The Royal Cinema. Toronto, Ontario

PALMER RAPIDS, ON, February 28, 2017


With an audience of avid paddlers and their friends at the Royal Theatre in Toronto, Ontario the Reel Paddling Film Festival’s founder and producer Scott MacGregor emceed an evening of camaraderie and humor marking the premiere of the 12th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour. MacGregor announced the ten award winning films and the premiere host The Complete Paddler used the annual event to raise over $1600 for Project Canoe, a non-profit making a difference in the lives of youth.


Winning films ranged from short comedy sketches to hair-raising adventures to inspiring documentaries representing a new level of achievements in paddlesports filmmaking and storytelling. The ten award-winning films and ten more shortlisted for the World Tour are now in contention for the Aqua-Bound People’s Choice Award. Audiences vote on their favourite films screened at more than 120 locations on the World Tour schedule across the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Europe. The Reel Paddling Film Festival is supporting paddlesport filmmakers awarding a total of $66,000 in cash prizes to filmmakers since 2006.


2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival Award Winners:




Sponsored by Silverbirch Canoes

If it is love that binds people to places in this nation of rivers and in this river of nations, then one enduring expression of that simple truth is surely the canoe.” —James Raffan, adventurer, acclaimed author and director emeritus of the Canadian Canoe Museum. This short documentary film captures the remarkable bond created by Canada’s well-loved national symbol—the canoe. Illustrated by the stories of five paddling enthusiasts across the province of Ontario, Canada, viewers see firsthand how the canoe fosters connection between families, landscapes, traditional Canadian cultures and our inner selves. The film underscores the strength of the canoe and human spirit, and how the canoe is a vessel for creating deep and meaningful connections. This film is a reflection of what Canadian canoe culture looks like today.






Sponsored by the ACA

What would you do to protect the place you love? Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness is a wild landscape of lakes, streams, woods and wildlife covering 1.1 million acres. To Amy and Dave Freeman, this place is home. With a massive sulfide-ore mining project threatening to jeopardize the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for generations to come, the Freemans took action. For one year, the Freemans lived inside the Boundary Waters, broadcasting photos and stories via satellite receiver and hosting politicians, journalists and activists. “It’s up to us to speak loudly for this quiet place,” says Dave Freeman. “It is up to us to bear witness.”

DIRECTOR: Nate Ptacek and Matt Van Biene
PRODUCERS: Fitz Cahall, Nate Ptacek, Doug Niemela and Samantha Chadwick




BEST SHORT PADDLING FILM: Every Day Kayak Mistakes

Sponsored by the Paddle Responsibly Campaign

On a regular kayaking day, every little mistake can always be worse. FTS Style brings kayaking movies to another level with this release.

DIRECTOR: Sebastien Leger





Sponsored by the Ottawa Valley Tourism Association

Thirty-three-year-old Tomass Marnics from Latvia has put together an international team of extreme kayakers. Together they plan to descend the legendary Saryjaz River. The expedition will take the adventurers directly to the Eyes of God, a mystical cliff face reminiscent of an enormous human face, in the no-man’s land between Kyrgyzstan and China.

DIRECTOR: Olaf Obsommer




BEST ADVENTURE TRAVEL FILM: Rediscover North America

Sponsored by Kokatat

What’s wrong with an adventure for the sake of adventure? In January 2015, six friends set out to attempt a canoe expedition from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. They battled against the current on the Mighty Mississippi, weathered a winter of snow and ice, traversed massive lakes, dodged constantly shifting forest fires, and shot challenging whitewater. It took eight long months to complete the journey.

PRODUCER: Winchell Delano




BEST SEA KAYAKING FILM: Sea Kayak Around Ireland

Sponsored by Trak Kayaks

Discover the experiences of Irish paddlers, Sean Cahil and Jon Hynes, as they complete their lifelong dream to circumnavigate the rugged wild Atlantic coastline of Ireland. Many have paddled this famed coast but this duo brings it to life with this visually stunning, informative and often funny documentary. The message is clear: “Drop what you’re doing, and go chase your dream adventure!

PRODUCER: Cian Walsh 




BEST INSTRUCTIONAL FILM: Sea Kayak Essentials Volume 2 - Safety and Rescue

Sponsored by Thompson Rivers University Adventure Studies

Sea Kayak Essentials Volume 2 is a valuable resource for sea kayakers wishing to paddle safely in open-water conditions, develop problem avoidance strategies and effective rescue techniques.

PRODUCERS: Mathew Giblin and Nick Cunlife





Sponsored by Pelican International

Explore the varied and dramatic landscape of the beautiful island of Barbados in search of the perfect wave. From the white sand beaches of the populated Southwest to the rugged coastline and world-class breaks of the northeast, Jimmy, Casi, Matt and Connor are welcomed by colorful locals in town and on the waves.

DIRECTOR: Anthony Poulin
PRODUCERS: Heliconia 




BEST KAYAK FISHING FILM: The Kayak Fishing Experience 

Sponsored by Pelican Premium Kayaks

Chad Hoover has worked very hard to give back to the sport of kayak fishing, specifically bass fishing. He has made it his number one goal to help grow the sport and attract new participants. “No matter how hard I work or how much I give, I can never give back more to the sport of kayak fishing than it has given me. Without a doubt, taking up kayak fishing was the single most influential decision that I have ever made in the course of my life. You should give kayak fishing a try, it will change your life,” he says.

DIRECTOR: Kelsey Thompson
PRODUCERS: Heliconia 





Sponsored by the Canadian Canoe Museum

Fifty years ago, girls were not allowed to participate in the rigorous U.S. Outward Bound wilderness school. Then 24 women broke that barrier. Find out how one month of surviving in the woods changed them and history forever

DIRECTOR: Maxine Davis
PRODUCERS: Maxine Davis and Melody Gilbert 




To attend the 2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival visit our World Tour Schedule.


The Reel Paddling Film Festival is now accepting entries for 2018. Enter your film today!


About Reel Paddling Film Festival: Since 2006, the Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour has been showcasing the very best paddling films. The World Tour screens in more than 120 cities around the world. Join us for this year's best paddling films. You'll be inspired to explore rivers, lakes and oceans, push extremes, embrace the paddling lifestyle and appreciate the wild places.


Reel Paddling Film Festival Partners: The 2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival is presented by Ontario Tourism, and sponsored by Aqua-Bound, Trak Kayaks, Pelican, Kokatat, Silverbirch Canoes, Ottawa Valley Tourist Association, ACA, Thompson Rivers University-Adventure Studies, Canadian Canoe Museum, and the Paddle Responsibly Campaign.


About Rapid Media:   Founded in 1998, Rapid Media is the world’s largest paddlesports media company renowned for producing high-quality content for paddlesports enthusiasts. The company’s portfolio includes some of the world’s best-known paddling brands including Adventure Kayak, Kayak Angler, Rapid, Canoeroots, Paddling Magazine, Paddling Business, the Paddling Buyer’s Guide and the Paddling Trip Guide. Rapid Media produces the annual Reel Paddling Film Festival. 



Gabe, Taiga and Scott on the Hart River


Paddle for the North directed by Simon Lucas wins the 2016 Reel Paddling Film Festival People’s Choice Award sponsored by Bending Branches.


Paddle for the North focuses on a team of six men who embark on a trip to several rivers in Alaska, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon with the intention to “raise awareness about different environmental issues in the North.” The 1,500 kilometer journey takes two months and spans six rivers including the Hart, Peel, Rat, Bell, Porcupine and Yukon rivers. The men overcome mental and physical barriers as they strive to show the importance of conserving wild, untouched places through the spirit of adventure.


Paddle for the North was also awarded the Best Canoeing Film on the 2016 Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour.


Audiences at 120 screenings on the 2016 Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour voted for their favorite films and entered for a chance to win a Bending Branches prize pack valued at $460. Jill Larson is the winner of the Bending Branches Sweepstakes and receives an Aqua-Bound Surge Glass and an Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon paddle.


To attend the 2017 Reel Paddling Film Festival and vote for this year’s Aqua-Bound People’s Choice Award, visit our World Tour Schedule to find a screening near you.


The Reel Paddling Film Festival is now accepting film entries for 2018. Enter your film today!

Since 2006 the Reel Paddling Film Festival has been showcasing the very best in paddling filmmaking. The World Tour screens in more than 120 cities worldwide. The featured films inspire exploration of rivers, lakes, oceans, boundary pushing and a celebration of the paddling lifestyle.

The deadline for film submissions is November 1st, 2016. The preferred length of submissions is between two and twenty minutes. You have the chance of having the film screened at more than 100 venues across North America and a chance of taking home a portion of the $5,000 prize pool.

The categories for submission are:

•    Best Sea Kayaking Film

•    Best Canoeing Film

•    Best Whitewater Film

•    Best Kayak Fishing Film

•    Best Documentary Paddling Film

•    Best Adventure Travel Paddling Film

•    Best Instructional Paddling Film

•    Best Short Paddling Film

•    Best Environmental Paddling Film

•    Best Stand-up Paddling Film

To enter online, click here.

To enter by mail, ship films and completed entry forms to:

Films Coordinator

Reel Paddling Film Festival

55 Red Pine Drive

Palmer Rapids, Ontario, Canada

t: 613.706.0677 // f: 613.706.1070


RPFF Marquee

PALMER RAPIDS, ON, FEB 1, 2016 – The 11th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival premiered last week in Toronto, Ontario at the Royal Cinema. Toronto paddling shop, The Complete Paddler, hosted the premiere audience of 320 raising a whopping $3,062 they donated to Project Canoe, a non-profit organization leading wilderness canoe trips for inner city youth.

Rapid Media founder and publisher Scott MacGregor emceed the red canvas carpet event screening a selection of this year’s award-winning and shortlisted films. “I was sure this year’s films are our best ever, but the proof for me is always watching faces as the audience exits the first big screening,” says MacGregor. “You won’t be disappointed.”

This year’s winners are:

  1. Big Fish Stories: Expedition Hauka – KAYAK FISHING category sponsored by Old Town Predator. Producer: Oskar Stenberg, Director: Erik Lundin Marcus Wickelgren.
  2. Expedition Q – ADVENTURE TRAVEL category sponsored by Adventure Kayak Magazine. Producer: NRS, Director: Skip Armstrong
  3. Go Big or Go Home – WHITWATER category sponsored by the Ottawa Valley and the Ottawa River Race and Festival. Producer and Director: Olaf Obsommer
  4. Kayaking the Aleutians – SEA KAYAKING category sponsored by Kokatat. Producer: Cackle TV, Director: Cackle TV.
  5. Living the Stoke 2 – STANDUP PADDLEBOARDING film, category sponsored by ACA. Producer: Jeff Pikington, Director: Rob Pirie.
  6. Martin's Boat – ENVIRONMENTAL category sponsored by Rapid Magazine. Producer and Director: Peter McBride.
  7. Nature Rx – SHORT PADDLING category sponsored by Canoeroots Magazine. Producer and Director: Justin Bogardus and Liz Victorine.
  8. Paddle for the North – CANOEING category sponsored by Silverbirch Canoes. Producer: Alex Behse, Director: Simon Lucas.
  9. Stories of Survival – INSTRUCTIONAL sponsored by Thompson Rivers University. Producer and Director: ACA.
  10. The Important Places – DOCUMENTARY category sponsored by The Canadian Canoe Museum. Producer and Director: Gnarly Bay and Forest Woodward.

These 10 winning films and another 11 shortlisted films have begun their year-long World Tour to more than 120 U.S., Canadian and international cities. Find a screening near you.


To bring the World Tour to your paddling town, shop, club, theatre or event, contact Ray Bretzlof (613) 706-0677 x118,

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