John David Munday was a skydiving instructor with 1,400 completed jumps. In addition Munday is an accomplished helicopter and fixed wing aircraft pilot. He also had a twenty year obsession to go over the Falls in a barrel.
On July 28th 1985 at approximately 1:00 p.m., a truck carrying Munday’s barrel pulled up to a Canadian shoreline site approximately 4 km before the brink of the Falls. At this location an aluminium and unbreakable plastic barrel measuring two meters wide by one meter long, with “To Challenge Niagara July 1985″ inscribed on the side, was launched. Munday had the dream of becoming the ninth person to go over the Falls.
Munday’s barrel weighed 90 pounds and cost $16,000 to build. Unfortunately, this launch was foiled by a police officer who witnessed the event. As Munday rode his barrel towards the Falls, Ontario Hydro was alerted and the water level reduced at the Hydro Control Dam. The water level dropped five feet152 cm in 3 minutes, which trapped Munday in the Hydro power pool. He was still a long distance from the Horseshoe Falls.
On October 5th 1985, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Munday attempted his second trip over the Niagara Falls. This time they unloaded the barrel and launched into the water within 137 metres of the brink of the Horseshoe Falls. The barrel went over the Horseshoe Falls within seconds. At the base the barrel became trapped for 90 minutes before Munday was rescued.
Dave Munday became the ninth person to survive the trip over the Falls. Munday received only minor abrasions. Munday was the first to have a video of himself as he used a video camera through a porthole.
Munday was fined $500 for stunting in the Niagara Parks and $1000 for breach of probation in Niagara Falls Ontario Provincial Court.
On September 26th 1987 at 2:49 a.m., Police discovered a 183 m long barrel, with the name “Dave Munday” on the side, on top of the Niagara Gorge south of the Whirlpool Bridge. The barrel was seized by Police, which ended Munday’s first attempt to challenge the Great Gorge Rapids and the Whirlpool. On October 11th 1987, Dave Munday successfully made a trip through the Great Gorge Rapids and the Whirlpool in the same barrel.
On November 12th 1987, Munday was fined $500 and given two years probation in Niagara Falls Ontario Provincial Court.
On July 16 1990, Dave Munday had another foiled barrel ride over the Horseshoe Falls. The homemade barrel was built from 1/4 inch thick steel pipe which was covered by 20 cm of thick foam. The barrel cost $1,000 but did not have any provision for oxygen. Again because of the low morning water levels, Munday’s barrel was caught up on the rocks at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls.
On September 26th 1993, Dave Munday survived his second successful trip over the Horseshoe Falls. Munday was riding in a 660 pound altered diving bell that he had purchased from the Canadian Coast Guard. 200 pounds of the diving bell was dedicated to counterbalance. The vehicle was painted with a red maple leaf motif. During his journey, Munday was knocked unconscious but only suffered minor bruises and cuts. The vehicle was recovered at the base of the Falls by the little Maid of the Mist.