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Founder and CEO, First Descents
Born in Kalispell, Montana, Brad Ludden is one of the world’s top white water kayakers and the face of the burgeoning extreme sport. Ludden grew up near Glacier National Park and began kayaking when he was 9 years old. He established himself as one of the top freestyle kayakers in the world before the age of 20, winning numerous competitions, earning bronze and silver medals at the world championships, and landing several big-name sponsors, including Nike and Subaru. Over the last several years Ludden has made more than 100 first river descents on some of the most exotic and dangerous rivers in the world.
At age 18, in the prime of his kayaking career, Ludden founded “First Descents,” a charitable organization that puts on kayaking camps for young adults with cancer. Over the past decade the organization has continued to thrive and touch many lives, growing from one camp the initial year to nine camps being offered in the summer of 2009 in six states. In November 2008 Ludden was named Cosmopolitan magazine’s “2008 Most Eligible Bachelor” and, true to form, donated his winnings to his beloved charity.