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A Safe Sea Kayaking Brochure

A Basic Guide To Safe Sea Kayaking

Is a six page glossy brochure which promotes safe and enjoyable sea kayaking. It is a free publication.

The first two pages detail kayak and equipment terms, what clothing should be worn and what emergency signalling devices should be carried. Two pages list what skills are necessary, both before launching and on the water. The final page advises people not to become a statistic, promotes KASK’s aims, and the 146 page KASK handbook, Manual for Sea Kayaking in New Zealand.

Cathye Haddock, author of the Mountain Safety Council, Mountain Safety Manual, Outdoor Safety. Risk Management for Outdoor Leaders, advises this brochure, is now ‘best practice’ for beginning safe sea kayaking in NZ.

KASK and Water Safety New Zealand both aim for widespread distribution of this brochure.

  • To support it being given with every new sea kayak sold in New Zealand.
  • To ensure that it is available to retail outlets.
  • To promote it to teaching identities such as polytechs, so that it reaches outdoor students and education outside the classroom, for use as a teaching tool.

Click here to download your FREE Safe Seakayaking Brochure PDF


The Sea Canoeist Newsletter

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The Sea Canoeist Newsletter is published six times a year for our Members.

It covers a range of topics pertaining to sea kayaking, and keeps paddlers up to date with what has been happening in sea kayaking around New Zealand and internationally.Regular ‘Bugger!’ file articles are included – accounts of sea kayak trips which turned to custard – where the word “Bugger!” was been used. Each file includes a ‘lessons learned’ section of what went
wrong and what should have been done to prevent the incident – a strong message for all paddlers to ensure they do not make the same mistakes.

See our Newsletters page to view samples.

Topics often include:

  • Trip reports
  • Technical reports
  • Book reviews
  • National and International news
  • Equipment
  • Tips and suggestions
  • Humour
  • Regional reports


The KASK Handbook

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Normally $34.90 RRP. To New Members – $15, for KASK Members – $22.50.

At present out of print. 5th edition being worked on.

A Manual for Sea Kayaking in New Zealand. Latest edition printed in March 2008 by KASK (Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers), with support by way of a grant from Water Safety New Zealand.The continuing popularity of the KASK Handbook and need to keep the manual current, was the reason for this fourth edition. First published in 1996, this fourth edition now numbers 200 pages, with a four page colour cover. Feedback from paddlers led to a new wrap around cover design, but still retaining a wiro bind so the book can be laid flat for reading.

A change with the printing process from digital photocopying with the first three editions to proper book printing with a high quality paper has led to a better quality of photos, sketches and diagrams in
the fourth edition.

New chapters, or sections added to the 4th edition include:

  • Rescues; written by John Kirk-Anderson, New Zealand’s highest qualified sea kayaking instructor. This chapter includes 24 sequential photos demonstrating the practical rescues described in the text.
  • Making and Using a Greenland Paddle, by Kerry Howe, author of Coastal Sea Kayaking in New Zealand
  • Hypothermia and Other Environmental Challenges, by travel doctor, Iona Bailey
  • Marine Communications, by Peter Simpson

Completely rewritten chapters include:

  • Using a GPS Receiver, by Kerry Howe
  • Trip and Expedition Planning, by Kerry Howe
  • First Aid Kits for Sea Kayaking, by Iona Bailey
  • Risk Management, by Cathye Haddock, author of Outdoor Safety
  • Clothing for Sea Kayakers, by Stephen Counsell
  • Customizing Your Sea Kayak, by Stephen Counsell

The resource section of the book has been update, with listings for:

  • Paddling literature
  • Sea kayak clubs and networks around New Zealand
  • Sea kayaks types in NZ
  • Guiding and instruction companies
  • Kayak retailers and manufacturers

The fourth edition of the KASK Handbook is now available at sea kayak retail outlets.
Almost out of print – please email [email protected] to check availability.

Recommended Retail: $34.90

$22.50 to Members

Trade Enquiries:

Contact: Paul Caffyn

E-mail: [email protected]

Ph/fax: (03) 731 1806


Magazines Online

A number of publications are available online, either back issues or because that is the way they are published.

New Zealand Kayak


Books ~ Expeditions

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Obscured by Waves (1979) (2005), by Paul Caffyn ~ $34.95

Paul Caffyn has published four books on his extraordinary expeditions by sea kayak.This new production is simply stunning. It’s now in large (A4) format. The paper is quality shiny stuff. The text is beautifully laid out, the photographs are crisp and clear, the maps have all been carefully redrawn. It’s one of those books that is a pleasure to hold and flip through.

Obscured by Waves, the tale of Paul’s South Island circumnavigation, is a classic and rightly deserves to be back in print for all to enjoy. It marks a pioneering milestone in sea kayaking in New Zealand, and one very few others have copied even more than 25 years later. Indeed it marks a world sea kayaking epic in that it was by far the longest southern hemisphere paddle at that time, and one around particularly daunting coastlines. More significantly, most New Zealanders had never heard of sea kayaking until Paul Caffyn came along to let us know that it was available to all.

Paul’s circumnavigation of the South Island in 1977 was both audacious in the extreme but also very simple. He launched his kayak, along with Max Reynolds at Te Waewae Bay at the bottom of the South Island and paddled to Fiordland. It was a trip fraught with huge seas and terrifying landings. Then, solo, Paul continued from Jacksons Bay up the wild West Coast, around the top of the Island, and down the other side. Four months and 1,500 miles later he ended back at Te Waewae Bay. His account is far more than a technical trip report. It’s a frank account of his emotions and heart-stopping situations. It also captures snippets of history and local colour, and depicts the amazing characters he met along the way – fisherman, lighthouse keepers, farmers. It’s New Zealand the way it used to be, and perhaps isn’t anymore. (K.H.)

Obscured by Waves will cost you $34.95 and is available from any discerning kayak shop, or directly from:

Paul Caffyn,

RD1 Runanga,

West Coast, 7873

Email: [email protected]

For $35 including p&p. There is also a limited run of 100 hardback copies, numbered, autographed, for $50 (including courier freight).

Other books by Paul Caffyn:

Dark Side of the Wave (1986)

Cresting the Restless Wave (1987)

These are accounts of his circumnavigations of Stewart Island and the North Island respectively.

The Dreamtime Voyage (1994)

This is his story of a one year, solo trip around Australia and rates as one of the great sea kayak epics of the twentieth century.

Paul’s books can be obtained from most kayak shops or from Kayak Dundee Press at [email protected]

For who Paul is see the Sea Kayaker article.


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Fiordland and Beyond by Max Grant

Publisher: Q-Kayaks, 2013

The story of a father and daughter against the wilds of the South Island of New Zealand. Not only did they circumnavigate it but did it in the opposite direction to all other kayak circumnavigations.

Supposedly Mel’s reason for accompanying her father was that “Someone needed to look after him.”

Go to Q-Kayaks Publications for details on purchasing a copy.


Guide and Instruction Books

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North Island Guide ~ Sea Kayaker’s Guide to New Zealand’s upper North Island by Vincent Maire ~ $20.00

In December 2001 New Holland Publishers published the Sea Kayaker’s Guide to New Zealand’s upper North Island. Written by Vincent Maire, the book details more than 75 trips in eight regions from Auckland / Coromandel northwards.The areas covered include the upper Northland coast, the Bay of Islands, the lower Northland coast, the Mahurangi and north Auckland, Auckland City, the islands of the inner Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula.

The book is available from the author for NZ$20, AUD$20, CAN$20, US$20, EU20, or STG15, including postage.

If you wish to buy this book:

Go to www.trademe.co.nz and visit the “Sports”, Watersports”, “Canoes & paddlesports” section and it is listed there.


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South Island Guide ~ Sea Kayaker’s Guide to New Zealand’s (mid & upper) South Island by Alex (Sandy) Ferguson

New Holland Publisher’s latest in the guide book series, Sea Kayaker’s Guide to New Zealand’s (mid & upper) South Island, covers the upper and mid South Island. Written by Alex (Sandy) Ferguson, the book covers the South Island from its upper western corner, across Golden and Tasman Bays to the Marlborough Sounds.The northern east coast is followed by Banks Peninsula and then carries on south as far as Moeraki. The mid Canterbury and Mackenzie lakes are included as well as those in Westland.

Presently out of print.

BP Guide cover:

Sea Kayaker’s Guide to Banks Peninsula by Alex (Sandy) Ferguson

SeaLand Publication’s latest in the guide book series, Sea Kayaker’s Guide to Banks Peninsula, covers Banks Peninsula, the coast, conditions and history. Written by Alex (Sandy) Ferguson.

Presently out of print.


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Coastal Sea Kayaking in New Zealand by Kerry Howe ~ $29.95

A practical touring manual, published by New Holland Publishers, May 2005.New Zealand is the ideal location for extended trips by sea kayak. The weather is kind and the coastline – with its golden, tree-fringed bays, dramatic headlands and secluded inlets – is second to none, offering spectacular scenery from the cockpit and a range of unforgettable camping spots.

If you’ve mastered the art of handling a sea kayak and you want to progress beyond day-tripping, look no further than this manual. Kerry Howe offers a wealth of advice and information that will help you enjoy a rewarding – and safe – expedition.

Topics include:

  • trip planning and preparation
  • weather
  • equipment for your sea kayak
  • staying in touch
  • equipment for the shore
  • safety and hazards at sea
  • navigation
  • environmental issues.

Professor Kerry Howe lectures in history at Massey University’s Albany Campus and is a widely published author in his field. Whenever possible, however, he is out on the water feeding his obsession with sea kayaking. Kerry writes for the Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers (KASK) publications, and is a contributor to New Zealand Kayak magazine. He also gives talks at sea kayak conventions.

Available at most kayak shops


Books from Canterbury University Press

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Checklist to NZ Birds, Frogs, Reptiles, Mammals and Butterflies by Kerry-Jayne Wilson ~ $12.00

Click here for more details on this book. 


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Lighting the Coast: A history of the New Zealand’s coastal lighthouse system by Helen Beagalhole ~ $55.00

Click here for more details on this book.


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Common New Zealand Marine Fishes by Chris Paulin ~ $9.95

Click here for more details on this book.


These and more are on the University of Canterbury website. There is a 12.5% discount off the retail price, and no postage fee will be charged if you alert them to your KASK kayaker status.

KASK's aims are to:

1. Promote and encourage the sport of sea kayaking
2. Promote safety standards
3. Develop techniques and equipment
4. Deal with issues of coastal access and protection
5. Organise sea kayak forums around the country
6. Publish the Sea Canoeist Newsletter and the KASK Handbook