I am always on the lookout for new and interesting kayaking videos. I have long wanted to make a decent documentary about the sport myself, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out about a documentary being made in New Zealand called “Rivering”.
Its director and producer, Bill Parks, a whitewater kayak enthusiast and filmmaker, calls the film ” … an ode to being active, to being engaged, to being in the outdoors in any way.”
Bill has taken a refreshing take on the kayaking film, eschewing the usual fascination for huge waterfalls and rapids that are beyond the reach of mere mortal paddlers, who may only get onto the water on a weekend or day off. It has long been an opinion of mine that the whitewater industry has an image problem, with far too much focus and emphasis in marketing placed on the 2% of elite athletes who run world class rapids and waterfalls. While this sector should be seen as aspirational, no other adventure sport puts such an over emphasis on the elite side of their respective sports.
So it is refreshing to see a video that shows the more recreational side of things. Do not be fooled, however. If you think that “Rivering” will be 70 minutes of watching people on Class 2 or flat water you will be mistaken! While the film promises to show this side of things, Bill will also be portraying Class 4 and 5 too so the documentary will have its fair share of action. The big difference from other productions being that the people being shown are kayakers like you and me. People who paddle in their spare time, or who coach, or who lead clubs.
One of Bills’ inspirations are the films of Warren Miller, who at one point also made some kayaking segments, too. However, as I know only too well, a high quality professionally produced documentary does not make or pay for itself, and so Bill and his team need our help. This project is not for profit, it will be available free to view for all upon completion. However production costs alone mean that such projects do need financial support. Travel costs can be huge, and in the remote rivers of New Zealand helicopters must be hired to transport gear.
I can say first hand from projects that I have worked on that simply transporting cameras in the kayak and filming as you go along does not work. You either have to film or kayak, but not both. At least not if you want a professional looking result at the end of it. Bill has discovered the same time, along with the fact that for the harder rivers neither he, nor his team , who consists of a few non-kayakers, possess the skills to boat down them with camera gear. So long walk ins or helicopter fly ins, which are pretty normal in New Zealand, are the only practical way to go.
From the trailers so far the film promises to be hugely fun to watch. The sort of video that makes you want to go out boating, as opposed to the rather oppressive life threatening films that we see from many others.
If you wish to support the project more information can be found at the projects Indiegogo page at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rivering