Take the Plunge

article-0-040d0534000005dc-601_634x353Pedro Olivia, a kayaking enthusiast is also a fucking WACKO. That’s because he decided to take his kayak over the Salto Belo waterfalls off the Rio Sacre, a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil. The falls, 127 feet high, pour 5,000 cubic feet of 70 degree water every second and yet still Olivia looked at it and thought this was a good idea.

The entire fall took 2.9 seconds, with him traveling nearly 70 mph, and in the process Olivia shattered the previous world record (108 ft) for a descent in a kayak. With a drop nearly 60 feet higher than that of Niagra Falls, you’d think it would be fraught with danger, but the Salto Belo falls were specifically chosen because they provide an extra layer of safety for kayakers.

“Although people have certainly perished upon hitting a pool of water from such heights, the team counted on the massive, gushing rivers of central Brazil to produce the softest water landings on Earth,” said Ben Stookesberry, the leader of Olivia’s team.

“With the massive amount of water mixing with 127 feet of air, the landing was much more like 15 feet of churning dry powder snow than the hard surface of a lake.”

After scouring the falls for the perfect place to go over, the 26 year old Brazilian finally found the optimal boulder-free place. As his crew filmed the whole process, Olivia went over the falls, plunged head-first into a deep pool, disappearing for a few harrowing minutes until he resurfaced, unharmed behind the waterfall. He then grabbed onto a rock formation so as to right himself before floating down the river and meeting up with his crew.

“The actual free fall felt like an eternity of acceleration and waiting for a huge impact in the pool below,” Olivia said. “As I drifted over vertical into a head down position I braced for the worst in a protective tuck position. But the massive impact never came.”

“It’s a story that I will be telling for the rest of my life,” Olivia continued. “In all I have spent the better part of 13 years developing my kayaking skills, searching the Brazilian rivers for the most spectacular rapids and falls.”

I’m both jealous and very happy that I wasn’t the one doing this. But hey, Pedro now owns a world record, so that’s neat!

Here’s the link to the video of him actually going over, check it out!

[Telegraph and Daily Mail]

6 Responses to “Take the Plunge”

  1. 1 Terrance
    March 25, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I don’t know where the height information you included here for Niagara Falls was obtained from, but it’s incorrect. Any standard reference on the subject indicates that Niagara has a height of somewhere around 165 feet, 40 feet higher than Salto Belo. Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Falls for instance.

    • March 25, 2009 at 11:19 am

      well, terrance, according to one of the articles that I used for this piece
      “Although the Niagara Falls, on the US-Canada border are higher, at 176ft, the actual drop is only 70ft because of rocks at the base.”

      so, that’s where i got the information, in this case the height of Niagra Falls that I was referring to is the DROP not the full height of the falls itself.

  2. 3 Terrance
    March 25, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Your source appears to be conflating three separate waterfalls present at Niagara into one. The vertical drop being referred to in it, is present at the American Falls on the U.S. side of the river, where the height from the brink to the top of the house sized boulders present at the base, is approximately 70 feet. The Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the river, offers a single vertical drop of somewhere around 170 feet, nearly without the presence of boulders at the bottom. Whenever “stunting” is mentioned at Niagara; people going over it in “barrels” and including Jesse Sharp’s ill fated attempt in a kayak in 1990, it’s the 170 foot Horseshoe Falls that are being referred to. The American Falls are regarded as virtually impossible to survive and to the best of my knowledge have never even been attempted.


  3. March 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    awesome, thanks terrance! It looks like both the Daily Mail, and myself have some Niagara knowledge to bone up on.

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