Brad Ludden

Founder of First Descents

Don't get too caught up in what has yet to happen or what has happened. Try to stay present in what is happening.

A world-class kayaker who also happens to be a world-class human being.

At the age of 13, Brad’s parents told him he could do anything he wanted with his life. He took it literally and did the thing he loved the most – whitewater kayaking.

By 18 he was living his dream; he had signed on as Nike’s first sponsored whitewater kayaker, was on the cover of Outside Magazine, travelling the globe in search of first descents on remote rivers, and filming with the largest production companies in the outdoor industry.

Despite all of his success, something was missing. Brad felt he needed to find a way to share the bounty of positive effects whitewater kayaking had had on his life by giving the gift of outdoor adventure to others who needed it more. He settled on young adults with cancer after watching his Aunt fight the disease a few years earlier and First Descents was born.

Thirteen years later, First Descents – an organisation that provides free outdoor adventure therapy to young adults with cancer – has helped over 2,000 young adults live beyond their disease by providing them free multi-day adventure experiences.


Waterman With Soul
Brad LuddenAdventure
After years kayaking some of the world's most dangerous rapids, Brad realised that what he was actually searching for was to feel presence. This is a powerful talk about telling the people you love what you feel before it's too late.
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