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Best Kayakers In The World To Follow On Social Media

Nicola Burridge
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Spectacular waterfalls, enormous waves, exotic scenery, and some of the best kayakers in the world. Social media is the best place to join these famous kayakers on their epic adventures. 

Witness some of the sensational footage of these amazing kayakers as they take on the world’s most challenging rivers and multi-day expeditions. 

Whether you’re after kayaking inspiration and want to follow in the footsteps of these world-class adventurers or you simply want to marvel at the magnificence of their achievements, here are some of the best kayakers to follow on social media.

7 Kayakers Who You MUST Follow!

1: Benny Marr

  • Socials: Instagram – @bennymrr, Facebook
  • Age: 37
  • Kayaking Type: Whitewater, expeditions

Why I Like Them:

Benny Marr is one of the world’s best freestyle whitewater kayakers and a two-time winner of the Red Bull Rider of the Year award. 

This Canadian-born kayaker first hit the water at the age of two when he would accompany his dad on flatwater canoe adventures. He sat in his first kayak at the age of nine. 

Since then, Marr has taken on some of the world’s most dangerous rapids. In 2011, he completed the first descent of the Congo River with fellow kayakers, Rush Sturges and Steve Fisher. This expedition on the world’s biggest rapids was captured on film, in the 2018 documentary movie, Congo: The Grand Inga Project

He also completed a first descent of the remote and dangerous Beriman River in Papua New Guinea alongside fellow paddlers, Ben Stookesberry, Kris Korbulic, and Pedro Oliva.

Fun Fact About Benny Marr:

He was a recipient of the National Geographic Adventurers of the Year Award.

2: Nouria Newman

Why I Like Them:

Nouria Newman is a French woman who is whitewater kayaker and former world champion. She competes in no fewer than three whitewater disciplines. She has won medals, including golds, in all three disciplines, cementing her mark as one of the best whitewater kayakers in the world. 

Newman embarks on solo expeditions on some of the most challenging whitewater rivers in the world, including a week-long solo trip in the Himalayas in 2018 along the Tsarap, Zanskar, and Indus.

In 2021, she became the first person in the world to kayak the Pucuno Falls in Ecuador. At the same time, she also became the first woman ever to kayak a waterfall over a hundred feet.

In 2023 Newman paddled the Rio Blanco in Patagonia, completing several first descents along the way.

Fun Fact About Nouria Newman:

She has a degree in journalism and politics from the Sciences Po Toulouse.

3: Rush Sturges

Why I Like Them:

Rush Sturges is an American professional whitewater kayaker and filmmaker known for his adventure kayaking documentaries. 

One of his most famous movies is Chasing Niagara, which follows Rafa Ortiz in his quest to paddle over the world-renowned Niagara Falls. 

Sturges also directed the critically acclaimed film, The River Runner. This follows world-class kayaker Scott Lindgren and his journey to paddle along the four challenging rivers that flow from Mount Kailash in Tibet, all while battling a brain tumor.

As well as making movies, Sturges is also a four-time member of the US Canoe and Kayak Freestyle Team and has been named Adventurer of the Year by both Men’s Journal and Outside Magazine.

Fun Fact About Rush Sturges:

He is also an accomplished musician. You can listen to Rush Sturges on Spotify to check out some of his music for yourself. 

4: Dane Jackson

Why I Like Them:

Dane Jackson is one of the most well-known kayakers in the world. His father, Olympic paddler Eric Jackson, is the founder of Jackson Kayaks. 

Dane Jackson grew up around kayaking and is one of the world’s best kayakers, with multiple whitewater and freestyle titles under his belt. He also won almost every junior world championship as a child.

Along with fellow extreme kayakers, Rafael Ortiz, Joel Kowalski, the late Juanito de Ugarte, Ciaran Heurteau, and Seth Ashworth, Jackson took on the dangerous rapids of remote uncharted rivers in the Mexican state of Michoacan. 

This journey was filmed and became part of a five-episode documentary titled, First Descent: Michoacan by Red Bull Media House.

Fun Fact About Dane Jackson:

He likes to play golf but struggles to beat his dad at a round.

5: Tyler Bradt

Why I Like Them:

Tyler Bradt is an American whitewater kayaker who is best known for holding the world record for completing the highest waterfall descent in a kayak. This was back in 2009 when he paddled over the 189-foot Palouse Falls in Washington.

He also recently completed a no-portage run of the Little White Salmon River, including the Spirit Falls, in an inflatable packraft. 

Another one of Bradt’s adventures was back in 2012 when he and fellow adventurers, Erik Boomer and Sarah McNair-Landry, kayaked across the Sea of Cortez. 

This was a 400-mile expedition that took 25 days and saw the team witness magical sunsets and experience some close encounters with various wildlife.

Fun Fact About Tyler Bradt:

He’s been whitewater kayaking since the age of six.

6: Rafael Ortiz

Why I Like Them:

Rafa Ortiz is a Mexican whitewater kayaker who has multiple first descents under his belt and has conquered some of the world’s most challenging and dangerous rapids.

He has the record for the second-highest waterfall ever kayaked: the 130-foot Big Banana Falls on the Alseseca River in Mexico. He has also kayaked the 189-foot Palouse Falls. 

Ortiz is also the star of the documentary Chasing Niagara. This follows his three-year plan and dream to be the first kayaker to run Niagara Falls. 

One of Ortiz’s most unusual stunts was when he kayaked over the San Pedro Falls in Mexico while on fire. He set himself and his kayak on fire to paddle the 50-foot drop.

But unusual stunts are not so unusual for Rafael Ortiz. He’s also been known to ride an inflatable lobster pool toy over a 70-foot waterfall. 

Fun Fact About Rafael Ortiz:

After running his first 40-foot waterfall, he broke his paddle, suffered minor injuries, and never wanted to run another waterfall again.

7: Evan Garcia

Why I Like Them:

Evan Garcia is an American whitewater kayaker known for hucking waterfalls and embarking on expeditions on some of the world’s most extreme whitewater. 

Garcia has been whitewater kayaking since he was 10 years old and is a former winner of the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships.

He has run rapids along rivers on six continents and he featured in Rush Sturges’s movie, Chasing Niagara, where he was part of the team helping Rafa Ortiz to prepare for his dream of kayaking over Niagara Falls.

His home river is the Little White Salmon River in Washington state where he can run whitewater all year round and indulge in his passion of extreme kayaking.

Fun Fact About :

He first discovered a passion for whitewater kayaking on a trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon when he was 13 years old.

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