Magnificently filmed by Lucas Gilman, the following video is an eye-opener to us all as to how much work and planning goes into filming a stunt like this:
There are only a handful of kayakers in the world who tackle waterfalls above 100ft. Tyler Bradt is one of them. He currently holds the world record with a 186ft (56.7m) kayak over Palouse Falls in Washington State:
The 22-year-old professional paddler had set a record in the unofficial realm of waterfall bagging: he’d survived the highest known waterfall descent unscathed in a kayak. The only casualty was his paddle. He’d also broken the existing world record waterfall drop of 127 ft (34m) held by Swiss Felix Lammler since 2007. He beat it by an incredible 59 ft (18m).
Bradt has been kayaking since he was 6-years old and has been semi-professional since 15. He knows the Palouse Falls well and has been continually running harder stuff, eventually setting a record in 2007 with a drop of 107 ft in Canada.
Dropping off the highest section of the Palouse Falls was a carefully calculated event right up until the last moment when he carefully scouted the lip of the falls from the rim. “It’s critical to have a green tongue of water you can use as a launching pad to dial in the angle you can control on the way down,” he said. “As I looked left, the river was cascading over rocks. I had to go right. But the lip was a lot more complicated than I expected.” Rocks and waves were in the way and the only line was about as wide as his kayak.
“The worst-case scenario is landing flat on the bottom of your boat and breaking your back,” he said, “But I was comfortable. The only thing I really couldn’t work out in advance was how the wind might affect me on the descent.”
And the rush of adrenaline, emotion and victory was evident from his staccato-like sentences to The Spokesman- Review later:
“I’ve never had such a feeling of acceleration as the water sling-shotted me down the lip.”
“A wild freefall sensation … falling, falling, thinking I was going to hit, and then still falling.”
Continuing world record attempts in a kayak are the two-man kayak team, Sam Freihofer and Todd Wells, who successfully dropped over the 82 ft Metlkao Falls on Oregon’s Eagle Creek. Although this is the tallest drop by a two-man team it does not break the standing record of 70ft because both men did not remain in the kayak through the entire time.
The standing record is held by Anton Immler and Steve Fisher:
Not to be outdone, and with one other class of small craft unchallenged, Anton Immler, a fan of Red Bull and Vodka, entered the fray in his beloved dingy. This is a craft that he has gone from top to bottom of the Nile in!
Please note that it does specify at the end of the video that he is not sponsored by either the brand of vodka nor Red Bull!