Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Canoeing by Ray Goodwin - 2nd Edition

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Canoeing by Ray Goodwin - 2nd Edition

    I recently got hold of a copy of the second edition of Ray Goodwin’s “Canoeing”. I’ve spent a good deal of time dipping in and out of the first edition, which I believe is the best available book on open canoeing for both beginners and experts alike. The highest compliment that can be paid to it, is that it is kept in the “smallest room”, where it can be perused on a regular basis, by myself and visitors.

    Now Ray has updated this bible, and taken on board some of the feedback that folk gave him after reading the first. In the interest of openness, I should now state that Ray was kind enough to give me a copy on the basis of me (eventually, sorry Ray) posting up a review, though he emphasised that I should be honest about my thoughts.

    Five years ago, having picked up a copy of Ray Goodwin’s new “Canoeing” book, I wrote a review on Amazon which I will quote here;

    “This is the new bible for open canoeists. Building on, & acknowledging, the efforts of Bill Mason and the McGuffins, Ray Goodwin's book adds more modern techniques as well as more information on modern equipment and presents it in a clearly displayed way, with easily understandable & enjoyable narrative, & good photos. Aimed at all levels, from beginners to more advanced paddlers, it also touches on canoe sailing, lining, poling & the like.


    There is a mass of information in this book, & its one I know I will continue to dip into regularly, whatever level of canoeist I may become. Very well done.”
    I also added a little paragraph with the only improvements I could think of:

    “The only minor criticisms I can come up with are that in a couple of pictures it wasn't immediately obvious to me (as an intermediate paddler) which way the water was flowing, & that on one or two pages the text to go with a photo sequence is on the opposite page. Sometimes pictures are numbered to solve this, but not always. Not a problem really, as the text only makes sense when you look at the right pictures!”
    Firstly, Ray has made a real effort to address these minor niggles. Images where it is not immediately clear as to the water flow, eddy lines, wind direction etc, etc, now have simple arrows explaining this. Problem solved. Slight layout changes have helped ensure pictures are near text, and sequences are numbered where unclear.

    Secondly, the book isn’t just a simple reprint with amendments, there is some genuine new and useful additional information, taking the book up from 224 to 252 pages. Plenty for your money.

    The section on paddling with children has expanded from a couple of pages to 6 pages, nothing at all to do with young Maya Rose Goodwin’s growing interest in watersports, I’m sure! This explains not only the basics, but touches on both moving and open water, as well as canoe camping. The main message is reinforcing the importance of good judgment when paddling with kids.

    There’s also a brand new section on visualisation when on moving water. This is a vital part of the understanding of white water paddling, something I personally view as one of the single main improvements I have made within my own learning curve, so a great addition to the text.

    There is also more information on some of the “journeying” techniques, such as lining, tracking and sailing, something for which Mr Goodwin has few peers with anything like as much experience within the UK. A number of the images have been changed too, and there are lots more of them, though the heart of the book remains the same.

    This is all on top of the masses of information on paddling, portaging, rescues, strokes, different types of water, and the canoe itself. Throughout, Ray uses anecdotes to tell stories which illustrate situations and actions to deal with them, something that those who have been coached by him will be very familiar.

    So to me, this is now the New new bible on open canoeing. If you’ve not got the first edition, then buy this book, there is no better. If you already have it, then there’s not an enormous amount extra in the second book, but what there is definitely adds useful information and is just as interesting to read. Or do what I’ve done, and pass the first onto a deserving newcomer and treat yourself.

    The new one also has a cover without a picture of Ray on it, something he believes will help the sales no end.

    You can buy the book from Ray's website at, from Pesda Press, or from the dreaded Amazon (Ray makes far less from the latter).
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    SW France


    I also have a copy of the original and had a chance to read through the new, improved, better, faster, stronger version at the recent Open Canoe Festival and I must say that I'd agree with Mal on the book.

    The pictures are certainly clearer and the new sections add to the sum of knowledge contained in there ... though I was expecting Ray to have photoshopped in "Venture Corelite X" for this edition

    For me, the book covers a very wide range of aspects of paddling in sufficient detail to inform and also to ensure that readers are aware they exist and are a factor. This then allows for readers to "drill down" into specific subjects in detail from other sources. This is not a criticism at all - Realistically, unless Ray wanted to write something the size of War and Peace then there is no way he could cover everything in absolute detail but the book does cover most things and is by far the best overall tome that I've seen.

    If you don't have it, or the original, then I'd also recommend it. Oh yeah, the cover photo is improved too
    Open Canoe hire/outfitting in the Massif Central
    ”We will make your trip work”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Western Lake District


    Quote Originally Posted by MarkL View Post
    If you don't have it, or the original, then I'd also recommend it. Oh yeah, the cover photo is improved too
    I have the 1st edition (sounds more valuable that way) which has been handed to my eldest for reading & safe keeping. 2nd edition moves between conservatory (where most of our outdoorsie books are) and the 'reading' room.
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts