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Kayaking Waterfalls

OPB | June 28, 2011 9:45 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:17 p.m.

This weekend 19 year-old Robert McKenzie from Eugene suffered a back injury after attempting to run Bridal Veil falls. That basically means he dropped the 120 feet of the falls in a kayak. He was with friends: one broke his nose; two others ran it without injury.

It took 14 emergency responders over an hour to rescue McKenzie and he’s now recovering at OHSU.

Bryan Dorr teaches people how to run waterfalls. He says:

There is a lot of technique involved with running a waterfall. It’s not just pushing grandma over the falls. There are a lot of consequences and you have to be in the right mind-frame. Your boat and your body must be perfect as you set up and fall with the water so you fall where the water is penetrating the base. You have to enter where the water enters.

We’ll talk to Dorr about what it’s like to run a waterfall, what’s legal and what isn’t, and what needs to be done to keep people safe.

Have you ever run a waterfall? What was your experience?


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