Sunderland daredevil takes on Grand Canyon kayak challenge

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A DAREDEVIL Wearsider is set to embark on a 225-mile white-water kayak trip through the Grand Canyon.

Fergus Lynch, from Roker, Sunderland, is preparing to travel to America to complete the feat along the Colorado River, in Arizona.

The 41-year-old and 15 other danger sports enthusiasts from across the UK will encounter up to 150 rapids and 15ft waves on the trip.

If they are struck by flash floods, the team will have to face a further two days of paddling, covering the 61 miles to Lake Mead.

But the Wearside adventurer said he cannot wait to get started on the challenge, which is expected to begin at the end of the month.

“I was delighted to be invited on to the expedition, which involves an independent team kayaking and rafting the Colorado River in Arizona,” said Fergus.

“The fact that the expedition isn’t guided and is self-sufficient is what really appeals to me.

“There are around 150 named rapids, some of which are massive, waves routinely reach 10ft to 15ft high and there are features that can swallow, hold and flip large rafts.

“The river is prone to flash floods at the time of year that we are going, so we are going to have to be on our game to ensure that we don’t flip any of our support rafts or lose any equipment.”

As well as kayaks, the team will have four white-water rafts, used to carry camping equipment and food. They will be taking turns to row these along with the kayaks.

“We will be camping on sandy beaches and in side-canyons within the Grand Canyon and will share the evening camping duties and cooking,” said Fergus.

“The various challenges will require effective teamwork and this will all add to the camaraderie that I enjoy on such trips.”

The expedition is being led by the director of the British Canoe Union, Mike Devlin, and Chris Heaney, a former Tynemouth Canoe Club member.

Permits for the canyon kayak are limited and it has taken 10 years to obtain one.

Fergus, manager at the Marine Activities Centre, in Sunderland Marina, said: “This is truly a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“There is a weighted lottery system for permits, but you could wait for 25 years for your number to come up.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho