Body Boat Blade Sea Kayak Rescue DVD Review

Shawna and Leon getting acquainted on dry land
Body Boat Blade has released their new Sea Kayak Rescue DVD. Shawna and Leon showed a brief preview of the video at Canoecopia at the beginning of the year.

The premise of the video is really simple, but also really cool. From a coaching perspective, this is usually the case. The premise is that rescues are actually very simple. The catch is, there are techniques and tactics that work well on flat water, some that work ok on dynamic water, and some that work in rough water. I liked this premise and this simple presentation.

Shawna and Leon run through a series of rescues on flat water, including a rec boat rescue, which I thought was terrific to have in a video. I wanted to see the words “never before seen on TV” when Leon did an assisted t-rescue with a rec boat. Watch the technique when you buy the video. (Notice I said when, not if). The information is really well presented, and presents some controversial topics in a very pragmatic and non-dogmatic way. For instance the issue of rescue lines and toggles is covered in a very straightforward way, without making a judgement on the craft itself. Watch it and you will see what I mean.

The thought and passion from Body Boat Blade put into the topic of sea kayak rescues comes through. The quality of the filming and the beauty of the locations makes for great viewing. Familiar sea kayak park and play spots such as Skookumchuk and Deception pass should be readily familiar to viewers when they see rescues taking place. The camera work from Bryan Smith is top-notch, and the fact that he is a paddler puts the view of the camera right at eye level when needed, and further out when it matters.

While a rescue video could cover any number of complicated scenarios, alternate rescues, or other topics. But at what cost, the razor focus on rescues makes the film imminently watchable and valuable as both an individual learning tool, and as a coaching tool.

I remember a message board thread from about three years ago
where a potentially helpful post got a bit long and a bit snarky. One guy actually said, “All of this talk for a t-rescue? Sheese it’s just a t-rescue.” But maybe the thing we depend on the most when things go wrong should have this kind of thought and focus put into it more often.

Order your Body Boat Blade rescues DVD today..

Sea Kayak Rescues Trailer from Bryan Smith on Vimeo.


  1. I REALLY enjoyed this video. The tagline “simple, fast, effective”, referring to rescue techniques is also an apt description of the video itself! Having watched a lot of other technique or rescue, I was expecting something longer, but was really pleased with what I saw. The video is essentially an incredibly well-made video of rescues in multiple conditions, in which Shawna and Leon demonstrate the distilled essence of their rescue techniques, formed through relentless experimentation and curiousity. They show the techniques that they rely on, when the chips are down. (Pungo rescue excluded*) The explanations are concise, but this is not to say that Shawna and Leon do not have a lot to say! There is so much refined skill on display, that is not commented on or explained.

    It seems that the disciplined decision to be concise is the strength and weakness of this video (if it could really be described as a weakness). It seems to me that different paddlers are going to get very different things from this video, based on skill level and perhaps learning style. Some paddlers may want long explanations. Paddlers who have been fortunate to learn from S&L may remember longer explanations accompanying a specific technique or “trick” shown in the video, but not mentioned or highlighted upon in video.

    Beginning paddlers may view this video as a small collection of video “shorts”, as it is seems improbable that they would perceive the depth of skill and practice shown in these videos. For new paddlers, maybe this video could be watched first, as a way to cut through some of the bullshit that is out there. Then after studying, practicing and failing multiple techniques and gaining a breadth of experience, the paddler could return to this video as a sounding board for their experiences of what worked and what didn’t. I hope they will notice subleties that were not perceived upon initial viewing.

    I can’t remember if S&L say in the video “get out there and practice!”, but they definitely emphasize this to the groups they lead on the water.

    *Pungo rescue: How could they NOT comment on how strenuous this looked?! ROFL

  2. Some people take rescues way to dogmatically. I liked what Sharon BP said at Gales that “best practice at this point says this,……. here’s why…..” (probably because she’s used to hearing from others why their “way” was “the best” way. There’s too much argument over how to do rescues. The bottom line is bum in boat, and the best practice is you getting out there and doing it a bunch of ways with the people you paddle with. Based on the trailer I saw I am really interested in seeing this DVD. There is always something to learn from the other guy if you are not too stuck in your ways to listen, and Shawna and Leon are pretty much the masters of best practice.