When you come from a family of famous tightrope walkers that’s 7 generations long, you tend to look for ways to go bigger and better. It looks like Nik Wallenda has found one.
This June, he intends to walk a tightrope stretched directly over the waterfall at Niagara Falls–about 1800 feet across and 200 feet from the bottom–between the U.S. and Canada. If he succeeds, he’ll be the first person ever to cross right over the waterfall.
Wallenda comes from a circus family famous for their tightrope skills since the 1700’s, hitting a peak of popularity during the Depression when they were recruited by the Ringling Brothers and performed their act without a safety net, which had been lost during their trip. Over the years, various members of the family have fallen to their deaths while performing; Nik’s great-grandfather, Karl, fell during an act in Puerto Rico in 1978 at the age of 73, inspiring Nik to finish the same walk last year.
“My great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, was my biggest hero in life, my biggest inspiration behind everything I do,” Nik said after completing the act.
Because of the immense danger involved with the Niagara Falls stunt, park officials have outlawed anyone from attempting it for several years, but Wallenda lobbied for approval on both sides of the border and Canada finally gave him the thumbs-up on the condition that it will be the only time the stunt will be attempted this generation. The last tightrope walker to cross the falls was James Hardy in 1896.
Wallenda will be performing the feat on June 15th.