BarcelonaImagine that you have the ability to fly. Fly in the air and feel that anything is possible. Breaking the law of gravity and having the privilege of being a bird feels the breeze on the back of his neck while contemplating the landscape this world gives him. This is the feeling experienced by Girona kayaker Aniol Cerrasolsis (Pescano, 1991) when he descended a 20-metre-high icy waterfall. “Being in the air is an incredible feeling. You are suspended above the water,” says the Girona native, who attended the ARA, when he recalls that moment.
It was a historical landmark. The Catalan, a Red Bull athlete, entered the coldest water on the planet and ended up falling into the icy river and breaking the world record. The largest descent ever recorded in this type of waterfall. He achieved it in the Arctic Circle very recently, at the end of last November. Specifically in the Brasvilbryn region, which is the area of the frozen wall that spews water and is located on the island of Nordaustlandt. A remote destination that captivates the eyes of the kayaker from the first moment. Like every story that moves its hero, this one begins with a photograph.
“The idea was born in a very simple way,” he begins, linking it to the same person who would break the record a few years later. Aniol was inspired by a black-and-white photo taken by National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklin of the falls. The water came out of an ice wall and faced the sea: “The picture inspired me so much. It was perfect.” Since then, the Girona native began to check everything around him to the point that he imagined how he would go down. Years passed, until in 2021 he proposed his life's project to the company that gave him wings to realize his childhood dream, Red Bull, and in August 2023 he was able to close it and put it into practice.
To implement this idea there was only one attempt. One small mistake and the dream will be shattered. But it was not all in his hands. There were many questions that could only be answered once we reached the glacier: “Will there be polar bears? Will there be enough water in the falls so we can descend? Will the weather conditions respect us?” One doubt destroyed all possibility of making this record a reality. “The pressure was very high because we promised to do this,” Aniul says. Cameras to immortalize the moment, logistics to get there, and people from the company involved in this journey that you only knew existed through a black and white photo. But after walking 10 kilometers on the ice, avoiding crevasses, crossing rivers with ladders and rejecting guides due to severe frost, Aniol and his team reached the beginning of the river.
With the 2.70-metre-long, 30-kilo kayak before his eyes, Cerrasolsis received a visit from the nerves before the adventure began. But he got it and the fears disappeared. “Once I'm in, I don't let my mind wander and go to places of doubt. I focus on paddling and enjoying the moment,” he comments before explaining the next steps.
His working tool began to sail down the river. Crossed ice tunnels. Others had open roofs, overlooking the Arctic sky. The white walls on both sides and the dark blue created by the sunlight as it shines on the water left an idyllic landscape. “It was like sailing on another planet,” he told Reuters after completing this feat. “It was crazier than I could have imagined.”
The path along the frozen river and descent through the 20-meter high waterfall
The rivers diverged and he faced the current until he saw that the road had no continuity. The end was in his eyes. The kayak started to tilt and the waterfall I had only seen in pictures became a reality. “It's the best moment. When you look at the place you are in, it is etched in your mind for the rest of your life,” he told ARA. As he fell, the enjoyment of the moment was in the background, as he had to prepare for impact: “20 meters is enough.”
“I heard the water crash. He had just gone down the waterfall.” Happiness was reflected on Anole's face. Gratitude too. “I thought: Look where we are, it's amazing. How lucky we are to be here.” I didn't want it to end.” The Catalan's dream had come true. The fact that he found a photo of Nicklin, fell in love with it, and couldn't get the idea of falling off that ice wall out of his head, made the Girona player break the record. The black and white photo took the color And life
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