The Nonsense Cafe

Where tall tales, real and imagined, absurd and compelling, are served with a smile

Category Archives: You’re Awesome

You’re Awesome: Brad Ludden

Brad Ludden is a literal superstar in the world of professional whitewater kayaking. He began his affair with fast-moving water as a young boy, ultimately ascending to the pinnacle of the sport. This did not come easily. Kayaking can have an unforgiving learning curve and Ludden’s passage through those trials was not smooth sailing. Admittedly, encounters with confidence-shaking terror proved to be nearly impassable obstacles for Brad, at one point leading him to quit the sport for an entire year. I get this. I have not been back in my kayak since almost cashing in on The Big Thompson River almost two years ago. Fortunately I walked away with only a dislocated elbow, an absolutely pulped lower body and back, hypothermia, and a determination to never stuff myself into a tube of hard plastic on a violent river again (at least, that is how I feel now…). Brad Ludden, however, did find his way back into the current. Flash forward a number of years and Ludden is a professional that travels the world, seeing places that most of us could not even imagine, and tackling rapids that only a handful of kayakers would even dare. His accomplishments are legion though his greatest feat, in his eyes, is his establishment of First Descents, a non-profit kayaking camp for young adults with cancer. Kayaking is unlike any other sport in the world. It is at the same time intimidating, exhilarating, challenging, and inspiring. But perhaps above all else, it is empowering. Through First Descents, Brad Ludden brings that empowerment to ordinary people confronted with extraordinary circumstances and within the boundaries of moving water, opens the horizons of a moving soul. Brad Ludden, you are awesome.

Please take a moment to watch the story of Brad and First Descents.


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