The River Roots Story

Words by Capo Rettig

River Roots is the creation of professional whitewater kayaker and filmmaker Rush Sturges.

Rush grew up in rural Northern California making amateur kayak and snowboard videos during High School. This was a pivotal point in Rush’s life, which awakened in him a channel for creative expression that he was able to mix with his greatest passion: Rivers.

After graduating from World Class Academy (a high school for the world’s top junior kayakers) Rush attended Film School in Vancouver British Columbia. After one year at the film school and at age 19, Rush hit the whitewater circuit as a full time athlete and filmmaker. Rush spent 5 years making kayaking movies under the alias Young Gun Productions along side old friends Brooks Baldwin and Marlow long. In 2009, Rush split off to start his own company River Roots.

At the time, Rush’s High School friend Matt Baker was working for Standard Snowboard Films, but gave up his job when Rush asked him to be a full time Camera Operator for River Roots. In the early years, it wasn’t always easy for the duo, relying on their passion for the job in order to help them pay the bills.

“When we moved to the Northwest Matt was living on the couch and we were mostly doing projects within the whitewater industry with friends and contacts. Breaking even is what we did for a long time.”

In 2012 Rush landed a major production with Red Bull Media House Directing the life story of Rafa Ortiz and his desire to kayak Niagara Falls. “I’d already produced 7 Kayak movies at the time, but this project was on a much different scale. Out of it we were able to purchase newer equipment and step up our game.”

During the production of Chasing Niagara, a major Media and Events Agency called “Altius” based out of Mexico City caught wind of River Roots work, primarily through River Roots kayak movies. Altius Producer Ernesto Rivas encouraged Rush to put in a bid to produce a Tourism series called “Live It To Believe It.” The goal of the project was to create content highlighting the best tourist locations of Mexico, through the imagery of extreme sports. River Roots earned the bid, and has been producing Action Sports Tourism videos for Mexico since 2013.

In 2016 River Roots is launching “Chasing Niagara” which has been in production since 2012. The movie is a departure from River Roots “shred flicks” that have inspired audiences within the whitewater community. Chasing Niagara will appeal to a much broader audience inviting each viewer into the world of extreme whitewater kayaking. See the Teaser here.

Read Rush’s full story here as told by Tyler Williams at Canoe and Kayak magazine:

Rush Sturges

Founder // Filmer // Professional Athlete

Check Out My Accomplishments as a Pro Athlete

The Team

The most important part of each project is assembling a team that can provide the full range of professional skills necessary to create a truly lasting finished product. River Roots works with industry professionals with years of experience working on a variety of projects in settings all over the world. Each individual on the River Roots team brings a special set of skills that allow us to take on any project.

Matt Baker // Jared Meehan // Skip Armstrong // Ben Sturgulewski // Thatcher Bean // Page Stephsenson // Erik Boomer // Eric Parker // Tait Trautman

Services We Provide

At River Roots we provide our clients with all the resources needed to complete their video projects from start to finish. This includes pre-production and visualization, filming and execution of project, and post-production services.

Cameras & Equipment

Choosing the right equipment for your project is one of the most important parts of creating a lasting and professional product. River Roots will provide whatever cameras and equipment are most appropriate for our client’s needs. We film with everything from Red Dragons to Go Pros and GSS/Cineflex systems.

Aerial & Drone Filming

Aerial perspectives are exciting, refreshing and help tell the complete story. We encourage our clients to consider this option as it provides greater visual impact and creates a higher production value for the final product. We offer a variety of aerial options and solutions in order to capture all angles.

Video Production

From providing support developing ideas and conceptualizing projects all the way to product completion, River Roots brings the best equipment, software, and industry-proven workflows to every project in order to produce cutting edge content for our clients. We specialize in providing a complete range of services from start to finish. The difference between a good project and a great project often comes down to post-production details. River Roots offers the professional knowledge and experience to make your project great.