Premiering on International Women’s Day, NRS debuts its newest film, Chicas al Agua, paying homage to many of the young women in Futaleufú, Chile, most of whom didn’t know how to swim, let alone kayak. This changes all of that.
Despite growing up next to one of the world’s most famous rivers, many of the young women in Futaleufú never learned how to swim. Deep in Patagonia, where gauchos still ride horses down dirt roads, an undertone of machismo lingers. Kayaking, like any “rough” sport associated with adrenaline and risk, hasn’t really been an option. By foreigners and men, sure, but teenage Chilenas? Almost never.
Until now….with Chicas al Agua, a BoonDocs film, giving local young women the chance to challenge tradition, face their fears and discover their own potential through kayaking. A completely free program, led by an all-female instructor team, Chicas al Agua teaches the young women of Futaleufú to kayak and to care for the river. Instead of being told, “you can’t” or “you’re not strong enough,” the girls are given the opportunity to find out what they are capable of themselves.
In Southern Chile, the clear waters of the Futaleufú and Espolón rivers carve through smoke-colored stone, their rapids known worldwide as some of the best. Yet, while kayakers travel across the globe to visit the Futa, local life in Patagonia moves slower. Gauchos still ride horses on dirt roads flanked by mountains and an undertone of machismo lingers. Knowing the intrinsic value and opportunities kayaking can bring to young women, a small group of female paddlers set out to create change. Chicas al Agua goes beyond teaching teenage Chilenas how to kayak. It bolsters confidence and builds a community of support while simultaneously creating a new generation of river stewards. This is the story of Chicas al Agua. #InternationalWomensDay
What the Instructors and Students Say
“We are in this sport that truly makes you get out there and face your fears, to overcome your fears and become more confident in yourself.” –Catalina
“I thought at the beginning I was going to drown. I’m serious.” –Isabella, Student
“When one leaves their comfort zone that is when we realize for the first time our potential… we gain confidence by leaving this comfortable space where everything is always the same and leaving that space challenges us to see what we are capable of.” –Nancy, instructor
“People look and think that you need to have a lot of strength, that kayaks are heavy, and you have to carry it on your shoulder, and if you’re a female, they’re like, ‘How you can you do that?” It’s like um, no, we can do that.” —Vanti, student
“Besides teaching technique and providing support, we also have an environmental education program and it’s fundamental because if you love something you are going to protect.” –Vanessa
“… In our culture, the Chilean culture, we still have a little bit of machismo and women dedicate themselves to other types of activities. Not a ‘rough’ activity that requires force and strength, [or associated] with adrenaline and risk.” –Vanessa, Instructor
“I don’t have fear anymore. I have respect.” -Isabella, Student
“These girls are from Futaleufú, like me. And for them to see the sport of kayaking, not as something so unattainable that only foreigners can do, but something that a person from Futaleufú, who was born here and raised here, who studies in this school can go from Futaleufú to anywhere in the world with this activity.”—Vanessa, Chicas al Agua instructor
“The truth is, I had never thought about kayaking. Like, never.”—Vanti, student
Link to Trailer: https://youtu.be/ZehvO8suy0o
Link to YouTube: https://youtu.be/IljKdowHzvA