Make the most of this festive season and gift a paddling Christmas to the paddlers in your life (or yourself) with our team’s favourite ideas on things to read, watch, learn and give.
Great reads which will inspire your paddling …
- Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome – a classic tale of British eccentricity meets water, as three friends and a dog paddle the famous river Thames (recommend by Paul Robertson)
- Strong Winds are Forecast by Nick Ray – a beautifully written, honest account of sea kayaking around Scotland amidst mental illness (recommend by Cal Major)
- Scottish Sea Kayaking by Doug Cooper – my favourite guidebook for plotting my next UK adventure (recommend by Erin Bastian)
- The Book of Tides by Wiliam Thomson – a great one for beginner paddleboarders who want to understand the sea (recommend by Sarah Leighton)
- Kayak by Will Nealy – a lighthearted but detailed illustrated guide to whitewater kayak techniques. Useful and funny in equal measures! (recommend by Chris Brain)
- Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane – an incredible, fun story and a great reminder that you don’t have to be serious to do serious things (recommend by Bren Orton)
- Many Rivers to Run by Dave Manby – really inspiring stories from back in the day when they had no idea and very primitive gear (recommend by Joe Rea-Dickins)
Books written by our team
- Safety and Rescue Essentials by Chris Brain – available as a free PDF download which is helpful for all paddlers heading out onto whitewater.
- Meghalaya Rivers by Joe Rea-Dickins, Dan Rea-Dickins and Zorba Laloo – six years of research, photography and writing in this beautiful 300 page coffee table book for anyone interested in India, rivers, culture, travel, nature and paddling.
Choice films and series to sit back and watch over the festive period …
- River of Mirrors by Joe Rea-Dickins and Joseph Fender, presented by Palm – it’s not available online but you’ll know it’s something special if you’ve been lucky enough to have caught this live. Visit their website to check if it’s screening at a cinema near you.
- Scotland: Ocean Nation by Cal Major – beautiful footage capturing Scotland’s most incredible wildlife and scenery, and an epic paddleboarding adventure around its coast. Stream for free on STV player
- Skye’s the Limit by Cal Major – I’m plugging this one of Cal’s because it really inspired me in my early paddling days (recommended by Sarah Leighton)
Other incredible films to watch
- Fire on the Mountain by Chris Benchetler – if you liked the trippy visuals of River of Mirrors, then this ski/surf film is probably up your street (recommended by Joe Rea-Dickins)
- One Breath Around The World by Guillaume Néry – incredible shots, beautifully pieced together (recommended by Janice Lo)
- The River Runner by Rush Sturges – A heartfelt documentary of a paddler’s desire to achieve a lifetime goal, while battling mental and physical challenges (recommended by Chris Brain)
- The Grand Inga Project – still one of the most exciting whitewater expedition documentaries out there! (recommended by Chris Brain)
- Chasing Niagara – an epic tale showing passion and determination on and off the water. (recommended by Chris Brain)
- River (2021) by Joseph Nizeti and Jennifer Peedom – a beautiful, sad, poignant story of civilisation and its impact on the earth’s rivers. One of my favourite films ever (recommended by Bren Orton)
- Valhalla – a ski film with a really fun narrative and rocking soundtrack (recommended by Joe Rea-Dickins)
- Calypte – the story of the world’s most stylish surfer and his partner sailing a boat from Thailand to Indonesia over a year with no prior sailing experience. Beautiful and inspiring (recommended by Joe Rea-Dickins)
Plan a trip to these amazing paddling destinations
- Surf kayaking in Morocco: great waves, easy travel and exciting culture on the Northern African Atlantic – head to the hub of Tagazoute or go south to Sidi Ifni for space (recommended by Paul Robertson)
- Whitewater kayaking on the Zambezi: warm big water paradise. Easy logistics. It’s the perfect training ground and winter getaway. You can’t ask for much more. Make sure you get out there before it’s too late! (recommended by Heidi Walsh)
- Whitewater and freestyle kayaking in Uganda: warm water, big waves and big rapids! Even with dam projects having been installed on the river it is still worth a trip(recommended by Chris Brain)
- Whitewater kayaking in Nepal: another great winter getaway. There’s kayaking out there for every ability (recommended by Heidi Walsh)
- Whitewater and freestyle kayaking in Galicia: freestyle and whitewater kayak in the hilly countryside of Northern Portugal and Spain. The scenery is breathtaking, Friera wave is big and glassy, and the whitewater ranging from the Rio Deva to Castro Laboreiro mean it’s a destination for all levels of kayakers (recommended by David McClure)
- SUP in Norway: incredible fjord SUP paddling year round. In winter, take your thermals and dry trousers and get on the water under the Northern Lights in the shadow of snowy mountains (recommended by Cal Major)
- SUP in Scotland: not much beats Scotland for SUP touring in the spring and summer if you get the right conditions (recommended by Cal Major)
- Surf kayaking in Portugal: if you want big, powerful and fast breaks a Portugal winter trip should be on your list. Base yourselves around Peniche (big deal surfing hotspot) and branch out to different breaks. Mohle leste, Consolacao, Supertubos. A friendlier break to start your trip with is Baleal. Portugal’s culture, food and coastline is something to admire even in the winter months (recommended by Sam Clegg)
- Sea kayaking in Greenland: a bucket list expedition for sea kayakers. Plan your summer trip to the land of icebergs, fjords, glaciers and some of the wildest expedition paddling I’ve ever done (recommended by Erin Bastian)
- SUP or sea kayaking the Isle of Arran, Scotland: spend a dark winter evening planning a summer crossing from the mainland (Kintyre Peninsula) and circumnavigating the island, it’s epic! (recommended by Sarah Leighton)
- Whitewater kayaking or surf kayak in Dartmoor/the Cornish coast: the warmest part of the UK in the winter, with consistent rain, and if it isn’t raining, chances are the Cornish coast will have epic waves (recommended by Joe Rea-Dickins)
- Whitewater kayaking in Chile: pound for pound the most diverse and best kayaking in the world. From big clean waterfalls to huge volume rivers and all the creeks and river runs in between (recommended by Bren Orton)
- Or get your Google Earth goggles on and find something new!
Get better at paddling and improve your skills
- Book on to a coaching session with the one and only David McClure, head coach of Southeast Freestyle and the European White Water School (EWWS) (recommended by Heidi Walsh)
- Doug Cooper’s series on Scottish Sea Kayaking are three invaluable guidebooks for touring (kayak or SUP) around Scotland (recommended by Cal Major)
- Online Sea Kayaking – check out this massive library of skills videos to further your sea kayaking knowledge.
- Chris Brain coaching articles – loads of canoe, kayak, SUP skills and coaching based articles available here
- Watch videos of your favourite riders and try to break down what they are doing and how they are doing it (recommended by Bren Orton)
Choice pieces of Palm gear that make great presents
- Helios hoodie – great for both kayakers and non kayakers. It looks great so can be worn on and off the water and the lightweight fabric makes it a good gym/running/anything shirt for off the water.(recommended by Heidi Walsh)
- Riff PFD – it’s great for freestyle through the summer and winter when you want your phone, keys or a snack close by (Dairy milk chocolate bar for me). The teal colour is all the rage (recommended by David McClure)
- The new Tika women’s PFD – by far the comfiest PFD I’ve ever worn. It’s just arrived in stores, so be sure to try one on! (recommended by Cal Major)
- Atom pants – the most game-changing piece of kit I own for year-round paddling, stay warm and comfortable and significantly extend the touring season (recommended by Cal Major)
- Folding knife – not only an important piece of safety kit, but ideal for cutting stubborn rope whilst beach cleaning, or in the event of an animal entanglement (recommended by Cal Major)
- Surf hood – this piece of gear is one of the best under-the-radar bits of kit Palm produces. Whether it be for winter freestyle or surf sessions where the likelihood of your head being wet for the whole session is high. Even creekboating/river running this 2 mm neoprene hood would be a great present for someone who doesn’t want to stop charging through the winter months. (recommended by Sam Clegg & Joe Rea-Dickins)
- Talon mitts – these cosy mitts make my winter paddling a dream, always on my hands or tucked in my PFD pocket at the ready (recommended by Erin Bastian)
- I second the Talon mitts! And also the neoprene socks. Both are game changers for any paddlers with Raynaud’s (crappy hand and foot circulation!) (recommended by Sarah Leighton)
- Arc Throwline – a great compact throwline that would make an excellent choice as a second bag for an experienced paddler or a first throwline for a younger paddler getting into whitewater (recommended by Chris Brain)
- Nevis PFD – If you really are looking for the ultimate present for a whitewater paddler … the recipient of this will love you forever! (recommended by Chris Brain)
- Poncho – keep your dignity warm, dry and dignified while getting changed in car parks around the world. In some countries it is considered very rude to show your dignity in public.
Help protect the places we paddle
- Seaful – helping others experience the water who might not otherwise have chance. They have some delightful calendars up for sale just in time for Christmas …
- Marine Conservation Society – helping to protect our coastlines, projects ranging from seagrass protection to tackling politics and policy. Really, funky marine life graphic tees too (recommended by Erin Bastian)
- Seawilding – community-led marine habitat restoration at Loch Craignish in Scotland. I met some of the volunteers when I was paddling there and they were so passionate (recommended by Sarah Leighton)
- Save our Rivers – advocates for the protection and restoration of rivers worldwide (recommended by Chris Brain)
- Surfers Against Sewage – helping to protect the ocean and to keep our waters around the UK clean (recommended by Chris Brain)
- Free Rivers Fund – supporting grassroots projects around the world that keep our rivers free-flowing. (recommended by Janice Lo)
Whether you give the gift of a book, gear, coaching or a film night – there’s something in there for every paddler. Here’s to a festive season, and another year ahead full of paddling!