The National Paddling Film Festival is an awesome annual fundraiser event, centered on a weekend of film watching, socializing, and kayaking. This year, the event was held at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort Kentucky.
The fun weekend has multiple parts. In addition to film watching, it included a photo and video contest, a chili cook-off, multiple raffles from various sponsors, a silent auction, and a group paddle on Elkhorn Creek that was a “not-race”.
The fundraiser portion of the event supports American Whitewater and river conservation. All of the tickets, as well as donations and sponsors, go towards the cause. Not including this year, the festival has raised over $172,000 since it started in 1981!


As this is a full weekend event, in addition to the plentiful films, there are also two keynote speakers, one for Friday and one for Saturday evenings. This year, I was honored to be invited as one of the speakers.
For my talk, I decided to speak on the topic of time management and how I managed to continue kayaking with such frequency while in my medical school and residency training. This is probably the question I get asked more than any other regarding my paddling. I also spoke of my husband Daniel and my international kayaking travels and how we were able to both balance these trips time and money wise while I was in school.


The overall message of my talk was that anything is possible and as long as you have the passion to kayak and travel, you can continue to build your sport while pursuing other aspects of your life. During medical school and residency training, Daniel and I went on 10 international kayaking trips, I paddled an average of 70 to 100 days per year, and in medical school I averaged about 30 personal first descents per year with that number increasing to an average of 50 per year in residency (we moved to a different region of the country). This past year, I paddled 74 personal first descents.
Overall, the National Paddling Film Festival is a fantastic event and I had an amazing weekend. Daniel and I got to paddle a new stretch of river and made tons of new friends. I plan to make it back in future years and hope to see you all there! ~Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)