CKS Partner Post: Longboat Racing Tips from Chris Hipgrave

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(By Jonny Ortiz/CKS): Longboat season is here, so CKS got a minute to chat with longboat legend Chris Hilgrave to share a few tips going into race season.

Races this fall include the Upper Yough Race, Ocoee Race, Russell Fork Race and coveted Green Race, so we were stoked to get with Chris Hipgrave, a longboat veteran and Director of Sales for Pyranha Kayaks, for a few tips and tricks on how to sharpen the knife, smooth the lines and go a bit faster this fall.

Longboat Racing Tips

CKS: Could you give us a brief synopsis of your successes in a long boat? Brag on yourself!
I’ve been privileged to have had a long paddlesports racing career and have been on the podium at an early Green Race, multiple times at the Chattooga, Russell Fork, Gauley, Ocoee, Southeastern Whitewater Championships, was on the USA Wildwater team for over a decade and got several National titles over that time too. I’m sure I am forgetting some, but I just love racing of all kinds. Racing on whitewater is the ultimate test of your fitness, technical prowess and mental fortitude.

CKS: If you were to give one outfitting tip to the team of longboat go getters out there, what would it be?
Everyone has personal preferences, but for me, the easier the whitewater the looser I want to be, within reason. I personally like the boat to be active underneath me rather than tight like I might be in my Ripper for example, where I want to throw the boat around. This allows me to really activate my core and legs and drive the boat aggressively. If I am too tight, I find my efficiency declines and speed comes down. However, in more technical whitewater like the Russell Fork, I will be a little tighter to get a little more control of of my boat. After all, it doesn’t matter how fast you are if you are in an eddy, pointed in the wrong direction or upside down.

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