Next Level Adventure - Extreme Kayaking
When you think about kayaking, what kind of activities come to mind? Probably a fun cruise around the lake, maybe fishing or floating down the river with a cooler and some friends? What about plummeting from waterfalls or kayaking across oceans? We're unbiased when it comes to kayaking - we love it all - but extreme kayaking is another level of adventure!
Kayaking Across The Ocean
How? Just, how? We still can't wrap our minds around the fact that Aleksander Doba crossed the ocean on his kayak, not once, but three times! In 2010, 2013 and 2017, Doba kayaked across the Atlantic logging the two longest open-water kayak voyages ever. Doba wasn't some young buck either; he made his first crossing - a 3,300+ mile journey - in less than 100 days, at age 65. Doba's second journey nearly doubled his first. Spanning from Portugal to Florida, he kayaked across the Atlantic in just over six months, arriving in New Smyrna Beach in April. His final time crossing the Atlantic, Doba traveled between New Jersey to the coast of France at 70 years old.
There are many who have crossed oceans on kayak-like vessels, but Doba made both treks on a man-powered sea kayak. This Polish man was an adventurer to the core, dying at age 74 while summiting Mount Kilimanjaro.
Picture this: You're standing on the roof of a 14-story building and someone tells you you'll survive if you jump off. Of course, there's no guarantee you won't be injured or have a near-death experience. Would you do it? No one in their right mind would do something like this...unless the 14-story building is actually a 189-foot waterfall and your an extreme kayaker. In 2009, extreme kayaker Tyler Bradt set a world record when he kayaked over Palouse Falls in Washington - a 189-foot drop. Only a couple others have attempted the jump since.
The second tallest fall tackled by an extreme kayaker is the 134-foot Salto del Maule waterfall in Chile. In February of 2020, Redbull athlete Dane Jackson became the first ever to kayak over Salto del Maule. He told his sponsor, "It's the most glorious feeling coming over that blind horizon and then staring down the beast. Maule was the greatest I've ever experienced."Long-Distance Kayaking
First let's make a distinction; crossing the ocean on a kayak is certainly long-distance kayaking, but what we're talking about, here, is something more palatable. Nevertheless, long-distance kayaking can be a lot like life-threatening, survivalist-style kayaking. When you add up every detail of planning and preparation for miles and miles of paddling in different types of water, things can get pretty intense.
For obvious reasons, rivers tend to be the most common trail for long-distance trips, but for extreme kayakers, the river you choose makes a world of difference. For example, Aleksander Doba - ya know, the man who crossed the Atlantic by kayak - had to quit his Amazon River journey after being robbed multiple times. Another famously beautiful, yet dangerous, long-distance kayaking destination is Everglades National Park. Notorious for diverse nature, kayakers can cruise alongside gators and manatees, but if unprepared, the mangroves are like a maze!
If you're not quite on Doba or Jackson's level, we feel you! It takes years of dedication and training to accomplish what they have. Still, it's good to keep pushing your own limits. Maybe it's trying kayaking for the first time, or graduating from still waters to rapids. Either way, kayaking is one of our favorite activities on the water, and we never leave shore without our FLPSDE Dual Chamber Water Bottles to keep us hydrated and fueled for the adventure. [Tip: a dry bag is a good idea!]