Like 'falling off the face of the earth,' says kayaker Dane Jackson after dropping down 134-foot waterfall

Article Image

Would you kayak down a 134-foot waterfall? Dane Jackson is the first person ever to kayak down the Salto del Maule waterfall in Chile.

Posted: Feb 25, 2020 8:45 AM
Updated: Feb 25, 2020 8:45 AM


If you thought you knew kayaking, think again.

American paddler Dane Jackson may have made a living by testing the very limits of the sport but his latest triumph is something extraordinary.

Earlier this month, the 26-year-old made the second tallest waterfall descent in known history, dropping 134-foot into the relative unknown before coming out the other end unscathed.

"It looks like you're falling off the face of the earth," he told CNN Sport's Don Riddell just days after the death-defying run.

"Coming over that lip it was pretty wild. You're just looking down and chaos everywhere."

READ: Swiss climbs 1,800-foot rock face in record time... without a safety rope

'I accepted the risks'

The mind-blowing stunt took place in Chile's spectacular Salto del Maule, a place that Jackson had dreamed of visiting for five years.

To achieve the task, extensive preparation was required -- even with a safety team standing nearby, throwing yourself off the lip of a volcanic waterfall comes with a number of variables that are difficult to control.

"If I'm not scared about something that's that big, that means that I accepted the risks. I've looked at the dangers, I've addressed them," he said.

"Okay, you're scared of this, but do you want to do it? And then when the answer is yes, it makes sure that, for better or worse, if the line goes great, if it goes bad, I've accepted what could go wrong, but I know that I want to experience something like that drop."

READ: Climbing 3,000 feet without ropes

Jackson says he was confident the drop would be successful as he had seen the waterfall without water just days before, which allowed him to map the perfect descent into a small, but deep, hole in the pool below.

Despite expecting a massive hit when he made contact with the water, Jackson said the impact was surprisingly smooth -- although he was forced to jump out of his kayak at the bottom after it began filling up with water.

"There's definitely a lot of things that can go wrong," he admitted. "Luckily, over the years, I've run enough waterfalls that I have a lot of trust and faith in my skill to be able to do something like that."

READ: Fabio Wibmer wows the world with daredevilry on two wheels

Protecting the rivers

Son of Olympic paddler Eric Jackson, the American's life has always revolved around water.

The paddling prodigy has tried every format of kayaking -- from freestyle to racing -- and has won world titles as both a junior and professional.

His passion has led to a nomadic lifestyle that has taken Jackson to rivers all over the world, and to some of the most beautiful landscapes.

Being so close to nature has informed him of the threats which face the planet's natural wonders.

From disruptive dams to extensive littering, Jackson has seen some of his favorite places ruined by mankind.

"I don't think people realize how important the river is, in terms of the planet and us just surviving," he said.

"The more awareness we bring to the rivers, the less people will mess with them."

Lip-reading

Jackson's incredible daredevilry has not been diminished by the fact he is about 70% deaf, a result of being born three months premature.

Over the years he has learned the art of lip-reading, a skill which has helped him when trying to navigate his way through the chaos of white water.

"Except for not being able to hear people very well, there aren't really any negative sides to it. It is what it is," said Jackson, whose father also experienced hearing loss.

"There are people that are way more deaf than me, that do way cooler stuff."

Huntsville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Florence
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Fayetteville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 22566

Reported Deaths: 364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson504062
Shelby4943111
Trousdale13924
Rutherford119623
Sumner88145
Hamilton79415
Bledsoe6071
Williamson55210
Putnam4795
Robertson4653
Tipton4423
Out of TN4184
Lake4140
Wilson4078
Knox3755
Bedford2834
Montgomery2693
Rhea2100
Hardeman1960
Madison1752
Loudon1430
McMinn14114
Macon1363
Cheatham1230
Bradley1221
Fayette1152
Cumberland1121
Dickson1090
Unassigned920
Blount913
Maury890
Sevier812
Washington750
Coffee730
Wayne640
Gibson631
Monroe622
Sullivan602
Hickman580
Lauderdale561
Franklin531
Greene502
Dyer500
Marion401
Anderson401
DeKalb370
Hamblen362
Smith341
White330
Hawkins332
Lawrence310
Grundy311
Haywood312
Marshall311
Obion301
Henry300
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Overton260
Meigs260
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Warren230
Cannon210
Perry210
Cocke200
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Jackson170
Crockett162
Roane160
Polk160
Johnson160
Henderson150
Hardin152
Sequatchie150
Humphreys131
Fentress120
McNairy120
Chester120
Giles120
Scott120
Stewart110
Claiborne90
Houston80
Grainger80
Clay70
Benton71
Decatur50
Unicoi40
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Moore30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events