Extreme Kayaker Bren Orton’s Body Found

More than two weeks after disappearing while kayaking Switzerland’s Melezza River, the body of talented and groundbreaking whitewater kayaker Bren Orton has been found, Swiss authorities have announced.

According to multiple news outlets, Orton’s body was found by sailors in Lake Maggiore, also called Verbano, a lake on the south side of the Alps.

Orton’s body was discovered on May 30. He had previously vanished from view after “becoming trapped in a recirculating feature” on the Melezza, according to a social media post by his sponsor Pyranha Kayaks. Details are still scarce on what, exactly, led to the accident. Those close to Orton have asked that people refrain from speculating about it. The kayaker was 29.

Another of Orton’s sponsors, Palm Equipment, posted confirmation of the body’s discovery.


“The outpouring of love and support from the paddling community since Bren went missing has been extraordinary. This support has been a profound source of strength for all of us, especially for his family and close friends,” the post reads.

A short life, a lasting legacy

Canoe and kayak governing body Paddle UK’s brief bio of Orton paints a picture of a young, talented athlete taken too soon by the sport he lived and breathed.

Orton’s love affair with kayaking began at age nine, and by 16, he’d already paddled the White Nile in Uganda. He competed internationally and rose to worldwide fame in his sport after completing a 39m descent of Mexico’s Big Banana Falls in 2018. It was the second-highest descent ever made by a kayaker.

Very much a product of his time, Orton ran a highly successful YouTube channel he dubbed Senders. The content is high-octane and light-hearted, further illustrating what a crushing blow Orton’s friends, family, and fans have experienced. Some of the latest videos include “pre-season” content recorded in Italy weeks before the accident.


“A huge loss to the paddlesport community, Bren Orton’s trailblazing achievements in freestyle and paddling adventures across the world have made a huge impact,” Paddle UK CEO Ashley Metcalfe said in a statement.

“Without question, he will be remembered as one of our sport’s greatest-ever ambassadors,” she continued.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
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