Watch the kayakers featured in the new film “Cascada” by director Anson Fogel and the first thought that will likely come to your mind is, “These guys are crazy.”
Crazy? Maybe. Avant-garde? Definitely. The film is getting a lot of hype in the kayaking world for its shots from out-of-the-way spots deep in the jungles of Veracruz, Mexico, all taken from a trip in mid-November.
“It’s a pretty amazing accomplishment to have filmmakers dangling from ropes with $70,000 cameras over waterfalls to get that perfect shot–and it shows with their end product,” said Canoe and Kayak magazine web editor Charli Kerns.
The film is also getting buzz because it marks the return of kayaker Tyler Bradt, who holds the world record for longest waterfall descent, a title he earned when he kayaked Palouse Falls in Washington state in 2009. Two years ago, Bradt broke his back while running Abiqua Falls in Oregon, and he’s been making his way back ever since.
“This trip was a long time coming for me. Breaking my back hit the reset button for me in my waterfall running, and the only way to get back into it safely was to start again from the bottom and work up,” he told Kerns in this interview. “Through a lot of hard work both mentally and physically, I feel like my waterfall running has actually improved, and I am now stronger for the experience that I had.”
Judging from the film, in addition to the mental and physical strains associated with navigating his first massive falls since the accident, Bradt and the other kayakers on the trip–Erik Boomer, Galen Volckhausen, Tim Kemple, Fogel, Blake Hendrix, and Skip Armstrong–dealt with torrential rains and clouds of bugs. But it sounds like they didn’t mind.
“Puking into the abyss, hanging on a rope in the rain, puss coming out of my feet from hundreds of bug bites. I look around and see everyone doing precisely what they love to do. Athletes, artists, the line between the two is gone now. Every moment, each day, is perfect,” said director Fogel in the film.
To watch the film, click play below. For more info on Bradt, including why he thinks mullets are the perfect haircut for his sport, click here. And if you’re interested in learning about Bradt’s broken back and recovery process, click here.
Photo is a screen shot of Vimeo video, via Tim Kemple