I have intentionally avoided the rivers of Hawaii since I was young. Back then, I was on a vacation with my family when we stayed on the rain- and river-free leeward slopes, even though rumors of spectacular waterfalls on the other side of the mountains littered every brochure. Years later, when kayaking evolved as my life’s passion, I thought of those waterfalls and then quickly dismissed the possibility of them being a kayaking destination. I felt those decisions had been validated when, three years ago, friends made a trip to the Big Island with kayaks and returned frustrated by a complete lack of rain, and rivers and waterfalls that only trickled as a result.
So this February, when Chris Korbulic, Pedro Oliva, and I left for Hawaii on our latest in a string of kayaking expeditions made for Brazilian television, I was skeptical at best, but the TV execs wanted programming to complement their coverage of the North Shore Triple Crown of surfing.
And the rest is kayak history, because Pedro and Chris made the first descent of 120-foot Rainbow Falls that very next day. It kept on raining, and we kept on kayaking down incredible rivers thundering though jungle and volcanic bedrock.
Read the unabridged version of Stookesberry’s recap at
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