Keller, Levinson, Gragtmans Poach Previously Unrun Noccalula Falls

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The poach-fest continues. On Nov. 28, Southeast kayakers Pat Keller, Isaac Levinson and Chris Gragtmans dropped previously unrun 90-foot Noccalula Falls in city-owned Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden, Alabama, causing park officials to re-evaluate city ordinances, consider future arrests and more or less scratch their heads. Bonus: a blog comment on the descent from Steve Fisher…

The feat occurred just over a year after Keller led a similar assault on western North Carolina’s 90-foot, multi-tiered Linville Falls, another “poached” paddling line against park regulations.

Not that they’re out to break the law, they’re just out there to run sweet drops – especially in the Lookout Mountain region.
Lookout Mountain is a tiny sliver of The Cumberland Plateau nestled into the southwest of Chattanooga, Tenn., with a wealth of 60+ foot waterfalls within close proximity. The trio plans to product a documentary on their exploits, “Watershed: Land of Giants,” to be released Dec. 24 via AMONGSTiT.TV.

Meanwhile, their most recent huck has prompted backlash from city officials.

“I’d like to report some crazy people going over the falls!” came a call to the local 911 office, according to local news sports, which led Noccalula Falls supervisor Janet Terrance to call police to the park.

“If we catch anyone doing that we will call the police and have them arrested,” Parks and Recreation director Kerry Payne told Fox6. “They could have been killed, severely injured. They said they were professionals, but we still don’t allow professionals, amateurs or anyone and we discourage it.”

Reports say that officials arrived on the scene just in time to see the three kayakers get their boats out of the water. They were not charged.

But plenty of people were charged up on it afterward on the station’s blog, including the following post from none other than kayaking legend Steve Fisher:

Hey police/ Parks and Recreation: Why don’t you go and arrest a skier the next time he goes backcountry skiing, due to the “risk of being killed or severely injured”. Actually no, don’t… Rather spend your time doing YOUR job and catching criminals while leaving professional sports athletes to do THIER job, in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’.

I too am a professional kayaker and just got done running the world’s biggest volume rapids in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, the police escort we had (to protect us from criminals, not ourselves) and high level government officials looked on with great pleasure as they watched us do something that they had no expertise in – quite a progressive attitude I thought!

Well done Pat, Isaac and Chris! Awesome! As for Mr Payne… I’ll see you at the base of the falls after I run them the next time I’m in the neighborhood!</i?

Video Teaser HERE

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