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River surfing has been around since the early 1970s. It was not until recently though, that it started to
enjoy worldwide attention, thanks in part to artificial, man-made waves constructed on rivers across
the United States. Surfing is a global sport, and in every mountain town there are landlocked
locals looking to shred.

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Come swim around in the river with us! Surf’s up!

River waves are created by three fundamental elements: water, rock, and gradient. Luckily, here in Missoula, Montana, we have this essential combination on our favorite rivers: the Clark Fork, Blackfoot and Lochsa Rivers both offer a variety of river surfing options for different ability levels. One of the best things about river surfing in Missoula is how inclusive local river surfers are. The only competition is who can have the most fun out there on the wave! 

In 2006, Brennan’s Wave replaced a tangled mess of concrete and rebar on the Clark Fork in downtown Missoula. Brennan’s Wave facilitates endless entertainment for a broad base of local river enthusiasts. Pipeline Wave on the Lochsa River is a glassy, world-class wave that forms every spring. The Alberton Gorge, just west of Missoula on the Clark Fork, provides tremendous river surfing options all year long.

If you have ever stared at a wave, and thought “Maybe I can surf that…” our response is YES YOU CAN! Swimming in the river with the feeling of water rushing underneath your feet is exhilarating and exciting. Once you try river surfing, you will be hooked!

River Surfing

Our surf destinations are flexible and our decisions are based on river conditions, your ability level, and your unique goals.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

If you are looking for sightseeing, wildlife viewing, or just pure relaxation, this trip is for you!

Surfing FAQ

Cancellation Policy

As long as you cancel 48 hours or more before the scheduled date of your trip, you will receive a full refund. Refunds will not be issued for cancellations made within 48 hours of a trip’s scheduled departure time. ZTS reserves the right to cancel a trip at any time due to 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 alternate booking will be arranged.

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

Honestly, you need to be in pretty good physical shape. You will be doing lots of swimming, and the stronger you feel, the more fun you’ll have. .

Do I need prior experience to try river surfing?

Absolutely not! We will start at the beginning and teach you the basics. We love teaching beginners!

How many people can take a lesson at a time?

We can take up to four people in a session…so invite a buddy or two!

Where will we go for the lesson?

Our choice of river venue depends on your prior experience and current water levels. Typically, though, we will enjoy Brennan’s Wave in downtown Missoula! It’s convenient, close to post-surf libations, and a perfect introduction to river surfing on the Clark Fork!