Directed by Richard Van Kleeck with original music by Sean Schafer Hennessy, ‘Gurgle: Pulling Water’ is an hour-long documentary that charts the rise, appeal and fascination with the sport of rowing. Featuring both veterans of the sport and its admirers, the documentary explores every facet of the sport in great detail, ultimately becoming a fascinating peek into the uncharted and often complicated world of rowing.


The greatest strength of the documentary lies in how it correlates the struggles of the ancient empires for speedy transport over water to the current sport that constitutes rowing. Plotting the journey of the sport from the Vikings and the Romans, the documentary wastes no time in summarising how this intensely competitive sport has transformed from a niche to one of the most famous sports played around the globe. Another great facet of the documentary is how inspiring it is. It is fascinating to see both veterans and athletes talk about the sport and how rowing provides each individual a unique experience in regards to judging his or her strengths and limitations. In spite of its brutal and grunt-like nature, what is mindblowing to discover is that there is an exact science to it all and winning a rowing competition takes more than muscle, grit and strength. In addition, there is not a single dull moment throughout the documentary’s entire hour-long runtime. The narrative pacing, visuals and interviews ensure that rabid fans of the sports are as much entertained as those with only a passing interest in rowing. Richard Van Kleeck has made a fantastic love letter to the sport, one that soars above and beyond into the clouds.


The documentary will ultimately prove to be a potent starting block for all those looking to either understand this sport in great detail or to participate in it themselves. There is something in here for everyone; potential players will be inspired by the nuances of the competition depicted while history buffs will have a fantastic time deciphering all the cool little details that make this sport unique.


‘Gurgle: Pulling Water’ is hopeful, inspirational and above all, a terrific love letter to the sport of rowing. The film does well to establish what makes the sport tick and the subtle nuances that propel the athletes to commit wholly to this sport. Providing both a busload of technical knowledge as well as first-hand experience from some of the greatest names in the sport, ‘Gurgle: Pulling Water’ is a must-watch documentary for the fans of rowing.