How would you like to celebrate your birthday? If you’re Tyler Bradt, how about by setting a new 24 hour paddling distance world record? That’s what Bradt, Aniol Serrasolses, Todd Wells and Brendan Wells accomplished the weekend of June 3-4, paddling a high water run linking the Middle Fork, Main and Lower Salmon rivers…
While awaiting verification from Guinness, the foursome set the new 24 hour distance world record last Friday by paddling Idaho high water on the Middle Fork, Main, and Lower Salmon rivers all in a row, clocking a whopping 287.5 miles in 24 hours.
Bradt says the actual mileage might even be more. “The GPS we used tracked every ten minutes, so it cut a lot of corners,” he says. “I think our actual river miles are closer to 300 than 287.”
Nevertheless, he’s psyched they pulled it off without mishap on one of Idaho’s biggest high water years in decades. “It went super well,” says Bradt, one of the world’s top hairboaters who also holds the record for highest waterfall descent (Washington’s 186-foot Palouse Falls). “High water had most of the rapids washed out into big crashing wave trains.”
One of the hardest parts, he says, was being confined in a kayak that long without any breaks. “Sitting in the kayak for that long without getting out and continuously paddling hard was something none of us have really done before and started taking its toll around 18 hours in,” he says.
The night paddling took some getting used to also. “The night was good with a bright moon until about 2:30 a.m., then it went black just as we were getting past Riggins,” he says. “The hardest part was from then until day break and the final few hours of light until 8 a.m.” he adds. “Correcting our longboats in big boils with our energy sapped got pretty hectic towards the end. I’m proud of the crew for such a big push.”
In 2010, wildwater paddler Andy Corra, from Durango, Colorado, set a then world 24 hour record by paddling 273.5 miles in 24 hours during the Yukon River Quest. It bested the old record of 261 miles set two years earlier by Ian Adamson.
The greatest distance canoed (or kayaked) on flat water in 24 hours is 249.84 km (155.24 miles) and was achieved by Carter Johnson (USA) at Huntington Harbor, Huntington Beach, California, on August 11-12, 2013.
“The previous record was 274 miles and at the end of a big 24 hours of continuous paddling our GPS read 287.5,” says Bradt. “It was a mission and birthday to remember.”