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October 23, 2014

Going over Minnehaha Falls: 1st-person view of kayaker’s plunge

Want to know what it’s like to go over Minnehaha Falls? Well, now you can get a first-person view.

Hunt Jennings, the kayaker who captured Minnesota’s attention when he voluntarily plunged down the waterfall earlier this week, filmed the entire thing with a head-mounted GoPro camera. He uploaded it to Vimeo Friday, and you can watch it below. (Note: The music used contains some strong language.)

Jennings, a professional kayaker from Chattanooga, executed the stunt Thursday, after a week of rain had swollen Minnehaha Creek to very high levels.

On the video’s page, he wrote that while many people see his act as crazy, “the real danger in life is hiding in the crowd, and not trying.”

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Department disagreed with that sentiment.

“It is our experience that a trip over the falls almost always results in serious injury or death,” the department said in a statement. “The incident was an irresponsible publicity stunt. The impact of the drop, the large boulders at the base of the Falls, the deep water and fast current could easily injure or kill a kayaker.”

While going over Minnehaha Falls isn’t illegal, officials tell KSTP, the department said they would not have granted him a permit if he’d asked.

Jennings was too interested not to go for it, he wrote.

Hunt Jennings“After seeing a picture of this waterfall for the first time, I was instantly intrigued,” Jennings wrote on the video’s page. “While it is very high profile and urban, tons of people, and in the very center of the general public, there is something strangely beautiful about this drop. It is complex, twisting, and questionable depth of landing, and has much more to it than just kayaking.”

After three days of scouting and planning, he almost didn’t get to do it, he said, after coming across a chain that stretched across the creek right before the fall. But he managed to get under it and live through the 53-foot drop with only a broken nose and snapped paddle.

“Very thankful for the outcome,” he wrote. “A huge thanks to the safety team that showed up to help and support.”