Over the course of 2008, Bryan Smith and Lise-Anne Beyries produced the first ever adventure sea kayaking film which comprehensively explores North America's eastern sea board. Documenting the entire length of the East Coast from Georgia to Newfoundland, Eastern Horizons blends the rich history and culture of the Atlantic with world class sea kayakers, idyllic destinations, incredible wildlife and compelling stories of people who's lives are deeply connected to the Atlantic Ocean. From paddling the wildlife rich swamps and mangroves of the Carolinas to the icebergs of Newfoundland; from surfing the "zipper" at Tybee Island, Georgia to playing in the tidal flows around Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy; and from capturing the iconic urban landscapes of New York City to the remote fishing villages of Quebec's north shore, Eastern Horizons will inspire paddlers and non-paddlers alike to get out and explore the ocean!
It has taken me a couple weeks to get a post up on the second half of the east coast tour. To be perfectly honest it seems a bit odd to blog about the tour rather than kayaking, so I think that is part of the reason this post is late in coming. You would think that I would have done some paddling while I was back east, but besides a cold, hale ridden day with the folks from Osprey, a nice float on the Connetitcut, a short day trip with Rob from Adventure Crafters and some lilly dipping in the pond at the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Fest, I really did not paddle much. The biggest adventure was a 2 hour paddle boarding tour with the folks from Werner while I was in Charleston. But man…let me tell you, did I ever TALK kayaking on my trip out east. As the sport progresses, one thing will always remain true. Kayakers love talking kayaking with kayakers. I had my share for the season.
After 3 days in New York City (love that place), I moved north into Connecticut for a couple shows. The population in CT is spread out through many smaller rural towns as opposed to bigger urban centers like NYC, Boston and Philly. New Haven and Hartford are urban, but much of the state is littered with historic barns, buildings and stunning hardwood forests. My first stop was at Collinsville Canoe and Kayak then I motored across the state for a show in Chester, CT hosted by Greg Paquin and co. I woke up the next morning at 5:30 to make a 9am start with the Osprey crew up in Westport, MA. 3 shows in 3 nights…plus a class. Good thing places are relatively close together on the east coast!
An old hydro station in Collinsville.
This was one of my favorite venues on the entire tour! A packed crowd of about 50 at a Vintage theater in Chester, CT. Thanks to gaffer Gerry Polinsky of Sea Kayak Sherpa, I was sorted out with top end sound and projection equipment. Amazing night and energy!
The back 40 behind Osprey headquarters.
Sam and Carl are some of the nicest folks around. About the only thing nicer is the venue they have out their backyard in Westport. I just happened to hit it in the low 40’s, pissing rain and hail and blowing 30 knots. I will have to get back when conditions are more favorable.
From Westport, I headed south for Washington DC. I had a couple of shows scheduled outside DC and also some meetings at National Geographic Headquarters. I hadn’t been to DC since I was about 10 years old, yet I could remember all of the iconic buildings and their layout vividly. Amazing how strong an impact places like the Arlington Cemetery, White House and Washington Monument have on you as a kid. That first trip with my Mom when I was ten would have been the Reagan era and I can recall protesters out side the White House. Now Obama holds the office and all the right wing protesters are have a job again. It was pouring down rain, but I managed to see some of the flowers and activity.
Security had moved everyone back in anticipation of an Obama arrival.
While I don’t recall this building, I certainly won’t forget it now. I spent a couple of days meeting with various folks at National Geographic about and expedition I am planning with a team to Kamchatka next summer.
The little bit on on water time while I was in the Chesapeake Bay area was with Rob from Adventure Crafters. His outfit is out on the east side of the "bay". Tons of Osprey, a fairly kicked back way of life and only a couple hours outside the city. Then I got to hook up with Brian Good (former team manager for P&H and Pyranha) at Potomac Paddlesports for a fun evening with lots of the local sea paddlers south of DC. I had to move south quickly from here to make the opening evening of the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival. Sea Kayak Carolina rented a local theater and as promised, packed the place full with over 125 people. Awesome way to end the tour!
The whole P&H and Pyranha crew came down for Asheville for the event. Between a shrimp boil and lots of canned beer, I slowly came to terms with the fastest growing sector of the kayak industry over the past couple years. Kayak fishing. I am not one myself yet, but learning the lingo. While some have been saying this is my next evolution in kayaking now that Lise-Anne is pregnant, I have diverted that course by getting a few kayaks shipped in a 40 foot container to an exotic location in Indonesia.
Dinver and Dave rocking the Feel Free Moken
Thanks again to everyone that came out to the shows and all the people who help organized them. The East Coast Tour was a big success and continues to build the buzz on Eastern Horizons. Stay tuned for more on what the future hold for us at Reel Water. Lots of new projects in the works!
Coming south from the NEPS show, my next stop was New York City. Pulling into town I immediately had flashbacks of our trip in June. Taking the P&H rig into Manhattan comes with severe challenges. Parking number one. Leaving the city with both mirrors and the paint in tack a close number two. Nowhere else in North America do the cabbies drive like a scene out of Lima or Delhi or is parking enforcement so ruthless. If I lived in NYC there is no way in hell I would own a vehicle. Yet despite the chaos on the road ways, there is way more to love about this city than hate. What an awesome place!
Time square bustling on a weekday night.
The New York section in Eastern Horizons features both a story on the Downtown Boathouse and an failed attempt at circumnavigating Manhattan due to a severe lightening storm. Both Lise-Anne and I were humbled by the number and diversity of people the Downtown Boathouse serves through there free kayaking program and as Tim Gamble says, "we may not have huge whirlpools like the Bay of Fundy, but we did try to kill Bryan and Lise-Anne in a lightening storm." Both of these stories stand out in the film in stark contrast to some of the more traditional sea kayaking destinations along the eastern sea board we filmed. On this trip back I was lucky enough to get put up in Dan Stater’s 5 storey mansion just one block away from Central Park, have probably 80 plus jam their way into the Downtown Boathouse and take in some of the things we missed in our flurry of filming back in June. Living the dream to say the least.
A packed out boathouse at Pier 96. Many of the people in the film showed up to support.
The day of the film I managed to spend almost 4 hours in the Museum of Natural History with thousands of school children on spring break. After I suffered past the intial shock of screaming children (something I will be dealing with in the not too distant future as Lise-Anne is pregnant!), I managed to take in some of the wonders of this place, including the IMAX film "Oceans Alive". If I even remotely thought Eastern Horizons was a decent production, this checked my reality pretty quick.
This building is an impressive blend of modern and old, taking up several city blocks
Not sure I would have wanted to encounter this beast a few thousand years ago.
And we talk about being on tour showing Eastern Horizons on the "big screen." Ummm…yeah. Scroll back up for a size comparison. We have a long way to go in the world of making movies!
Well the last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind since we launched the film at Canoecopia (if you click on this link you will get a short video we produced while we were there), but in all the chaos there has been lots of fun and the DVD has been incredibly well received. There are a few recent reviews posted in the sidebar to the left. After the launch at Canoecopia, Lise-Anne and I hit the west coast with shows in Portland, Seattle, Bellingham and Vancouver. Despite the shows exceeding expectations with over 275 people showing in Portland alone, I was eager to get out east. Lise-Anne stayed behind to hold down the Reel Water global headquarters and I got on a plane to Portland, Maine. Met by the Werner, P&H and Kokatat crew, I felt right at home at the New England Paddlesports Show.
While Eastern Horizons was one of the big buzzes of the show, the new Cetus LV from P&H was turning plenty of heads. I was excited to finally see it live in the flesh. I worked closely with Graham over the past year on the design of this boat. From the cockpit to the hull design, this boat is one of the sweetest kayaks to enter the market in quite some time. Finally a low volume expedition boat that is more than just a "smaller version" of a bigger boat. While this boat takes on many design qualities of its bigger brother the Cetus, it is obvious hours of work have gone into making this boat the perfect tool for the smaller paddler. Instantly when you sit in this boat you notice the attention to fit and an ultra low back deck. Then you look down the bow and it just screams fast. It has quite a bit more bow rocker profile and is quite a bit narrower. A 17′ 8" boat that fits small people like a glove and is ultra maneuverable. I think there are going to be some happy people this year.
So new boat aside, the way they set up the Eastern Horizons screenings was brilliant. Traditionally a lot of film premieres at these events are held off site at a pub or theater which is fun but also fails to take advantage of all the foot traffic at the show. With the help of Danny Mongo from Werner, the screenings were scheduled at noon on both Saturday and Sunday in the pool. Yes in the pool. Danny and I introduced the film from the water and then the Kittery staff set up two screens so that the all the bleacher seats could be filled. The place was packed, with people coming from as far away as Nova Scotia (10 hour drive) to see the film and get a copy to take home. Hats off to Danny and the folks at the Kittery Trading Post for making this one of the most successful screenings to date. We figured we had well over 200 people on Saturday and close to that on Sunday. Awesome!
So now I’m back in the P&H team vehicle and heading south to New York City! More from the road here soon.
With Just 10 days until the DVD launches at Canoecopia, we are excited to announce a healthy list of venues and dates for the DVD release tour. Please come one, come all and join us for an incredible evening of entertainment. We will be raffling gear away, signing DVD’s and fueling the stoke for the upcoming paddling season. Everyone who purchases a DVD at the shows will be automatically enrolled in the chance to win a trip to the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn on the northern tip of Newfoundland curtosey of Linkum Tours. Look forward to seeing you all out there.Here are the dates and links to details for each of the shows…
We are excited to announce that the master DVD of Eastern Horizons has been shipped off to the replicators and we are just a few weeks away from the DVD release of Eastern Horizons at Canoecopia in Madison, WI on March 14th. I have set up the DVD for pre-order in the Reel H20 Store for those of you who are chomping at the bit to get one of the first copies off the press. They will start shipping a few days before the launch, so pre-orders from this site will stand a chance of getting to you as things unfold at Canoecopia. We will be announcing all the details of the west and east coast tours to follow Canoecopia next week. Happy Valentine’s Day!
New this year to the Reel Paddling Film Festival is the People’s Choice award sponsored by our good friends over at Yakima. If you catch the show at your local venue and you like Eastern Horizons as much as the festival judges did, please don’t hesitate to give us your vote of confidence.
Lise-Anne and I have both been extra busy over the past couple months getting Eastern Horizons completed for the March 14th launch. I have just started the Reel Water Productions Channel on Vimeo which will allow us to upload compressed High Def material. The Eastern Horizons Trailer is up there now and we keep adding previous and new material to the channel over time. You will have to go to the Vimeo site through the link above to be open the video below in HD full screen. Check it out!