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Brad Ludden

Kayaker, Philanthropist, Adventurer  Image
Hometown Kalispell, Montana
Current Town Whitefish, Montana
Instagram @bradludden

Brad was raised in the wild places in and around the Flathead Valley in Montana. He took to kayaking at an early age and turned it into his profession. As he paddled rivers around the world, he recognized an opportunity to help others through kayaking and outdoor adventure. In 2001, he founded First Descents, an organization that provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions. Since it began, FD has served over 10,000 young adults. Brad is also the founder of a bespoke adventure creation company called Stoke Broker, one of the world’s first cause corporations.

Which of Stio's values personally align to you?

Outside is for Everyone - First Descents (FD) operates at the confluence of two industries with significant and systemic inequities: healthcare and outdoor recreation. FD addresses disparities within outdoor and healthcare spaces through its commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). Like Stio, we believe that everyone deserves to experience the healing power of adventure, so we build and maintain a culture of inclusion amongst participants, staff and volunteers, while ensuring that all involved with our mission feel included, empowered and worthy.

How do you create balance in your daily life?

I prioritize getting outside daily. I've found, and studies have shown, that my mental and physical health are greatly improved by doing so. I don't see it as a luxury, but a necessity. It could be going for a hike, a trail run, kayaking, bow hunting, flying into the backcountry or just simply taking the dog for a walk.

What is a bucket list activity you have yet to do or a place that you have yet to go?

I'd love to spend more time surfing in the South Pacific.

What is your go-to workout music?

I can never get enough Bob Marley. He just makes the good times even better.

What is a piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to pursue a life of mountain sports and adventures?

Start by trying to connect to a local club or community of outdoor adventurers. Could be a climbing gym, a local kayak club, a hiking club or even your local outdoor store.