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Paddling the Margins

Alaska to Seattle - a paddling odyssey

A sea kayaking expedition and film making project through the wild waterways of the Pacific Northwest in search of lessons in sustainable living



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What is the Paddling the Margins Project?

Paddling the Margins is a film making project and Kayak expedition to investigate the experiences of marginal groups, living at the edge of North American society and geography, under the threat of climate change and habitat destruction.

This journey and film will shed light on how the various groups that live and work on this coast have learnt to coexist with their natural environment and how the challenging trade-offs of economic development, environmental stewardship and the the protection of culture and heritage are being managed.

The approach of this project will be to question and reflect on the complexities of the challenges the region faces, giving a plaform to the communities and people of this coastline to speak about their worries, hopes and challenges. Paddling the Margins aims to add nuance and reflection to the sustainability conversation, elevating local voices and teasing out useful lesson's for a global audience. 

Interest in sustainable living and alternative relationships with nature has increased as anxiety over climate change and habitat destruction has grown. Young people have repeatedly vocalised, through school strikes, marches and at that ballot box, that the climate and our relationship with nature are their principal concerns, both politically and economically.

By meeting and talking with people who have coexisted with a much harsher environment than our own and who often face the duel challenges of climate change and economic isolation, Paddling the Margins will contribute a forward looking narrative on sustainability.

Follow the Paddling the Margins project here to keep up with the expedition as it progresses from planning to paddling!


What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Inversnaid | Gerard Manley Hopkins

Meet the Paddling the Margins Team


Jack Hampton

Project Leader

Jack is the reason for the Paddling the Margins project and has been developing the concept for last three years during which he has built up the network of  Environmentalists, First Nations representatives, Paddlers and members of the off-grid community across the pacific north west who will be the backbone of the documentary film. Jack is a skilled and qualified Advanced Sea Kayak Leader with experience of similar self-supporting expeditions in Scandinavia and the South West of the UK and will be the only member of the team to complete the entire journey, paddling solo for hundreds of miles.


James Aylward

Expedition Medical Planner

James is a practicing doctor based in South London and a qualified expedition medical planner. He will be carrying out the medical risk assessments for the team and ensuring that Jack and his companions are correctly supplied and equipped. James is also a keen outdoorsman and experienced ski-mountaineer and will be completing the Alaskan section of the journey with Jack.


Josh Branch

Geological Advisor and Team Member

Josh and Jack have been friends since the first year of University. Until recently their relationship has consisted of Josh regularly housing Jack between one of his various and short-lived attempts to avoid London rental prices. Now its time for Jack to give a little back as Josh joins him for the second leg of the Paddling the Margins project in Southern Alaska. Josh will be contributing his extensive knowledge of the regions geology - check out his blog post Geology with Josh


Immie Barnett

Fundraising Advisor and Team Member

Immie is a Researcher for a national charity. Like Jack she grew up by the coast on Cornwall’s Lizard, and her life has been significantly shaped by the sea from open water swimming to volunteering with British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Having studied social and environmental geography at the University of Oxford, she have a keen interest in the interactions between people and their environments, and nowhere is this more apparent that at the margins of society, and the margins of land and sea. After two years working in the charity sector, her desire to continue learning led her to complete a part-time Masters of Research in Global Development with Queen Mary, University of London, and Paddling the Margins provides another amazing opportunity to continue her quest for knowledge and experience.

Immie's expericence as a former professional fundraiser, and her academic expertise in the geography of development are key to the project.


Nick Hooper

Team Member

Nick, studied Classics at Oxford University and now works as a Lawyer with Allen and Overy. He met Jack and Josh through hockey at university, and has continued to play with them both at Tulse Hill and Dulwich Hockey Club. Jack’s expedition offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore a remote area of the world by a mode of transport uniquely suited to the landscape. His main motivator for joining Jack is the promise of breath-taking scenery and wildlife: unimaginable as he sits at his desk in urban London. He says:

"Being a part of Jack’s journey to explore how local communities along the Canadian western seaboard have adapted, and continue to adapt, to the ever-changing climate will be instructive and fascinating for me and for us all."


Ben Bishop

Team Member

Ben is a kayaker who met Jack on a sea kayaking course in Wales. Originally from the UK, Ben is now working in the Pacific Northwest as a kayaking teacher and is very excited to learn more about the untouched coastline of his new home and the people who live and work along it.

Support Us

The purpose of Paddling the Margins is to bring a new and nuanced narrative on the role of culture change to the environmental debate by recording the perspectives and capturing the knowledge of the coastal communities of the Pacific Northwest.

"I have been particularly awed by the culture of reusing and repairing among the off-grid community, nothing is beyond repair... I am coming to understand that realising the "reduce, reuse, recycle" moto in a meaningful way is really dependent on the skills these people have and their attitude of isolated independence... there is a lot we can learn here!"  Jack Hampton | via satellite phone near Bella Bella


As first time film makers we are not backed by a production company and are mainly self-funding the film production. As such to achieve the aim of sharing an impactful story on Jack and his teams journey through the waters and communities of this incredible region we need your support!

We ask for you to donate what you can to realise this film and further Paddling the Margins projects - we have the footage, we have the narrative we just need the funds. All funds donated will be used exclusively for the production and distribution of Paddling the Margins - if you have further questions please reach out to Jack

Thank you for your support

What was our route?

explore the teams route

Please use our MapShare site to track the teams exact route.

Principal Partners

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Reed Chillcheater, one of our two principal kit suppliers. Reed Chillcheater have been key supporters of the Paddling the Margins project since the beginning and are providing us with the crucial custom drysuits, spray decks, sea socks and paddles we need to complete the trip safely! It is fantastic to be able to work with a local North Devon brand who are at the top of their game and so keen on supporting young adventurers. Thank you Reed Chillcheater!

Check out the blog about our partnership here


Nautiraid are boat builders and master craftsman. Their folding wooden framed boats, built using Ash and Birch from the Alps combine the performance, versatility and beauty. This summer the Paddling the Margins team will be putting Nautiraid's product through its paces, attempting an expedition first of paddling the whole Canadian west coast unsupported in skin-on-frame kayaks. Nautiraid have worked hard with our team to adapt their designs to meet the challenges of a 3 month self-supporting expedition


Folding wooden kayaks?

What are folding wooden skin-on-frame kayaks? In this interview, Jack discusses their strengths and weaknesses along with why folding boat manufacturer Nautiraid decided to join the Paddling the Margins project, with the companies Président and CEO, Olivier Le Moigne