A Hundred Years of Whitewater Adventure
Featuring vintage canoeing and kayaking footage, in-depth interviews with eclectic pioneers and captivating narrative, this documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at what inspires paddlers to answer the call of the river.
Whitewater’s history has as many twists and turns as the canyons its pioneers explored. Its story is a collage of unexpected influences, from building boats in friends’ basements to bribing damkeepers to release water. World champions defect from communist regimes and then utilize military by-products for boat materials. Curiosity, ingenuity and outright audacity thrived as paddlers started exploring virgin runs and experimenting with designs and materials to make the sport easier.
The film chronicles the world of whitewater from its early beginnings in Europe through its position as a major outdoor sport in the world today. From the inaugural FIBArk race on Colorado’s Arkansas River in 1949, to Grumman Aviation entering the aluminum canoe business, the sport’s history is riddled with watershed moments, all of which have been painstakingly documented through more than 100 sources of footage.
Learn how paddling exploded in the 1970s, spurred by the movie Deliverance, slalom’s inclusion in the 1972 Augsburg Olympics, and the advent of nearly indestructible plastic kayaks. Follow along as this cult-classic takes you from world champion defections from communist-occupied countries to the summer camps and clubs that fueled the sport’s early growth and continue to do so today. From early explorations in fragile wood and canvas boats to today’s multi-manufacturer line-up of creek, play and river-running kayaks, nowhere has the sport’s journey from obscurity to mainstream been so thoroughly unveiled.
Winner, Best Documentary Reel Paddling Film Festival