"Art and Skill of Steering" book - is it worth it?

Is the book "Art and Skill of Steering" worth $62? The price by itself is not what bothers me, it's just that, as you all know, we can keep spending money on gear and books forever, and I'm making serious efforts to cut back. This summer I will steer an OC 4 and I've never done so. But I'm a respectable paddler, board and canoe surfer, and so forth, so I think that I can learn what I have to on the water and by talking to people. Will I really get $62 dollars of skill and art from the book that I couldn't get just by doing it? Thanks for any input.

Submitted by peterchullo on Fri, 04/23/2010 - 3:32pm

Borrow it from your local library first to check it out.

#1 Fri, 04/23/2010 - 3:46pm

Can you find that book in the library? I got the book as a gift and I don't recall seeing anything about 4-man tips but it's a good book for novice steersman. If you have alot of experience steering 6-man almost all technique's apply IMHO.

#2 Fri, 04/23/2010 - 5:26pm

See if you can borrow the book and save the $$ to buy beers for your crew who will have to tolerate your on-the-job training. Water time is best.

#3 Sat, 04/24/2010 - 9:25am

Jim Foti once told me that when he's teaching people to steer, he can tell right away if they have potential to be really good at it or not. I mean, anyone can kinda do it, but it seems like you just have to find that special someone w/ the knack for it to really excel.

#4 Sun, 04/25/2010 - 1:32am

Buy it and support Steve West. Maybe we will get another wonderful book about paddling.

We certainly need more. I also always appreciated in his books that he would question and probe the balance between tradition and the future.

And he was extremely honest. Very cutting edge 10 years ago and still relevant now.

#5 Sun, 04/25/2010 - 4:24am

Towknee you right, for if there is anything I no like is the steersman you can always feel. Steer the canoe, but no slow it down, and no book can teach that!

#6 Sun, 04/25/2010 - 6:19am

FYI - Just bought the book over the weekend from Steve West's website, new edition was about 36 bucks (dollars) w/shipping from the UK to California

#7 Mon, 04/26/2010 - 4:44pm

Both of Steve Wests books are to me invaluable. I have my High School paddlers study the Steering book when learning to go off-shore and ask anyone who is getting serious about Outrigger to buy or read the other one (I've seen it referred here on OC Paddler as 'the Bible...)..
I keep hoping he'll 'update' them soon, but all the info, history, tips and knowledege are as valid now as when they were written. Afterall, if the tradition and culture of the sport are as old as we think, what is going to change in just a few years...?
I'd guess the $62 prize is in Oz dollars.

#8 Mon, 04/26/2010 - 5:09pm

Great book. Even so, I still can't steer straight.

#9 Mon, 04/26/2010 - 6:11pm

Buy the book. It's a good read with excellent info; worth every penny.

Your crew will appreciate you bought & read it too, unless of course you don't have the knack...

Then find someone who does & convince them to buy it (don't give yours away; it's timeless).

At that point, seat-5 is a good choice since it's the auxiliary steering seat and you can have fun getting getting under the skin of seat-6 with corrective suggestions... ;)

#10 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 4:06am

Thanks Kaeo, I was looking at the wrong price.

#11 Tue, 04/27/2010 - 3:42pm

It is worth buying.

As a steersman you are responsible for five other people. You need to get a perspective of what you don't know and few people have the time to tell you.

You might think the boat isn't going straight, but there's a lot more to worry about and know than that.

By the way, the boat will never go absolutely straight. The boat's basic design is assymetrical, the paddles are virtually always dipping assymetrically, and the boat is always be affected by wind and current which are often invisible.

#12 Wed, 04/28/2010 - 8:58am

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