“Next time I would reinforce the skirt…” says Dane Jackson, 26, after running central Chile’s 134-foot waterfall Salto del Maule.
The proclamation came after Jackson, running the highest waterfall he’s ever run, got sucked out of his kayak at the bottom after his spray skirt imploded. But none of that takes away from the ballsy accomplishment — just a few months after running every drop but one on the Indus’s Rondus Gorge.
And the drop, and accompanying media coverage, has gotten plenty of attention beyond the traditional niche paddling world.
“It’s been a dream of mine for five years,” Jackson told the New York Times, which ran a feature on the descent. “I think it’s just one of the most photogenic waterfalls I’ve ever seen. And it’s also quite tall.”
While Tyler Bradt holds the record for the tallest waterfall ever run for his descent of Washington’s 189-foot Palouse Falls, Jackson’s drop was 55 feet shorter and far a from a record. But its juicy nonetheless, and Jackson’s sixth 100-plus waterfall.
“That’s the highest I’ve ever done,” he tells Paddling Life of the Feb. 5 descent — which could well be the waterfall’s last with a hydro project planned upstream.
As far as ever attempting anything higher, he says he’s open to it, but the stars would have to align.
“If something comes up that’s higher and I like the look of it who knows,” he says. “I’m not necessarily pursuing it, I’ve just always wanted to run Salto Maule.”
The feat became feasible when, after discovering it for the first time in 2016, a new road enabled easy access for him as his team.
And all went well throughout the drop, he says, with his kayak positioned vertically as he wanted, until the hit at the bottom, which he admits “wasn’t as bad as I expected.” That’s when he got sucked deep and his skirt imploded, filling his boat with water.
“Next time I would reinforce the skirt,” he says. “I didn’t realize the power of the drop till the day I got to see it with the water. I’m glad I stayed in my boat till I popped up, but it’s a bummer I didn’t get to paddle away.”
Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knhcSB791-o
Read full New York Times story here: