A Canoe Year
Behind the final, foot-breaking scenes of Canoe Movie 2
Check out the exclusive final teaser for Canoe Movie 2: Uncharted Waters
By Conor Mihell
Knoxville, Tenn.-based canoeist Matt DeVoe could take some solace in the fact that he broke his foot in one of the final filming sessions for the soon-to-be-released video, Canoe Movie 2: Uncharted Waters. But nothing could stop him from staying in his boat and completing the first open-boat descent of Costa Rica’s Pozo Azul river in January. “I slipped off a rock while scouting a rapid called La Mesas,” a Class V boulder garden just downstream from the put in, says DeVoe. “I folded my foot in half breaking three metatarsals. I broke it on the first paddling day of the trip, and approximately one mile into the seven-mile run.”
Just getting to the Pozo Azul was tough enough. Canadian open-boater and Central American whitewater guide Jim Coffey organized a horse shuttle to the river’s put in, just upstream from a stout 20-foot opening drop. DeVoe’s longtime single-blade wingman, Dooley Tombras, remembers walking gingerly on the way in. A few days earlier, Coffey’s footwear saved him after he stepped on a pit viper on the jungle floor. On the river, the team nailed their first line and made it to La Mesas when disaster struck.
“We were just scouting, jumping from boulder to boulder,” Tombras says. “Nobody knew Matt had gotten hurt. I remember I was psyched to be right side up at the bottom of the rapid when Jim told me Matt had a broken foot.”
Coffey offered to hike out for help but DeVoe declined, and the team jury-rigged his boat to make it more comfortable for the rest of the run, which included another 20-foot falls, more tough rapids and a 35-foot finale. “I knew that it was severely broken and [this] would be my only paddling day in Costa Rica, so I wanted to make the most of it,” says DeVoe, who spent the rest his time in Central America laid up in a hammock with an icepack on his foot. “I had been drooling over a photo of the final waterfall [on the Pozo Azul run] … I just wanted to run that big waterfall so bad.”
The epic open-boating adventures in Costa Rica are but one segment of Uncharted Waters, a Canoe & Kayak-sponsored film which premiers at this week’s Canoecopia trade show in Madison, Wis., which runs March 9-11. The sequel to 2010’s groundbreaking Canoe Movie includes more jaw-dropping whitewater canoeing footage from across North America, including first canoe descents of Colorado steep creeks and North Carolina’s notorious Toxaway River. “It’s the first canoeing film dedicated to whitewater canoe adventure,” says John Grace, the founder of Lunch Video Magazine. “Like a lot of people, I always overlooked the canoe as a vessel for Class V paddling. Spending time on the water with these guys opened my eyes up to whitewater canoeing as a whole and each day was a completely original experience.”
After its launch at Canoecopia, Tombras is expecting a rousing reception at a Knoxville showing on March 13 as a part of Ain’t Louie Fest, a nine-day gathering of open boaters celebrating spring on the rivers and creeks of the Southeast. “I’m so excited,” he says. “It’s going to be packed.”
Check out some deleted action from the film below, shot by Five2Nine Productions on location in Veracruz, Mexico on the Rio de Oro. Stay tuned to Canoe & Kayak for more updates from Jim Coffey and company’s open-boating exploits south of the border.