Steve Fisher photograph by Desre Pickers.

Steve Fisher photograph by Desre Pickers.

By Mark Anders

1. He turned pro in 1998 and won countless kayak rodeos while inventing (or helping invent) moves like the freewheel, helix, and air screw.

2. He was the three-time porridge-eating champion of the Weston High School in Escourt, South Africa.

3. His jaunty South African accent makes everything he says sound proper, even when it's not.

4. He says things like: "I don't just cruise around mindlessly hucking off shit. A lot of thought goes into where I paddle, when I paddle, and what I do.

5. He's run more than 400 rivers and notched two dozen first descents including the Tsangpo, California's Upper Middle Kaweah, and the Maykha in Myanmar.

6. He's filled up more than eight passports in the past decade.

7. He's pioneered the use of jetskis and motorized rafts to reach talk to access waves and play spots, and instead of tedious bushwhacking, he uses a motorized paraglider to scout rivers.

8. He left the contest circuit in 2003 to concentrate on expedition paddling.

9. He spends summers in Québec and winters on his own private island on Africa's White Nile River.

10. Even when he's down with malaria, paratyphoid fever, and an intestinal parasite called Bilharzias, Fisher is still the best paddler you've ever seen.

This story first appeared in the March 2009 issue of Canoe & Kayak magazine. Fisher has added a few more reasons in the years since. Read about his exploits at


Richard Bangs // Greg Barton // Tao Berman // Paul Caffyn // Graham Charles // Serge Corbin // Nigel Dennis // Dubside // Steve Fisher // Bob Foote // Dan Gavere // Alan Hamilton // Freya Hoffmeister // Mick Hopkinson // Nikki Kelly // Payson Kennedy // Rob Lesser // Anna Levesque // Martin Litton // Brad Ludden // The LVM/T-Dub Connection // Sean Morely // Nappy Napoleon // Michael Peake // Scott Shipley // Jim Snyder // Rush Sturges //