kayak­ing

Rafa Or­tiz and his kayak em­bark on another chal­leng­ing ex­pe­di­tion.

Adventure - - Contents -

Fol­low­ing his suc­cess­ful de­scent from the 47-me­ter­high Big Ba­nana Wa­ter­fall and Part One of his Chas­ing Wa­ter­falls ad­ven­ture in Ver­acruz, Rafa Or­tiz and his kayak em­bark on another chal­leng­ing ex­pe­di­tion. In his home coun­try Mexico Part Two of Red Bull Chas­ing Wa­ter­falls leads the fear­less ath­lete to ex­plore the na­tion’s unique jun­gles and rivers on his quest for a new kayak thrill. He has rowed down the might­i­est rivers in the world con­quer­ing rapids and streams in Africa, In­dia, Ja­pan, New Zealand and the United States, and holds the record for the high­est wa­ter­fall run in a kayak down 57-me­ter-high Palousse Falls. At 26 years old, Rafa Or­tiz is con­sid­ered one of the best kayak­ers in the world and this time the ad­ven­ture-hun­gry Mex­i­can has a new story to tell. His 2014 quest for new chal­lenges and new wa­ter­falls led the young Mex­i­can south of the coun­try. Start­ing off in the state of Chi­a­pas, one of the top des­ti­na­tions for ex­treme kayak­ing char­ac­ter­ized by its long and abun­dant rivers, Rafa ex­plored the La­can­dona jun­gle for four days in the basin of the Usumac­inta River which is con­sid­ered the most ex­ten­sive river in Gu­atemala and Mexico. Against the back­drop of stun­ning scenery, Rafa even found a river he had never pad­dled be­fore, the La­canja River. Fol­low­ing this ex­pe­di­tion to the jun­gle, Rafa con­tin­ued his jour­ney to the wa­ter­falls of Agua Azul. Due to heavy rains dur­ing the last months the Mex­i­can ex­pected to find wa­ter­falls with very high wa­ter lev­els, which is some­thing you can never ex­actly pre­dict as a kayaker un­til the mo­ment you are ac­tu­ally there. But Lady Luck smiled at Rafa who found him­self con­quer­ing the turquoise wa­ters of the Bolon Ajaw wa­ter­falls af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing with armed sup­port­ers of the Za­p­atista move­ment to be al­lowed to en­ter the area. Very few kayak­ers make it along the five wa­ter­falls in a sin­gle drop, but for Rafa, it looked like a big amuse­ment park. It was his third time run­ning down these mighty wa­ter­falls with dif­fer­ent lev­els of dif­fi­culty and heights be­tween 10 and 15 me­ters. "It was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence - a week of trav­el­ling in Chi­a­pas and sleep­ing in a com­pletely iso­lated jun­gle far from civ­i­liza­tion. Now I have fin­ished this chap­ter and I will keep all the mem­o­ries for the ad­ven­tures to come", said Rafa upon his re­turn to Mexico City, ea­ger to plan his next kayak­ing ex­pe­di­tions around the world.

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