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Production value is very low. There is no post-processing to boost color and increase contrast so the entire video looks foggy. The soundtrack feels designed to put you to sleep, although the voices of the speakers are reasonably clear.
The best parts of the video were the extras--especially the coast guard parts. But even those are questionable for the US contingent as they are UK specific.
I can't evaluate this video from a beginner's perspective. I suppose, if you don't have access to a sea kayaking symposium and don't know anything about sea kayak safety, this may be an OK investment. I would not recommend this for an intermediate paddler. There are excellent books on the topic. A reviewer below recommends two different DVDs on the topic. Best, though, attend a symposium. The rescues that are demonstrated in rough water look deceptively simple but don't be fooled: you are looking at some of the most skilled paddlers on the planet and it takes a lot of practice to display that ease.
The first 50 minutes of the video is dedicated to teaching single and team rescues. Although not as encyclopedic as Wayne Horodowich’s USK "Rescues" DVD, the outing with Olly and Leo has a distinct difference in that it is taught first on flatwater, and then in the ocean. Witness paddlers righting themselves and performing rescues in turbid conditions; supremely educational. Covered on this DVD are ladder rescues (called scramble or cowboy rescues in America), how to dump the boat of water, hand of God rescues, re-entry and rolls, and such.
I think that, for completeness, the Nigel Foster rescues DVD, or Wayne H’s DVD, is likely more thorough. They include stirrup rescues, complex paddle float use, paddle swims, and the like. Much of this is not seen on this DVD. Also lacking on Olly and Leo’s DVD is an explanation of reason for using each rescue. Although they are demonstrated it would be nice to know, for instance, that a particular rescue is better for larger paddlers, or better in cross chop. None of this is mentioned (although it is all particularly well mentioned on Wayne H’s DVD). I will say that, for towing specifically, which is an integral part of safety, Olly and Leo are exceptional, showing various tow devices and techniques of line, single, tandem and fan towing. One could argue that this DVD is a worthy companion to safety and rescues, with one of the other DVDs above as the flagship rescues DVD.
The final 50 minutes or so of this DVD is interesting, as it speaks with the Coast Guard about what information they need from you, the boater. What can they see from the water, what is hard to spot, what signaling devices are best (e.g. various types of flares), and how to use them. Next a rescue boat operator chimes in with information on rescuing small paddlecraft. These segments, although not the most lively on this disc, are informative, certainly.
Hard to rank the rescue DVDs, especially Nigel vs. Olly/Leo vs. Wayne H. Each has it’s own virtues and vices. I think if I could only get one, I would buy Nigel Foster’s DVD. It really covers a tremendous amount of material. Supplement it with Olly and Leo, and you have a fairly tidy set of rescue information.
Or you can do as I did: get one of everything.
All rescues are initially demonstrated on flat water. The venue is then changed to the bit more “textured” conditions of the Anglesey Sea around North Wales, where the technique is successfully executed in the rough stuff. Now we can see where many of those BCU Five Star paddlers paddle and play! Try to find those conditions our waters in New England. This is great stuff. Total run time with extras is 90 minutes. I give it Two Thumbs Up!
A truly valuable asset which I've watched many times already!
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