Tao Berman

World Record Kayaker

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Three Time World-Record Breaking Kayaker With 50 Whitewater First Descents

Tao Berman's day job is dropping off some of the tallest and most treacherous waterfalls in the world. As a three-time world record holder, he's completed more than 50 whitewater kayak first descents around the world, and has been dubbed the "best extreme kayaker on the planet" by Men's Journal.

Berman grew up in a cabin in northeast Washington and lived without electricity and running water until he was 10. His mother encouraged him to take on outdoor activities as a diversion from the fights he was getting into at school. When he was 14, she took him down the Skykomish River - a serious whitewater river - in a $70 inflatable kayak. They survived the adventure and since then, kayaking has consumed his life. The kid who grew up without running water now has plenty of it.

When he's not paddling off epic waterfalls, he's actively pursuing his passion for environmental, civic and political issues, having run for a Washington State legislative seat in 2008.

  • Stats
  • “Most famous kayaker in history” - Sports Illustrated
  • “Best extreme kayaker on the planet” - Men's Journal
  • Three-time world record holder
  • Completed more than 50 first descents around the world