Age: 28 Specs: 5-foot-11, 155 pounds
Home: Auburn, California
THE CASE: There's a handful of paddlers who can run the big-river first descents that Lindgren relishes, and there's a handful of filmmakers who can capture the shots he does, but no one else can do both time after time and still manage to come back alive. The Rocklin, California, native, who began paddling at 19, has marshaled countless remote river expeditions—Nepal's Thule Bheri and Tibet's upper Karnali, to name a couple—in which he navigates raging gorges studded with Class V-plus drops in a heavily laden kayak, wearing an awkward head camera. His company, Scott Lindgren Productions, is known for making videos (Flood 2: The Last Drop, Thirst) and films that defy belief, even among grizzled whitewater paddlers. "When I discovered kayaking, it was a release I hadn't found in other sports," says Lindgren. "It was never about being a high-profile athlete; it is strictly about going out and finding the deepest, hardest rivers."
SECOND OPINION: "There are a lot of good extreme paddlers, but Scott can predict water flows like no one else I know," says fellow first-descenter Clay Wright. "When you go on an expedition with Scott, you know it will be dialed."
MOST HARROWING MOMENT: "Trying to get me to talk about my most harrowing moment," sniffs Lindgren, "is like trying to take spinach away from Popeye."
WHAT'S NEXT: A three-week voyage on the White Nile in Uganda and the wrap of Liquid Cubed, a film about his surf kayaking exploits in Indonesia.