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Reviews for Brent Reitz Forward Stroke Clinic DVD

Rated: 9.25/10 Based On: 4 Reviews

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Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought both this and the Greg Barton/Oscar Chalupsky video. I've watched each twice. For comparative purposes, see also my review of that video under its own name: "The Kayak Forward Stroke"

Brent Reitz is not only an accomplished paddler, he's a professional instructor. He knows from experience how to communicate his expertise effectively and efficiently. This video is an information-dense, tightly-edited condensation of his individual forward stroke class, clearly and concisely explaining and demonstrating not only what to do but how to do it and why, with tips on timing, visualization, even how to keep the elements straight and practice them sequentially. It is, as advertised, a focused clinic.

He spends a moment propounding on the benefits of wing paddles, and many moments on his preferred stretching exercises. As with the rest of the video, these bits are cogently presented, if slightly idiosyncratic. However, that's also the video's strength: instead of being a least-common-denominator committee product, it's the personal expression of an excellent teacher, unafraid to dispel myths and prescribe tested techniques for perfecting a specific skill. It's ad-libbed but organized, distilled instruction. He even performs the music, playing us in and out. Oh, and it's shot in beautiful Monterey Bay, a minor but decidedly positive note.

I recommend this video with only minor qualifications: it's almost 15 years old, now, and might benefit from modern animation and photographic techniques supplementing its directly-addressing-the-camera style.

It could have been slightly less concise; there seemed an urgency to keep it short, which is unnecessary on DVD. And I'll add that learning to maximize efficient force transfer is useful for everyone (as an instructor once said: sometimes speed is safety), but for non-competitive paddlers other considerations often supersede. Paddling as efficiently and powerfully as possible is the standard from which to dial back when the situation warrants (which Reitz explicitly acknowledges), and attention to technique is always worthwhile, even in a group, but practicing it as Reitz seems to (exclusively, diligently, solo, on a fixed schedule) is unrealistic for most of us. Undivided attention and unbridled application is only polite alone or with like-minded people and only makes sense if actually going somewhere. A good bit of non-competitive sea kayaking involves a high ratio of navigation, negotiation, correction and evasive action to distance-made-good. The forward stroke is still the most-used skill, but it's rarely unadulterated for long in real life.

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Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Highly recommend this video. I have improved my speed without extra effort. Have purchased several tapes on the forward stroke, other videos that also covered it as well as read many books on kayaking. This is the Best of the best. Could not recommend this video strong enough. Don't look at this video unless you want to improve your forward strokes. You could continue to be happy not knowing how much better you could be.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have viewed many videos on stroke techniques, including those by the most prominent paddlers. The Brent Reitz video is by far the most thorough for technique, breakdown of parts of the stroke, and how to apply and learn these techniques. This video put me on the track for efficient and fast paddling. His stroke techniques can be adapted to casual cruising as well as racing. I would like to have seen a more thorough explanation of wing paddle technique.
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Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Brent Reitz Forward Stroke Clinic DVD is one of the most informational 60 minutes ever recorded for kayaking. Brent is an entertaining and enthusiastic instructor, and takes the viewer through every facet of the most used stroke in kayaking: the forward stroke. The video compares to his class, and is a great companion for those that plan to take the class from Mr. Reitz. This champion paddler breaks down the stroke into several components, and devotes about 10 minutes to each nuance of the stroke before putting it all together for a review and demonstration. Filmed in sunny Monterrey CA, the film does itís best to highlight the stroke in action, and Brent is indeed fast. The camera angles, sound quality and lighting are superb most times (small sound glitches infrequently do not interfere with the lesson). The deduction of one point is solely because of the bias toward the high angle, speed stroke. This is clearly the emphasis of the tape, and low angle stroke, used essentially for long distance touring, is not covered at all. The tail end of the tape, about ten minutes, is for paddling stretches for upper and lower extremities. Although I personally thought itíd be a waste of time, I sat through that segment and learned some neat stretches from Mr. Reitz. This tape is a winner.
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