At this minute, Ben Orkin has been paddling an 18 foot sea kayak through Grand Canyon since early Saturday morning. Ben is attempting to break the Grand Canyon speed record set just last week by Matt Kelma.
In 1983, three men in a wooden boat on a flow over 45,000 cfs took 36 hours 38 minutes to make the run. in 1993, three men in a small motor boat took 35 hours 43 minutes. Last Wednesday, the muscle powered speed record was shattered when Matt Kelma finished the run in 35 hours and 5 minutes.
At this rate, if Ben Orkin keeps up the 8.375 MPH speed he has averaged in 24 hours since his launch at 2:00 am yesterday, he will reach the 277 mile mark in just over 33 hours. Ben Orkin is still on track at 5 am, having been paddling for the last 27 hours.
Orkin ran Lava Falls around 11:00 pm local time last night.
The flows the dam is releasing run from a low of 11,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to a high of 17,000 cfs. At the low of 11,000 cfs, the river is moving about 4 miles per hour and at the high of 17,000 cfs the river's speed increases to about 5 miles per hour.
Ben has, for the last 24 hours, almost doubled his speed against the river speed. The analogy is running from the caboose to the front of a slow moving train. Except he is paddling an 18 foot long sea kayak, and the "train" included rapids he would have run in the dark, including Lava Falls.
Here is another interesting fact about this... at the South Rim, sunrise is at 7:35 am and sunset 5:47 pm. or just a little over 10 hours of sunlight. Of course, in a mile deep canyon, actual sunlight is much less. What this means is that the majority of this speed run through Grand Canyon was done in the dark, while the 1983 and 1993 records were done in the summer, when the time between sunrise and sunset was closer to 14 hours. So, Orkin is racing through Paradise in the dark.
You can follow Orkin right now at this link:
I wish Ben Orkin All the best, tom