Meridian built boats sail where no boat has gone before

Meridian built boats sail where no boat has gone before

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - Two local men have defeated some of the roughest known rapids out there.

Chris Bohnenkamp and Beau Value traveled 3,000 miles from Meridian to Niagara Falls to make history as the first boaters to ever make it through the Niagara River Gorge alive.

Bohnenkamp owns Bohnenkamp's Whitewater Customs, where his team of about 30 people makes luxury jet boats. He and Value test all of his boats in harsh waters, but never any quite as rough as those at Niagara.

But Bohnenkamp says he feels confident that his boats are some of the very best in the industry.

"We went to Niagara Falls to prove that. We ran the craziest section of water that we know has ever been ran. I don't know any other jet boat company or private owner that's ever gone and ran anything that's class six," he said.

Class six is the highest level of rapids, reaching up to 25 foot waves, and considered impassable.

But that didn't stop this duo. They made it through the 38 mile per hour rapids in two hours.

Bohnenkamp says this feat is one of the most rewarding things he's ever done. And he's already planning his return to Niagara. He's building three 30 foot tour boats that will safely get passengers through some of what he and Value got to see. It's the first time tourists will be able to get that close to class six rapids.