Zoo Town Surfers offers the most progressive whitewater kayak instruction available in Montana.  From beginners to experts, there is a perfect location for every skill level in the Missoula Valley.  Our goal is to make kayaking fun, safe, and accessible.  All of our instructors are certified ACA (American Canoe Association) instructors and swiftwater rescue technicians.  Watching our students progress and have fun on the river inspires our instructors to teach, explore, and work on the river.   It’s a passion that we want to share with others.  All experts were once beginners so what are you waiting for!  Start your kayak journey today.


Zoo Town Surfers understands that sometimes you just can’t take the entire day off or free up a whole weekend.  Whether you’re a total beginner, looking to refine your stroke technique, perfect the roll, or learn some new freestyle moves at Brennan’s Wave, hourly kayak lessons is the answer to your busy schedule.  Our dedicated kayak instructors combined with clear and concise teaching techniques will allow you to progress quickly and safely to the next level.


As instructors, we understand that everyone has a different learning style.  Being able to address those different styles allow us create a lesson plan that is tailored specifically to your needs and goals.  Our personalized instruction is available on an individual or small group basis.  Full Day Privates are great for beginners and experts.   Beginner or Expert, and anything in between, a full day private lesson is the ticket for progression and skill building.


Learn how to kayak “sunny side up” by signing up for a 2 day introductory kayaking clinic with Zoo Town Surfers.  Our clinics will give you a solid introduction to the sport of whitewater kayaking and provide the necessary building blocks to become a competent boater.  The clinic begins on shore with goals and expectations from our students, and then progress to the pond.  We then introduce the students to basic whitewater kayaking skills such as stretching, posture, underwater comfort, wet exit, beginner stroke progression, hip snaps, T-rescues and much more.   On the river we focus on safety/awareness, boat control, eddy turns, ferries, and the Eskimo roll.  Missoula Montana offers some of the best instructional rivers in the world.


The youth kayak team creates the opportunity for local teenagers to kayak safely through a fun and supportive club atmosphere.  Under the tutelage of expert ACA instructors and positive mentors, we focus on teamwork, river safety, and kayak skills all summer long. Students in the youth kayak club are organized into three different groups:  beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  The club meets Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  There are skill benchmarks within each group, which gives the students goals, allowing students to have fun and continually progress throughout the summer


Paddle down the river on a sit on top kayak – no experience is needed!  Sit on top kayaks are great for folks who want an adventure but are worried about being upside down in a kayak or are not ready to take a 2 day introduction to kayak class.

The fun and convenient and fun benefit of a Sit-on-Top kayak is the ease of maneuvering downstream combined with its stability and forgiving nature. Should you tip over, it is easy to recover and get ‘back on the horse’. You just climb back on!

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Cancellation Policy

Payment is required in full.  Cancellations made 48 hours or more before the date of your trip, will receive a full refund.  Refunds will not be issued for cancellations made within 48 hours of a trip’s departure time.  ZTS reserves the right to cancel a trip at any time if faced with unsuitable or unsafe weather or river conditions.  If ZTS is forced to cancel a trip, you will be notified immediately and a full refund or alternative booking will be arranged.

Do I need any kayak experience prior to taking a ZTS class or lesson?

The answer is NO!  We teach all levels of kayaking from beginner to advanced.  We love beginners!

Do I need my own kayak?

No, but if you have one, bring it!

Will I be upside down if I'm learning how to whitewater kayak?

Yes!  One of the first skills we work on is underwater comfort.  Getting comfortable upside down in your kayak is an essential skill to learning the sport.

Are full day lessons structured to individual skill level?

Our full day lessons are structured based on your skill level.

What type of gear should I bring for a kayak lesson?

Booties or river sandals



Re-usable water bottle

Non-bulky synthetic layers like nylon, poly, or fleece.  (anything but cotton)

Bathing suit

Dry clothes for after

Reusable water bottle