Grand Canyon Colorado river trip

The view from the mighty Colorado River where Orkin broke a long-standing record for the second time in a week. Photo: Airwolfhound/Flickr

On Sunday, after fighting through blisters and charging rapids, a 25-year-old kayaker from Denver completed the fastest Grand Canyon river trip on record, finishing the 277-mile stretch of the Colorado River in 34 hours and two minutes.

Benjamin Orkin, a certified public accountant, broke the prized kayaking record by paddling throughout the night and, at one point, swimming through the frigid waters of the Colorado River. Exhausted from his journey, Orkin joked with the Associated Press about his elation at setting a new record.

“I'm super happy I beat it,” Orkin told the AP on Monday. “I'm never trying it again.”

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It was the second attempt at the record for Orkin. In January of last year, Orkin came up an hour short of setting a new mark after the kayak carrying his paddling partner, Harrison Rae, got stuck and cracked during the voyage.

This time, he set out from near the Arizona-Utah border alone.

But just before his try, Orkin learned that his trip would be much more difficult than he originally thought.
As reported by CANOE & KAYAK, Orkin received an email just 15 minutes before he was to set out. The email was from another kayaker detailing how four men just finished the trip in 35 hours and five minutes only a few days prior.

Orkin had been preparing himself to beat the long-standing 1983 record of 36 hours and 38 minutes. He was ultimately forced to paddle faster than he had originally planned.

“The planning is huge; it's a very specialized skill set,” Orkin said. “Not only running rapids in the dark, but you have to be comfortable doing so alone and exhausted.”

In the end, Orkin was successful in his attempt, breaking a record that had stood for over three decades for the second time in less than a week.

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