Steve Fisher

The man who overcame the fiercest white water rapids on the planet

Kayak Athlete Steve Fisher Hanging Spear Falls New York
© Scott Martin/Red Bull Content Pool

Hi, my name is Steve Fisher. My discipline is kayak expedition and white water rafting. My friends call me Fisher. I was born on 18 February 1976 in Estcourt, South Africa. My special talent is conquering the Inga rapids. My philosophy of life is share challenges and accomplishments with friends. The most important person in my life is my wife.


Steve Fisher is a man that boldly goes where no man has gone before - in a kayak, that is. Sometimes a man and a mode of transport are simply made for each other, and such is the case with Steve Fisher and the kayak. Since he started paddling at the age of 6 on the Bushmans River near his rural hometown of Estcourt, South Africa, he’s hit the rapids in nearly 50 countries, conquering twice that many first descents. No wonder top pro kayakers have three times voted Steve the world’s best all-rounder.

Since transitioning several years ago from the contest scene to exploring the most breathtaking rapids he can find, Steve’s boldest first descent expeditions include the Irrawaddy in Burma, the Salween in China, the Yarlung TsangPo in Tibet (home of the world’s deepest gorge), and his recent conquest of the fierce and infamous Inga Rapids. “The holy grail is a source to sea journey on the Congo river, 4,000 kilometres down to the Atlantic,” he says.

“There’s a lot of fear from media and sponsors that I’ll get killed. I risk that quite often, but to them it’s different if you get shot. The outcome is more or less the same in my mind.” It takes a measure of bravado to speak such words, but Steve comes by his honestly. His approach to overcoming gnarly conditions is confidence, decisiveness, and speed.

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Career Highlights

  1. 2015
    1. First descent, Merced River

      Yosemite National Park, USA

  2. 2014
    1. First Descent: Hanging Spear Falls

      New York State, USA

  3. 2013
    1. Award: National Geographic Adventurer of the Year

    2. Film: Congo: The Great Inga Project

  4. 2011
    1. First Ascent: Inga Rapids

      First ever successful ascent of the Inga Rapids

      Democratic Republic of Congo

    2. Film: Halo Effect

      A kayak film project by brothers Steve and Dave Fisher

    3. Red Bull Northern Exposure

      Kayak expedition to Minnesota, Michigan and the Lake Superior region


  5. 2003
    1. Award: World’s Best Kayaker - Paddler magazine