Ben Brown is one of the most well-known and most-respected whitewater kayakers in the world. Why? Because he does the shit that other people think is too crazy to take on. He’s traveled to more than 30 countries, claimed first descents all over the world, fought off (or evaded) hippos and crocodiles, and broken his back in two places dropping off a waterfall, and still he has a legendary thirst for adventure that always pushes him to do more. Take a look at some of his videos, and we promise you’ll respect the hell out of him too. And then you can start to live vicariously through him, like we do.
Get to know Ben:
TEVA: What’s your nickname?
TEVA: Makes sense. How’d you first get into whitewater kayaking?
BB: I was introduced to it at Tihoi Venture School in the central North Island of NZ during my junior year of high school. Something about kayaking really got inside me and captured my imagination and I haven’t looked back since.
TEVA: And why did you decide to go pro?
BB: It was never a conscious decision. I just love to kayak and spent every spare minute either paddling or dreaming of paddling. I was lucky enough to be noticed by a couple of amazing companies and the career side of things grew from there. I feel very privileged to have been able to have the career that I have so far.
TEVA: What’s on your trophy shelf?
BB: My trophies are kept in my memory banks in the form of amazing expeditions and first descents around the world. I have been fortunate enough to paddle all over the globe and have completed first descents in New Zealand, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Italy, California, Canada and Thailand.
TEVA: Damn. Those are our kind of trophies. What’s the coolest place kayaking has taken you?
BB: That is a very hard question, there are so many favorites although if I had to pick one I’d probably have to say the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Amazing rivers, landscapes and weather.
TEVA: What’s your proudest achievement so far?
BB: Being able to turn my life’s passion into a career. Through kayaking I have lived a life that growing up I could hardly have dreamed of. I have had many, many adventures that I am very proud of and look forward to many more.
TEVA: So do we. You’re a pretty extreme paddler, what’s the worst injury you’ve ever gotten?
BB: I broke my back in two places paddling a horrible little waterfall in Northern Thailand. Not much fun!
TEVA: We’ll have to scratch that off our list of “fun things to try.” What’s the scariest situation you’ve ever been in out there?
BB: Being chased by Hippos and Crocodiles for 5 days on the Murchison Falls section of the White Nile in Uganda.
TEVA: Yeah…we’ll add that to the list also. Do you have any pre-sport rituals or superstitions?
BB: I try not to be too superstitious although I always splash water in my face right before I paddle a hard rapid.
TEVA: What are you doing when you’re not in your boat?
TEVA: What piece of gear can you absolutely not live without?
BB: A cold can of Red Bull. Always gets the juices flowing and the energy levels up!
TEVA: Nice plug. You’re good. Biggest pet peeve?
BB: People throwing litter out of their car windows.
TEVA: Yeah, that is annoying. Now on a totally unrelated note, what’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
BB: U2 360 tour in NZ. Was an amazing experience listening to ‘One Tree Hill’ whilst One Tree Hill was lit up by a spotlight in the background of the concert venue.
TEVA: Ok we know you’ve got lots of these…what’s the craziest story you have from the road?
BB: Wow – there are a lot although I’m not sure how appropriate it is to repeat any of them here! Recently I had the opportunity to race Audi supercars on Indy track in the Napa valley with 70 of the worlds best Action sports athletes. That was a pretty crazy experience! Or maybe the time Madonna played a surprise gig at the Red Bull Racing after Party at the Montreal Grand Prix…. But that’s another story!
TEVA: We’ve got time…
BB: Maybe another time.
TEVA: Ok fine. Any words to live by that you can leave us with?
BB: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all…”
What Brown Wears: