Book Review: How to Read Water – By Tristan Gooley

We paddlers, we should be looking at water constantly. 

Flat lakes, running streams, inlets, beaches, canals, channels, puddles, if you’re paddling and you want to be efficient, you should be looking at the water.  All water.

As paddlers, we need to understand the ever-changing medium on which we paddle.  How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley is the perfect complement to any waterman or waterman wannabe’s understanding of the forces of water. The author’s tales, experiences, and insights will walk you through all manner of perspectives on how water can be understood and used to your advantage, or not understood and wreak havoc on your day.

This author is for real, and this book is a must-read. With input and stories from Pacific Islanders on how they read the water to navigate, and how studying rocks in streams including the way water pools and behaves delivers an understanding of everything from eddies to ocean currents. All of this knowledge can make the difference when reaching for the best day, dare I say the fastest day, on the water. From Telweg’s to Rip Currents, understanding what’s movement can be the difference between a win or lose.

Distilled from his own adventures—sailing solo across the Atlantic, navigating with Omani tribespeople, canoeing in Borneo, and walking in his own backyard—Gooley shares hundreds of techniques in How to Read Water. Readers will:

  • Find north using puddles
  • Forecast the weather from waves
  • Decode the colors of ponds
  • Spot dangerous water in the dark
  • Decipher wave patterns on beaches
  • and much more

A number of us at Paddle Monster have read and LOVE this book.  We highly recommend it as essential knowledge for all who paddle.  You will learn a lot!

NOTE: Check out the author’s website for more detailed information and some great videos!