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Three of the most extreme canoeing and kayaking achievements

While some canoeists and kayakers see paddling as a general hobby, there are others who like to push the boundaries and try to do something nobody has ever done before. Each discipline has something monumental happening in it, whether it’s flatwater canoeing/kayaking or extreme ventures performed in one of the two vessels.

This article will focus on three canoeing and kayaking achievements that have been formally entered into the Guinness Book of World Records and are outside of the competitive sporting arena:

1. Longest waterfall descent made in a canoe

The longest descent over a waterfall is a record that currently stands at 32.6m, which is the equivalent to 107 feet, and is held by American Tyler Bradt. This height was achieved when he took the plunge over Alexandra Falls in Hay River, Canada on the 7th September, 2007.

The record was achieved when Bradt managed to descend the far left of the treacherous waterfall and successfully landing in the safety zone while still in the boat. This is the area in which the water pushes away from the base of the waterfall.

2. Longest solo journey made in a canoe or kayak

This enviable record is held by British television presenter Helen Skelton, who paddled a total of 2,010 miles (3,234.79km) on her own in the name of charity back in 2010. Her journey began on 20th January that year in Nauta in Peru, and it took her down the Ucayali, Maranon and Amazon Rivers before finishing in Almerim in Brazil over a month later on 28th February. Upon arrival in Almerim, Skelton was greeted by the cheers of a crowd and celebratory gunfire.

Prior to the challenge, Blue Peter presenter Skelton had never been in a kayak before and only took to training after accepting the challenge. Nevertheless, she powered through, breaking two world records in the process, also achieving a new longest distance covered a kayak in 24 hours by a woman. Though not officially confirmed, it is also believed that she was the first woman to paddle down the Amazon.
With Skelton’s conquest gaining such mainstream exposure, canoe and kayak hire services in the UK no doubt benefited from a surge of interest in the activity.

3. Fastest North Sea crossing by double sea kayak

This record has stood for more than five years now, and is held by British duo Ian Castro and Simon Worsley, who completed their paddle from Southwold in Suffolk, England to Zeebrugge in Bruges, Belgium. It took the pair 17 hours and 53 minutes to navigate the route on 4th July, 2009.

Worsley had previously been part of the former world record paddle in August 1997 with Rod Cooke, with the time for this standing at 20 hours and 7 minutes along the same route.

There are plenty of other achievements that have been formally entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, including the fastest crossing of Loch Ness and the largest simultaneous launch of sea kayaks.