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The Uncalculated Risk - Historic 1977 Film about Whitewater Safety

THE UNCALCULATED RISK (1977) Historic Film About Whitewater Safety

Fellow Paddlers,

I was able to locate an archived copy of this classic film and upload it to YouTube with decent resolution. Old timers will remember what a pioneering film this was and how well it was received by the paddling community back in the day.

The Uncalculated Risk is the first film in an excellent whitewater safety series produced by the American Red Cross in the late 1970's. It's noteworthy for not sugarcoating the hazards, and it pulls no punches in laying out the fastest ways to get yourself killed in whitewater sports.

The opening sequence, filmed on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, is a very realistic depiction of a classic foot entrapment. Cinematographer Russ Nichols did a superb job filming it. One of the film's narrators is Payson Kennedy, co-founder of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, a nationally recognized school for paddlers.

The title alone is brilliant, urging the viewer to think about the distinction between an informed vs uninformed approach to paddling - a calculated vs uncalculated risk. This was also the first time that the danger of an unprotected cold water immersion was mentioned in relation to paddling, and in 1977 that was a real pioneering achievement. A solid Five Stars, well earned.

Moulton Avery
National Center for Cold Water Safety

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