The 18th Annual Paddling Film Festival World Tour premiered on February 23—the first in-person premiere since 2020. The event was hosted by The Complete Paddler at The Royal Theatre in Toronto. The show treated the audience of 221 to the first screening of the year’s award-winning films.

All proceeds—totalling $1,694—went to Project Canoe, an organization that provides educational and therapeutic outdoor programming to at-risk youth, mainly through a summer wilderness canoe trip program.

Man wearing winter hat and pointing at Paddling Film Festival sign on theater.

Rapid Media founder, Scott MacGregor, emceed the event and announced this year’s winners.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Winners

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Environmental Film Winner, sponsored by Thompson Rivers University - Adventure Studies Program

Best Environmental Paddling Film

Bad River
Category sponsor: Thompson Rivers University – Adventure Studies Program

Director: Beau Miles
Producers: Beau Miles, Mitch Drummond

In a little red kayak, Beau Miles descends the 23-kilometer-long Cooks River in Sydney, Australia. This is a journey of ill health, sadness and hope. Miles tests the local saying about the river: “If you fall in, you’ll dissolve.”

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Adventure Travel Film Winner, sponsored by Kokatat

Best Adventure Travel Film

A Baffin Vacation
Category sponsor: Kokatat

Directors: Sarah McNair-Landry, Erik Boomer
Producers: Rush Sturges, Erik Boomer, Sarah McNair-Landry

Erik Boomer and Sarah McNair-Landry set off on a bold multisport 45-day expedition — traveling through the remote landscape of Baffin Island in search of stunning cliffs to climb and unexplored rivers to whitewater kayak.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Kayaking Film Winner, sponsored by TRAK Kayaks

Best Kayaking Film

Iceland’s Most Remote Peninsula: Hornstrandir By Kayak
Category sponsor: TRAK Kayaks

Director & Producer: Eike Köhler

Due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle, Hornstrandir is damn fresh even in summer, and this northern coast is hardly protected. In paddling Iceland’s most remote peninsula, this group of kayakers learns how to fail beautifully.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Whitewater Film Winner, sponsored by Ottawa Valley Tourist Association

Best Whitewater Film

Category sponsor: Ottawa Valley Tourist Association

Director & Producer: Dane Jackson

For decades, Eastern Canada has brought people from all over the world to paddle its huge variety of whitewater. There is one aspect in particular that continues to bring the world’s best paddlers—big waves. As the rivers rise with the spring melt, each of these unique waves takes form. Every year, a small group of whitewater athletes dedicates their time to the chase. Those who started this tradition gave it a name: Stakeout.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Documentary Film Winner, sponsored by The Canadian Canoe Museum

Best Documentary Film

Category sponsor: The Canadian Canoe Museum

Director: David Arnaud
Producer: Red Bull Media House

Adventurer, competitor, daughter, friend, pioneer, hero and badass human are all words used to describe French kayaker, Nouria Newman. In Wild Waters, we watch Nouria grow from a young Olympic hopeful to one of the greatest kayakers of all time, and follow her as she prepares to become the first female to run a 100-foot waterfall. Running the world’s hardest whitewater isn’t Nouria’s biggest challenge, though. Realizing the expectations placed upon her as an athlete and as a woman weigh heavily as she pushes back to make her own path.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Canoeing Film Winner, sponsored by Nova Craft Canoe

Best Canoeing Film

Grey Beard: The Man, The Myth, the Mississippi
Category sponsor: Nova Craft Canoe

Director: Zak Rivers
Producers: Zak Rivers, Alex Maier, Kyle Johnson, Amy Robin

Dale “Grey Beard” Sanders challenges himself to set another world record, trying to reclaim his title as the oldest person to paddle the full source to sea on the Mississippi River. At 87 years old, it takes perseverance and an attitude that says, “One of these days I’ll get old.”

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best SUP Film Winner

Best SUP Film


Director & Producer: Will Reddaway

Tragedies in former lifeguard Brendon Prince’s past forced a change in his life to pursue water safety education. In the pursuit of raising awareness for this cause, he must put his own life at risk, pushing his limits and attempting something no one has accomplished before.

Circumnavigate follows the South Devon-based father of three as he attempts to become the first person to standup paddleboard around mainland Britain in hopes of breaking five world records—a challenge many have tried, but none have achieved.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Rafting Film Winner, sponsored by AIRE

Best Rafting Film

Category sponsor: AIRE

Directors & Producers: Dale Wright, Isaac Wright

Georgie, a forgotten raft rediscovered at a yard sale, narrates her story of running rivers. From her wild days with legendary Georgie White in the Grand Canyon to leisurely weekend floats, Georgie’s wisdom rings true to every generation of river traveler.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Short Film Winner, sponsored by Paddle Responsibly

Best Short Film

On, In & Under The Sava
Category sponsor: Paddle Responsibly

Directors: Rožle Bregar, Carmen Kuntz
Producers: Balkan River Defence, Leeway Collective

Armed with a raft, snorkels and flippers, four friends drift down Slovenia’s Sava River. Their one mission: find the elusive finned monsters that dwell in the deep, in order to help protect the Sava from the construction of dams.

2023 Paddling Film Festival Best Kayak Fishing Film Winner

Best Kayak Fishing Film

On The Edge

Director & Producer: Katie Falkenberg

Five women set out on an eight-day, 65-mile pack rafting journey deep in the wilderness of Montana. A trip inspired by self-growth, adventure and world-class westslope cutthroat trout fishing quickly evolves into a deeper exploration of how we are on the edge of a new climate era. The group begins to question what the future of conservation and ethical wilderness recreation will look like in a rapidly changing climate.


Want to join in the fun and get the big screen experience? Find a World Tour event near you at

The Virtual Paddling Film Festival will be released in March allowing you to rent and watch the award-winning films plus 14 others in the comfort of your home. Check back here for the release of the 2023 virtual program.


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