Jesse Coombs: first person to kayak successfully down Abiqua Falls.
Jesse Coombs became the first person to kayak successfully down Abiqua Falls in Oregon, USA.
Lucas Gilman, Jesse Coombs’ friend and extreme sports photographer captured the jaw-dropping three-second plunge on camera.
Jesse Coombs and Lucas Gilman hiked to the remote 96 feet (30 meters) waterfall armed with five cameras to film the stunt.
Before Jesse Coombs, only athlete Tim Goss had attempted to kayak down this waterfall.
But Tim Goss landed badly and dislocated both knees.
Despite the risks, 40-year-old Jesse Coombs was not put off.
Jesse Coombs positioned himself in his kayak at the summit of the near vertical waterfall and dropped into the pool below while Lucas Gilman looked on nervously.
Lucas Gilman said: “Jesse is a good friend of mine and you never want a friend to get hurt so there was a lot of pressure to make sure nothing went wrong.
“It took us two days to prepare for the shoot. We had to set up a zip line to capture the fall at the right angle and there were certain safety procedures we needed to put in place, which included positioning two kayakers in the pool below which was tricky.
“Abiqua Falls isn’t the highest waterfall but it is considered the hardest.
“The lip of Abiqua Falls is very tricky, it goes from flat to vertical very quickly. So getting the right angle to hit the water is really hard.
“If you hit the fall at the wrong angle you risk serious injury.
“There were definitely some nerves there but you just have to remember you’re there to document it and hope for the best.”
Although the jump was a success, Jesse Coombs suffered a fractured shoulder socket and a collapsed lung. And just a week later kayak world record holder Tyler Bradt broke his back in the same stunt.
Jesse Coombs said: “This waterfall comes with heavy consequences so not many people have attempted it.
“Three world class kayakers have attempted Abiqua Falls and all three of us have been injured to some degree.
“It’s not the tallest waterfall but it’s definitely considered one of the most dangerous.
“To fall 96ft takes around three seconds, so there is not much room for error.
“But knowing I’d nailed it gave me a huge feeling of elation.”
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