Notice I used the word film- not movie- film suggests a higher level of artistry... Sorry, I haven't even begun and I'm already off topic.
Where to begin?
How about the opening credits... No, I can't go there, that will take me off on a tangent. I'll start by quoting a kayaker, I believe it was Trip Jennings in Bigger than Rodeo. When he was asked why he kayaks, his reponse was "because it's fun"
I think ol' Spencer and company would agree... Simply put, kayaking is fun. I'm tired of hearing some dude bro pro kayaker wax philosophical about why he has to justify what he does for a living "it's like you're flying, when your on a big wave, and its travelling so fast underneath you"- stuff it. I know why I kayak. It's fun. Maybe not everyone does know, that's what makes this movie so great. You get to watch a bunch of guys cut loose, look like donkey's, and have fun.
Paddling is such a great sport to me because it brings all the great things about solo sports, team sports, and lazy sports together. Half of my favorite paddling memories are not on the water. They are with my buddies going to and fro the river. Getting distracted by an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet on the way to the upper Santeelah because we realized nothing in Joyce Kilmer ever runs anyway. Going bowling because it's sweet, skipping the Cullasaja. Or the countless ounces of beer and liquor at the campsites or at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company after a good day at the Green.
You focus on yourself on the water, your team/friends surrounding you, and if you get tired because of your pack-a-day habit or my asthma, you eddy up and tell your slalom racer friends to F- off as they whine about your slack ass.
Kayaking is fun, I don't need a sponsorship, just a boat that works. I don't need a documentary style presentation of some wave that roars upstream scaring away all the villagers and creepy fish that swim up your urethra. Ugh! That movie just scared me about kayaking.
Enter the Donka'Donk is just sweet. I laughed so hard I had to pause and rewind to catch what I had missed. Spencer, Chris and Joey understand and still remember why they started paddling. It's not to sell publicity shots of yourself running a 49.9 foot waterfall in all red. Its because the adrenaline you feel floating off the lip and seeing the landing zone and knowing your in perfect position.
It's not about the exploiting the natives so you can get a funny shot of a topless national geographic girl. It's about celebrating the guy surfing the wave on a surfboard that you were too scared to kayak (maybe that's just me). It's about having coffee with the old lady who's house is in the way of the put-in.
I just feel like they get it. There is no need for fancy hippity hop music, helicopter camera shots, or needles commercials between 30 second paddling clips. In the movie- Heehaw Jones remembers his roots and gives back to his fellow paddlers. There is cartwheeling and the Nolichucky. All of the things that us lay paddlers can do. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't SpaceMcPhonixButter. I don't even know what that is!? But I can window-shade like a champ! And watching this movie got me fired up to run the class II. I honestly just wanted to go sit in my boat after seeing it. Kayaking is that fun. It's only serious when someone gets hurt or if you had a touch penalty on gate 18. Otherwise relax. I'm tired of meeting pro-boaters and all they talk about is the gear that is given to them. "My Diesel 75 is the best boat I have ever paddled", he says while wearing all Lotus/Patagonia stuff and holding an AT paddle. I'm so sick of our athletes (and I use that term loosely) whoring themselves out. I mean I understand that, that's how they paddle 300 days a year and I don't. Ok, so I suck at paddling because I have pride and want to paddle the best boat available regardless of manufacturer, and maybe I have interests outside of paddling ( I don't quite understand why though- dry summers maybe?) But I would love to paddle 300 days a year, but I won't lie to people, just to get a paycheck. And maybe they've really convinced themselves that all of their sponsors really are the best... Again I'm scared.
Spencer, Chris and Joey have put together in my opinion the greatest kayaking film ever made. It reminds me of BJ Johnson's stuff, with way more humor and better technology. I ooohhed as the Ottowa kids threw huge acrobatic moves and cringed as one of the Epicocity kids missed a pistol flip or something off that waterfall in Alabama.
That brings me to another thing... I don't enjoy watching people get beat up in paddling videos. Carnage, not my thing. I would rather watch and celebrate Andrew Holcombe styling a line than watching Joe Local piton and break both ankles halfway down a waterfall. As far as I know, only 1 person got hurt filming E.T.D. And really, that's too many for me. Paddling is not fun when you are in pain, I know, I bruised a rib one time... paddling sucked! I can't imagine breaking them.
Ok- back to the opening credits. The cast of characters they compiled for the movie, well, I don't know who Spencer's contacts are, but he got some big names to contribute to this project. And it shows.
The film has a diverse selection of paddling. A substantial running time for a great price ($14.99 for an hour and 17 minutes) and 5% goes back into our sport. What a great cause.
And if you don't like kayaking, its got the obligatory skateboarding clip. Not to mention surfing too.
I really feel this film celebrates all that is great about kayaking, and gets it. No BS, no self hyping, no "only class V gnar gnar" (there is class II-III playboating), no commercials, only credits that made me laugh some more. Did I mention a diverse and strong representation of kayaking around the world?
The movie sincerely made me laugh out loud many times and cry... well, maybe not the crying part, but when it was all said and done, I wanted to go kayaking and I was smiling from ear to ear. And no kayaking video has ever left me that happy and excited about paddling.
Although I would have been happier if someone had been doing some mustache-boating. Joey, Curt, you let me down.