Get to know Chaco Ambassador Chris Gragtmans!

Home Town: Picton, Ontario, Canada.

Currently residing: I’ve lived in Asheville, NC for nine years and it is now my home. I love it here and think this will be home base here for the foreseeable future!

How many pair of Chacos do you currently own? Four.

Chaco sandal or shoe of choice: Definitely the Flip EcoTread for kicking it on the beach or around the grill! The Ponsul is my shoe for the river. It’s crucial to be confident in what I have on my feet when I’m scrambling around slippery rocks to scout or portage committing drops and canyons. This shoe is also comfortable and supportive for long hikes in and out of rivers. 


Where is your favorite place in the world? Tough one, but if I had to pick just one it would be my parents’ place in Picton, Ontario. Incredible Hobie Cat sailing and SUP right off the dock, and only a three hour drive to the world’s best freestyle kayaking on the Ottawa, Gatineau, and St. Lawrence Rivers.

What is playing on your iPod? Variety is the spice of life. Macklemore, Zion I, Bob Marley, Mumford and Sons, Tom Petty, Sting, Rihanna and many others keep me pretty stoked.  

Best paddle of your life? I think I’d have to chalk up the two weeks that I spent at the 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix as the best paddle of my life.  It was an unreal event with 25 invited kayakers from across the globe, traveling around to the best whitewater in Quebec during a massive spring runoff to determine the best overall kayaker in the world.  I pushed myself as hard as I could, ran some of the toughest rapids and surfed the biggest waves of my life, had great times with my friends, and even got Giardia.  I was stoked to come home with 6th place overall and can’t wait to try to improve on that in the 2014 WWGP.

If you were a super hero, which one would you be, why? As long as we’re dreaming, I think I’d rather be an animal than a superhero. And my top choice would be a Peregrine Falcon- fastest animal on Earth.

Favorite quote?  “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy’.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” -John Lennon

About Chris Gragtmans: As a competitive whitewater kayaker, I have been fortunate to travel the world since I was 15 years old to compete, explore, and push myself and my sport.  There is no place that I am happier than immersed in a deep river gorge, working with the river to disseminate her intricate puzzles.  These days, I can also be found on my SUP board, downhill mountain bike, skis, or doing CrossFit and Krav Maga.  I want to be a student of Nature’s lessons every day for the rest of my life. 

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