Watch the Best Kayak Drops From 'Chasing Niagara'

Hair-raising highlights of Rafa Ortiz and friends hucking themselves into oblivion.
By Dom Granger

During preparation for his attempt to drop down Niagara Falls, Mexican kayaker Rafa Ortiz knew there was only one way to get ready for such a feat — by bombing as many big waterfalls as possible.

With his friend Rush Sturges and the rest of his crew, Ortiz chased as many waterfalls as he could. But dropping falls like these are not a given, even if Ortiz and friends make it look easy. It takes years of practice and experience to make it down one of these bad boys safely. 

For Ortiz, it's just the result of a love story that started the minute he got his first kayak. "It was June 20, my birthday," recounts Ortiz. "I was sitting at home receiving all the phone calls from relatives and friends, when my family got back home. My sister burst into the house with a huge smile — it was her birthday too, after all — but I knew she was up to something.

"She is two years and three hours older than me, and thanks to her thirst to try new things, I got my first kayak for a birthday present. Hours earlier, they'd actually gone to a sports store looking for a swim suit, and walked out with two shiny new kayaks. My dad knew kayaking is an individual sport and shouldn't be practiced alone. Hence the two kayaks.

 

rafa ortiz bombs a waterfall
2017 — it's all in your head © Marcos Ferro/Red Bull Content Pool

"We spent every other weekend of our lives at my family's ranch in Vera Cruz. So the day I got into that kayak, I was able to combine the new challenge of controlling this craft, nature and the challenge of making it down river. I was instantly hooked and there was no way out."

If these drops made you want some more, then head to Red Bull TV to watch the whole "Chasing Niagara" movie for free until Jan. 8, or to Vimeo on demand to buy the movie.

Enjoy the playlist below that was created with "Chasing Niagara" producer Sturges, who even composed some of the songs.

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