Inventor of World's First Jet Kayak Plans to Jump over Niagara

Do you remember the guy who raced his jet kayak along an Icelandic lake against Richard Hammond on the bank in a Land Rover Tomcat 4x4 in an episode of Top Gear 2006? Well, that sportsman whose name is Shaun Baker and who is a nine-time British whitewater freestyle kayaking champion is now planning a truly daring adventure, Times Online found out.

Although he is the current holder of the world record for the longest free-fall-65 ft- over the Aldeyjarfoss falls on the Skjalfandafljot, Baker intends to establish another one by jumping over Niagara falls.

“I’m planning to run some huge, record-breaking waterfalls,” confesses Baker. “The ones I had to walk away from in the past because I simply would not have been able to clear the rocks at the bottom. This time I can stop 10 metres from the edge, fire the engine up and get a ballistic burst of speed and just fly right over the top. Fifty metres downstream — that’s where I’m going to land — literally flying.”

The truth is that no one would survive such an adventure, but Baker trusts his jet kayak's 330 cc two-stroke engine to help him stay clear of the vertical torrent. In fact, he was the one who invented the world’s first jet kayak and managed to record a top speed of 25 mph in his invention. The jet kayak is 6½ft-long with a one-gallon tank of petrol (pre-mixed with some oil) and a flattened two-stroke engine crammed into the base.

The idea of building a jet kayak belongs to a friend of his and was born four years ago during Christmas lunch. Baker was world-known for riding his conventional kayak off the highest dunes in Sahara or over high waterfalls but he wanted more.

However, jet kayaking is not an easy sport and not everyone can practice it. Here's what Baker had to endure during the Top Gear episode.

"My legs are resting inches from the engine and the pipe quite often melts through 5mm of wetsuit. But the ‘electrocutions’ are the worst. When we raced for Top Gear . . . I was getting water over my legs, which then sent the circuit through me instead of the spark plug. Tens of thousands of volts through my butt and out through my arms. It caused me to grip the throttle involuntarily, so I was going through an iceberg field at top speed — 25 mph. I won, but these things kind of stay in your memory.”

But until leaping over Niagara, he has still some preparations to do. All we hope is that he knows what he's doing and that we will hear only good news from him.
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