There are quite a few movies and documentaries based on kayaking out there for kayak enthusiasts to enjoy. These films showcase the beauty of kayaking and the many adventures that can be had while on the water. So whether you are looking for a relaxing film to watch or an adrenaline-pumping kayak movie, there’s sure to be something out there that you’ll enjoy.
So, without further ado, here are our top 10 kayaking films and documentary recommendations that will stay etched into your mind for a long time:
Top 10 Kayaking Films You Need To Watch
1. Paddle To Seattle
Paddle to Seattle was awarded “Best Sea Kayaking Film” at the Reel Paddling Film Festival in 2010. The film was critically acclaimed and has a 7.1 rating on IMDB. The documentary features two friends, from building their own kayaks to running the endearing journey from Alaska to Seattle. The 1300-mile passage is more than just kayaking. It is a story of friendship and how it strengthens over the challenging route.
2. Halo Effect
This 47 min film is aesthetically pleasing and rich. You won’t feel a minute of it dragging, and the visuals will captivate you throughout. The Halo Effect also takes on a 2-month long journey featuring three of the best kayakers in the world. See how the relentless water turns their plans upside down in this adrenaline rush viewing. There’s sure to be a kayaking fix here if you’ve been away from your usual kayaking adventures. Available on Amazon Prime.
3. Chasing Niagara
This is probably one of the most-watched films amongst kayakers as it takes on the journey of a pro kayaker, Rafa Ortiz, as he and his friends prepare to run the Niagara, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada.
The incredible series of events and the breathtaking views of the Rainforest Rivers of Mexico to the Niagara will leave you in awe. You might even begin planning your own Rafa adventure after this one! Available on Apple TV, Google Play and Youtube.
4. The River Runner
Scott Lindgren is the lead character of this documentary. His journey is fascinating because he is the first kayaker to paddle through all four rivers flowing from the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet.
However, this kayaking documentary is more than just paddling. It is Lindgren’s journey of personal healing and self-discovery after the diagnosis of a fatal disease.
His discovery that the journey and how you live life is much more important than how it ends touches the right chords. Because you may not have the choice of when or how your life will end, you do have the choice to lead the journey the way you like. This is a fascinating kayak documentary on Netflix.
5. Solo: Lost At Sea
While many documentaries feature kayaking and journeys through the water wilderness, this movie about kayaking has a most tragic ending. Australian adventurer Andrew McAuley disappeared just one day before his voyage ended, making it one of the most heart-wrenching stories for kayakers. This kayak includes the footage from the camera found from his partly flooded kayak recovered from just 30 nautical miles short of his destination. Available to watch on JustWatch
6. Kayak Movie For the Family : Moana
You probably won’t have imagined seeing this movie if you don’t have kids of your own. However, Moana is a Disney animated film that follows the journey of a teenage girl who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. Her journey across the Pacific is more interesting to share with family if you have children.
7. The Last Decent
This kayak movie is one of the best films that offer more than just the journey. This documentary goes on to educate the people, especially kayakers, about protecting the rivers they kayak on.
The documentary includes how kayakers, nature, and the locals whose survival depends on the river ecosystems are threatened by dams built over natural waters. Full documentary is available for free on YouTube.
8. Locked In: First Decent of the Beriman Gorge
Imagine running a river so challenging that others have not run it. This kayaking documentary features a group of kayakers as they head out on a journey to partake in the challenge of the Beriman River Gorge in Papua New Guinea. Kayaks have seldom navigated this path.
The 40-kilometer river does not allow rest, and even a slight error means no chance of pulling out. Instead, they must go big or surrender to the relentless water.
The river kayak documentary includes how kayakers, nature, and the locals whose survival depends on the river ecosystems are threatened by dams built over natural waters. Available to watch on RedBull TV
9. Claim Freedom
One must-have on every list of best kayaking films is Claim Freedom. The unnerving waterfalls the crew sets out to dive give a spectacular view. This kayaking team has one purpose: to flag as many waterfalls as they can find in the Pacific Northwest.
So, if you want to up your kayaking game, this is one documentary about kayaking you must watch before you set out on an adventure of your own. Available to watch on RedBull TV
10. Home - An Outward Journey Inward
Kayakers know how the water experience feels like home. One of the great kayak movies if you yearn for the water and the scenery that a non-kayaker may never experience. Alongside 8 international awards at festivals worldwide, it also won the Best Adventure and Exploration Film award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in 2020.
Sarah Outen is an adventurer and the lead of this documentary. Through the documentary, the viewers follow her 4-year journey as she uses different methods to travel, including bikes, boats, and, of course, kayaks!
Summing Up Kayak Movies
Get ready for a fun-filled week as you enjoy these masterpieces during your time out of the water. The journey of some of these protagonists and the challenges they face will recharge your energy and get you refreshed and energized for your next trip to the unnerving waters.
Make sure to share the films and documentaries you like best with your kayaking companions, so together, you share your next water adventures with a perspective and a goal like these film protagonists.