The AT50: River Runner Ben Marr (#44)

This kayaker takes on—and completes—the world's "impossible" rapids
Staff Writer

Erik Parker

Age: 26
Sports: Whitewater Kayaking
Highlights: First person to run the full Grand Canyon of the Stikine (2012); dozens of first descents in China, Canada, Chile and Malaysia; first descent of the world's biggest rapid—1.6 million cfs Inga Rapids on the Congo River (2011); Tribe Rider of the Year Best Trick Award (2012)
Quote: "There is nowhere in the world I might not get to someday."
Fact: Marr has been navigating whitewater since he was 10, and paddled into the Class III+ rapids of the Ottawa River at 12.
AT50 Point Total: 33.5

For years, Canadian Ben Marr has criss-crossed the globe to explore and run some of the world's biggest waters, in search of a mythical moster rapid he jokingly calls "Ginormica." He's not yet found the beast, but along the way he's distinguished himself as one of the world's finest expedition kayakers, notching first descents in China, Chile, Malaysia, Canada and the Congo, to name a few. He's also an accomplished big wave freestyler (watch his flare-lit ride on a 15-foot standing wave in Quebec's Mistassibi River) and a dominant creek racer, which has caused some whitewater afficionados to call him the world's best all-around paddler.

The past couple of years have seen Marr really come into his own, taking part in groundbreaking expeditions in North America and Africa. In late 2011, he joined legendary kayaker Steve Fisher on a first descent of the Congo's Inga Rapids, which, at 1.6 million cubic feet per second, are the highest-volume rapids in the world. Before Fisher's elite group ran them, the Inga had swallowed up countless adventurers who dared to run them, and turned away many more. Then, in August of 2012, while paddling the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, a harrowing, 45-mile stretch of Class V+ rapids on British Columbia's Stikine River, Marr completed Site Zed, the last remaining un-run rapid in the canyon. That made him the first person ever to succesfully run the entire Grand Canyon of the Stikine, which is considered one of the world's great proving grounds for whitewater kayakers.
—Peter Koch

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