Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) October 01, 2009 -- Free falling over a giant waterfall may not be everyone's idea of fun, but that is just what extreme kayaker, Tyler Bradt did.
The 22 year-old American from Montana and extreme kayaker, Tyler Bradt, knew it was too late to change his mind, as he sat on the lip of a 186 foot drop.
In under four seconds he was celebrating the world record for kayak free-falls. As Bradt plummeted he reached speeds of 100 mph over Palouse Falls in eastern Washington.
At the base of the torrent, he disappeared under the water to emerge, six seconds later, still in his fibre glass kayak, with a broken paddle and a sprained wrist. Pedro Olivia set the previous record only weeks before, when he plunged 127 feet over the Salto Bello falls in Brazil.
Bradt said "There was a stillness, followed by an acceleration, speed and impact unlike anything Iâve ever felt before. I wasn't sure if I was hurt or not. My body was just in shock".
His previous best record was 107 feet down Alexandra Falls, in Canadaâs Northwest Territories. He had prepared for the world record by dropping over 80 foot waterfalls in Oregon.
Bradt had visited Palouse Falls on numerous occasions, in order to make sure it was humanly possible to survive the descent. "There's a smooth green tongue of water that carries about a third of the way down the falls. That was my route". A rescue team waited for Bradt at the base of the falls.
Bradt said he wanted to attempt the plunge over the falls, not to set a world record, but to show what humans are capable of achieving."I wanted to do it because I guess I can. It was a calculated risk, no doubt dangerous, but also one of the most amazing days of my life".
As a final piece of advice Bradt said, "The only limits that exist are the ones you create, no matter what you are doing".
A little over a decade ago, a 50 or 60 foot waterfall was thought to be the biggest drop a kayaker could survive.
Bradt is currently searching out waterfalls in Norway and Iceland. So far no one has died kayaking massive waterfalls, though deaths have and near-drownings have been recorded on smaller falls. The most common injury for extreme kayakers, is a broken nose.
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