Famed kayakers Rafa Ortiz, Evan Garcia, and Rush Sturges recently became the first people to paddle down the rushing waters of Rio Santo Domingo’s waterfalls in one go. According to GrindTV, the feat involved a 2,200-foot-per-mile descent with five big-drop waterfalls. Nestled in the mountains of southern Mexico and Guatemala, Santo Domingo is currently the steepest navigable whitewater section in the world. With drops measuring anywhere from 20 to 90 feet, the descent was as dangerous as it sounds.
“If you break your paddle or blow your deck, you have about five seconds to get your act together before you’re swept over the next 70 feet,” Garcia told sponsor Red Bull.
For added measure, a large team of safety and emergency personnel waited at the bottom of the falls.
While individual teams previously braved each waterfall separately, Santo Domingo’s five drops have never been successfully traversed in one continuous attempt until now. Filming of the event required a specially-designed Cineflex gyro system that was installed on a helicopter. While photos are now readily available, Red Bull is planning to release videos of the stunt in upcoming weeks.
The record descent was made safely, and nobody was more ecstatic than the kayakers.
“Since the first time I stood in front of the Santo, I’ve dreamt of paddling each one of its drops in a single run,” said Ortiz. “We couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces when we arrived at the bottom and looked back!”
Images copyright Marcos Ferro/Red Bull Content Pool