KOKATAT Pro TEAM MEMBER | Expedition Whitewater

Ben Stookesberry

HOMETOWN: Missoula, MT

“Kayaking, like life, exists between ‘swims’.”

Growing up in Greeley, Colorado, the jagged blue line of the distant Rocky Mountains represented the adventure that Ben Stookesberry dreamed of as a child. So when he had the chance to go to College he chose Gunnison which was smack dab in the middle of the Rockies. Ben was slightly interested in studying, but mostly he wanted to be immersed in the mountains and experience a full on Rocky Mountain winter. Things changed drastically for Ben when he was introduced to the Colorado River as a newbie raft guide, then even more so when he broke his leg mountain biking at the end of that summer. It would take 12 months to fully recover but just a single month before he could continue with his new found passion learning to whitewater kayak. Since then kayaking has defined his life, pursuing expeditions around the world.

Ben now calls Chico, CA home which offers incredible year round kayaking (including the pacific coast line), but spends at least 6 months of the year traveling around the globe in pursuit of the most challenging river expeditions on earth.

“In the last 4 years alone I’ve made dozens of first descents on six continents from the tropics to the Arctic with long time kayaking partners Chris Korbulic and Pedro Oliva,” says Ben. “In total I have over 130 first descents and counting.” Ben’s philosophy is to be a friend of the fearless and his main goal is to make his expedition kayaking a lifelong pursuit that will stand the test of time and encourage others to explore rivers as well.

Ben Stookesberry'S FAVORITE GEAR