Adventurous spirits look at the world in a very special way; there are mountains to be climbed, deserts to be crossed, and waterfalls to be taken. Niagara Falls, a series of three waterfalls on the US/Canadian border, is a majestic natural wonder and a forbidden playground for athletes, explorers and pioneers. Pro kayaker, Rafa Ortiz wants to be the first kayaker to take the falls. His globe-hopping quest to make history sets in motion the story of Chasing Niagara. Fresh off its theatrical run, the feature film will premiere globally on Red Bull TV on December 25th and will be available to view on demand for 2 weeks.
While many have tried to take the falls in the years since Annie Edson Taylor did it successfully – in a barrel, in 1901 – none have safely made the journey in a kayak. To be the first, Ortiz assembles a team of friends and experts to first challenge the laws of physics: a 50 metre vertical drop that is swept along by one of the highest flow rates of any waterfall in the world, all while avoiding rocks at the base and surfacing without drowning in the white water deluge (more than 6 million cubic feet per minute). Together they master their craft and strengthen their bonds on a remarkable three-year journey from Mexico’s rainforest rivers to towering waterfalls in the U.S. Northwest.
Next, they have to pull off the feat while avoiding detection and capture from US and Canadian authorities, the people working to keep all visitors safe. Ortiz and his team, including world-renowned paddler Rush Sturges, prepare an operation on par with a diamond heist.
“When I first started telling people about my plans to kayak over Niagara Falls, some shared my vision, but most people thought I was crazy,” said Ortiz. “To make this mission a reality, we had to put in the practice and a lot of hard work.”
While Ortiz eventually made headlines around the world, Chasing Niagara tells the full story of the journey, the friendship and adventure that leads to the biggest decision of his life – whether or not to take the plunge. Besides breathtaking nature scenes and daredevil descents, the film includes intimate moments of friendship and gives a look into the soul of a passionate athlete.
Beyond Chasing Niagara, Ortiz has garnered a massive legion of fans with his aggressive kayaking skills and innovations. He can regularly be seen hurling his boat off 100-foot waterfalls and down the gnarliest of whitewater runs. Ortiz learned to paddle in Veracruz, Mexico but honed his skills in the US and Canada. In 2010, Rafa conquered the second highest waterfall in the world, The Big Banana Fall (42m). He holds the World Record for Steepness descent, (Río Santo Domingo, Chiapas, 2013)
After a World Premiere at San Sebastian Int. Film Festival, and winning many awards around the world, including Best Film in the Mountain Sports category at the prestigious Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival; Chasing Niagara will be available exclusively on Red Bull TV from December 25.
Red Bull TV can be accessed anytime anywhere online at RedBull.TV, as an app, or via Smart TV. Red Bull TV is available FREE on iOS, Android and at RedBull.TV.