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Bren Orton: Body of British ‘kayaking legend’ found in Italian lake

Bren Orton, a 29-year-old British kayaker hailed as a “white-water legend”, was found lifeless in a lake in northern Italy. He had been missing since May 16, according to a statement from the Swiss police. A sailor discovered his body in the waters of Verbano.

Orton was a professional kayaker who competed internationally and was known for his performances on massive waves and waterfalls worldwide. His disappearance occurred while kayaking in the Melezza, a 42km Alpine torrent.

He was a member of the GB Freestyle team and represented them at the 2015 World Championships in Ottawa, reaching the men’s kayak final. Paddle UK, the governing body for canoeing, recognized him for his unique freestyle tricks on enormous waves and waterfalls around the globe.

Orton was not just a competitor but also a trailblazer. His true passion lay in exploring and running waterfalls, and he often shared videos of his exploits on social media for his fellow paddlers and followers. He had a following of 58,500 on Instagram, where he regularly posted footage of his adventures.

Orton’s journey with kayaking began at the age of nine after a school trip. His global adventures commenced at 16 when he paddled on the White Nile in Uganda. He gained prominence in 2018 after successfully descending the Big Banana Falls in Mexico, a 128-foot fall that marked the second-highest descent by a kayaker.

Ashley Metcalfe, CEO of Paddle UK, expressed that Orton’s passing is a significant loss to the paddlesport community. He stated, “Without question, he will be remembered as one of our sport’s greatest ever ambassadors.” Metcalfe extended his condolences to Bren’s family, friends, and fellow paddlers on behalf of Paddle UK’s members, staff, and board.

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