The Explorer category includes adventurers, scientists, or expedition leaders who exemplified superior feats in previously unchallenged whitewater.
Rob Lesser Inducted 2005
Rob’s photos and stories of his exploratory runs have appeared in the paddling and outdoor magazines and also have been filmed for networks in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. With his friendly and laid-back manner, he became an internationally known ambassador for the sport.
Herbert Rittlinger Inducted 2006
An explorer, pioneer, and advocate, Herbert’s travels took him to rivers in China, Japan, Australia, and Greece, South America and Africa, paddling both whitewater and flatwater.
Walt Blackadar Inducted 2007
Walt’s accomplishments in “big water” river running had a major influence on what was considered doable in whitewater paddling. In 1971, Walt soloed Turnback Canyon on the Alsek at the time was considered by some as whitewater’s Everest.
Mick Hopkinson Inducted 2008
Exploring the wild rivers where paddlers had never ventured, Mick spent seven years exploring and making first descents of the most technical runs in the Alps before moving onto the Himalayas.
Lars Holbek Inducted 2009
Lars Holbek explored some of the world’s most difficult, top-quality whitewater, and was the first to paddle all of them.
Mikey Abbott Inducted 2010
Mikey has traveled to some of the biggest mountains of the world to paddle on mainly on multi-day, self-support expeditions, often on first descents, and with the humility that any aspiring Jedi Knight would wish for.
Richard Bangs Inducted 2011
His always inquisitive mind and spirit of adventure has led him and his Sobek teammates to pioneer whitewater rafting on rivers throughout the world. The Zambezi, Richard’s most significant contribution to the world of whitewater exploration and recreation.