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Talkin’ bout the ocean

Posted Nov 30 2007 12:00am

pacific horizons on ovation

If you ask me, the star of Pacific Horizons, the new DVD from Bryan Smith, is Paul Kuthe who is my choice for the Foam Cowboy award, 2007! (if there were such a thing).

Thanks to Bryan for sending me an advance copy of Pacific Horizons and not worrying too much that I’d give it a bad review. LOL! The interesting thing about PH is it’s enjoyably mellow, west coast feel. You’ll want to put your feet up and enjoy a nice latte or maybe a choice micro-brew when you watch this one. You get the impression you could easily hang out with anyone on the DVD without feeling like you would’nt be welcomed. In some ways this is the best part of a DVD like this. Pacific Horizons invites the viewer to join in on some fun adventures with folks that quickly feel like friends. A pleasant break from the testosterone driven ego fests that are often part of many sports videos. Even with the rockin aspects of long boat surfing, sea kayaking as always takes on a unique, natural feel. Pacific Horizons is not only suitable and inspirational for any skill level paddler, but will also be enjoyable for the rest of the family as well.

Before watching Pacific Horizons, I had wondered honestly if it would feel fresh and new considering that there were some of the same faces and places we’d seen in other videos. Happily it is. There is no question that the Pacific Northwest is easily one of the worlds top sea kayaking playgrounds. Filmed in High-def, Pacific Horizons draws us right into the action and immerses us into the beauty of the region. Bryan proves to be a good story teller who finds a unique approach to sea kayaking and the people many of us have come to know. The format of the video is decidedly familiar; Chapter by chapter we are taken on different adventures against a background of seascapes, mountains and music. The old guys among us will be happy to know that Bryan’s musical choices never overwhelm the the story or cause your aging speakers to buzz. If you were thinking you’ve seen it all before, you should be pleasantly surprised.

In addition to footage from the Greenland championships, the section on Dubside gives us a better look into what Dubside calls “Commando Kayaking”. Dubside as many of us know, does not own a car and often uses public transportation to get to his paddling destinations. With his folding kayak in tow, Dubside sets out to find adventure in his own back yard as it were. The idea of Commando kayaking tells us that we don’t need to be jet setters or own a shiny Subaru to enjoy sea kayaking. Dubside reminds us that there is an adventure right in our backyard if we really want to find it.

Of course if you have the Pacific Northwest as your back yard there are endless adventures to be had. Among other stories we are invited to join Shawna Franklin, Leon Somme and friends on a week long trip to the Bunsby Islands which truly displays the beauty of the area. In amongst a pristine landscape filled with Bald Eagles and sea otters, we are drawn into the warm, heartfelt appreciation for nature that Leon and Shawna express so well. There is something almost too picture perfect in watching Shawna on the beach with her watercolors. This is an experience you just want to be part of. Just this section alone I’m sure will be enough to make many of you add the Northwest coast to your short list of paddle destinations.

To add some adrenaline to the mix Bryan put in a great tide race tour as well. Many of us have seen Bryan riding the Skookumchuck Narrows before, but you’ve not seen it quite like this. Bryan was able to get right in there and take some amazing footage. Paddlers of mixed skill levels also added to the excitement. There were moments when I felt driven to get on a plane right that moment and go ride the Skooks, then there were others where I thought, “Well, I may get on the plane, but I may just watch from shore!” Paul Kuthe’s wild ride was enough to give anyone pause. Bryan also introduces us to some other exciting races in the area and in some instances those other races made Skooks look like the kiddie pool. Yikes! Ok, yeah, that P&H looks great screaming down the wave too!

In addition we get to visit some killer whales, kayak windsurf, follow along with Kierron Tastagh and Jeff Norville’s record setting circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, and get a little advance peak into Justine Curgenven’s trip with Shawna & Leon around the Queen Charlotte Islands. We also get to check in with Ginnie Callahan, who I’m pleased to see is doing quite well since her battle with breast cancer. It seems as if nothing can bring this woman down.

Bryan also adds some nice extras including a Director’s Cut which I’ve not watched yet as well as a collage of tidal race paddling which is quite exciting to watch. All in all I’m sure you will enjoy Pacific Horizons. For Bryan to create a Banff Mountain Film Festival finalist in his first go says a lot. The DVD can be ordered on his website here in the states and is available through CackleTV in the UK. Oh, and should I mention Christmas is coming??

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