taxi, so it was egg roll at the airport for me. I've already devoured
half an excellent book bought for the journey, although as security
swabbed all four of my cameras I realised its title was slightly
suspicious - 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' by Mohsin Hamid. So now I
drop into cattle-mode, prodded and herded, going where I'm told. The
first hop is with EasyJet to Paris. The longer sector come later and I
should reach my destination on Saturday at 4am UK time.
Our instructional DVD Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown has won, not one, but two awards for the Best Instructional Film on the same day.
Best Canoeing Film: This is Canoeing is a celebration of canoeing, showcasing some of the single blade’s most talented paddlers, wilderness explorers and whitewater adventures.
Best Whitewater Film: In Into Perpetual Ice five kayakers visit Greenland to explore the whitewater of this remote island.
Best Kayak Fishing Film: Kayak Fishing: Game On 2 follows big game kayaker Jim Sammons on a three-hour battle with a 120-pound tuna.
Best Adventure Travel Film: Finding Farley, in which Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison, along with their two-year old son, set out on a 5,000-kilometre trip from the Prairies to the Maritimes to retrace the literary footsteps of legendary author Farley Mowat.
Best Environmental Paddling Film: Facing East is the final descent of the mighty Yangtze River before it is completely underwater and transformed into massive reservoirs.
Best Paddling Documentary: Kent Ford’s Call of the River traces whitewater’s history with as many twists and turns as the canyons its pioneers explored.
Best Amateur/Short Paddling Film: Falling is a thrill ride and a poetic meditation about harmonizing with the awesome forces of nature featuring the waterfalls of Agua Azul in Chiapas, Mexico.
Best Instructional Paddling Film: Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown offers exciting, practical instruction while on a four-day expedition around the Isle of Skye.
JJ Kelley: “Honestly, I didn't think it'd be this rainy in
the rain forest.”
Josh Thomas: “Yeah, it's funny we didn't see that one coming”.
J.J. Kelley: “It is North America's only rain forest. It's the wettest place on our entire continent, and I didn't think it would be this rainy”.
This is absolutely not traditional observational documentary making. It is a doco for the YouTube generation. Horizons aren’t level, faces are often too dark against the light sky, the auto-focus hunts, and the jump cuts would give old-school film editors apoplexy. None of this matters.
A huge contribution is made by the invisible team member, the editor Ben Gottfried, who pulled all this material into such good shape.
The film draws its energy from the personalities of JJ, Josh, and their interaction with the biggest character of all – the amazing wild environment of the Pacific North West.
It’s not their first film. In 2006 these two friends filmed their 1,200 mile cycle ride from Seward, on the southern coast of Alaska, to the northern coast of that massive state. The resulting DVD, Pedal to the Midnight Sun costs $16 through Amazon.
The pair met each other while hiking the Appalachian Trail. While Josh is a carpenter in Seward, JJ is a media professional, working at National Geographic Television and living in Washington DC.
On screen, that partnership is everything.
The credits show we only meet eight other people in this eighty six minute long film, so the rest of the time we spend in the company of the floating double act that is JJ and Josh.
They’re not comedians, but their light-hearted take on the world is refreshingly honest and genuinely engaging.
Their effervescence only runs a little flat when they’re both sick with a stomach ailment which had them evacuating at both ends. JJ reveals his Mom used to call this, 'the burning turkey squirts'. Lovely.
Although there are plenty of shots of the pair paddling, this is not strictly a kayaking film.
It’s more like an exceptionally well-made video-diary of a challenging expedition through superb, wild scenery. In days gone by, people who did this sort of thing wrote a book. With the democratization of media, they now make a film.
I confidently predict it will be enjoyed by everyone, not only kayakers. But, I suspect they’ll watch it only once. Twice at most.
Which left me wondering – are they as bouncy as this all the time? Surely they can’t turn it on just for the camera or we’d see cracks in the masks? No, I’m pretty sure these are two, kayaking Tiggers.