Originally Posted by eddy hopper
I had an interest in this thread because I too would like to know what the Avon story is and who sells them because when my 22 year old Adventurer wears out I'd like to replace it with another 14' Avon adventurer. The bummer of it is it could be a while before my "old" boat wears out.
I've been rowing since 78' when Avon's were'nt seen often around CO but when you did see one, you knew it was a better boat than Campways (which later became Riken), Udisco or the early Maravia. Avon had the same double-sided "calendered" hypalon fabric until about 2001, when it switched to a neoprene inside/hypalon outside fabric, very similar to NRS. It is still calendered, so better than some of the older boats, which would start to check, peel, and delaminate over time. Google up "calendering" to find out what that is.
My buddy Jim still rows a 1974 model Avon squareback, which shows no sign of breaking down. Sure, a few seam leaks and, more likely, the valve stem seals need replacing, but the fabric is going strong. My brother Mike had a 78 boat of same quality, always held air, stayed tight, etc. I've had an 85, an 88 and now a 93 Pro, and also an 86 Adventurer. The old Avon fabric still can't be beat. My 93, to this day, holds air for days and days and days, I mean, unless I get a grain of sand in a valve or something, I can do a 6 day trip and not pump once after launch. Other than pressure changes from temperature changes, it stays firm.
I'm not sure the 2000 and later Avons will hold up the same. Time will tell. The NRS boats I've seen are very, very good. I'm almost ready to say that at this point in time, for a layered fabric boat (neoprene inside/hypalon outside) NRS and Avon may be nearly the same quality, but I'll wait about 10 years before deciding.
However, one company is still making double-sided hypalon, and that is Hyside. Hypalon inside and out, calendered together to the core fabric. Very good fabric and system.
At the present time, no one in the US is stocking Avons to my knowledge. The competition from NRS, Maravia, Sotar, etc., made it hard to compete. That's why Clavey stopped stocking them. Mark up on boats is not that much.
Finally, DuPont, the original maker of so-called "Hypalon" also stopped making it, forcing everyone who makes fabric to source the hypalon substance from other manufacturers. Avon's fabric is made in France and the boats are built in Wales. Not sure where NRS boats are built or where the fabric is made.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.