If you thought Chuck Norris was bad, you haven’t met Tyler Bradt. Just 27 years old, Tyler has been kayaking rapids since the age of 12 (but don’t worry, he was already kayaking at age 6…they start ‘em young in Montana). By the tender age of 15 he was invited to kayak the rapids in Norway, and had his first near-death experience when his kayak flipped and pinned against a rock. Despite calling this his “closest experience yet”, he still holds the record for most death-defying, crazy, and all around scary-as-hell 186ft drop while kayaking Palouse Falls in Washington. Says the extreme kayaker of the experience, “There was a stillness, then an acceleration, speed, and impact unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.” (You don't say??) The previous record was held by someone just as justifiably insane, Pedro Oliva, who ran the 127 ft Salto Belo in Brazil.
Standing over 17ft taller than Niagra Falls, Bradt’s drop earned him world recognition and a spot in the May 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated (not the swimsuit issue, sorry dude). The footage of his descent was later used in his collaborative film effort with friend Rush Sturges (pro-kayaker, play rapper, and all around nice guy Facebook.com/TheAdrenalineRush), “Dream Result”.
(We don’t recommend following the link on the YouTube page unless you can read Japanese…probably better to just rent it on iTunes or Amazon, or purchasing here : River-Roots.com)
Rapid, death-defying, waterfall kayaking isn’t all fun and games and angry mothers – it can be quite dangerous (shocked..we know.) In March of 2011, Bradt was visiting Oregon with friends and attempted to jump the 95ft (that’s nothing right?) Abiqua Falls. Misjudging the entry, he took the water too flat and broke the L1 vertebrae in his back, leading to a 4 hour surgery, 4 screws, and a super fun sounding bone graft to replace the crushed bone. Most importantly, Bradt wasn’t cleared to kayak for more than 3 months post surgery. He’s kept busy since getting back on the water though, and in January of 2012 started a 258 mile, 1 month long kayak trip into the Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico, along with friends Sarah McNair-Landry and Erik Boomer. Sponsors for the trip included KAVO, TRIAK, NRS, Adventure Technology, La Paz, and VOKE.
Want to get in touch with our Kayaking Ninja? Reach out on his Facebook fan page here and let him know we sent you!
What is the craziest adventure you’ve had while kayaking? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook. Personally, we plan on sticking to fishing. Or cave exploring. Or watching really, REALLY ridiculously bad summer reality television on Fox. Waterfall plunging is best left to the experts.