Kayaker (Narrowly!) Escapes Drowning in Mexican Whirlpool

kayaker-whirlpoolThe buddy system worked out pretty well for Kent Bretzlaff on his recent kayaking trip along the Upper Jalacingo river in Mexico last month. The British kayaker had his GoPro strapped as he shot down the rapids trying to pick up enough speed to, ideally, blow past the dangerous whirlpool at the second drop in the river.

Now about that whirlpool…turns out it’s a rather dangerous hazard for any kayaker who’s unlucky enough to get sucked in (whirlpools do that). And that’s exactly the situation Bretzlaff found himself in for a good two minutes, during which he struggled against the river’s unmerciless pounding and goes under – with his kayak briefly upside down.

Not the best situation for a kayaker to get sucked in to – excuse the pun.

But the buddy system works. He was lucky enough to get a helping hand in the form of a rope thrown to him by a few friends on shore who saw his situation, and after a few tries pulled him out of the whirlpool and on to terra firm with little more than tummy bug from swallowing a little too much of the Jalacingo river.

And where would a kayaker in distress be without is trusty GoPro camera? Bretzlaff had one strapped to his head for a little post-carnage analysis of how best to avoid river whirlpools in the future – and for our viewing pleasure of course! – along with a helmet, rash guard and a cool head during chaos that could have saved his life.

I’m not a kayaker, so not my place to say whether he was at risk of drowning, like the folks at Epic TV claim, but it’s pretty easy to judge this situation from the comfort of an office chair. I’d say it was pretty darn serious for a few moments, but friends and a cool head prevailed. And kayaking the Upper Jalacingo River is probably best left to the pros.

Tyler Bradt Sets Record 10 Story Kayak Drop Down Palouse Falls

lucas-gliman-rafa-ortiz1Oh yeah,Tyler Bradt is somewhere near the top on the cojones list. He’s at the top of another list actually – this one set in 2009 with his record 189.5 foot drop DOWN Palouse Falls in Washington State, as reviewed here on The Adventure Journal’s top 5 kayak waterfall drops to date. Yes, there are people who do that.

Aside from the fact that he’s chatting away on his cell phone while driving in this video (Come on Tyler, show us some love!), it’s a pretty freakin’ amazing feat. Observer Ben Stookesberry calculates his free-fall lasted for 3.54 seconds, hitting the water at roughly 77 mph. Ouch. A few tense moments after he finishes too, but there he is, with a new record: the highest waterfall drop ever done in a kayak, a feat Rafael Ortiz (pictured here) tried to duplicate in 2012 but was ejected from the kayak on impact, meaning our guy Tyler retains his title with some sage advice: “It’s a matter of “Buckin’ up and huckin’ it”. Words to live by.

Kayaker Finds Zen Going Over 80 Foot Waterfall


“Man, should I do this?”

Um, yeah, that would probably be going through my head prior to going down an 80 foot waterfall in a kayak. Evidently it goes through Evan Garcia’s mind as well, in this captivating film by David Maser that chronicles a day in the life of Garcia, the 23 year old daredevil who’s made a habit of running large waterfalls in his kayak.

Your jaw will hit the ground when the video slows down just before the “stout drop” that constitutes a seriously mad waterfall. There’s another shot in the film when he goes over again and we see it from a distance and you’ll appreciate just WTF this guy just pulled off. Amazing. And hypnotic (though I supposed I’m getting wooed a little by the high def).

This isn’t the highest waterfall jump ever. But it’s way up there, and it’s a pretty sick feat.

The guy’s a searcher. I’d love to know which waterfall he drops in the video…it looks like Washington or Oregon. Metlako Falls maybe?

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Kayaker Nearly Overturned by Blue Whale

There’s something about the waters of California that makes for some of the sickest, most incredible human/marine life interactions you could think of. As in, the kind that no one would believe, unless you had the video to prove it. In this case, the human is kayaker/diver Rick Coleman. And the creature? None other than the largest animal on the planet.

Coleman encountered several blue whales off Redondo Beach California, near San Diego. As fate had it, he had his handy underwater camera with him. When he saw a fifty foot blue whale he knew he was (almost literally) onto something really, really big. And he’s got some amazing video to prove it. At one point, you can see that the whale – the blue whale being the largest creature in the history of the Earth – come up underneath him and almost over turn his puny little kayak.

To quote Keanu Reeves from The Matrix…”WHOA”.

The encounter is not without controversy. At one point, Coleman left his kayak and took a dip with baby blue, leaving his wife anxious for him to resurface. And some feel that his actions, of paddling next to the blues as they fed, borders on harassment and violates several marine interaction regulations.

You could make that argument, though considering that his kayak had no motor, unlike some really pesky whale watchers here in the Pacific Northwest, and his actions had minimal impact on the whales’ behaviour, if at all. My thoughts? I’d probably crap my pants if I saw a blue whale surface by my kayak, and then admittedly to the same thing as Coleman! Not condoning getting so close to whales, but, OMG, enough said. Just watch this amazing video!!!

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Sarah Outen: Girl-Powered Across Oceans and Continents

An inspiring look at a young British woman intent on circling the globe on her own power. That’s by kayak, row boat, bicycle and good ole’ fashioned foot power.

As The Adventure Blog reported in April, Sarah Outen, having just rowed across the Indian Ocean, set out down the Thames River and across the English Channel. From their she cycled across the vast regions of Europe and Asia. And she’s just recently achieved a major milestone. After months of cycling, she’s crossed the largest land mass on Earth and reached Japan.

That would wipe most of us out, and Outen is doing some mild cycling in Japan and biding her time til Spring. At that time, she’ll row across the North Pacific to Vancouver (I’ll look out for you Sarah!), where she’ll once again trade her boat for a bike and cycle across Canada and the United States. From the East coast she’ll, like…duh!…row across the Atlantic, back up the Thames and back to her starting point. London to London, by way of Sarah Outen.

Sarah’s got a comprehensive website that chronicles her journeys and adventures across this planet we call Earth. I was particularly moved by some of her images, and the story of the captive bears. A heart-breaker, for sure, and a story (among many) that needs to be told.

Anyway, Sarah Outen, girl-powered across the planet, from London to London. Sarah, you’re an inspiration to us all. You’re half-way there. Stay the course.

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Kayak World Record Jump at Metlako Falls

Forget beer and UFC. Real men buy kayaks. Like Sam Freihofer and Tod Wells, who just took a leap of faith over Metlako Falls, in Eagle Creek, Oregon. That’s an 82 foot plunge, by the way, and beats the former record for a tandem kayak jump by 12 feet.

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Surf Kayaking in Holy Places

Gosh I love kayaks.  Neat video here of a kayaker catching some nice waves at Hertzelia Beach in Israel.  Nice waves too.  I’m thinking it’s not impossible Jesus and his crew caught a few tubes back in the day.  I’m sure surfing and/or kayaks are in the Good Book – maybe somewhere in the back.

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One Kayak + Skydiver Feeling Stupid = Good Times!

Some things just go together.  Olive oil and garlic, Rocky and Bullwinkle.  And, um, skydiving and kayaks.  You’re thinking, What has this guy been smoking?  The truth is, I spend way too much time surfing YouTube, and yes, I do need to get out more.  But this video is just epic.  I wonder if it would work with a sailboat.