The Adrenalist

Powered By Degree Men

First blind kayaker conquers devastating Grand Canyon rapids



Ever since the loss of his eyesight, Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, has been doing the impossible with his kayak.

Bedwell lost his eyesight 16 years ago, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking the waves in his kayak by storm. On Aug. 21, Bedwell completed a 226-mile kayaking trip down the full length of the Grand Canyon. He navigated the rapids with help from three military veterans who followed him from behind, shouting directional commands. The journey took 16 days, and included massive Class V rapids, expert-level waves where a wrong move could result in injury or even death.

“I hope that other disabled persons will be able to share this feeling with me one day and achieve their dreams as well,” Bedwell said upon becoming the first completely blind person to solo kayak the Grand Canyon.

For more on Bedwell, check out Team River Runner, a DC-based non-profit that empowers wounded military personnel by introducing them to paddling sports.

Cover Photo Credit: Grand Canyon National Park /

Add Your Voice To The Conversation: