Whitewater kayaking is an extremely intimidating sport. The strength of the water in close proximity to rocks and the possibility of drowning are very real dangers. Now imagine doing it blind.
Blind kayaker Lonnie Bedwell proves an inspiration to millions as he charges one of the biggest rapids on earth without eye sight in a recent clip from Outside Television.
During a trip last year to the Zambezi River in Africa for the taping of another paddling film Dreamline Ninja, Bedwell tagged along with Eric Jackson and Timmy O’Neill and filmed this amazing scene.
In one rapid, Bedwell takes a spill and goes over, and after a few tense moments manages to right himself. According to O’Neill, a world-renowned paddler, 95 percent of paddlers would have probably kicked out of the kayak and swam out of a situation like that.
“So I started thinking, how is Lonnie so imperturbable? Why is he not freaking out?,” O’Neill said. “There is a saying that says out of sight out of mind. So Lonnie never saw the true consequence. He never sees any of the true consequences. He can hear it. But seeing is believing.
“I think he can distance himself in this out of body way because he’s blind,” he went on. “And that’s the beauty and the horror of paddling with someone who’s blind.”
Photo credit: Dreamline Ninja