From vintage footage to in-depth interviews with the sport’s eclectic pioneers, this must-have documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at what inspires kayak and canoe paddlers to answer the call of the river. Order yours today! thecalloftheriver.com
Producer: Kent Ford (2008 Whitewater Hall of Fame Inductee)
Whitewater’s history has as many twists and turns as the canyons its pioneers explored. Its story is a collage of unexpected influences, from building boats in friends’ basements to bribing damkeepers to release water. World champions defect from communist regimes and then utilize military by-products for equipment. Curiosity, ingenuity and outright audacity thrived as paddlers started exploring virgin runs and experimenting with designs and materials to make the sport easier.
The film chronicles the world of whitewater from its early beginnings in Europe through its position as a major outdoor sport in the world today. From the inaugural FIBArk race on Colorado’s Arkansas River, to Grumman Aviation entering the aluminum canoe business, the sport’s history is riddled with watershed moments, all of which have been painstakingly documented through more than 100 sources of footage spanning 80 years of history.
Learn how paddling exploded in the 1970s, spurred by the movie Deliverance, slalom’s inclusion in the 1972 Augsburg Olympics, and the advent of nearly indestructible plastic kayaks. Follow along as this cult-classic takes you from world champion defections from communist-occupied countries to the summer camps and clubs that fueled the sport’s early growth and continue to do so today. From early explorations in fragile wood and canvas boats to today’s multi-manufacturer line-up of creek, play and river-running kayaks, nowhere has the sport’s journey from obscurity to mainstream been so thoroughly unveiled.
Nearly 16 million Americans now participate in some form of whitewater paddling every year, all of whom will benefit from this look upstream at where the sport’s been and where it’s still going.