If for some reason you've become jaded to high definition kayak movies since the fall of the Teton Gravity Research flicks, then I beg, no I plead, that you see Rush Sturges' and Tyler Bradt's Dream Result, already a winner of Germany's Rosenheim Kayaking Film Festival.
This movie isn't going to make critics of extreme marketing happy, and it definitely won't satisfy pundits like Doug Ammons-who has always been critical of "radical dudism."
But if you're a fan of incredibly athletic kayaking ("let's just loop everything"), artistic filmmaking and great music then settle in: you'll watch this flick more than once.
Another in a prestigious line of California boating cinematographers, Sturges' filmmaking has matured before our very eyes. Make no mistake, this is kayak porn, be it porn of the first order with a subtle organization that makes it so much fun to watch (i.e. Retroish fades closing out segments, name tags flowing from the paddlers body and some of the best camera angles since Scott Lindgren's Burning Time). With Bradt's help, the duo opens Dream Result with articulate narration from kayakers who tell us exactly why they're hucking some of the biggest waterfalls in the world.
The film then seamlessly moves us through the incomparable Stikine, a Chile segment, where Steve Fisher proves he's still one of the most captivating athletes to watch on tape, Iceland, big water play in Quebec (this is playboating today) and a sentimental Norway set where Dream Result actually borrows film of Bradt from a TGR trip nearly nine years ago. Marianne Sather opens it by talking about Bradt as an inexperienced young grom visiting her country and getting his ass handed to him at 15. He definitely redeems himself this time. But a clip showing Bradt trying to run the same waterfall correctly, three different times exemplifies just how tough the sport is, especially when your boating grows up in front of the camera.
If you've ever sat through a surf flick, then you know kayakers don't take themselves too seriously. Dream Results captures all the dirtbagging, camaraderie, the silliness and of course, the seriousness. One of my favorite parts was the epic carnage real-following Sturges' sobering broken back sequence (gulp!)-accompanied by Flogging Molly's If I Ever Leave This World Alive. Jared Seiler (a talented Pyranha paddler) leads off the seggy with a ridiculous pin and subsequent rescue by his bros. This harrowing visual is followed by a few reality-inducing hole rides and the hucking of an inflatable couch off Idaho's Mesa Falls carrying two paddlers who aren't exactly paddling.
Of course Bradt's stick of Washington's Palouse Falls closes out the reel but again, insightful interviews add life and perspective to this obscure world record chase.
Dream Result introduces (or reintroduces) us to some extremely likeable characters-Ben Brown, Ian and Evan Garcia, Ben Marr, Lane Jacobs, Benjamin Hjort, Patrick Camblin.
But my "ah hah," moment with this film came when re-watching the flick with my four-year-old aspiring paddler. Upon seeing Rush Sturges’ holding his AT paddle vertical on a Chilean slide he says, "that's just like yours daddy." And that's when Dream Result did what kayaking films are supposed to do: It made me dig that seldom-used blade (of late) out of the garage, grab my boating gear, and go paddling.
For a sneak peak of Dream Result, click here.
Look for an interview with Tyler Bradt and Rush Sturges in the upcoming issue of Canoe and Kayak’s Whitewater magazine.