Forge Motion Pictures and NRS have done it again. In November, paddlers Erik Boomer, Tyler Bradt, and Galen Volckhausen spent a week with the Forge team hunting waterfalls in the jungles of Veracruz, Mexico. Despite torrential rain dousing their cameras and insects feasting on their bodies, videographers Anson Fogel and Skip Armstrong came away with some of the most amazing waterfall footage yet captured. Last week Canoe & Kayak caught up with Bradt and Boomer about their behind-the-scenes experience for Cascada, and here’s what they had to say.
Canoe & Kayak Magazine: What inspired this film?
Eric Boomer: This trip I would say was [still photographer] Tim Kemple’s idea. He was at another waterfall with me last year. Last September, he shot me a message saying we need to do this again, and that got me thinking about a mission to Mexico.
Why did you choose the Alseseca for your location?
During mid-November for waterfalls and whitewater action, you’re limited to certain locations. The Alseseca is an amazing river that gets monsoon rains and has tons of different waterfalls to choose from to film and kayak.
Tyler, you broke your back on a big waterfall almost two yeas ago. What was it to huck such stout waterfalls again?
Tyler Bradt: This trip was a long time coming for me. Breaking my back hit the reset button for me in my waterfall running, and the only way to get back into it safely was to start again from the bottom and work up. Through a lot of hard work both mentally and physically I feel like my waterfall running has actually improved, and I am now stronger for the experience that I had. [Learn more about Bradt’s story by clicking here to read Fall and Rise]
What went through your mind as you were paddling toward the lip of Tomata 1 and then Tomata 2?
Bradt: I felt ready to be there, like I was in exactly the right place, at the right time with the right crew of people. These are the moments that I live for, and I felt incredibly lucky to be experiencing it again.
For most people, running a 60 ft. + waterfall even once in a lifetime takes a lot of mental preparation and clarity—you guys did it over and over for the camera. What did that take mentally for you?
Bradt: As with all the kayaking I do it’s never for the camera, and I don’t feel any obligation or pressure to run anything that I don’t want to. For me and my personal needs of breaking through into big waterfalls again it was great to get to run these waterfalls multiple times.
What do you think Forge wanted to get out of this film? And what did you want to get out of doing it?
Boomer: As kayakers, we just wanted to have a good time and run some beautiful waterfalls. I think any time that we can work with Forge the end product is going to be beautiful and moving, and NRS knows that as well so it’s just a no-brainer.
Bradt: Well, the filmers didn’t necessarily come there to document butterflies. Like any trip that we do when we’re trying to document progressive paddling it’s not the filmmakers who are running the show, it’s the paddlers. Luckily for us the filmmakers were also paddlers and vice versa so we had amazing team cohesion. As an athlete I had tremendous respect for these guys setting up traverses across waterfalls and dangling from ropes to get the shot. These guys worked harder than we did, and that is a rare thing. Their shots reflect that and as much progressive filmmaking happened as progressive kayaking. This trip was a gem, and I think we all feel fortunate to have shared that experience together.
Last thing, mullets?
Boomer: Somehow we all got mullets. There was a local barber that got it done and even knew how to do side steps and everything.
Bradt: Mullets are the most functional haircut that a water person could possibly have. They have all the functionality of long hair i.e. shade protection and mad style without the draw back i.e. hair always in your face. This is just a statement of our commitment to the sport, and we hope that this trend will continue as more people experience the benefits of the mullet.