Break Out the Popcorn: HBO/TGR “Edge of the Earth” Series Debuts

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Get ready to be on the edge of your seat for “Edge of the Earth,” a new HBO and Teton Gravity Research documentary that brings a first descent of Ecuador’s notoriously steep Rio Chalupas to a home theater near you.

The documentary “Edge of the Earth” is broken down into four parts, with each one featuring athletes doing “never-before-accomplished missions,” according to information released by HBO. While many might consider the age of exploration and pioneering past their prime, whitewater kayaking is still new enough that there are several “final frontiers” where first descents are still possible. But more often than not, people haven’t paddled these rivers because of the dangers they pose and their remote locations. One of those is the Chalupas River.

Aside from kayaking, the other sections will be about skiing, climbing and surfing. The documentary is directed by Steven and Todd Jones and it will air one section at a time starting on July 12.

The whitewater section will follow paddlers Ben Stookesberry, Nouria Newman, and Erik Boomer through the Chalupas River. HBO’s description describes the river as “potentially impassable,” begging the question: did the paddlers successfully complete the run?

Stookesbury spoke with Paddling Life last year after he returned home from the trip. During their expedition, Stookesbury accidentally injured his left leg by cutting himself with a machete.

For those with an HBO MAX account, watching the documentary will be as easy as logging in on July 12. But for those, like myself, who don’t have one, feel free to share your family’s login in the comments section.

Episodes List & Air Dates

Episode I: “Into the Void”

Debuts: Tuesday, July 12

A human-powered ski and snowboard expedition in the icy wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Episode II: “Raging Torrent”

Debuts: Tuesday, July 19

A first descent attempt of the potentially impassable Chalupas River in the vast jungle of the Llanganates National Park in Ecuador.

Episode III: “Reaching for the Sky”

Debuts: Tuesday, July 26

An attempt to accomplish the first individual free climb ascent of a near-impossible free route on Pik Slesova in Kyrgyzstan.

Episode IV: “The Great Unknown”

Debuts: Tuesday, August 2

A pursuit of never-before-ridden big waves along the remote West Coast of South Africa.

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