KOKATAT Ambassador TEAM MEMBER | Expedition Whitewater

Barny Young

Age: 33 years old website
HOMETOWN: West Coast, New Zealand

“If it is important to you you'll find a way. If not you'll find an excuse.”

Barny Young grew up in New Zealand’s small central North Island town of Turangi, where mountains and rivers were always nearby. When he was 15 years old he saved up and brought his first kayak, A Sevylor inflatable. In this kayak he developed a love for whitewater with his mum dropping Barny and his younger brother 10km up the local Tongariro river. Barny recalls, “Before long I got sick of repairing punctures and saved up for my first plastic kayak. The cheapest kayak I could find at the local store – a pink quality kayaks turbo.”

14 years later Barny is still hard at it, completing many successful expeditions and first descents, travelling the world from one kayak adventure to another. “I’m constantly amazed by the spectacular places we are able to access while in our kayaks that nobody else can. This combined with the amazing people I meet is what keeps drawing me back to the river. I am inspired most by those paddlers that complete epic missions on shoe-string budgets year after year but still have the foresight to plan for the future.”

Along with planning kayak missions in faraway places, Barny enjoys being home on the West Coast of New Zealand charging rivers with his best mates, and staying true to his philosophy “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, What a ride!!”