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Old 03-09-2009   #31
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Electric-Mayhem View Post
Don't really feel like doing much more explaining of this theory (maybe one more try). I do think it holds up (may or may not at 170 feet), but I seem to be the only one.

There is more to it then the fall and landing, as there is a reaction upon landing. Fall straight down, the reaction will be to go straight back up. Fall and move forward, and the kayak will move with the path of least resistance with the forces applied. Since the boat is moving both sideways and downwards, not all the of the reacting force is applied back into the boat. The kayak will go the way that is least resistant, that being sideways rather then up this time.

Do this, get a block of wood or something that floats and is relatively kayak shaped and find a water source (sink with a few inches of water will do). Now, drop it straight down and watch what happens. Then give it some sideways velocity so that it lands going a bit forward at the same time. I think you'll notice that it will take some of the downward force and apply it horizontally into movement, instead of just stopping the kayak dead and transferring it into the the kayak. Yes, some of the upward force is still applied, but not nearly as much as if you fell straight down and landed flat.


I don't really feel like doing much more explaining either. Listen I have a degree in physics and work as an engineer. I have a pretty good understanding of freshman physics, which is what this is.

Your ideas are ideas that most intelligent people, without formal training in physics or engineering probably hold. Without the formal physics or engineering, or math training, it is very hard to get over the intuitive ideas that are many times wrong. I am not calling you, or Shaun Baker stupid, and you are probably a much better kayaker than me, but I have a much better grasp of the mechanics of falling from large heights.

Your wakeboarding example is a good one. Why do you think wakeboarders try to land on the slope of the opposite wake, instead of in the flatwater? If they landed in the flatwater, they would still hit hard, not matter how fast they are going.

Another good example is when Evil Knievel jumped the Grand Canyon. He was going really fast when he reached the other side, but they still had a ramp for him to land on, if he had landed on flat ground on the other side he would have been screwed (I think he broke a ton of bones anyway).

When you take a wooden block and throw it into the water with some horizontal speed, of course it is going to keep moving in that direction. However, that does not mean that the force in the vertical direction is any less.

If you don't believe me, go ask some other engineer or physicist.

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Old 03-09-2009   #32
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062
Big Falls

Interesting topic: But, if you want to know something really scary... Niagara Falls until about 1000 years ago was a straight line. The horse shoe shape it has now is very new, and that's one of the reasons why it looks so arrated from above. A good potion of the rocks that made up that old horizon line are just beneath the surface. And, at the center of the horseshoe bend the water is only 10 feet deep. Ouch!

Here's a pic of the American side with no water to give you a peak at what that would look like: Fileryniagara.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Remember that most stunt men get paid based off of the hype and not the actual act.

I love to dance, but who needs the music- It throws me off.
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Old 03-09-2009   #33
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at my house, Montana
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
I still remember the first freshman physics question that dealt with this. Which falls to the ground faster, a bullet that is dropped from a stationary position, or a bullet that is shot out of a gun horizontally? The answer is they land at the same time. Both have the same vertical air resistance working on them, and gravity, and as others have said the horizontal force is completely separate from the vertical one. This is because once he goes off the waterfall, there is no more horizontal force (of the water pushing him downriver or the explosion pushing the bullet), and instead it is all gravity, pulling him straight down. As other big falls drops show, horizontal speed is lost almost immediately, there is just too much air resistance. Add in the additional weird air turbulence created by the falls, and you are going to lose your horizontal speed quickly.

Doesn't he need that jet to maintain horizontal speed all the way down, because the bottom is all rocks? I'm not sure, but I seem to recall that Niagara is not a nice vertical falls underneath all that water at the bottom.

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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jet, kayaking, niagara, shaun baker

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