108 Feet with Paul Gamache

Will the madness ever end? In the realm of waterfall world records, definitely not.


Last weekend Seattle’s Paul Gamache upped the ante yet again, stomping Cascade Falls, a 108’2” waterfall in the British Columbia jungle. He and his crew even had the falls surveyed by an employee from a geo-tech engineering firm. Including the lead-in, the drop totaled 112 feet. C&K caught up with the new world record holder.



Cody Howard had to pick up kayaks in Seattle for his buddy and I was just going back up to Bellingham with him to boat. We were watching Still Twitchin’ and I saw the drops right after the falls but had never seen the big one until we got up there. When I left my house on Thursday, I never thought I’d be setting a world record. We decided to go up there on the drive.


We got up there on Friday and scouted for three or four hours but I couldn’t pull the trigger. We sent some boats off to see what would happen and the empty kayaks had great lines. That definitely made me feel better. We didn’t measure the falls until after I’d run it.


So it was a crazy entry. The gnarliest part was the belay above the falls. I was belayed 40 feet in my boat into a pool above the lip with the water pushing into an undercut cave.


I was pretty stoked on my line. The hit wasn’t that bad. I took the paddle in the chest and it broke but I kind of rotated to the right and tucked up at the bottom. It was a pretty intense three or four seconds. I landed in the seam sort of sideways instead hitting the harder pillow. It worked out perfect. It was sort of like a hard kick in the stomach. Funny, I guess it’s like explaining a small car accident.


We talked this employee from a geo-tech engineering firm into measuring the falls.He used a buoy and a long rope. When the buoy went straight up and down that meant it was in the water and then he brought the rope up and put a streamer (or bright colored piece of tape) on the exact spot where the lip is. I’m glad he measured it, because with our throw ropes, we had it at 117 feet or so. We wanted it done accurately so there was no second guessing like with Alexandria or Metalko.


Like I said, I wasn’t looking to set a world record when I left my house. It was just one of those drops where you’re like “I can stick this.” I don’t know how long the record will last. The Garcia brothers and a big group is down in Chile right now and they’re looking at a 130-footer. I hope they stick it. It would be cool to see someone lace something that big.


Look for footage in the The Risen Sun, a paddling flick by Cody Howard due out in January, 2009.

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