Female Paddlers Charge Hard, Play Hard
Last week saw the above release of Canadian Katrina Van Wijk's The Creation of TiTs Deep, Chapter 1. The eight-minute film documents Van Wijk and a cadre of hard-charging female paddlers road-tripping and kayaking around the U.S., hitting whitewater hot-spots from Washington state to West Virginia.
"It's basically girl kayak porn," says Van Wijk, an Ottawa native who placed third in the women's overall competition at this past winter's Whitewater Grand Prix in Chile. "There's some good old-fashioned kayaking and a little bit of … other things. The whole project is meant to empower women to feel more confident and push themselves in extreme sports."
The footage features Van Wijk and her fellow female paddlers, including New Zealand's Louise Urwin and Louise Jull, as well as American Erin Clancey, stomping classics like Spirit Falls on Washington’s Little White Salmon River and Virginia's Great Falls of the Potomac, throwing tricks on big waves in Quebec, staying limber between runs with group yoga, and sampling the fine culinary fare at Gauley Fest.
The second half of the video focuses on the Green River Narrows Race, at which Van Wijk placed second and Urwin placed third behind winning North Carolina local fast-lady Adriene Levknecht.
The film's release comes four months after Balls Deep Productions' "Pleasure Strokes," which featured TiTs Deep's male contemporaries hucking their meat on popular Pacific Northwest stouts, shooting guns, smoking joints, and, at one point, pulling the shirt off of a girl who appeared to be intoxicated in the kitchen of their Hood River, Ore., home. The movie, released in similar fashion on Vimeo, caused a stir about gender equality in the whitewater community and prompted a (mostly derisive) discussion on the Colorado-based forum Mountainbuzz.com about its depiction of women.
According to Van Wijk, her film and TiTs Deep moniker are only partially a response to the antics of her friends over at BDP. "During a training run I got stuck in this one spot right above the Notch," she says. "I basically was tits deep. People seem to like the name, they think it's hilarious." — Kate Stepan