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Filmmaker captures excitement of sea kayaking

Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2008

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - "Pacific Horizons" isn't the kind of sea kayaking film where kayakers make like Superman and perform superhuman feats on water, and that's all they do. It is the kind of adventure film where Everyman - and Everywoman - paddle through stunning Pacific Northwest scenery, talk about their love of kayaking and do things that will make your jaw drop.

Kayaker and filmmaker Bryan Smith, who used to live on Orcas Island, talked about his 60-minute film, which will be shown in Bellingham today.

Why he made "Pacific Horizons":

"I saw a real hole in the fact that not that many people were producing sea kayaking films," says Smith, a 32-year-old Squamish, British Columbia, resident. "It was meant to be an action adventure, sea kayaking film but it focused on the Pacific Northwest."

What you'll see: Great kayaking sequences from the San Juan Islands, the Oregon Coast, Skookumchuck Narrows and the west coast of Vancouver Island, among others.

You'll also see wildlife, such as bears and orcas, and wild people in the water who would be great dinner companions - at least Smith thinks so.

"There are some incredibly talented athletes in the sea kayaking community, but they're humble in their way. We wanted to make sure that was what shined through," says Smith, a former professional kayaker who decided to take the leap into full-time filmmaking.

Why show more than heart-stopping action sequences? Because the kayakers in this region are friendly, Smith says, and he wanted his film to reflect that.

Because he wanted viewers, even if they have never kayaked, to look at parts of the movie and think: "I could do that."

"We wanted to make a film that people could watch and be inspired (by)," he says. "It has to have some sort of realistic appeal."

Wow shot: Sequences from the Skookumchuck Narrows in British Columbia, where tidal rapids whip up waves that can be six to 10 feet high. Smith says it's some of the best sea-kayak surfing caught on camera and shows that sea kayaking isn't relegated to flat water.

"It can be that," he says, "but it can be some pretty big action as well."

What Smith hopes to accomplish: "I hope that people take away from 'Pacific Horizons' that the sport of sea kayaking is totally accessible to almost anyone. It's a great way to explore the waterways that we live on. Also, that it inspires people from far away to travel to this region to go kayaking."



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