After establishing himself as one of the world’s premier whitewater kayakers, Team NRS athlete Tyler Bradt has been steadily broadening his horizons for years, becoming a world class adventurer and explorer in addition to being a world class paddler. That progression will culminate this spring with the launch of the Wizard’s Eye Expedition. Leaving La Paz, Mexico aboard a 44-foot sailboat, Bradt and crew will undertake a five-year global adventure that combines time-honored exploration with modern-day action sports. The expedition will take Bradt and crew to some of the world’s most beautiful, remote and severe locations. Whitewater kayaking, surfing, kite boarding, mountaineering, deep sea diving and BASE jumping are just some of the activities they’ll pursue along the way. Their goal is to explore the limits of what’s humanly possibly while exploring the farthest reaches of the planet.
We caught up with Tyler for a quick email interview while he and the crew prepared the boat for the first leg of their trip – crossing the Pacific to New Zealand.
How are the preparations coming? Setting sail soon?
Preparations for setting sail have been coming along steadily for the past two months. Getting the boat ready to rally took a little more time than expected, and we still have a few items left to accomplish but at this point we have the minimum to set sail to cross the pacific. Just a few luxuries that would make the crossing more comfortable remain. We’ll be setting sail by April 1st.
What was your biggest challenge with getting ready?
The biggest challenge in the expedition thus far was getting the boat and making the expedition a reality. At this point I’m doing the things I’m good at: working out logistics, problem solving, and getting all the practical elements that will go into our survival dialed. From where we sit right now, there’s no question about whether the expedition will happen or not. We are finally doing this!
What’s going through your mind as you get ready to launch? That must be a pretty wild feeling.
It’s been such a big task to get the boat ready and get everything set for the crossing that the excitement hasn’t really set in yet, but the triumphs of getting to this point have been plenty to keep the team moral high.
Anyway, what business does a Montana boy have sailing across the Pacific?
I’ve always strived to take myself out of my comfort zone and diversify my experiences as much as possible. To me this expedition is the ultimate adventure. Being able to use time-honored techniques of exploration and couple them with modern day extreme sport exploration is my wildest dream, and the Wizard’s Eye Expedition is my personal realization of that.
Five years away from home is a long time. Are you bringing any Montucky mementos?
I’ve got Missoula Montana painted across the back of the boat, as it’s my home port. I think the most important Montana memento I’m bringing along is the spirit of the place – the happiness of being able to represent the 406 around the world and knowing I’ll get to those places without leaving the planet’s surface.
With such a limited amount of storage on the boat and gear for just about any adventure, what guilty pleasures made the cut?
All my guilty pleasures are locked into the toys we have on the boat. We can literally do pretty much anything, from wingsuit base jumping to scuba diving, with the gear we have onboard. Aside from that, I think a few Tecates from Mexico and a couple bottles of rum might find their way onboard. We’ve also got a few PBRs rattling around, waiting for the special day of christening the boat.
If your crew was a band, who would play which instrument?
Well, we’re all set in that department. I brought my fiddle, Ryan has a guitar and Harry gifted Jordan a few recorders he rescued from throwaway pile at a grade school, so, between the three of us, I’m sure we’ll have invented the newest kind of horrible music to hit your ears by the time we get across.
What kind of music would you guys play?
I think it will be kinda like classical reggae.
A bunch of dudes crossing the Pacific on a sailboat… Which crew member is most likely to get thrown overboard?
The team has whittled itself down to three of us, and it’s usually the captain who gets chucked over, so I guess that would be me.
You’ll be out on the ocean for weeks at a time; after the chores are done, how will you fill the time?
I’m a firm believer that only boring people get bored, I’m sure we will come up with all kinds of funny things to entertain ourselves with.
What do you think you’ll miss most about the mainland?
I think I’ll miss a lot about the mainland, but it will make all those things that much sweeter when we get back. Living on a boat is going to be a whole new experience for me, but water is one of the things I love most, so it’s kind of a welcome feeling to be able to spend so much time in, around and on the water.
You’ll be spending some time in New Zealand after the crossing. Any rivers you’re itching to run?
I’ve got two Dagger kayaks strapped to the boat, a Nomad and a Mamba, so no whitewater will be safe when I get to it.
What are some of the important pieces of NRS gear you’re bringing with you, and how will they help?
About all of our most clutch pieces of equipment are NRS. From the straps holding down everything on deck, to dry boxes, our cooler, foul-weather gear, life jackets, and the clothes on our back. More than anything, this shows the incredible diversity in NRS’s line of products. This expedition is lucky to have the support of NRS. To put it really short, we are stoked!
Check out the expedition teaser: