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Forty Five Paddling Films To Watch While You're Off The Water

45 Paddling Films

We know everyone has a little more time on their hands than they expected at the moment. Whilst you may not be able to get out paddling we know you still need your fix. So, our resident adventure film lover, Cadi Lambert, jumped down the rabbit warren of Google search to dig out the very best paddling films available online now.

From short documentaries to full length Hollywood blockbusters, you can travel the world on all manner of paddlecraft by diving into this watery selection.

In no particular order, here are our top forty-five: 

  1. Steve Fisher - Ultimate Rush Red Bull TV - 25 mins
    Steve Fisher travels to Sogndal, Norway with his right-hand man Ben Brown. Moving on to Thailand, Eric Southwick joins the team and the trio quickly learns that the waters are more treacherous than anticipated.

  2. Twitch You Tube - 34 mins
    Now over twenty years old, this classic extreme whitewater and waterfall packed film may look a little dated but the adrenaline still pumps as if it were brand new.

  3. Why YouTube - 7 mins
    Iceland. A cold, rugged and forbidding landscape where powerful rivers plunge through bedrock gorges, over massive waterfalls, toward the sea. Director Hugo Clouzeau and a crew of French kayakers travel here to ask the question, “Why?”

  4. The Last Descent YouTube - 48 mins
    Nepal's Marsyangdi River, Uganda's White Nile River and India's Brahmaputra River are all being dammed or threatened by hydroelectric projects. The rivers are also home to native people living sustainably in their environment. A group of whitewater paddlers set out on an adventure to document what could be the last descent.  

  5. A Woman Knows Her Place Vimeo - 3 mins
    A short, impactful and fun film, using 1950’s advertising of ‘a women’s place’ but showing where women really belong - on the water!

  6. The African Queen Available on Netflix - 105 mins
    Ok, ok, it’s not actually a paddling film! But this classic from 1951, starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart does feature boating down whitewater rapids and afterwards, the immortal line from Hepburn “I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating.” Enough said.

  7. Congo: The Grand Inga Project Vimeo - 81 mins
    They are the world's biggest rapids, thundering down the final pitch of the mighty Congo. Legendary kayaker Steve Fisher and his elite expedition team battle seemingly insurmountable obstacles in an attempt to survive the Inga Rapids.

  8. Skye’s The Limit Amazon Prime - 24 mins
    The Isle of Skye sits off the West coast of Scotland and is renowned for its beauty and wildlife. It is also renowned for its wild seas, stormy weather and unforgiving tidal races. 'Skye's The Limit' documents one woman's solo circumnavigation of the Isle of Skye on a stand up paddle board.

  9. Bass by Kayak YouTube - Series of 6 x 10 min episodes
    Bass by Kayak follows a crossing from the Australian mainland to Tasmania in sea kayaks. Around 400 people have made the crossing in the modern era, and Aboriginal Australians did it during the last ice age in canoes. There is chafe, a storm, bad cooking and an emerging mate-ship between men that barely knew each other before departure.

  10. Halo Effect Red Bull TV - 48 mins
    A crew of world-class kayakers heads to the whitewater meccas of Iceland and Norway in search of unexplored rapids. What they find is that the journey they planned is only half the adventure, and sometimes luck can change in the blink of an eye.

  11. Paddling for Sue Vimeo - 19 mins
    Sue fought a battle against cancer for eight years and finally succumbed to the disease in November 2016. A group of family and friends intend to honour Sue's memory by taking on the challenge of circumnavigating the island of Guernsey by kayak.

  12. Chasing Wild: Journey into the Sacred Headwaters YouTube - 12 mins
    Three friends set off on a 400km bikepacking and packraft expedition through the sacred headwaters in northwestern British Columbia. An exciting and sobering window into a wild landscape; pedalling through boreal forest, paddling frigid whitewater, battle, outrunning a grizzly and learning about the Tahltan’s fight to protect their homeland.

  13. Don’s Canoe Vimeo - 8 mins
    For Banff locals Don Gardner is a name associated with legendary climbs and epic ski traverses. Don's Canoe is a simple short film that shows his other life long passion for old ways. A life well lived shapes this beautiful canoe.

  14. Into Twin Galaxies - A Greenland Epic Red Bull TV - 52 mins
    Three National Geographic Adventurers of the Year embark on an unreal ski and kayak mission across Greenland. Using kite skis, they tow their whitewater kayaks over 1,000km of the Greenland ice sheet to reach the most northern river ever paddled.

  15. Deliverance Amazon Prime - 109 mins
    Another Hollywood classic, from 1972 this time. Four urban men bound for wilderness go on a weekend canoeing trip down a river in the Georgia backcountry where they face their worst nightmares. Perfect for a long watch on a lockdown evening.

  16. Broken Body of Water - Vimeo - 17 mins
    Andy was the first paraplegic kayaker to complete the 3 Lakes Challenge, as set by British Canoeing. This short film documents his journey as he paddles the three longest lakes in Scotland, England and Wales. His determination and tenacity in achieving this amazing challenge despite his deteriorating health.

  17. Zac Crouse’s So Fine Vimeo - 4 mins
    Want to see a rather random music video of a man in a pine branch covered kayak, playing a banjo (which he uses as a paddle), while travelling down some rapids?! Of course you do! Oh, did we mention the puppets?! Enjoy a journey into the surreal.

  18. The Ladakh Project Red Bull TV - 14 mins
    Join French kayaker Nouria Newman on her solo adventure in India. A beautiful interactive story, with video footage. 

  19. Nonagenarian Canoeist YouTube - 2 mins
    Nonagenarian Canoeist is about 93 year young Alice Kolisnyk enjoying a canoe camping trip in the Canadian wilderness. Her daughter, Donna Kurt, was the organizer, chief cook, photographer and sherpa for the canoe trip and also produced this video. 

  20. The Undamaged Vimeo - 52 mins
    Follow a crew of kayakers standing up for the last wild rivers of Europe, threatened by 2700 dams. From Slovenia to Albania they protest and paddle supporting the locals fighting along the way.

  21. Home Vimeo on Demand - 92 mins
    Between 2011 and 2015 UK adventurer Sarah Outen traversed the globe by bike, kayak and rowing boat, travelling over 20,000 miles by human power alone. Home intimately and unflinchingly captures Sarah’s journey, telling a story of heart and soul, struggle and joy and one woman’s trek towards true emotional acceptance.

  22. Junk Paddle YouTube - 11 mins
    Fancy making your own paddle out of junk wood? That’s exactly what Beau Miles did and he shares how in this short film.

  23. Chasing Niagara Red Bull TV - 76 mins
    When pro kayaker Rafa Ortiz decides to chase his dream to paddle over North America’s Niagara Falls, he can't imagine the journey to get there. As he and his friends prepare for their adventure, they realise the path may have a mind of its own.

  24. Like a River Vimeo - 9 mins
    Like A River is an exploration of grief and life told through a 9,000 km canoe journey to raise awareness about mental health. Film By Erin McKnight.

  25. Locked In - The first descent of the Beriman Gorge Red Bull TV - 55 mins
    Ben Stookesberry and a group of professional kayakers journey to the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea to attempt a first descent of the Beriman River, a daunting 40km run lined with sheer limestone walls and no way out but to ride to the ocean.

  26. The Time Travelers YouTube - 23 mins
    In 2017, the USA Rafting Team set their sights on making history, attempting to break a speed record down 277 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Their goal was 34 hours. In a custom-built 48 foot raft and with ultramarathon effort. 

  27. Rivering YouTube - 99 mins
    Rivering is a feature-length documentary on whitewater paddling. Shot over three years in New Zealand, the film is part thrill, part beginner, part history with a lot of heart and a lot of beautiful scenery.

  28. Moana - Various paid platforms - 109 mins
    One to watch with the children! From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Moana. Moana Waialiki is a sea voyaging enthusiast and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators. When her island's fishermen can't catch any fish and the crops fail, Moana sets off on an epic journey across the Pacific. 

  29. Big World - YouTube - 13 mins
    David Morton and his seven-year-old son Thorne embark on a week-long stand-up-paddleboard journey in Western Nepal. David makes his living guiding some of the world’s most incredible peaks. He wanted to deepen Thorne’s understanding of the world beyond their Seattle neighborhood.

  30. A Five Day Float on Sweden's Klarälven River - YouTube - 4 mins
    For four minutes of calm follow Alastair Humphries and friends on their beautifully peaceful journey on a homemade raft.

  31. Lowri Davies, Freestyle Kayaker - YouTube - 4 mins
    Lowri Davies is a Freestyle Kayak athlete and Level 5 coach from Wales. This is a short profile about her and the dynamic sport of Freestyle Kayaking.

  32. Kadoma - YouTube - 43 mins
    In 2010, American pro kayakers Chris Korbulic and Ben Stookesbury joined legendary South African kayaker Hendri Coetzee in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a first descent of the dangerous Lukuga River. During the expedition, tragedy struck. Coetzee was paddling between the other two when a crocodile surfaced silently and pulled him underwater. He was never seen again. 

  33. Waterwalker - YouTube - 86 mins
    This feature-length documentary follows naturalist Bill Mason on his journey by canoe into the Ontario wilderness. 

  34. Confluir - YouTube - 39 mins
    In Peru, the headwaters of the Amazon River cut through the Andes Mountains and sustain communities and the most diverse ecosystem on Earth. A team of scientists and river experts spend 28 days rafting the Marañón while documenting the natural and cultural resources that would be impacted by proposed dam projects.

  35. The River Wild - Google Play - 111 mins
    The River Wild is a 1994 American adventure thriller film directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, David Strathairn, John C. Reilly, Benjamin Bratt, and Joseph Mazzello. It is about a family on a whitewater rafting trip who encounter two violent criminals in the wilderness.

  36. Lost At Sea - YouTube - 4 mins
    Leaving his wife and young son behind, a man bent on adventure sets off in his kayak to traverse an ocean...alone.

  37. Kayak the Kwanza - YouTube - 51 mins
    In 2016 a two man team completed the first ever source-to-mouth expedition along the Kwanza River in Angola, using a 40 year-old foldable wooden kayak that they paddled and carried along the 1,300km journey. 

  38. ABC of Kayaing with Jessica Fox - Red Bull TV - 25 mins
    Jessica Fox takes you on an epic run through the origins of kayaking and the paddlers who have shaped the sport.

  39. The Canoe - Vimeo - 27 mins
    This film captures the human connection and bond created by Canada’s well-known craft & symbol, the canoe, through the stories of five paddlers across the province of Ontario, Canada.

  40. Northern Lights SUP Expedition - YouTube - 2 mins
    An epic film of Cal Major's magical SUP expedition under the Northern Lights.

  41. Kayaking the Aleutians - Vimeo (paid) - 71 mins
    No-one has succeeded in kayaking the length of the remote and stormy Aleutian Islands which stretch from Russia to Alaska. Explorers Justine Curgenven and Sarah Outen set out to paddle 2,500km along the archipelago to the nearest road. 

  42. Wild Temagami - YouTube - 14 mins
    Environmental documentary on canoeists Hap and Andrea Wilson in Temagami, home to the world's largest stand of old growth forests in the world. The film highlights Hap and Andrea Wilson's relationship with the wilderness and the threats the land faces.

  43. River Of No Return - Amazon Prime - 90 mins
    Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum star as a dance hall singer and widowed farmer who become victims of a treacherous gambler. Abandoned in the Northwest wilderness, Kay (Monroe), Matt (Mitchum) and Matt's young son face a host of untold dangers, including a perilous journey down a raging river.

  44. (people) of water - Vimeo - 23 mins
    For thousands of years, outrigger canoes have connected diverse cultures and people around the world. This film follows Rob Prechtl, a member of the USA Men's Raft Team, as he and his fellow rafters connect their whitewater roots to the open ocean.

  45. Skaggerak - Red Bull TV - 54 mins
    Follow pro stand-up paddle athlete Casper Steinfath as he attempts to become the first person to paddle from Denmark to Norway. 

We know there are lots more awesome paddling films out there. Some we just couldn’t find online and some which are still to be released. Hopefully forty-five will be enough to keep you going for now!

Happy Paddling!