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Lady of the Fork

Does the idea of racing intimidate you? The pressure of winning taking over the experience itself?
Come spend a day with us at the Russel Fork as we warm up on the beautiful upper Russel Fork and then take to the gorge to prep for the Lord (and Lady) of the Fork Race! Learn from some of the best in our paddling community as they share tips, tricks, and lessons learned from their time racing on the Russel Fork.

This day is focusing on encouraging women of all levels and racing experience to participate in racing, be it on your local run or in the Russel Forks’ Lord of the Fork Race. Learn how to prep for any race, how the pros dissect a river, use the features to their advantage, find the fastest lines, and most importantly do so safely.

What does this event look like?

Saturday, October 17th, 2020

Yoga*: Start your morning with a session of paddler specific yoga where we will channel our “inner racer” (and limber up) with our very own Katie Houston.

Upper Group Paddle: We then head up for a splashy wake-up/ warm-up with the group on the upper Russel Fork. (The upper trip is for all paddlers and is not race-focused.) Soak in the beauty of the fall leaves and great class III which offers a good opportunity to get to know each other.

At the conclusion of the upper paddle, we will meet up with those who want to participate in the race prep and head into the gorge!

The Gorge: This section of the event will be led by Chris Hipgrave and Dane Jackson!! Yes, you read that right, two of kayaking’s most successful racers and paddlers team up to share their secrets!

Participants of this portion of the event should be somewhat familiar with the gorge already to ensure we are focusing on race lines and other techniques and not learning the rapids for the first time. (Friday releases offer a good opportunity to knock the dust off if its been a while and we will be out there if you want to come along, reach out to us directly!). Be prepared for a longer day on the river as we will be scouting lines from the boat and onshore, running rapids where the river allows multiple times, and of course… HAVING FUN!

Event Conclusion: At the conclusion of the gorge paddle, all participants are invited to the event conclusion held at Ratliff hole in the pavilion. Here we will share/review media on a big screen and further discuss race-related topics. This is your chance to have the pros/participants analyze your GoPro footage from the day. We encourage you to bring warm dry gear, beverages of your choice, and food while we socialize! (6′ apart of course!)

*optional but encouraged events

Your lead instructors:

What to bring (on the river):

  • Long/short boats welcome
  • Safety equipment (rope is required, no rope = no paddle)
  • Plenty of food and drinks in your kayak (it’s going to be a long day and you will get HUNGRY)
  • Cameras/GoPro for learning
  • An open mind, a great attitude, and ready to learn!

Full Agenda You will need to coordinate your own shuttle and have it set BEFORE the day’s event!

Friday, October 16th

Check-in at campsites (if spending the night at Breaks)
*note there are very few options in town for food so bring what you need with you. Breaks has a restaurant on-site as well.

Saturday, October 17th

  • 8:30 am Paddler Yoga– lead by Katie Houston at Ratliff hole – Mask Required**

9 am Checkin at Ratliff hole (gorge takeout)

  • Event Welcome
  • Check out Boat Demos From Pyrahna and Jackson Kayaks
  • Depart for upper Putin at 10 am.

10:30 am meet at upper Putin

  • Safety expectations & group division if necessary

12 arrive at upper takeout/gorge Putin

12:15 Gorge trip meets (1-2 laps if possible depending on pace)

  • Safety & Participant expectation
  • Introduction & event flow

4 pm Gorge trip ends– Ratliff hole

  • Conclusion of event:
    • Video breakdown with the help of Dane Jackson, Chris Hipgrave, and participants.
    • The anatomy of RF race lines
    • How to use features to go fast
    • Race strategy
    • Paddle form for racing with Chris Hipgrave
    • Socialize – bring your own food and drinks


This event is exclusively for females