Paddle To Seattle is an expedition DVD, a fly on the wall documentary if you will of a trip from Alaska to Seattle via the Inside Passage by Sea Kayak. It features two seasoned adventurors; Josh Thomas & J.J. Kelley who originally met walking the Appalachian Trail and went on to cycle across Alaska from Ocean to Ocean. This is their latest adventure.
Unlike many recent Sea Kayaking DVD’s, Paddle To Seattle focuses completely on this one journey. You are taken from the planning stages to the finish of the expedition, sharing the experiences along the way. This was a refreshing experience allowing you to be drawn into the journey and experience the scenery, wildlife, and local communities that Josh and J.J. encounter.Something that struck me from the opening seconds of Paddle To Seattle was the sense of humour. It is easy to see why Josh and J.J. have become such good buddies and keep coming up with expedition ideas.
Despite all the hardships of the 1,200 mile paddle they always seem to be laughing or making light of the situation. This was certainly infectious for me and kept me smiling to the end of the credits. They seem to interact with the camera rather than simply have it follow them around.
However this isn’t simply a comedy take on an expedition. The DVD touches, albeit lightly, on some serious environmental/political issues affecting the area they are paddling. This is achieved without ever developing into an environmental themed film. J.J. Kelley is quoted as saying
Filming from Sea Kayaks provides access to some fantastic locations and the DVD is awash with encounters with nature. From bears to seals and whales Josh and J.J. manage to capture the lot on film and along with stunning scenery you cannot help but be left with a desire to head out to Alaska and repeat their route.
“We were interpreting them in real time… …We just want to let folks interpret the facts as we saw them.”
For some initial sections of the route they are joined by a third paddler to capture on the water footage, then they part ways and the remainder of the footage is shot by Josh and J.J. The quality of the production is superb and for those interested in how they did it their blog has an interesting video short (actually designed as a nod to one of their sponsors) showing the incredible amount of editing kit they carried with them.Paddle To Seattle was an immensely enjoyable film. A fun, light hearted and warming story of two likeable characters and their latest hair-brained adventure whilst at the same time showcasing the dedication and efforts of these superb film makers. The DVD has been a hit not only the paddling side of my family but the non paddlers as well who get caught up in the journey and story.
In an email from J.J. recently he mentioned:
We wanted to make a refreshing documentary about a long distance adventure. An authentic film that would be true to the joy of outdoor endeavors. For us it was great fun producing the project, and we hope folks enjoy it.
Well, they have certainly met their aims. Paddle to Seattle is a genuine, fun film that shines through with their enthusiasm and is highly recommended viewing.
Paddle To Seattle can be ordered directly from Josh & J.J. on their website and costs $19.99.
Runtime: 1hr 26mins.