Justine Curgenven, producer of the highly successful and influential, "This is the Sea" series has just released the trailer for her latest production called Fundy Fun.

Published in Gear Reviews

Over the past couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of watching Justine Curgenven’s latest production, This is the Roll.

Short Review: Learning to Roll? Pick this one up, it’s great.

Longer Review: The is the Roll features Greenland rolling and instruction masters, Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson so you know right from the start that the quality of the instruction will be top notch.

This is the Roll is filmed mainly from the perspective of Greenland-style rolling but don’t let that skinny wooden stick on the cover confuse you. Any student wanting to learn can apply the core techniques clearly outlined in the video and apply it to their paddle style. Tapping into the best of both worlds, everything first taught using a skinny stick then they go back over it again using a Euroblade highlighting the subtle differences between the two.

What I really enjoyed about this video is the high quality of instruction. Listening to Cheri and Turner narrate the video, it’s clear that they have taught at least three million rolling clinics and applied all their knowledge here. They take a fairly complex skill like the Standard Greenland Roll and break it down into small bite-sized chunks emphasising the fundamental skills to make it successful. I appreciated the fact that they kept going back to the foundations and used them as a theme woven throughout tying all the skills together.

The visual learner in me also appreciated that there are lots of repeating shots of the same roll from multiple angles, multiple boats and different types of people. This worked really well and allows the narrator to emphasise the key element without feeling that the video was rushed.

One of the little hidden gems I discovered was the extensive troubleshoot sections throughout. At nearly 30 minutes throughout, this is no mini troubleshooting section added on at the end as an afterthought. It’s filled with solid tips and ideas to help battle against the most common problems new rollers encounter including how to keep from pulling down on the paddle, torso rotation problems or the dreaded diving paddle in the sweep.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who watched the video and his only negative feedback of the film was that watching it from end-to-end, its a massive pile of information to retain when heading over to the pool to practice. Thought I would agree with him that yes, this is pretty much the equivalent of a kayak rolling encyclopedia, my suggestion is to focus on one roll at a time and master it before focusing on the next one on the DVD. While watching, take some notes of the key points so you remember later.

Though nothing replaces one-on-one instruction at the hands of a good teacher, I think that This is the Roll is for sure one of the better rolling instructional DVD’s out there on the market. Pick this one up. It's great.

Rolls/skills covered:

  • Standard Greenland Roll (Both Greenland and Euroblade)
  • Balance Brace and Sculling for Support
  • Reverse Sweep Roll (Both Greenland and Euroblade)
  • Storm Roll (Both Greenland and Euroblade)
  • Kayak and Equipment Primer
  • Stretches for Rolling

Running Time: 2.5 Hours

More info: cackletv.com

Published in DVD Reviews

Justine Curgenven is best known as the creator of the award winning and highly influential kayak film series, This is the Sea. Since she released her first paddling film around 10 years ago she has released several other films including, This is the Sea II, III and IV, This is Canoeing and brand new to the market, This is the Roll.

When not watching paddlers through the lense of a video camera, Justine is off travelling throughout the world on major kayaking expeditions. Sea Kayaking has taken Justine to remote places such as Kamchatka, Tasmania, New Zealand, Sardinia and most recently Tierra del Fuego.


1) How long have you been working in the outdoor industry and what got you started?
After studying geology at university, I had 2 'proper jobs' in the TV industry - a news reporter and then a multi-skilled programme maker taking me up to age 23. I was getting more and more interested in the outdoors for my own pleasure and decided I wanted to try to make a living from filming adventures. I quit my job and spent several years writing to TV companies with ideas, filming pilots at my own expense, picking up a few small bits of work but generally losing money and sometimes losing heart. I guess you could say I was working in the outdoor industry since then, although not very successfully to start with! Eventually I got fed up spending all my time trying to convince TV Stations that I could do a good job and I just went out and made This is the Sea DVD.


2) What’s the best part of your job?
Working for myself and being in being able to make my own decisions. I have the freedom to be able to travel to some amazing places, have wonderful adventures and meet interesting people. Or I can have a lie-in if I'm tired!

Justine Curgenven 

3) What’s the most difficult aspect of the job?
It's hard to switch off from work-mode. I sell DVDs internationally so there is always a customer awake at a computer wanting an answer to a question. I could get a work email at any time and I like to deal with any issues ASAP so I tend to always be checking my emails in the evenings and at weekends - which isn’t the most sociable behaviour. To help with the workload, I employ people to mail out orders and other people do jobs like designing DVD covers, making any big changes to my website, and subtitling and authoring my DVDs. Other than that but I pretty much do everything else by myself.

Sometimes I'd love to have someone else to bounce ideas off, or to handle some of the more technological issues such as creating digital downloads which work with all the various gadgets that people have these days. It's also getting harder to make a living from video production. Sales of any one DVD are down slightly as people watch outdoor videos in different ways and as competition has increased. I'm trying to make cackletv.com a place that people come to when they want to buy a DVD for themselves or for a friend. While sales of any individual DVD are down a bit, I sold more overall DVDs in my webstore this year than last year. To stay competitive, keep adapting to the market and customer needs. I actually quite enjoy the challenge & the variety but sometime I feel like I'm spending a lot of time inside trying to keep abreast of technological developments, which isn't my forte.


4) What are two tips you can give to somebody looking to start their own video production company?
There is so much more to a video production company than actually making the film. Make sure you are prepared to spend a lot of time editing, cover designing, marketing, selling and chasing up invoices. You might have a great product but if no-one knows about it or is prepared to risk £20 or $30 on it then you'll have a stack of fantastic DVDs in a cupboard gathering dust.

If you believe in what you are doing and have a lot of drive then I would suggest going for it. Decent cameras and editing software are very affordable these days and you can teach yourself how to do it. Look at Bryan Smith who made Pacific Horizons & Eastern Horizons DVDs (available from the Cackle TV webstore --- see what I did there!?). I'm pretty sure Bryan is totally self-taught but has captured some amazing shots with slow motion cameras and he is now directing adventure films for National Geographic. Anything is possible - but it usually takes a lot of dedication and time to get there.


5) What about your job do you think would most surprise people?
A lot of people seem to think I am always travelling to nice places and kayaking! I do get to do a fair bit of that but I spend between 4 and 10 months every year sat in front of a computer, not only editing but also doing admin, processing DVD orders, marketing, updating my website and problem solving. I'd like to get that closer to 6 months in the next few years!

Justine's invitation to meet the Queen.

6) You met the Queen once. Tell me about it.
I was thrilled and flattered to be invited to meet the Queen alongside about 300 "people involved in adventure and exploration" last year. She held a reception at Buckingham Palace to commemorate 100 years since Scott reached the South Pole. It was a great opportunity to meet other adventurous people and catch up with a few friends. I wish it could have gone on longer as I'd like to have chatted to more people. We all lined up and shook hands with the Queen and her husband, while an official read out our name and what we did from a card we handed him. He didn't pronounce "Curgenven" right but I wasn't going to correct him in front of the Queen! The Queen didn't ask me anything about being an “expedition sea kayaker and filmmaker” and I think she was probably wondering what on earth that meant. I've never seen such big bottles of champagne and the quails eggs canapés were particularly delicious.


7) If you could tell something to your 18 year-old self, what would it be?
I would tell myself three things:

  • Don't worry about being penniless and jobless for several years - it really will work out OK if you keep working at it & believing!
  • No one on their deathbed ever says, "I wish I'd worked more".
  • Don't forget to enjoy your life and don't believe people who say, “you can't do that”.

Photo Credits: Justine Curgenven
More info: cackletv.com

Published in People


Justine Curgenven's invitation to tea with The Queen.

Well look who is off to have tea with her Majesty. Famed film producer and sea kayak world traveler, Justine Curgenven just got an invitation to join the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and those “involved in Exploration and Adventure” for a reception in early December.

With their newfound friendship, I’m really looking forward to watching the Queen ripping it up in a kayak on Justine’s next video. Below is an artist’s representation of what to expect.

The Queen Kayak Surfing.

Invitation Photo credit: Justine Curgenven

Published in People

Reel Paddling Film Festival Logo

Congratulations are in order to Justine Curgenven from Cackle TV. Her latest short film, Islands of Fire hasn’t been released yet but has already won, “Best Sea Kayaking Film” at both the Reel Paddling Film Festival and the Waterwalker Film Festival.

Islands of Fire is a 30 minute film about sea kayaking in the warm turquoise waters of Sicily’s Aeolian Islands. Justine says the film is as much about Aeolian Islands as it is about paddling which includes climbing active volcanoes, harvest grapes and explore ancient ruins giving real insight into the Italian way of life.

On her blog, Justine hints at a cool (at least to me) part of the story about how she finished editing and literally dropped it in the mail to the Reel Paddling Film Festival the day before they started their Tierra del Fuego expedition back in January. Since she didn’t have time to send along another copy to the Waterwalker Film Festival, the gang at Rapid Media (who also organize the RPFF) kindly made a copy and submitted it to Waterwalker on her behalf. I think that’s fantastic. In theory both film festivals are competitors but with the world of paddling films being so tiny they sometimes need to work together to get a decent selection to judge.

If you don’t make it to either the Reel Paddling or the Waterwalker film festivals tours, you can see it on Justine’s DVD when it comes out in October/November. If you can’t wait, there is a 3 minute trailer for Islands of Fire over on the RPFF website.

Published in Industry Stuff

LiquidLogic Boat Outfitting

Here is a quick round-up of paddling news on the internet today:

Change of Plans in Tierra Del Fuego
Sadly, Justine Curgenven and Barry Shaw had to call off their Tierra Del Fuego expedition yesterday due to ongoing problems with Barry's wrist. It's a real shame considering they waited for several weeks for the injury to heal but at the end Barry was worried it would flare up again when they were the more remote parts of their trip. Tendon injury is a slow injury to recover for sure.

Help LiquidLogic Better Outfit Their Boats
LiquidLogic is taking part in some knowledge crowd sourcing by going directly to their customers for better outfitting ideas. They set-up a Facebook page and want to hear from you. I think this is a great idea for companies who want to engage and build a loyal community of customers

Power Paddle Camp
Ben Lawry has just announced the schedule for his traveling Power Paddle Camp. Taking place over the month of May there are courses set-up in Rhode Island, Virginia Beach and Charleston, NC.

Ben is easily one of the best instructors that I have ever had the pleasure of teaching with and I'm quite confident that I learned as much as the students did when we worked together at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium. If you are looking to build your skills and learn under somebody who has put a tremendous amount of thought into efficiency and technique then this is the program for you.

Published in Paddling Raft-Up

Kokatat LogoKayaking around the tip of the world, Tierra del Fuego, has never been successfully completed. Kokatat team member and skilled paddler, Justine Curgeven and her partner Barry Shaw, hope to be the first successful pair to accomplish this rugged 1,000-mile kayak expedition. Kokatat is thrilled to support Curgenven on this expedition, which has previously been attempted by a Kokatat supported team, but was aborted due to uncooperative weather.

The expedition couple will bring in the new 2011 calendar year by departing for the expedition on Jan. 1. They have allocated 70 days to complete the trip. La Isla Grande, the big island of Tierra del Fuego lies less than 100 miles north of Cape Horn; the eastern part of the island belongs to Argentina, while the western part is claimed by Chile. It is a notorious region for high winds and bad weather.

Published in Press Releases
Tuesday, 12 September 2006 10:24

This is the Sea

The promo video for the fantastic DVD, "This is the Sea". Available at www.CackleTV.com.

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