The Only Sea-Kayak Culture Video: "This is the Sea"
[$30 postpaid in the USA. ON SALE FOR $25!] Justine Curgenven produces the only line of sea-kayaking culture videos, "This is the Sea," vols. 1-4. They're really something! I have Volumes 2, 3 and 4 for sale. Add a note saying which one you want.
The paddlesport world is full of videos about whitewater dude stunt paddling. This isn't that! (OYB don't play that either.)
Justine---a rare woman outdoor filmmaker---has created a series of movies with plenty of diverse adventure in them. And amazing athletics. And wonderful, lively music soundtracks!
The essence of sea-kayaks have a moderating influence. They come from an ancient culture. Their scene connects back to that even today. Furthermore, they're designed for travel more than sport. A sea kayak is made to carry stuff---this further brings in the cultural aspect. Next, sea kayaking is intimate with the sea---nestled in it---it's not foisted onto it. And the sea is rich---it's not the white foam of a white-water river where folks so often seem to just hang out trying to think of cool stunts to attempt. The sea is the source of life for nature, people and cultures---yet it can also be hostile, giving dramatic tension. To put it short: Sea kayaking is about LIFE in and on the sea.
Each of Justine's 4 videos feature several mini-movies about different aspects of sea kayaking. Basically, we get to go fast, slow, short, long, wild, skills, traditional, modern, solo, group. We get amazing tastes of them all on each DVD.
Newsflash '08: This flick is so inspiring that I finally learned how to roll my kayak after watching it! I had been floundering at this skill for a couple years. It just wouldn't "click." But after watching Justine's amazing mini-flick featuring two star women and their rolling, set to super local-style reggae music, I finally "got it"---then went out and did it!
But these aren't how-to vid's. That's yet another whole video sector, jampacked full of offerings.
This is culture stuff --- and as such it's rare (in our consumer world) --- and so it's right up OYB's alley.
You don't have to be a kayaker to appreciate and benefit from experiencing the sea from a kayak's low point of view. You have far more actual connection to the sea than you do with the private life of any celebrity or pro sports team. It's good to know about your world, your real world. The sea is actually a big part of us all, even when it's far away.
I also really like how modern digital cameras basically let us so readily into new worlds like this. These folks have developed a simple stayed-mast set-up that lets them use a waterproof cam from the front or back of a kayak and also to lower it down, even into the water, as they paddle. We get to see fish, seals, whales this way. But mostly we get the paddle experience up close. Technology barriers have fallen and made it possible for "small world" artists in simple worlds to share what they do with their friends. Yahoo!
What I like most of all are the connections to everyday real life in Justine's films... It's not just sport filmmaking.
If anyone knows of other "connective" and diverse boat movies/books/mags/websites/YouTubes, let us all know!
Details of the DVD's (that I have in stock)...
"This is the Sea," Vol. 4, features: 2 Disc Set – 3 fascinating expedition stories including a multiple award winning film of a 2400km trip around the stunning South island of New Zealand. Also fantastic wildlife encounters and Haida culture in a circumnavigation of British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte islands, & island hopping from Australia to Tasmania across the Bass Strait. Plus; Rough water rolling, Greenland rope gymnastics & commando kayaking with DUBSIDE, Kayak fishing in San Diego, Sea Caves of Lake Superior and much more!
"This is the Sea," Vol. 3, features: *wild tidal race padding/surfing, *a somewhat local (to the UK) tour, *a far-out South Pole tour (with sailboat help), *two faces of Greenland rolling as presented by 2 champion women, *and an interview (and video overview) with a simple-living guy who has spent his life doing huge record-setting solo kayak adventures, such as paddling around Australia. What variety!
"This is the Sea," Vol. 2: Seakayaking action and adventure from around the world featuring an all female expedition around Tasmania, a 6-month expedition around Japan, paddling with icebergs and whales in Newfoundland, ‘blackbelt’ seakayaking at the Bitches Tidal race in Wales, Skooks tidal rapid in BC, the formidable Sean Morley, rolling with Doug Van Doren, exploring Lake Michigans’ Manitou islands and more.
My Own Mini-Review of Volume 3:
The Greenland-style women both comment a lot on the heritage of their sport, the organic aspect, and connect to it---and they both raised their kids in the back hatch of the boat.
The tour to the remotest UK islands has the paddlers eating with and spending the night with various locals, then going out on a puffin-hunting trip with them, as they've done for hundreds of years.
The world-adventurer is shown at his tiny beach home, reflecting on how his does trips without sponsors---works, saves up, then goes. To me, set and setting is always the most important thing.
Justine's website has a bunch of video clips so you can preview the good stuff you'll be getting. Here's a direct link to her clips page: http://www.cackletv.com/skvideo.html .
Man, I really like the music, too. Uplifting, lively. (The "Cheri Come Dancing" reggae tune that plays along with Cheri Perry's rolling feature is just a sweet, sweet song that has stuck with me. Better than what's on the radio, baby.)
Both Greenland-style women's segments were so inspiring for rolling. This style of boat is just so at-home in any aspect of the water---upright, on your side, or upside down. With its torso-jacket you basically wear these skin boats.
I've been trying to learn rolling myself. My kayak unfortunately has a high back deck, so I can't lean back, which messes me up, but I should be able to figure it out eventually. I get the idea, though, and I really like it. Mostly, it's the "at home in the water" aspect. I note that there are several ways to practice/drill the rolling on dry-land. I'll try them, too. One is that you can just sit in your boat, flop on your side, then try to hip-snap upright. Treat the ground like the water. Then there's sitting on a ball against a wall and rolling your hip and torso around. Then there's the famous Greenland Ropes tricks---they look like fun, too. You stradle two stretched ropes with your legs, then flip upside down, then try to right yourself. Ho ho!
Some stills from her various vid's:
(Thinking of sea kayaking brings up its contrasting cousin, whitewater river kayaking. The WW world also relishes its scenery and terrain---the beauty of wild rivers. No, it's more the challenge than the beauty. Its wider social culture has both a connection to and a contrast with the locals of rural areas, with paddlers driving beat-up trucks and living in bum cabins but also being "freaks" to the locals. I'm sure that other "extreme" sports like rockclimbing can have this kind of local/sports interface. I'd like to see these sports work on their areas of conflict with locals. I suppose that the risk-taking contributes to the alienation --- rural locals are often po' folk who can't afford to take risks --- they often have no or bad health insurance and can't afford time away from work. Then again, high risk behavior with expensive motor toys isn't uncommon in the countryside -- so there's that. With WW kayaking the ultra-specialized "slipper"-like design of the boats makes them useless for anything but brief, extreme action --- maybe this contributes to the alienation. I note that the WW scene connects to the lushness of mountain-biking as an off-water sport -- both sports often being done in the same hilly areas. I'd like to see WW kayaking, mt-biking and other sports connect better to local and sustainable (safe) culture. I don't know if it would help them as regards local relations. Is there anything to learn here from sea kayaking?)