Who is Missoula’s Brennan’s Wave Named For?
You've seen the kayakers and surfers on Brennan's Wave on the Clark Fork River, in a variety of weather, while groups of locals and tourists alike gather to watch the action. It's a bit of a strange sight, seeing kayakers on the water in the middle of a small city no where near the coast. But there they are, making Missoula awesome. I love when visitors ask, "what's with the people walking around with surfboards?" We get that from members of touring band quite a bit.
Everyone knows about Brennan's Wave, but do you know the history? The Wave is named after Missoulian Brennan Guth, who was a world class kayaker who paddled waters around the world. Sadly, he passed away in Chile in 2001, doing what he loved most. Brennan's family, friends, fans and community came together to build the Wave in his honor. It's a $300,000 man made wave that you can see from the spectator deck at the edge of Caras Park. It's been featured in a variety of magazines, websites and TV shows because it's such a unique feature for a non-coastal state, and part of what makes Missoula so eccentric.
The Wave became so popular that Missoula actually hosted the U.S. Freestyle Kayaking Championships in 2010, and according to the Missoula Downtown Association, drew in a crowd of more than 5,000 spectators. Each time we drive over Orange or Higgins Street Bridges, we always look to see if the surfers and kayakers are on the water, and even in pouring rain or early morning cold, there they are, adding another reason for locals to smile about the place where we live.