Kayakers Nail Rare 80-foot Waterfall

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Hidden in the depths of the Kaimanawa Forest Park in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island is the 80-foot Tauranga-Taupo waterfall. First discovered and descended some 10 years ago by Kiwi legend Brendon Bayley, it’s had a mixed history for kayakers that’s included clean lines, broken backs and near drownings. This December, rains primed the flow-dependent drop to the perfect level of 600 cubic feet per second, and two of New Zealand’s most-promising young chargers returned after a scouting mission with one plan: to run the drop. The 16-year-old George Snook and Zack Mutton made the brutal two-hour hike with kayaks and checked the flow one last time before dropping inThe falls are known for their tricky entrance and tough lip, however, with the sun out on a glorious summer’s day in the Southern Hemisphere, the timing worked perfectly. Everything aligned for the lads to get perfect lines down this beautiful 80-foot waterfall.

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—See the video of the drop below, plus more of photographer-expedition paddler-Olympian Mike Dawson‘s own paddling exploits.

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