New Podcast - Double Ditch

The sea kayak podcasts return from a summer break with an absolute corker of an interview.

We hear from Scott Donaldson - that's him alongside.

He spent a staggering three months in his kayak  (it's longer than in that photo) as he attempted to paddle from Australia to New Zealand.

After 1,300 miles and just 34 miles from the New Zealand coast poor Scott had to call for rescue.

Imagine putting in all that effort and not making it!

How does he feel about coming so close yet not completing?  Come does he live with that decision? Does he feel he made the wrong call?

Check out Scott's podcast at SeaKayakPodcasts.com where you can subscribe free, or subscribe on iTunes and you won't miss a thing.  If you just want this podcast, right click here and save the mp3 file to your computer.

Kayak Race With $10k Prize

Except it's not just a kayak race.  Race To Alaska (R2AK) allows competitors to sail, row or paddle from Washington State to Alaska - you could even swim!  The event is next summer and the promotional video is honestly one of the best I've seen.  It's made by Zach Carver. Anyone from the UK going?

SeaKayakPodcasts.com Re-starting Monday

The website has been on holiday.

We took a summer break from releasing podcasts at SeaKayakPodcasts.com but we have not been idle.

We have recorded quite a few fascinating chats and the first will be an absolute cracker.

The new podcasts start on Monday 1st September.

We'll hear from Scott Donaldson who spent almost three months in a kayak, paddling 1300 miles across the Tasmanian Sea from Australia to New Zealand - almost.

Just 34 miles from the coast Scott had to call for helicopter rescue.

How did he feel about doing that?  How can he live with his decision?

Use your RSS reader to subscribe to the feed at SeaKayakPodcasts.com or find us here on iTunes and subscribe.

Why Can't I Buy Volume 3 As A Download Yet?

Download in 2015
Every once in a while I get asked why Volume 3, Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown is not yet available as a download.  The question came up again recently on Twitter.


We have no plans to release Volume 3 as a download until 2015 at the earliest, and there are a couple of reasons.

The main one is this:- if we make it instantly available as a download, physical kayak stores won't stock it as a DVD.  Apparently we'd take away their Unique Selling Point - which is to say, if the customer wants this product today they go to the store and buy it rather than waiting for the DVD by mail.

We sell a lot of DVDs through kayak shops and we want to support them, both in Europe and especially in the US where they account for a larger percentage of our sales.  

What's more, many homes outside cities still struggle to download large video files. Without getting into technicalities, it is difficult to compress sea kayaking video (where every pixel is changing from frame to frame) to produce a file that's small enough to download and yet still looks good when screened.

Incidentally, our US distributor is not a big DVD distributor - he's a kayak gear representative.  That shows you where we're aiming our films.

I'm currently investigating combined Download / Streaming sales through site such as VHX and Reelhouse as an alternative download option. 
 
They work well for one-watch films which sell at under $10 but I'm not yet convinced they're right for our more expensive multi-viewing films which are really like video text-books.


I've investigated iTunes and it's still designed for mass market films. We'd have to go through a third party who charge a small fortune to place any film on iTunes and we would make a hefty loss on the volumes we sell. (Free podcasts are different - see our SeaKayakPodcasts.com)


Yet things change.  Technology and habits may soon render the above explanations obsolete, even for our low-volume 'niche' films.  DVDs may die. All films may be streamed or Downloaded.  
But for the moment at least, with our highly specialised, niche, low volume product, we're supporting our stockists.
In time Volume 3 will be released as a download.  Quite how to do it is another matter.  


Perhaps we'll release the four films as four separate downloads.  Perhaps we'll string them all together into one long video file.  Perhaps I'll bundle all four into a Zip file and sell that as a combined Download.  I'll sort that out in 2015.

Scottish Kayaking Pioneer

Simon & Campbell
I'm fascinated by the early days of Scottish sea kayaking and last week I had the chance to meet one of the pioneers.

Campbell Semple is now eighty years old and he invited us to his summer house on Loch Sunart.

Since we live on the same loch, we could have just paddled across, but we wanted to take our wee dog Maggie.

So instead we tackled the 2 hour walk-in to the cluster of buildings which make up his retreat at Drumbuie.

A former eminent surgeon Campbell has devised and installed wind, solar and hydro power in his homestead.

People spend working weeks there, helping to run the place while Campbell feeds them.

Liz walking in with Maggie
He recorded an interview with me about the early days of Scottish sea kayaking and, in return, I managed to get his radio working again.

I also showed him how to listen to BBC Radio Three and Radio Four on his Mac. Did I mention Drumbuie also has satellite broadband?

We had a great couple of days, ate well, and enjoyed the walk in and out.

You'll be able to hear the interview with Campbell at SeaKayakPodcasts.com which resume on 1st September.

Earlier I had been able to put Campbell in touch with one of his kayaking comtemporaries Hamish Gow who gave me the footage we used a couple of years ago in a shrt film - the trailer is below. Funny how it all comes together in the end.

New Website - Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown

Websites have changed in the last few years.

Drop down menus and animating photo albums are so out of fashion.  

The emphasis now is on simple, minimalist presentation, particularly the all important home page.

The text must be brief and clearly understandable.  

All the vital information should be there.  And it can be long.  People just keep scrolling down to find new material.  Only when you click away from this home page do you enter the more complex areas of a site.  This is clearly a result of more people using iPads and other tablets.

I have rebuilt the SeaKayakWithGordonBrown.com website along these lines and added a few of my own design cues, such as placing the text in key places on top of images.

The buying pages, for DVDs and Downloads, are clearer too with drop down menus for the different postage options instead of separate PayPal links.  

I hope it all works!

If you find anything wrong with the site - spelling, links or technical - then I'd appreciate you letting me know.  


Chim Chim Cheree

Evenings are getting cooler and soon we'll want to light the log burner.

So it's chimney sweeping time.

With a flue liner it's fairly easy to do, and because we do it each year, we don't have too much soot and stuff to clear out.

Maggie is clearly impressed.  Oh, and I'm going to have to practice my cock-a-nee accent.  We were singing this all yesterday afternoon.

Remote House in Highlands For Sale £125k

It's only six miles from our house but over a very large hill road which is often closed by snow in winter.

This is one of those "ooh wouldn't it be lovely" houses, in which people fantasise themselves living.  They envisage walking around in chunky sweaters in front of roaring fires.

The bit about the fires is accurate at least as this place runs on solid fuel and electricity comes from a generator.

This really is one of those rather 'out there' places.  Which is why Glenhurich Croft is up for sale at £125,000 with MacPhee Estate Agents in Fort William.  Fancy it?  Neighbour...