Three rivers converge in the verdant city of Missoula, Montana, where Bradt grew up. Here’s something telling: After some 27 years, he’s still not sick of it. Why? “A local surf wave in the center of town, an abundance of friendly, fun people to paddle with, and amazing mountain rivers in the vicinity make it one of my all-time favorite paddling destinations,” he says.
Beginner kayakers head to Class I stretches of the Clark, Blackfoot, and Bitterroot Rivers to practice combat rolls. Rafters and kayakers who are just learning to surf love the Class II and III rapids of the Clark Fork River’s Alberton Gorge. And expert boaters pilgrimage to Brennan’s Wave in downtown Missoula to have fun.
“Missoula is the perfect place to take your first paddle stroke or push yourself to the next level,” Bradt says.
10,000 Waves, located in Missoula, offers kayak rentals, beginner lessons, and guided raft trips.
Kayaker Tyler Bradt rocketed into stardom in 2009, when he launched himself off Oregon’s 189.5-foot-high Palouse Falls, clinching the record for the highest waterfall ever run in a kayak. He has also racked up a long roster of expeditions, from kayaking the Sea of Cortez to helping distribute water purification devices in Africa. But arguably his coolest project to date is the Wizard’s Eye, a five-year circumnavigation of the globe on a sailboat outfitted with kayaks, surfboards, and plenty of friends.
Tyler Bradt's Gear Pick: NRS Life Jacket
"One thing kayakers never leave home without is a life jacket. “My PFD [personal flotation device] is made by Northwest River Supply, a gear manufacturer and distributor close to my hometown, Missoula, Montana,” Bradt says. “They make some of the best gear in the industry, which makes the stuff we do in Class V whitewater possible.”