River Surfing


Surfing river waves on a surfboard has been happening for quite some time. It is not until recently though, that it has received worldwide attention and become a popular sport in Missoula, Montana. Here at Zoo Town Surfers, our goal is to make you a self – sufficient river surfing machine. Swimming in the river and the feeling of water rushing underneath your feet is exhilarating and exciting. Once you try river surfing you will be addicted. The equipment is minimal and the fun factor is high.  Surfs Up!

The ZTS basic beginner session will give you a solid introduction to the sport of river surfing.  Each lesson is customized to your ability level and goals.  The sessions are typically around 2 hours on the water.  Location and waves are level dependent and can change on a daily basis.

1 Surfer:  $125
2 Surfers:  $150
3 Surfers:  $200

This trip combines two of our favorite activities:  rafting and river surfing.  We float the classic Alberton Gorge with surfboards in tow, hunting for river waves.  The instructor/guide will make various stops along the way giving you a solid introduction to the sport of river surfing.  This is a full day of shredding! 

$175/Surfer (includes river side lunch)


Surfboard (foamies for beginners)
PFD (personal flotation device)
Quick release leash

Reusable water bottle
Dry clothes to change into
River Shoes (anything but flip-flops)

No experience is necessary
Must be able to swim in Class I-II rapids
Must be in good physical condition
All necessary equipment is included
Time on the water depends on river levels
Meeting location will vary
Delicious riverside lunches from scratch
Age limit depends on river levels/conditions

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding , commonly known as SUP’ing, is an ancient form of surfing that originated in the Hawaiian Islands. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding is a type of surfing where the surfers use a paddle to move through the water while standing on a surfboard, usually ranging from 9-12 feet in length.  Here in Montana, we have seen a huge growth in the sport of Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

You can Stand-Up Paddle Board on rivers, oceans, lakes, ponds, or any open body of water. This is a great way to see the river from a different perspective. SUP’ing is lots of fun, challenging, and is a great “core” workout.  Like whitewater kayaking, it’s recommended that you learn basic techniques and skills before you head to moving water.  If you want to try something fun and challenging, don’t miss out on this great activity!

Zoo Town Surfers offers Stand Up Paddle Boarding on local lakes and rivers.


Half Day Trip  $80  (various sections of the Clark Fork River)

Below is a list of places that we like to Stand Up Paddle Board. Enjoy!

Within an hour drive, there are some amazing lakes and ponds that offer great views of the Mission Mountains, Swan Range, and the Bitterroots.

Harpers, Salmon, and Seeley Lakes are located along Montana 83, just Northeast of  Missoula and offer great Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for all ages and levels.  These three lakes are part of the Clearwater River chain of lakes.

Lake Como is located southwest of Hamilton, Montana.  The lake offers great views, camping, and hiking as well.

Frenchtown Pond is located just west of Missoula, Montana.  Frenchtown Pond is a great place to Stand-Up Paddle Board if your on a time crunch or want to try a new board out.

Missoula is a river community with the Clark Fork River flowing right through downtown. The Blackfoot, Clark Fork, and Bitterroot Rivers all offer great opportunities for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding.

The Clark Fork River has several different sections for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding.  The “town section” is a great float for people looking to spend a few hours on the water, checking out downtown Missoula from a different perspective.

The Tarkio Gorge, located on the lower Clark Fork is a great float for people who are looking for some moving water with some waves and scenery.  The Tarkio Gorge is only five minutes from Crystal Springs, the ZTS headquarters.  This is the most popular section for our stand up paddle board trips.

The Blackfoot River offers several great sections depending on water levels. The Blackfoot is only 15 minutes from Missoula and is on the way to Harpers, Salmon, and Seeley Lakes. Try them all!

The Bitterroot River is a great float for people looking for sun, relaxation, exercise, and some scenery!  Try the section from Buckhouse Bridge to Maclay Flats.

 For more details call (406) 546-0370

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FAQs for Stand Up Paddleboarding

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 experience to SUP?

No!  We will walk you through all of the basics.

What type of shape do I need to be in to river surf?

When you first start river surfing, you will be doing lots of swimming.  Participants need to be in good physical shape.