Ben Brown

New Zealand's white water legend

Portrait looking down at Ben Brown as he tackles a big rapid, whilst his friend watches, on the Kokatahi River in Hokitika, Westland, New Zealand 2012
© Miles Holden/Red Bull Content Pool

Hi, my name is Ben Brown. My discipline is kayak expedition. My friends call me Brownie. I was born on 17 October 1978 in Hamilton, New Zealand. My special talent is snowboarding. My philosophy of life is live excessively! Dream big, challenge yourself, explore, enjoy. The most important person in my life is my partner, she keeps me grounded. My favourite food is Sushi. My favourite music is pretty much anything. The playlists on my iPod change all the time.


Having led many expeditions into unknown waters to drop falls where no paddler has gone before, Ben Brown is a true white water legend. A leader amongst his peers, Ben is the most respected paddler in New Zealand and has dropped all the big falls of the country multiple times. He can boast numerous first descents in nine countries, and has bounced back better than ever after breaking his back in 2007.

Ben’s love for kayaking has seen him travel far and wide in seacrh of the most extreme whitewater, often taking him to the remotest and wildest corners of the earth. It’s not unusual for Ben to spend up to nine months a year on expeditions, although he still maintains that home – New Zealand – is one of the best kayaking spots.

He describes completion of the Murchison Falls Expedition to be the most emotional moment of his life – five days spent fending off crocodiles and hippos while negotiating challenging whitewater routes. “In the air there was that slight fever that reigns over survivors of an ordeal, tinged with a hint of regret that the action is over, the mission accomplished… It is such a privilege to spend the greatest moments of our lives among rivers that remind us of our vulnerability, our ultimate lack of control over the world we live in. Rivers that demand humility, and yield so much peace in return.,” his teammate explains.

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Career Highlights

  1. 2012
    1. Expedition: 35 days covering both islands

      New Zealand

  2. 2012
    1. Advert: Go Pro Camera - National TV

  3. 2008
    1. 1st Place: Nissan Outdoor Games – Team

      Interlaken, Switzerland

    2. 3rd Place: Wairoa Extreme Race

      Wairoa, New Zealand