Kayaker’s Record-Breaking, 96-Foot Plunge Caught on Video

VIDEO: Jesse Coombs documents his incredible ride down Abiqua Falls in Oregon.
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Lucas Gilman/Caters/ZUMA Press

Some may call Jesse Coombs incredible.  Some may call him crazy.

Either way, the 40-year-old daredevil kayaker is a record holder.

Coombs plunged 96 feet down the remote Abiqua Falls in Oregon in April, becoming the first person to successfully kayak the sheer drop.

The jaw-dropping plunge was caught-on-camera in photos and video newly released by Coombs’ friend, extreme sports photographer Lucas Gilman.

Gilman, 34, hiked with Coombs to the remote waterfall and spent two days setting up the five cameras, including three video cameras, it took to capture Coombs’s death-defying descent into the water.

A zip line to capture the fall at the right angle and two kayakers strategically placed in the pool below the waterfall to capture the landing were also needed to document the feat, which took all of three seconds.

Coombs’s plunge was considered a success even though he suffered both a fractured shoulder socket and a collapsed lung.

“To fall 96ft takes around three seconds, so there is not much room for error,” Coombs said after his conquest.  “But knowing I’d nailed it gave me a huge feeling of elation.”

Abiqua Falls is not the world’s tallest waterfall, but it is considered one of the most difficult because of a very quick vertical dissent that makes hitting the water at the right angle risky.

“This waterfall comes with heavy consequences so not many people have attempted it,” Coombs said.  “Three world class kayakers have attempted Abiqua Falls and all three of us have been injured to some degree.”

Before Coombs, the only other person to attempt to “jump” the Falls was athlete Tim Gross, who dislocated both knees in a bad landing.

Tyler Bradt, who holds the world record for kayaking down a 180-foot waterfall, suffered a broken spine in his attempt at Abiqua Falls, made just one week after Coombs’s successful run in April.

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