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‘Hallelujah’: Watch Kayakers Paddle the PNW’s Most Stunning Waterfalls

Seth Ezekiel West brings skate-style cinematography to his short film 'Hallelujah,' which showcases kayakers paddling some of the Columbia River Gorge's most impressive waterfalls.

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Sometimes you just need a bit of chill music and beautifully filmed action. The short film “Hallelujah” just dropped on YouTube and showcases a ton of the amazing rapids, waterfalls, and paddlers found around the Columbia River Gorge.

Settle in and enjoy the action. Spring has arrived in the PNW and the rivers are flowing. Get some!

Hallelujah short film
(Photo/Seth Ezekiel West)

The film was created by cinematographer extraordinaire Seth Ezekiel West. I know how good he is with a camera, as he helped us with the Columbia Land Roamer video series we did late last year.

Some of the highlights of the film were shot at Bridal Veil Falls, Punchbowl Falls, Money Drop, Celestial Falls, and Outlet Falls. These are classic PNW waterfalls that are all serious challenges.

Hallelujah short film
(Photo/Seth Ezekiel West)

Not are all “legal,” however. Celestial Falls, which is about 50 feet tall, in particular is inside an Oregon state park and been off limits legally to kayakers for many years. It’s a beautiful series of falls that attracts onlookers from near and far year after year.

Its legality has slowed the flow of kayakers off of it, but not stopped it. The falls is a true icon in the whitewater scene and one many top paddlers aspire to paddle, even though it’s notorious for dishing out some serious injuries and big fines.

Hallelujah short film
(Photo/Seth Ezekiel West)

“In most action or extreme sports there’s a defined idea of what a film looks like. If you mention a term like “skate video,” a certain style of shooting and editing pops into your head, and I’ve always felt like whitewater kayaking is missing that. Back in the days of Substantial Media House/Bombflow it felt they were on a path to figuring that style out, and maybe even had it figured out for that era. The pieces that crew put together were certainly defining and influential to me.

With a new generation of paddlers taking the reins I think it’s time for a new definition of how a kayaking edit should feel. “Hallelujah” is my contribution to the community with some ideas of what I think that style could look like. As we progress more and more into downriver freestyle, it feels like a bit of skate culture is intermingled with kayaking, while there’s still that need for crisp slow motion shots that embrace the essence of sending a big waterfall.

I’m hoping this edit reopens the conversation on what a whitewater kayaking video should look like in the 2020s, and inspires the next generation to define the new style of the sport.”

Seth Ezekiel West

Runtime: 14 minutes

a kayaker in a pink kayaking going down a frothy waterfall

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