The AT50: Kayaker Steve Fisher (#21)
Highlights: Led team on first descent of the Congo River's Inga Rapids in 2011; first descent of the Amazon's Pororoca Tidal Bore in 2005; called the world's best kayaker by Paddler Magazine in 2003.
Quote: "One of the things I learned on this trip is that I do care about dying. I thought that I didn’t."
Fact: Fisher once paddled to the edge of 355-foot Victoria Falls—just to get a view of the rapids below.
AT Point Total: 42
South African Steve Fisher is a waterman to his core. He's been voted best all-around kayaker by his pro-peers three times over, and his pro circuit successes include winning the Montreal Big Water Invitational, Gorge Games H2H and Camel White Water Challenge. He’s run rapids in more than 50 countries, and has scores of first descents including the Yarlung Tsang Po in Tibet, the Irrawaddy in Myanmar and the Salween in China.
However, his most monumental achievement yet is his descent of the Inga Rapids in the Congo—what some say is the fiercest whitewater journey on the planet (not to mention politically perilous). He’s been nominated for National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year. So what’s next for Fisher? Rumor has it a 4,000-kilometer source-to-sea journey down the Congo River to the Atlantic could be in the works.