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Independent Playak Review of Clear H20 Films' latest DVD: Hotel Charley V.5
Athletes include Jesse Coombs, Ben Stookesberry, Darin McQuoid, Rocky Contos, James Dusenberry, Chris Korbulic, Pedro Oliva and Rafael Ortiz.
The movie showcases three major kayaking expeditions with one goal – first descents.
If expedition type boating is your thing, then this one will be right up your street. After an excellent introduction the action starts in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains on the Rio Piaxtla, through the deepest canyon in North America. The team heads down for several days of ultra tight rapids, siphons and grueling portages.
Next up is a variety of serious rivers in a 50 day expedition in the most far flung corner of India. Once again the group is tested with steep sections and nail biting must run sections. Finally the movie ends with the third segment being shot in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Here they seek out some of the largest runnable waterfalls and several big volume rivers, set in thick, impenetrable jungle.
I’ve watched this one several times and have to say I really do love it. What makes it different to any other DVD out there at present? Well, I think it’s the narration by Ben Stookesberry that really differentiates it from the others. At every moment, without being overdone, you know what river is being run and where, which is a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of ‘kayak porn’ that people refer to these days where random drops are just hucked 24/7. When I look at this film I wish I had seen the first four already, maybe I should get them, as this one definitely blew me away.
The music is really good, adding suspense especially in the Mexico section. Local scenes are accompanied with a local flavour to match and I found it tough, if not impossible, to criticise.
Overall an excellent documentation of some incredible expeditions and a definite must for any lover of adventure. If you buy three DVD’s this year, let this be one of them.
There are two slideshows of photos from Darin McQuoid and Chris Korbulic.