'As Smooth As I Imagined': Kayaker Takes Death-Defying Plunge Over Massive Cliff

Dane Jackson likes living life on the edge, quite literally.

For almost five years, the U.S. kayaker has been training to take the plunge over the Salto del Maule waterfall in Chile.

The falls are 41 metres of cascading water in the volcanic region of Valle de Los Condores.

Salto del Maule is a 41-metre waterfall in Chile. Image: Dane Jackson

Jackson is a renowned whitewater rafter, taking after his Olympic paddler dad, Eric Jackson.

He has had more than 80 first-place finishes in kayaking competitions over the world, including the Whitewater Grand Prix and IFC Freestyle World Championships.

Dane Jackson competing in the Kayak Junior Men ( K1JM ) Kanu ICF Freestyle WM 2011 in Plattling. Image: Getty

According the NY Times, Jackson has been training with Chilean paddlers on the Maule River, with the end goal of tackling the Salto del Maule.

He finally got his chance in early February after waiting for perfect conditions to perform the feat.



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In a post on Instagram, Jackson explained how he became "obsessed" with the waterfall and would stare at photos and videos of the cascading water.

"When I arrived I got to see it without water -- it gave me the chance to truly see if it was doable, and once it was clear it was deep enough, it was game on," he said.

"When the following week came and I got to see it with water, it was just as glorious as I had always hoped, and the location was almost too breathtaking to be real."

Video of the drop shows Jackson paddling up to the crest before going over. After hitting the bottom, he disappears from view for a few seconds before popping back up safely.

"The view of going over that horizon was one of the greatest I’ll ever experience, and felt just as smooth as I imagined," Jackson said of the plunge.

"I felt it out for a while and had the best line I could have planned, and it was so soft."

Dane Jackson has been training for years to take on the waterfall. Image: Dane Jackson

His 41-metre drop is the second-tallest descent on record, bettered only by Tyler Bradt who made the 57-metre drop over the Palouse Falls in Washington.

Jackson's only regret from the stunt was not staying fully in his kayak, but he admits that although it could have gone slightly better, the drop could have gone worse.

"So in the end I’ll take it as a win, and without a doubt one of the best days of my life," he said.