What does it mean when National Geographic considers you and your friends to be on the "fringe"? I'm not so sure it's a good sign. One thing is for sure, working with Bryan Smith and Fitz Cahall continues to provide opportunity after opportunity. This latest project was a really fun culmination of many of our best tidal race trips over the past few years. It's set in classic National Geographic death defying style and directed at a mainstream and perhaps even youthful audience.
Dave White, Nick Jacob, Richard Davis, and I along with Bryan Smith and crew have been seeking out many of the biggest tidal races in North America to both challenge ourselves and to capture what it means to us to be a sea kayaker on camera. In the end, we may have just helped bring sea kayaking into a new era. When most people think of "sea" kayaking, they envision floppy hats and flat water or perhaps agonizing extended trips that cover hundreds or even thousands of miles across open seas or around huge islands in record breaking fashion.
Tide race paddling can take you deep into the wilderness, but more often then not, it has you waiting for that perfect moment, that perfect wave to take shape. It's a form of the sport that is accessible on a day to day basis. Locations like "Yellow Bluff" in San Francisco, California and "Reversing Falls" in St. John, Nova Scotia are actually located within major metropolitan areas, but for some of the best rides you will need to travel a bit further from the beaten path.
It's not about how many miles you can crank out, or how far from land you can exist. Tidal race surfing is a rhythmic dance with the sea as it breathes slow deep breaths of life through the channels and basins of it's outstretched extremities. It's experiencing a place on a deeper level and exploring it's complex nooks and secret recesses, many of which can be peaceful sanctuaries of bliss or horrifyingly powerful and deeply humbling torture chambers depending on the position of the the sun, the moon, and the rest of the universe beyond.
Check out the episode and be on the lookout for sea kayaking to grow in some... interesting directions.