Survival of the fittest

Les Stroud on life after Survivorman
March 1, 2009

Survivorman Productions’ Les Stroud has officially hung his hat on three seasons of OLN and Discovery Channel’s Survivorman, where he served as star, cameraman and producer. But this doesn’t mean the end of sleeping on rocks and visiting jungles. The multitalented Stroud is moving forward with his unique brand of adventure and survival for the foreseeable future… as long as there’s no threat of heat stroke.

What’s next after Survivorman?

More adventures and more film work from those adventures; bigger and broader but yet [with] my same style [of] getting sweaty and dirty right in the middle of things.

How long do you intend to work within the survival/adventure genre on television?

I would imagine as long as it feeds my passion. I don’t see stopping it next year, that’s for sure.

What was the key to keeping a level head during those weeks shooting alone?

Who said I kept a level head? The key was remembering my mission [which] was to tell a story that was compelling, inspirational and beautiful. Day three or four was always very tough for me. [I told myself] ‘Stick it out, make that shelter, get that fire made, get the camera up on the ledge and get the next scene shot well.’

What location was your favorite to shoot in and why?

There are two answers to that question. In terms of beauty I would say it was a tie between the Arctic and the Utah Canyonlands. In terms of how it affected me as a most profound experience, I would have to say it’s a tie between two jungles: Papua New Guinea and the Amazon.

Even though you’d had rescue crews on hand just in case, you never had to use them during the show’s run. Were there any times you thought ‘Oh s*%^! I’m done for!’?

The only time I ever thought that I could be in serious jeopardy was in the Kalahari Desert episode, when I got heat stroke. I’ve been chased by a moose and a jaguar and those are all very sensational, but it was the simple heat stroke that brought me the closest to thinking I’d better pull the plug on it. I didn’t have to, but I was pretty damn close.

After each adventure, was there one thing that, more than anything else, you’d look forward to doing?

Seeing people (especially my kids), and on a very selfish level, going for a two-hour, therapeutic deep tissue massage.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.