Breathtaking footage has captured the moment extreme kayakers got up close and personal with a LAVA waterfall in Hawaii.
The GoPro footage was captured by 29-year-old Rafael Ortiz, a professional adventure kayaker who travels the world in search of ‘rivers to conquer’.
A visit to the site last year, when the lava was flowing less explosively, proved to be a disappointment due to excessive smoke.
“This year we came back and heard it had just turned into a waterfall. So we were all about checking it out,” said Ortiz, who was born and raised in Mexico City.
Rafael describes the moment they arrived as ‘insane’.
“You could see the cloud from miles away and as we got closer, you could feel the power of this thing. Not often you are that close to such an immense amount of raw energy.”
The raw energy and heat generated from the lava waterfall was such that the surrounding ocean water had become boiling hot.
“As we got in the water we noticed the high temperatures. And as we paddled towards it, the water got almost untouchable,” he said.
Despite the thrill of being so close to the lava waterfall, safety was of upmost concern for Rafael and his friends Dane Jackson, Kalob Grady and Nick Troutman.
“We were super cautious since the first moment we got in, feeling out the situation and being very careful.”
Big waves in the ocean at the time also presented the risk of pushing Rafa and his friends perilously close to the lava.
“As we got closer, we never took our eyes off the lava. It constantly exploded into hundreds of melting particles in the air.
If any of those landed on you, you’d be fried, literally,” he added.
Before deciding to retreat from the unreal experience Rafa can be seen giving his friend Nick Troutman a high five.
Rafael is no stranger to being in extreme situations while kayaking.
“When I turned 14 I got a kayak as a birthday present- the rest is history!
I’ve paddled over the 2 biggest waterfalls ever descended on a kayak- 189ft Palouse Falls, and 128ft Big Banana Falls.
Then I completed a World Record steepness descent, along with Rush Sturges and Evan Garcia, on a river section in Santo Domingo, Chiapas.”