traditions and evolution of SUP, he also raises some very interesting points about the future of our sport; where it’s heading, how it might get there, and the possible pitfalls/lessons we can learn from other sports. For example chapter 3 “Devolution of a sport and a cautionary tale of woe” discusses the massive spike and subsequent decline seen by windsurfing in the 80′s.

    Board design issues is another part of this book I loved reading. There’s a lot of insight into the potential problems that could happen if we placed further restrictions on board classes. But there’s also some really interesting points about the differences in board designs (and the desire to change them) based on both geographical influences and cultural divides, which most people probably never think of.

    There’s way too many interesting topics in Steve West’s “Stand Up Paddle” to mention, but I guess that’s what you get when a book is close to 500 pages long and has been five years in the making. Just quickly, some of my other favourite topics were:

    The rapid evolution of Stand Up Paddling, the first SUP races, board design, rails, fins, stability, race preparation, race strategy, “interaction” (this is very cool), psychological issues, the training year and training phases, paddling upwind, the relationship between endurance, strength, flexiblity, speed and power, and plenty more.

    You can see why I compared it to a Lonely Planet Guide Book. It covers everything and it’s the kind of book you simply enjoy carrying around with you. It really is like a “Bible of SUP”.

    Like I said earlier, Steve West’s Stand Up Paddle: A Paddler’s Guide, is part history lesson, part forward thinking, part guide book, part reference manual and part “how to”.

    So if you’re a ”how to” buff and love reading about paddling technique, tips and strategy, you’re going to have a field day with this book. Everything from beginner’s guides to getting started, to the intricate differences between the Hawaiian stroke, the traditional Tahitian stroke, the modern Tahitian stroke and every other stroke variant you can think of, to tips on stability, turning, racing, pacing, downwinding, steering, and a lot more. In fact this last part is where Steve really come into his own; he’s written an entire book about the art of outrigger canoe steering and translates this ocean knowledge into some interesting pointers on becoming a better downwind paddler.

    But I won’t waffle on. You get my point: This book rocks, and I think you should go get a copy right now. As Travis Grant says:

    “For as long as I can remember, Steve’s books have been a part of my paddling life.”

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  • Book - Surfski with the Pros - By Kevin Brunette
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    SURFSKI with the Pros provides information that paddlers at all levels can use to improve their skills, helping you to progress from the moment that you put your ski on the water for the first time to the day when you are ready to compete in an event.

    SURFSKI with the PRos by Kevin Brunette, is probably the best collected wisdom any newcomer to surf skiing could ever hope to come across.

    It is a comprehensive overview of the things you need to consider before getting into the sport, including explaining all the trade offs between speed and stability in ski design, safety issues and equipment, basic and advanced skills and some race craft tips. Kevin has worked in conjunction with Dawid and Nikki Mocke to produce this book, so isn’t using only his own suggested approaches to the sport, rather he’s taking the wisdom and experienced of two of the world’s best paddlers and condensing it.

    It is laid out in a very user friendly format – if you were an “advanced beginner”, you could probably skip to the race craft section to get the info you need. For me, with a grand total now of exactly 12 months paddling under my belt, I’ve gone through the whole thing several times cover to cover.

    It mixes description with easy to understand diagrams, so if the explanation about how to perform a certain stroke or turn didn’t make perfect sense, a quick check of the corresponding diagram should clear it up.

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