Monday, December 14, 2009



We arrived at Bonito Falls for our second time to slay the monster. Previously, Ian Garcia and Tyler Bradt had paddled to the lip with the intention of firing it off. Upon arrival at the lip, they determined the water was too low and they did not feel confident falling off it...

3 weeks later we returned to identical water levels. With only 5 more days in the country, I felt pretty anxious to get this drop in the bag. Our crew was Evan Garcia, Steve Fisher, Ian Garcia, myself, and Anton Immler. We all made the decision to run it.

From a distance, this drop looks good to go, but when you get to the lip you realize how f****d up the entrance is. A diagonal lateral feeding to the right, then current moving back to the left, before finally falling around 60 feet to the pool at the bottom. You don't want to be on the river left side of the drop as it's a big flake that could send you flat.

We decided Ian and I would go first while the rest of the crew filmed/photographed from the bluffs. We were both super nervous but also excited to get it over with. Honestly, one of the sketchiest parts of this drop is scouting it. To get to the lip we tied a rope off to a rock and then waded through the fast moving current to get to the lip. One slip into the rushing river could send you over the falls. I hate this kind of thing and took my time getting to the scouting zone. After some thought and speculation Ian stated his standard "F**** this i'm going" and began hiking up to the lip. I told him I would gladly rock paper scissors him but his decision could not be altered.




I watched from the top of the drop as he vanished into the snake like entrance over the lip of the drop. Fisher came through on the radio and stated his skirt had imploded but he was fine. I was stoked to get my huck on.

I climbed into my kayak, hit record on my Go Pro HD head cam, and paddled towards the falls. The entrance was smooth as butter. A sweet boof from the left side, up against the right wall, back to the left, and then momentum back right. This is where I made my mistake. In an attempt to be further right I angled my boat just slightly further right then it needed to be. My last thoughts as I went off the lip were "I am going to stomp the hell out of this thing!" Then right as I hit the lip the flake grabbed my right edge and immediately tossed me flat, and sideways. In one last desperate attempt I hucked my weight back and forward to try and get the bow down to no avail. I landed sideways, flat, and sitting upright. Basically the worst position to be in...



For any future or current waterfall hucker reading this, remember: It is always better to land flat tucking forward then sitting upright. Had I landed flat and tucked forward I may not have broken my back. That being said, there was hardly any aeration and I had a LOT of momentum. Even Ian who ran the drop almost perfect took a wicked hit and had 2 blackish eyes. I also smashed my face and have a bit of a cut on my left eye. The water was too low and even with a perfect line this bad boy will bitch slap you...

The next part of the incident was not very much fun. I couldn't breath for about 30 seconds and all I could do is gargle muffled wheezing. It sounds like i'm dying on the video. After some time Ian got me out of my boat and laid me in the water. I was in a bit of shock but after a while was able to stand. My muscles were all twitching and it was pretty clear something was not right. I had full mobility and the pain wasn't actually that bad. The next step was getting me the f**** out of the canyon. There are vertical walls on both sides and really the only way out besides paddling would be via helicopter. Not having that kind of $ or wanting to deal with that kind of a scene I opted to paddle out the remaining 300 meters of class 3 +. Luckily Fisher got me on a tibloc so I was able to easier pull myself the 300 feet of bushed out steepness up to the road. We then got to the truck and drove about 1.5 hours to a hospital in Bariloche.

Thank god for Ian's fluent espanol at the hospital. After my x rays it was clear I had compressed and broken a piece off of my L2 Vertabre. I'm still waiting to get a second opinion on this so i'll post the pics here on my news site and if you have any expertise in this area let me know what you think.


Anyway, it doesn't seem to be that BAD of a fracture. It sucks, but I think I can make a full recovery with good rehab....

After some negotiations we convinced the hospital to let me go and stay at a friends house in Bariloche. The boys took a door off its hinges and were able to take me out on that, (although I was actually good walk). Special thanks to Fredrico Medina and all his friends for letting us stay in their home...

The next day we began the drive back to Pucon while I slept in the back of the pickup truck. Unfortunately, our truck broke down and now we are still stranded in Asorno awaiting repairs....

I hope to make it back to Cali by the end of the week although i'm not sure what it will be like to fly. Thanks to all the boys for helping out the cripple (again).

In reality, if I had to hurt myself, now is not a bad time. I'm under the deadline to finish this new movie "Dream Result" as well as a lot of my music. I've already mentally prepared myself for an injury at some stage in my kayaking career, and now was the time. If you continue to step it up in any sport it's unlikely that you will go unscathed (although there are exceptions.) I'm just really thankful it isn't worse...

Luckily for us kayakers, we don't have to deal with these things as much as our pro snowboarder or biker friends. Kayaking is a fairly forgiving sport. Look at guys like Travis Pastrana who have broken almost every single bone in their body and are still getting after it. Look at other kayakers even, Jason Hale, Ben Brown, James Bebbington (2X broken back) and they are all as fit and savage as ever.

I will be back in time for Spring season Stakeout ready for more rivers, more tricks, more drops, and more fun.

Overall the Chile segment came together great and i'm super pleased with the footage! Dream Result will be finished Feb 27th! Help me pay for these Argentinian hospital bills...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


This is a drop that has been looked at by many kayakers... In fact, I don't think there's a top paddler who has ever come to Chile and not laid eyes on the beast. The monster is at the put in for the classic class IV/V run on the upper Palguin. This section has several 20 ft waterfalls and we have been getting some sick freestyle shots over the past few days. I did the first ever switch hail mary off a 20 ftr earlier in the day. That being said, it was SUPER sloppy and i'm not counting it as a LEGITIMATE new trick. However, the potential is there and I will stick one someday. I was able to stick a forward hail mary after 4 attempts... Pretty sweet footage...

That was the start of the day... Later in the afternoon the stage was set for Steve to run the big dawg.The entrance on this thing is FULL ON. Twisted boily current that all folds into the wall on the left. As well, there is a rock ledge that juts out at the bottom of the drop... There is a reason many people have walked away from this drop. Nonetheless, there is a SICK line. Like many drops it's just a matter of bucking up and doing it... I'll just let this photo speak for itself. The footage will be featured in DREAM RESULT!



Monday, December 7, 2009

We woke up with a wicked hangover on Dec 6th with the intention of doing some filming on the upper Palguin. Little did we know, a world record would be broken later this day. After filming Anton and Ben May style the upper section in the Topo Duo, Fisher threw out the idea of running Middle Palguin in the Duo (70 ft.) Initially I thought it was not a good idea, but after watching good lines in the Duo on the upper section I told Fisher i'd think about it. Thankfully, Anton volunteered with no hesitation. I wasn't sure if it was a great idea but either way I knew it would be good footage...

Ian Garcia and I decided to go first to set up safety for the Duo. Ian went first and then I waited about 15 seconds before going. My line felt super smooth off the lip but my skirt imploded on impact. Right as I came up, Ian was just surfacing as well. He had taken about 20 seconds of downtime! We both imploded our skirts and had to self rescue. This was a bit of a junk show but after about 45 minutes we got everything ready for the World Record Tandem Kayak Descent. At this moment thunder and lighting kicked in and Ian and I both contemplated how good of a plan it actually was. "At least it's not us up there!" We laughed.

To our astonishment and content, Anton and Fisher STYLED the line. No worries! The boat had a huge dent but was intact nonetheless. A new world record for kayaking, even if it is a bit of a joke. That being said, how long will it be before someone runs something bigger in a Duo???

I think we may be on to something here... Imagine a 19 person kayak. Just think about it.