No matter the weather, the thrill-seeking endorphins that fuel outdoor sports lovers does not dissipate. So what’s one to do when the weather outside is not ideal? Netflix and chill, of course. We’re not talking the veg out on the couch type shows. We’re talking heart-racing, motivating, inspirational, and downright adventurous films and documentaries that will keep your love for paddling strong all winter long. So pop that popcorn, grab a seat, and let’s get to it. Here are six kayak documentaries for you to enjoy during the off-season.
- Edge of the Earth
This four-part documentary series brought to you by HBO and Teton Gravity Research will have you at the edge of your seat, quite literally, as you follow four groups of elite athletes that embark on missions that have yet to be accomplished. Edge of the Earth features some pretty epic stunts to go with an amazing look at Mother Nature across the globe. While the entire series is worthwhile, make sure to check out Episode II: Raging Torrent, which follows elite kayakers Ben Stookesberry, Nouria Newman, and Erik Boomer, as they venture deep within Ecuador’s vast Llanganates National Park and attempt the first descent of the Chalupas River. Will they make it through the river’s uncompromising terrain? You must watch to find out.
- The River Runner
It’s thrilling. It’s unpredictable. It’s vulnerable. And it’s everything that whitewater kayakers dreams are made of. In The River Runner on Netflix, follow along as long-time kayaker Scott Lindgren heads out on a quest to become the first man to paddle the four great rivers that flow from Tibet's sacred Mount Kailash. The highly accomplished kayaker and whitewater filmmaker takes on this never-been-done-before journey, but not without his own personal struggles along the way. Watch as Lindgren overcomes his own fears and conquers his dreams in this legendary documentary.
- Chasing Niagara
Once you start Chasing Niagara, you’re committed (In the best possible way) to following along on a three-year journey covering breathtaking landscapes across the globe, from the rainforest rivers of Mexico to the towering waterfalls of the U.S. Northwest. Pro-kayaker Rafa Ortiz, along with fellow world-renowned paddler Rush Sturges and friends, takes on a journey that sparks an incredible series of events that’s hard to turn away from. Watch as they tackle the mighty rapids and some of North America’s most demanding waterfalls, leading to their final destination: Niagara.
- Voyage of the Finnmen
Episode two in Season Five of Explorers: Adventures of the Century series on Red Bull TV, tells the tale of tandem sea kayakers Olly Hicks and George Bullard who attempt the treacherous 1,200-mile journey from Greenland to Scotland — aka the Greenland Ice Cap — something that, as legend has it, hasn't been done in 300 years. The catch? They’re heading out with no modern equipment and no support group, on the most dangerous and least predictable part of the ocean. Will they live to tell the tale? Watch and find out.
- Wild Waters
In Red Bull TV’s Wild Waters, get to know Nouria Newman, one of the most gifted kayakers of her generation, as the documentary details her life from the Olympic pools, to wild rivers, to world championship podiums. Her personality and drive shines in the film, where director David Arnaud unveils the trials and tribulations that Newman goes through, just like the rest of us “ordinary people”. Relish in this feel-good documentary, and you too, can push the limits and dream big.
Get ready for a wild ride displayed in Solo, a firsthand documentary highlighting Andrew McAuley’s quest to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand — one of the wildest (and loneliest) stretches of ocean on Earth, the Tasman Sea. While he was one day short of completing his journey, his camera tapes were recovered that tell his heroic tale today. Tug at the heartstrings while witnessing raw grit and passion in this touching movie.
It’s time to get hyped in the off-season. From fast-roaring whitewater river adventures to overcoming personal struggles, there’s a little something for everyone here. Sit back, relax, and get ready for pure kayaking bliss with these six kayak documentaries to watch this winter.