Parks interpreter produces rare kayak video
“That only gets flooded out once every 10 years or so. The last time it was actually this high was something like 21, 22 years ago,” local park interpreter and amateur filmmaker Ryan Bray told me.
“This is in the kayaking guidebooks and whatnot but it’s something that you can almost never paddle, because there’s hardly ever water in there.”
So in late June, with water pouring out of Medicine Lake at rates most Jasper residents have never seen, Bray saw an opportunity to document the rare event in a dramatic way. He had heard that kayakers were eyeing the route and he went in search of some willing to be filmed.
All it took was filling in a comment form on the kayakjasper.ca website and everything quickly fell into place from there. Bray heard back from local paddling guru Sean Allen in mere moments.
“He got back to me within about five minutes and said these two guys were coming up from Canmore to ride it,” Bray recalled. “An hour or so later I had it all arranged to meet up with them.”
And so, on June 27, Allen and Bray met up with Peter Thompson and Bryce Shaw and began preparing for what could well be a once-in-a-lifetime river run.
“I met them on the spot and they were just trying to quickly get in the water so I just tried to work around them as quickly as possible,” Bray said.
Bray also brought along a co-worker, Sarah Ravensbergen, whom he pressed into service as an extra camera operator.
Between everyone there, Bray had three land-based cameras to work with and a helmet cam on one of the kayakers to gather additional footage. He did some post-run interviews with Thompson and Shaw and, after a week in the edit suite, produced a three-minute video of their adventure.
“It was a pretty unique experience – for them and for me,” Bray said.
In the video, Thompson explains how special it was to take on Excalibur.
“It’s kind of just a myth in the paddling community,” he said. “We actually put in right in the parking lot – just the little info/visitor/tourist pull-out – where it usually talks about how the river is a dry river bed.”
“This fully lived up to our expectations,” added Shaw. “Made the drive worthwhile.”
The video can be found online visting www.braymation studio.com.
Bray said his videography is a hobby for the moment but might turn into something more in the future.
“One day it’ll maybe become a career but for right now I just really, really love doing it,” he said.
DISCLAIMER: The Last Word is an opinion column, it is meant to provoke thought and debate. As such, any opinions written here are the writer’s own.