Saturday, February 23, 2013

Five questions for: Filmmaker Justine Curgenven

Justine Curgenven in her North Shore Atlantic LV.
Adventure filmmaker Justine Curgenven launched the genre of sea kayaking films in 2004 with her This is the Sea series, which features profiles of top paddlers, footage of expeditions in a wide range of remarkable places, and lots of paddling excitement. She's coming back to Canoecopia in March, where she'll launch the World Tour of This is the Sea 5 and preview sections of her new, three-hour DVD at at charity fundraiser party on Saturday, March 9.

One of the sections of the DVD, about her adventures and midadventures in Tierra del Fuego with Barry Shaw, has already won Best Sea Kayaking Film in the 2013 Reel Paddling Film Festival. "I guess lots of things went wrong, and people seem to like stories where lots of things go wrong. But it’s a beautiful place as well. It’s a good adventure," she says. We caught up with Justine over Skype just as she finished editing her new DVD.

HKWT: You’re about to begin the North American Tour of This is the Sea 5. Didn’t you intend to stop at 4? What changed?
JC: I was done at four. But I was also done after two and three. It’s quite draining. It’s quite hard work. After the fourth one, I certainly needed a break and needed to do something different and not feel like I was just churning another one out. I think maybe the canoeing DVD and the instructional DVD provided the break that I needed. But people started asking, “When are you doing another This is Sea?” And it just felt right. I think now is a good time for it.

HKWT: What kinds of expeditions do you prefer these days?
JC: I like wild, remote places where there are not many people, though when you meet people who live in remote, wild places, they tend to be rather interesting. I love wildlife. I like to be challenged, too. I quite like paddling around things; I think I have an addiction to that, partly because you go back to the same place so there are fewer logistics to work out. But I also quite like the completeness of going all the way around something.

HKWT: What are you paddling now?
JC: I’m paddling an Atlantic LV just around here. On a trip I’ve tried a few different things. I had a Nordkapp in Tierra del Fuego, and an Etain from Russia to japan with Sarah, and I think I might be going to try an Ocean – which the new North Shore expedition boat – around Ireland.

HKWT: You spend time on other adventure sports. Why do you keep returning to kayaking, personally and for your films?
JC: Kayaking is my favorite, and I guess its what I’m best at as well. I’ve got all the kit, I’ve got a lot of friends that kayak, but I can also go by myself. I can do it at a reasonable standard. I think kayaking’s got so many different things going for it. There’s the fact that you get to spend time in some really cool places, feel the wind through your hair, you can just have a nice relaxing chill-out going along the cliffs, you can get close to wildlife, and you can have as much adrenaline as you want by going out into the surf or the tidal races. And you get to use your brain and think about things when you go on a trip: you’ve got the weather to worry about and how far you go, when you’re going to land and what your options are if this or that other variable changes.  Probably a lot of people who haven’t done a lot of trip paddling don’t know how much goes into it that you do need to consider and think about. I really enjoy the mental side of it as well.

HKWT: What’s next?
JC: I’ll be going around Ireland in May and June for six weeks--we’re not going for a record or anything--with Barry and a friend of ours, Roger Chandler. And I’m making a second rolling DVD with Cheri and Turner. I’ve also been talking about doing an expedition DVD that gives people tips on going on a trip, everything from what kit to take to where to go to a bit about navigation and tide. It’s a huge, huge topic, but I’d like to do a video that has a lot of examples in it because I’ve got so much footage from my various trips that I’d like to use—examples of different situations and how you could deal with it. I’m not sure when I’ll do that; maybe next year. I’m also thinking about doing something with the Hurricane Riders, which I’m quite excited about. They’re really nice people and they’re just pushing it all the time, and I could just see a film about them: The Hurricane Riders: The Movie. I think that could be quite cool.

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