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Old 06-16-2015   #1
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Cataraft and Frames from credible builder

I have recently seen many posts on several sites listing the displeasure of companies building, or not performing/delivering cataraft builds.

I wanted to share a very positive experience with Dusty Hanslovan from DRL River Gypsies, the Oregon rep for Sotar. Dusty built custom frames for me with custom Lelock and motor mount extras, a portable anchor mount so I can move a rear seat or motor etc. Excellent frame and passenger pod to fit on 14 foot legend tubes.

Dusty promised frames in 3 weeks and had them done and powder coated in 3 weeks. Every time I changed design, he said "no worries, we will figure it out".

I originally bought the tubes, box, cooler, oars, locks, etc, and would pick up the frames in 3 weeks. I still owed for the frames and custom items, but Dusty shook my hand, took no money and said " we will settle up when you pick up the frames". What a great experience.

If you want someone you can trust to build your boat, get a hold of Dusty at DRL.

Steve Mickels

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Old 06-16-2015   #2
Swank's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 251
Are you talking N.W. Style cat frames or big trip cat frames. I'm very happy with mine from AAA inflatables. 16' tubes 5 bay aluminum frame with speedrail.

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Old 06-17-2015   #3
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Good morning,

You can check out the frames and builds from DRL on his site. Being my 4th cat, I have dealt with several companies, some good and some not so good. There are many credible builders and manufacturers out there, and I thought it important to point out a quality builder that does what he says, when he says, and keeps his word when he shakes your hand.

Dusty is also an Oregon dealer for Sotar, so you can find some great deals on tubes and rafts. He also reps NRS and Aire, and provides discounts when buying a boat on accessories and NRS equipment.
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Old 06-17-2015   #4
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Dusty was great to me when I was building my first Sotar cat.

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Old 06-17-2015   #5
G.Pass, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 34
I have seen the Drl ads for Sotar boats, he usually has really reasonable prices. Sotar is also in my backyard so I just hit the store when I look at stuff. As far as the frames 3 weeks is plenty of time when you are bolting frame pieces together which appears to be what you bought a nrs hybrid something with modified pieces. They are usually standard off the shelf sch 40 heavy pipe. You start getting into custom bent aluminum frames and your wait may increase as there is alot more work involved then a wrench. I have a custom frame on order now, not from Drl but it should be done in August. I actually work a job here in white city and we use lots of aluminum at work but when it came to the frame I wanted we still weren't able to build it here so I had it designed up and being built.
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Old 06-17-2015   #6
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Frames I got from DRL are fully welded and powder coated. Sounds like you have a great builder and frame in mind and I wish you the best on the river.
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Old 06-17-2015   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Stevem, it sounds like you guys up in the NW have a lot of trouble with getting good frames. Fortunately MB has 3 sponsors that build great frames and are also reputable.

If you want great service and a quality frame try either:

DownRiver Equipment in the west Denver, CO metro area,

RiverBoat Works in Salida, CO, or

Whitewater Machine Works close to the Tuolumne River in CA

These are all straight-shooting frame shops.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 06-17-2015   #8
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 8
Thanks Andy,

The DRL frames I got are awesome and are welded and powder coated custom frames. I appreciate the links and have heard great things about the builders you listed. Their reviews are really good as well.

Take care,

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Old 06-17-2015   #9
G.Pass, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 34
Andy, no trouble getting good frames. Vic the old builder from Sotar down here passed away so that did kink sotar a bit. There is another guy doing them now we still have the high end builders Dan at Pro is excellent ,Canyon to the North, Rogue here in grants pass a whole group of guys that build frames in Gold Beach just with anything in demand there is a wait. We build jet boat components and we have a 8 month wait on some things. At my work we found the 5 percent complainers all gather on the interwebs and make things sound way worse than reality the other 95 percent don't get on and say how happy they are so good for Stevem. Good luck selling a Colorado style boat out here they just aren't popular "unles you find a newbie or transplant" when we have access to all the skilled aluminium workers in the area because of the jetboat and driftboat industries. We know when the "SRBS" show from out of town on the river. Squeeks,Rattles and Black Streaks.
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Old 06-17-2015   #10
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
Dusty is awesome and makes a good product. Straight shooter, just doing some boating business on the side after a family and day job.

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I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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