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Home > Magazine > Sea > The Only Sea-Kayak Videos: the culture of the sea

The Only Sea-Kayak Videos: the culture of the sea
March 29, 2007

Justine Curgenven produces the only line of sea-kayaking videos, "This is the Sea," vols. 1, 2, 3.

They're really something!

OYB isn't about the extreme, exotic, adrenaline stuff --- and the paddlesport world is full of videos about just that (whitewater dude stunt paddling).

This isn't that!

Justine has created a series of sea-kayak action flicks. Now, these movies do have plenty of exciting adventure in them. And amazing athletics. But the nature and essence of sea-kayaks have a moderating influence. And these videos respect that. Sea-kayaks come from an ancient culture. And they connect back to that even today. And in these videos, too. SK is intimate with the sea---it's not foisted onto it. The sea is hostile but it's also the source of life, literally, for millions and for many cultures. To put it short: Sea-kayaks are made to be LIVED IN.

Each of her 3 videos features 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.

These aren't how-to vid's. That's yet another whole video sector.

These are culture vid's. ---Right up OYB's alley.

I reviewed "This is the Sea" Vol. 3. It features *wild tidal race padding/surfing, *a somewhat local (to the UK) tour, *a far-out south pole tour, *two faces of Greenland rolling skills presented by champion women, *and an interview (and video overview) with a simple-living guy who has spent his life doing huge record-setting kayak adventures, such as paddling around Australia. What a variety!

What I liked most of all was the connections to real life. The Greenland-style women both comment on the heritage of their sport, the organic aspect---and 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.

If anyone knows of other "connective" and diverse boat movies, let us know!

(The whitewater scene really relishes its scenery and terrain---the beauty of wild rivers. It also seems to get some connection via both a relation to and a contrast to the local culture of the rural river areas, with paddlers driving beat-up trucks and living in bum cabins but also being "freaks" to the locals. I wonder if the risk-taking that often has an elitist or class-related bent and the ultra-specialized aspect of the slipper-like boats contribute to the alienation. I've enjoyed how the WW scene connects to full-suspension lush-green mountain-biking. But I'd like to see both relate more to sustainable culture.)

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: .

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.)

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!

But back to the Greenland-style women... their segment was 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 various vid's:

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