ludden getting ready to kayak

Brad Ludden: Career, Hottest Bachelor & Net Worth

Brad Ludden is a professional kayaker and also in recent years, a philanthropist. 

In addition to being one of the most famous kayakers globally, he has also done significant charity.

ludden getting ready to kayak
Brad on his kayak before starting (source:

Not only is he a professional sportsperson, but he is also a great person.

The professional kayaker is also the founder of First Descents, a charity organization dedicated to cancer patients.

Quick Facts

Full Name Brad Ludden
Nicknames Daril, Biff, Bud, B
Date of birth May 8, 1981
Birthplace Sheridan, Wyoming
Age 42 years old
Parents Chuck Ludden, Jinny Ludden
Siblings N/A
Nationality American
Ethnicity American
Zodiac Sign  Taurus
Height 5 ft 11 in
Weight 190 lb (86 kg)
Body Type Athletic
Eye Color Green
Hair Color Light Brown
Sexual Orientation Straight
High School Flathead High School
University N/A
Marital status Single
Children N/A
First international At 12 years old
Profession Professional Kayaker
Achievements and Titles Japan Open 1998, Lofer Rodeo Austria 2000, x Freestyle Athlete of the year
Representing Country  America
Salary N/A
Net worth $1 million – $5 million in 2024
Year active 1993 – Present
Social Network Twitter, Facebook
Merch First Descents: In Search of Wild Rivers
Last update April, 2024

Brad Ludden: Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance

Firstly, Ludden stands 5 feet and 11 inches tall. Secondly, he has a body weight of 190 lbs or 86 kg.

Additionally, he has beautiful green eyes that go very well with his light brown hair, scruffy beard (occasionally), and gentle smile.

In addition to having a handsome face, the professional kayaker has a solid build.

Brad posing with an unbuttoned shirt
Him posing for Cosmopolitan magazine (source: cosmopolitan)

Previously, he did not have such a muscular build. But, later, through his friendship with Kelly Starrett, a CrossFit trainer, he developed such a muscular physique.

Initially, brad believed he did not need strong legs for his sport. But after CrossFit, he saw significant improvement in kayaking.

In conclusion, he is still capable of powering through whitewater and continuing his kayaking journey. 

As a result of a handsome face and a muscular physique, Brad was named the hottest bachelor by the Cosmopolitan Magazine in 2008.

Brad Ludden: Early Life and Kayaking Debut

Brad Ludden was born in Wyoming and later raised in Northwest Montana. 

While he was young, he spent his days in outdoor activities with his family. 

For instance, he went hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, and, indeed, kayaking. But he was most passionate about kayaking.

As a result, he is now a professional kayaker.

Because his father, Chuck, and mother, Jinny, were always supportive of his choices in life, he considers himself to be very lucky.

Furthermore, they gave him his first kayak at the age of nine.

As a result of his passion and parents’ support, Brad was already kayaking internationally by twelve.

In addition to having a passion for kayaking from a young age, he went to high school. 

Moreover, his school’s name is American public secondary school located in Kalispell named Flathead High School.

You might be interested to know about another athlete who loved the water, David Florence, who once even attempted to be an astronaut.

Brad Ludden: Career

Firstly, his parents gave him all the support and his first kayak when he was nine.

Secondly, at age 12, he was already traveling and competing internationally.

As a result, by 18 years of age, he had traveled to over 20 countries for kayaking and was sponsored by Nike.

Above all, after traveling to several locations, he found his true passion within the sport, with his first descents.

First descents refer to the first time a person successfully kayaks a river or section of a river. In addition, it has to have never been done before.

After that, he began to perform numerous first descents. Consequently, he found an immense challenge, adventure, and personal growth from the sport.

As a result, a large part of Brad’s identity became tied to his pursuit of first descents.

Kayaker using power stroke
Ludden kayaking through white water (source:

Brad has kayaked for Teva, Dagger, AT Paddles, Kokatat, and Smith Optics in his journey as a professional kayaker.

However, he is mainly recognized for his runs with the dagger as his sporting partner.


He has managed to win some kayaking competitions on the international level.

For instance, he became 1st in Japan Open 1998 and Lofer Rodeo Austria 2000.

In addition, he won several Teva Mountain Games medals between the years 2001 and 2008.

Similarly, he became 3rd in the Cadet Division at the JR Nationals 1994. After that, he won the 1999 JR National Freestyle.

On the other hand, he failed to take the world title for the same competition in 1997 and 1999.

As a result, he could only capture 3rd place and 2nd place, respectively.

Similarly, he managed to take the title of the second runner-up in the European Open 1998.

Likewise, he was named athlete of the year by Adventure Quest Kayak Academy in 1998 and 1999.

To sum up, he had a decent career as a professional kayaker. Meanwhile, he was also named a CNN Hero for his charity ‘First Descents’.

Athletes Giving Blog

In the middle of 2009, Brad Ludden started writing blogs. 

In this blog, he wrote about different athletes celebrities who were involved in charity works.

Although his blogs are now only available in internet archives, we can still read several of his blogs about different athletes.

In his blog, he has stated that the mission of ‘Athletes Giving’ is to inspire activism by showcasing passionate athletes who are making a difference.

You might also be interested to know about the Major Athletes in the World Right Now.

First Descents

First Descent is a non-profit charitable organization that provides outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer.

In addition, it also helps patients with other severe health conditions.

Brad Ludden founded First Descents at the age of 20.


Despite his successful kayaking journey, Ludden felt something missing in his life.

Additionally, he wanted to share the experience of outdoor adventure with others who needed it more.

Initially, first descents was something related only to the sport for Ludden.

Similarly, Cancer was also just another word for Brad until his aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer at 38.

After his beloved aunt’s breast cancer diagnosis when he was 12, his mother began to volunteer work at a local pediatric oncology camp.

In addition, she asked him to join her for the volunteer work. Indeed, Brad did.

As a result of volunteering in the camps and watching his aunt fight the disease, he decided to do more at 18.

Hence, he decided to share his passion for kayaking with people suffering from various diseases.

Because he knew kayaking was filled with joy and freedom, he believed it had much to offer to young people facing terrifying diagnoses.

Camp Participants posing
Participants of First Descents Kayak Camp posing for a photo (source:

Moreover, Kayaking provided the empowerment of learning a new challenging skill and the splendor of nature.

After realizing he could help people while continuing his kayaking, he began constructing First Descent in 1999 and finished in 2001.

20 years and counting

It is now 20 years since the founding of First Descents. During its 20-year history, the charity has run over a thousand programs nationwide.

As a result, this organization has been able to serve nearly ten thousand young adult survivors.

Moreover, the charity has established relationships with more than 150 medical centers nationwide.

In other words, they are now able to reach patients closer to the time of diagnosis effectively.

Meanwhile, in 2020, the charity also expanded the program to serve healthcare professionals on the frontlines of COVID-19.

As a result of founding the charity and its success, Brad Ludden won a CNN hero award in 2016.

Brad Ludden: Net Worth

In 2024, the total net worth of Brad Ludden is estimated to be around $18 million.

His primary income sources are his sponsors for the kayaking sport.

For instance, he has sponsorships deals with various companies such as Nike, Smith Optics, Dagger Kayaks, Subaru, AT Paddles, Kokatat, and Training Day.

Additionally, he was also involved in filmography in 2010 to produce a short documentary. Moreover, the documentary’s name is The River Ward.

Moreover, he was involved in the documentary as an assistant editor and also acted in the documentary.

During the same year, he also appeared in a TV Series named ‘Last Call with Carson Daly.’

You might be interested to know the net worth, investment, and charity of another famous athlete from the WWE, Triple H.

Brad Ludden: Social Media Presence 

Brad Ludden made a name for himself in Kayaking. Ludden is present in various social media platforms.

Moreover, he has a Twitter account with over 1k followers and a Facebook account.

Brad Ludden: FAQs

What did Brad Ludden get as the prize for ‘hottest bachelor’ in 2008?

As the prize for the hottest bachelor, Brad Ludden received an amount of $10,000, which was used for helping cancer patients through First Descents.

How does First Descents charity help patients?

As said by one of the patients, “Through First Descents, I realized it was possible to live fully and joyfully after cancer.”

What are three extra things to know about Brad Ludden?

Firstly, Brad Ludden is left-handed; second, he has a Boston terrier named Frannkie; and finally, he has a plane which he pilots himself.

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