This May, Halifax-based musician, recreation therapist and expedition kayaker Zac Crouse will begin touring Paddle to the Ocean, a show that combines live music, storytelling and film.
Kayaking as therapy and creative outlet
In 2011, Zac Crouse paddled and pedalled from the Ottawa River in landlocked eastern Ontario to Halifax and the Atlantic Ocean. As described on his website, the journey took Crouse “[f]rom Canada’s capital to the home of the Bluenose, along historic voyager and native trade routes.”
As tallied by Crouse, he travelled 1,050 km by river, 216 km on land, and 250 km on the ocean. Even more impressively, the trip used zero gasoline.
In memory of a friend and fellow paddler
“There were a few altruistic reasons for touring without using fossil fuel, but the primary motive for the trip was to help me deal with the paddling death of my friend Corey,” explains Crouse.
Paddle to the Ocean documents Crouse’s trip as well as his inward journey.
“Paddling all day is a form of meditation for me,” he says. “Long distance kayaking trips are where I find a sense of calm. My life becomes focused on basic tasks—making distance, navigating and finding a place to sleep.”
“By bringing along my banjo-ukulele, I had a creative outlet during the times when I was waiting for better winds or clear weather,” Crouse adds.
Solo journey, group effort
Released in May 2013, the Paddle to the Ocean film and original soundtrack were produced with the help of Crouse’s friends, adventure filmmaker Kelsey Thompson (Locals Only, Balance) and musicians Ian Bent and Kris Pope.
Thompson and Crouse also collaborated in 2011 on a single and accompanying short film, So Fine, which won best short on the 2012 Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour.
To help realize the project, fans of inspiring paddling films and soulful folk melodies were encouraged to visit the Paddle to the Ocean campaign page at Indiegogo. For a small contribution, supporters were able to pre-order copies of the DVD and CD, or get their names listed in the film’s credits. The coolest perk for bigger spenders was one of two private house concerts for the donor and 30 friends.