See two kayakers take on Iceland’s big waterfalls

Feel the drop with extreme kayakers Ben Brown and Anton Immler on a tour of Icelandic waterfalls.
By Josh Sampiero

If you’re a hardcore kayaker, Iceland is no secret. After all, it has more waterfalls than most places, numbering somewhere in the thousands, with some of them yet to be discovered. Unlike, say, New Zealand, or North America, most of them aren’t tucked away into deep canyons and gorges. They’re right out in the open, where anyone can run them – and everyone can watch. That’s why Ben Brown and Anton Immler decided it was the perfect spot for a road trip. Watch a video from the road trip below.

Video: kayaking the waterfalls of Iceland

Despite the ridiculous number of waterfalls in Iceland, the duo hit only about a dozen – but Brown says they ran them up to 20 times apiece. “It’s the best bang for your buck waterfall spot in the world,” says Brown. “You roll up to one waterfall, run it as much as you want, then hop in the truck and head to the next.”

Spot your landing

You gotta keep the nose pointed down
Anton drops into a big cold one © Ben Brown

And what about the icy temperatures? After all, it is Iceland. “You get used to it,” says Brown. “Water can only get so cold before it starts to freeze!” Sounds cold enough to us, but it didn’t keep Brown and Immler off of waterfalls like Aldeyjarfoss, Thjofafoss, and Godafoss, exploring incredible places like Jökulsárlón lake at the foot of the Vatnajökull Glacier.

Kayaking an ice cave 

That's a cold place to kayak
Kayaking in a cave – that's cool! © Ben Brown

The most epic? Definitely Aldeyjarfoss, known among boaters for once being the highest waterfall run in the world, with a 20m drop. And the most dangerous? Well, Thjofafoss is known as the ‘Drowning Drop’, thanks to a massive beating suffered by boater Shaun Baker years ago.

Dropping a line? 

The GoPro sees all
Ben gets ready to huck it © Ben Brown

But above all, the crowning jewel of Iceland’s waterfall landscape is the incredible Godafoss, which draws a crowd any time of day. “You drop there and people are gonna be watching,” says Brown. It’s probably a better show how the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’ got it’s name – apparently this is where early Christians tossed Pagan icons into the water. We have to say: the kayakers are much more exciting.

The bird's-eye view

Big waterfalls make any paddler feel small
A drop among many drops © Ben Brown

Of course, Ben Brown is not done with Iceland yet – he says there are still more watefalls to be found; many that have never been run in a kayak. Will he be back? Definitely.

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