On this Independence Day weekend, let us honor a true American hero: the first guy to ride the world's tallest waterslide. 

The 168-foot tall slide (taller than Niagara Falls) is named  The Verrückt, and it's scheduled to open sometime in 2014 at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City. 

The video, uploaded to the park's YouTube page this weekend, shows the slide's builders taking the first human test ride. The slide is featured in the new season of Xtreme Waterparks on the Travel Channel. 

Let's just say this guy deserves a salute, not only for taking this terrifying first plunge, but for doing it with boots on. Bravo. 

Riders on the 17-story slide are expected to reach speeds of more than 50 mph while they're strapped down to a big raft (the park goes out of it's way to note that it's the first time a waterslide has ever required riders to be strapped in). 

Here's a POV video of the ride with nobody on the raft: 

[Via iO9]