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5 Extreme Waterfall Kayaking Videos



Kayaking is one of the most quietly radical sports in the universe. The whole activity is predicated on a person getting in a small vessel and putting themselves at the mercy of the waves and the current. In the case of river kayaking, that current can get even more extreme when it involves rocks and rapids and it leads to a waterfall. Some of the best kayaking happens going over those mighty structures. Check out 5 of the most extreme waterfall kayaking videos below.

Highest Waterfall

This particular waterfall was, at the time, the biggest ever kayaked; at 189 feet, that’s nearly a 20-story skyscraper. As you can see, the kayaker is forced to enter the beast and then brace for impact – with a waterfall like this, there’s little more you can do than to make sure you’re hyperaware of both your kayak and your body’s relationship to direction. The key is, when you hit the water, to be sure that you can get yourself facing upright as quickly as possible so as not to get lost in the churn and confusion of the waterfall hitting the river. Once solidly upright, it’s just a matter of navigating yourself out and back into the open water.

Grinding Down

Why subject yourself to the violence and confusion of a waterfall if you can get around it, right? That’s what the kayaker does here: instead of taking the brutal, direct route, he manages to skate his kayak down a log overhanging the waterfall in a move that very closely resembles how skateboarders and snowboarders grind down the railings of staircases. In many ways, this is actually more difficult than going straight into the waterfall: the balance and coordination required to take the log without flipping over and falling is considerable, and both the initiation and the dismount require a strength that many kayakers probably do not have. That being said, it certainly looks like the ideal way to go down this waterfall, if you had to choose.

Intense Waterfall

This video shows the intensity inherent in kayaking, the result of subjecting yourself to one of the strongest and hardest to control forces in nature. Navigating these waterfalls, you can see the ultimate importance of balance and negotiation: the balance is between keeping yourself upright and positioning your kayak in a part of the river that’s far from the banks and away from any rocks or similar obstacle. Even when it looks as if the kayaker has lost control, they are simply allowing the mighty river to guide their course. As you can see, even the best kayakers sometimes flip, which is just part of the game: if you flip, you turn your boat back over and go back at it.

Nighttime Waterfall

If waterfalls aren’t disorienting enough for you, and you want another added layer of obfuscation and confusion added to the fact that you’re changing altitude in a tiny craft while being assaulted by torrential amounts of water and waves, then perhaps you should try waterfall kayaking at night. In this video, that’s exactly what one kayaker does, navigating a series of waterfalls and rapids in almost complete darkness, with nothing but a light attached to his kayak. Kayaking in the dark makes what was already an incredibly intuitive and skill-dependent operation even more so: you really have to be able to feel the water, and the movement of your kayak, when you can’t really see where you’re going.

A Waterfall With A Partner

Kayaking with a partner may sound like it could help you navigate extreme circumstances, but this is far from true. If you doubt us, hop in a tandem kayak and try your luck at getting that down a waterfall while keeping you and your copilot alive. Tandem kayaks are more difficult to navigate than solo kayaks in just about every way – they’re bulkier, heavier, and harder to maneuver – and the challenge of recovering one at the bottom of a waterfall requires not only tremendous strength and skill on the part of each kayaker; it also means that both must have a complex and intuitive understanding of how to work together.

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