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Paddle Tales

Best Adventure Trips

Over the last year, thanks to COVID lockdowns, I have been dreaming of the day when I could travel and enjoy new paddling destinations again. I have had the good fortune to visit many of the top paddling destinations around the world while filming the Facing Waves television series, and with COVID having put travel plans on hold, I definitely have the itch to get back out there and explore!

Facing Waves has brought me to so many incredible locations, and so picking my favorite is no easy task. Now in its 8th season, each destination that I’ve visited while filming Facing Waves has had something unique to offer – not just in terms of paddling, but also in the people who live there and the cultures and that I’ve been fortunate to experience. And while choosing a favorite isn’t easy, thanks to this past year of limited travel but unlimited daydreaming, I’ve put together a list of top locations that stand out for one reason or another.  

I will be publishing the 2021 list ‘Best of Facing Waves: Top Paddling Destinations’ throughout the summer / fall on this blog and across social media (GoPaddle on FB and Paddle365 on Instagram).  I thought this list of locations would be something worth sharing with my fellow adventure travellers and daydreamers. I hope you’ll be able to get out and start visiting these incredible paddling destinations again soon, if you haven’t already done so!

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you all to the world-class paddling destination that is Juneau, Alaska! I filmed an episode of Facing Waves in Juneau in Season 5, and as you’ll see below, it is first on my list for good reason.

Juneau, Alaska had glacial adventures, incredible up-close wildlife encounters and the most pristine wilderness I’ve ever seen. It tops my list because it far exceeded my expectations! I would look around in wonder while sea kayaking and I would see a bald eagle, then a sea lion, then salmon jumping, and then over in the distance a humpback whale would breach. And while I was paddling my kayak in awe, you quickly realize that this is just another normal day in Juneau, Alaska. After all – there is more wildlife than people there!

One moment from my trip to Juneau, Alaska that I will remember forever was when a humpback whale came up to surface nearby our kayaks, and then dove deep and swam by us. Being that close to a humpback whale is exhilarating – if not a bit terrifying. It felt like a bus was going by and all you could do was stay out of the way.

Another surreal experience in Juneau, Alaska was my visit to Mendenhall Glacier. The deep blue ice caves offer adventurers a once in a lifetime experience, and because the ice caves are constantly changing, each visit will be different.

I’ll be posting videos and photos of Juneau, Alaska for the next few weeks on social media, so be sure to follow along. I will also be sharing the next location for my 2021 list ‘Best of Facing Waves: Top Paddling Destinations’. Stay tuned!

For more info on travel in Juneau, check out the Travel Juneau web site!

PaddleTV’s Gear of the Year – Open for Submissions

Submissions for the inaugural PaddleTV’s Gear of the Year are now being accepted.

Produced by Heliconia, PaddleTV’s Gear of the Year is an authentic and unbiased video series showcasing the year’s best paddlesports products. The series will be released through the PaddleTV YouTube Channel and shared through Facebook and Instagram. With 64,000 subscribers and 14 million views, PaddleTV is one of the most popular paddling focused YouTube channels in the world.

PaddleTV’s Gear of the Year series will include 16 professionally produced videos hosted by world renowned paddler, instructor, TV show host and YouTuber, Ken Whiting. The series will not be pay-to-play. “The goal of the series is to showcase the development of outstanding paddlesports products, whether they’re from small, grassroots brands or current industry leaders. Everyone is welcome to submit their product for consideration,” explains Ken. “With so many incredible developments taking place in the world of paddlesports, we really want to help consumers by providing unbiased reviews so they can feel confident about their purchasing decisions.”

Each video will feature the top three to seven products within a specific category. For each product featured, Ken will talk about its specs, key selling features, and why he has chosen it as one of the top products of the year.

The Gear of the Year categories include:

 

  • Best Kayaks Under $500
  • Best Kayaks Under $1000

  • Best Entry Level Kayaks

  • Best Recreational Kayaks

  • Best Touring Kayaks

  • Best Kayaks for Big People

  • Best Kayaks for Multi-Day Trips

  • Best Inflatable Kayaks

 

  • Best Folding Kayaks
  • Best Canoes

  • Best Recreational SUP

  • Best Paddling Accessories

  • Best Paddling Apparel

  • Best Paddling Lifejackets

  • Best Recreational Kayak Paddles

  • Best Performance Kayak Paddles

 

Submissions for product consideration are being accepted until February 28th, 2021. Brands interested in being featured in the PaddleTV Gear of the Year series are encouraged to submit their product(s) online at heliconia.ca/paddle-tv-gear-of-the-year or reach out to Jenna Hill at jenna@helipress.com.

ABOUT HELICONIA: Heliconia is an award-winning video production company that helps destinations and brands reach the US adventure travel audience. The company produces seven unique media projects, providing authentic storytelling opportunities for every adventure and every destination. These series include: Epic Trails, Epic Trails: Mountain Biking, Facing Waves, Adventure Cities, Peak Experience, Chad Hoover Fishing and Kayak Fishing with Jim Sammons. Heliconia has a proven formula that marries inspiring video production with guaranteed television and digital distribution, ensuring that your message is heard by the adventure travel community in a unique and impactful way. For more information, visit www.heliconia.ca.

Heliconia Film Official Selection in the 2021 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival

Heliconia is proud to announce their short film The New Generation of Whitewater Kayakers has been selected for the 2021 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF). This year’s festival has gone completely virtual and will take place February 19th to the 28th.

The New Generation of Whitewater Kayakers is part of Heliconia’s award-winning digital series Paddle Tales, hosted by former World Champion Whitewater Kayaker Ken Whiting. For almost 30 years, Ken’s life has been guided by the paddle in his hands. Now, his passion for whitewater has come full circle, as he and his 9-year old daughter, along with some close family friends, run the river and challenge the whitewater in separate kayaks for the first time. The video was most recently showcased at the 40th annual Kendal Mountain Film Festival.

“We’re so glad this film is getting the recognition it is,” remarks Brendan Mark, Heliconia Vice-President. Mark is another former World Champion Whitewater Kayaker and was also featured, along with his two young daughters, in The New Generation of Whitewater Kayakers. “It’s awesome knowing this film is resonating with viewers and hopefully inspiring other young paddlers to give whitewater kayaking a try!”

The New Generation of Whitewater Kayakers was filmed and produced last summer, during a COVID-19 inspired Ontario road-trip. With Heliconia’s international filming plans postponed due to the pandemic, the Beachburg based video production company pivoted its production plans and turned its lens to the incredible paddling adventures found in its home province. A full playlist of the Paddle Tales episodes captured this summer can be found here: https://bit.ly/3nZkNCQ. The series was made possible with the support of Bell Fund and Ontario Creates.

This is not the first time Heliconia’s Paddle Tales shorts have received international attention. Paddle Tales: Sea Kayaking les-lles-de-la-Madeleine received honorable mentions in the 2019 Waterwalker Film Festival, while Paddle Tales: Sea Kayaking and Stand Up Paddling Cote-Nord, Québec won that festival’s award for the Best Canadian Location. In 2020, Paddle Tales: Le Boat was awarded Silver at the 41st Telly Awards.

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival’s full festival program can be found online at www.vimff.org. For a preview of Heliconia’s award-winning short films, check out Heliconia’s promo reel or visit www.heliconia.ca.

ABOUT HELICONIA: Heliconia is an award-winning video production company that helps destinations and brands reach the US adventure travel audience. The company produces seven unique media projects, providing authentic storytelling opportunities for every adventure and every destination. These series include: Epic Trails, Epic Trails: Mountain Biking, Facing Waves, Adventure Cities, Peak Experience, Chad Hoover Fishing and Kayak Fishing with Jim Sammons. Heliconia has a proven formula that marries inspiring video production with guaranteed television and digital distribution, ensuring that your message is heard by the adventure travel community in a unique and impactful way. For more information, visit www.heliconia.ca.    

Heliconia Embarks on Epic Paddle Tales Road Trip: Ontario Production Company to Turns Lens on Home Province

Heliconia, the video production company behind the Telly-Award winning digital series Paddle Tales, is set to resume filming July 5th, after a 4-month long break due to COVID-19. With internationally filming postponed, Beachburg-based Heliconia is excited to turn the lens on its home province and showcase what makes Ontario a world-class adventure travel destination.

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Season 7 of Facing Waves set to hit US airwaves, May 7th on FOX Sports Network

Heliconia, the video production company behind the paddling television series Facing Waves, is excited to announce the launch of the 7th Season of the award-winning show at on Tuesday, May 7th, on FOX Sports Network. A total of 26 airings are already scheduled for the Season Premiere episode on FOX Sports Sun, FOX Sports Arizona, FOX Sports Southeast, FOX Sports Southwest and FOX SportsTime Ohio. Following closely behind the launch on FOX Sports Network, Season 7 of Facing Waves will also soon be released on Outside TV.

Facing Waves is an exciting and inspiring TV series that follows top paddlers as they discover the cultures, landscapes and adventures of the world’s most amazing adventure travel destinations. In Season 7, the first six episodes of Facing Waves will shine a spotlight on the diverse regions and endless opportunities for adventure that are found in Québec, Canada.

The result of an exciting marketing partnership between Heliconia and the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec, each of the first six episodes of Facing Waves feature two distinct regions in la belle province. The adventures showcased in these episodes include, but are not limited to, sea kayaking with puffins in the Côte-Nord, whitewater kayaking down the raging waters of the Kipawa Rivers, exploring sea caves in les Iles de la Madeleine, stand up paddle boarding through the huge waves of the St. Lawrence River’s Lachine Rapids, learning about the Cree culture in the James Bay region of Northern Québec, and of course, taste testing all sorts of local delicacies along the way…everything from sticky buns to sea urchins, smoked herring and local craft beer.

In addition to the six Facing Waves episodes, the partnership with the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec produced a dozen premium YouTube videos which are housed on Heliconia’s PaddleTV YouTube channel. Part of the Paddle Tales YouTube series, each video showcases a different region of Québec, and invites adventure travelers to experience the authentic and friendly hospitality found throughout the province for themselves.

“We truly appreciated working with Heliconia for the series filmed in Québec,” shares Sébastien Viau, Vice-President of Marketing and Commercialization at the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec.  “The production team’s focus and efficiency made it possible for us to produce a high-quality series that allows viewers to discover Québec’s spectacular territories, including its waterways, as well as its creative culture and generous welcome.”

Season 7 of Facing Waves will wrap up with an exciting episode filmed in what is humbly considered one of Europe’s most stunning waterways – the Krutynia River. The spectacular route measures over 62 miles long, passes through 20 lakes, eight rivers, two canals and six nature reserves.

Facing Waves, North America’s first and only paddlesport TV series, is broadcast through Outside TV, FOX Sports, and Nautical Channel to ninety million households across 44 countries. Season 7 will debut on Outside TV on Saturday, May 25th at 7:30 pm. For more information on the series, visit www.facingwaves.com.

Tourism destinations interested in being featured on Facing Waves are encouraged to reach out to Heliconia’s Sales and Partnership Manager, Stefanie Manton-Ward, at stefanie@helipress.com.

About Heliconia: Heliconia is an award-winning video production company that specializes in outdoor productions. For 21 years Heliconia has helped industry-leading brands, and some of the world’s top tourism authorities, communicate their marketing message in a unique, and inspiring way. Heliconia offers custom video production services and produces seven unique television series which air on such networks as Sportsman Channel, FOX Sports, Outside TV, Nautical Channel, and World Fishing Network. Heliconia is also a leader in online video productions, with over 267,000 YouTube subscribers and 65 million views. See all Heliconia’s work at www.helipress.com.