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Old 06-29-2016   #1
Herm
 
Jensen, Utah
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 16
Star & Rocky Mountain Rafts

I've been running the rivers of the west for 50 years, and during that time I've learned a lot about infltable boats. Indeed I know many of the folks who manufacture the boats, and in the documentation of Inflatable Histories I'm doing, everyone has been extremely cooperative, cooperative to the point of sharing their difficulties, warts and the issues they have encountered. In several cases their help in documenting their history comes dangerously close to taunting for litigation. That's quite admirable. Everyone has been cooperative save two manufacturers. Now the questions I would like answers to are quite simple, things like:
1.) If anything important in addition to the bio in your website please let me know, I’m especially interested in how you made the transition from using outdoor gear to designing river inflatables. I’m assuming you started using basic drafting?
2.) How did you fund the initial manufacture and how you designed your boats.
3.) How/why you chose the name “Star?”
4.) Is the U.S. Coast Guard Manufacturer’s Hull Serial Number: XEQ? If not what is it and do the letters stand for anything.
5.) Names and short bios of other significant people in your company.
6.) Names and information on significant people who were your first big sale, etc.
7.) Did Zebec/Woosung build your first boat? What year? Who did you work with at Woosung?
8.) Challenges and how you overcame them with Zebec/Woosang.
9.) What model Leafield valve did you start with and about when did you change models? Do you use the D7 now?
10.) How did you determine any modifications or changes in design and why they were made (like changes in overlapping wrap of floor, PSI rating recommendation for floor & tubes.)
11.) How many threads /square foot on the drop stitch? And what is the tear strength of a square foot of that fabric.
12.) What was the first boat (model) you designed? Tell me about the challenges in getting it from your thoughts to fruition.
13.) You started using basic drafting? Do you use CAD now? When you designed boats how did you determine things like length, width, tube diameter and kick when you designed your boats?
14.) How do you determine how many bow/stern panels to use?
15.) Are the Starlite models SB or NSB?
16.) Does Zebec/Woosung keep samples of adhesion tear strength, fabric rolls, etc.?
17.) Do you have a dedicated staff to build the boats at Woosang (they only build Star)? How many are the core numbers of workers that build Star?
18.) Approximate square feet of Woosung dedicated to Star manufacture.
19). Especially important are copies or originals of early letters or correspondence, photos of first shipment, and other significant milestones. (If you send them to me I will scan and photograph them and return them – I have a good record with other manufacturers); advertisements (I have some from Down River) but I would really like a copy of your first catalog.
20.) Copies of any magazine or newspaper articles about Star.
21.) Where do your boats import to and how are they handled? Import issues you’ve overcome.
So when I receive no response, after multiple inquiries, for well over a year, one is led to one or more of several conclusions: 1.) They don't know (How can that be?) or 2.) For example: if they cannot explain how they came up with a design, and what that design is supposed to do, and when that design very closely replicates some other manufacturers boats, and it is made in a country that has a history of ignoring patents and/or proprietary rights... well then it appears that the valid explanation is that....
So that is where I'm at with Star and Rocky Mountain Rafts - both manufactured in Asia by Zebec. Their non-help is holding up documenting companies like Achilles, NRS and AIRE. So you get the picture! If you have any information, thoughts or other relevant stuff on these two I would really like you to contact me at; hoops@ubtanet.com If you are interested in the 20= manufacturers I've completed email me, subject: Inflatable history.

Herm

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Old 06-29-2016   #2
 
zbaird's Avatar
 
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
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First, I have been to the RMR factory for consulting and it is absolutely not the same factory as Star. The factory RMR uses welds all the seams and anything else that is possible to weld. Star boats are glued.

Second, I would be surprised if you have gotten real answers to all those questions from every manufacture but Star and RMR but Ive been wrong before.


I have worked with RMR through their development and ill answer what I can about them.

4) Its RMR and is pretty self explanatory. The american company applies for the manufacture code.
7) no. 2010. Didnt build it at zebec/ woosung so no one.
9)c-7. 2015. yes
10) customer feedback/ RMR employees/ yours truly. Changes have been:
D ring/ handle construction (2012 and 2014 i think)
d ring/ handle placement (2012)
floor placement (2012 and 2014 i think)
floor thickness (2014 i think)
floor shape (2014 or 2015)
chafer placement (2012)
valve change from c-7 to d-7 (2015)
12) I think it was the 12'er. The design was made to be an all around boat with performance and gear capacity equally in mind. Such as enough rocker to not get soaked by every little wave and still turn but enough waterline to haul gear without drafting 10". Its not the best of either worlds but it gets er done.
15) The factory does keep samples and testing results
21)Los Angeles


Thats about all I can do for ya. If you have contacted RMR and they havent answered your questions I dont know what to tell you. Could have something to do with confidentiality, intellectual property and trying to avoid making it easy for other/ new manufactures to steal their ideas/ processes.

I'd love to see your compilation. Send it on over to info@raftfix.com
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http://raftfix.com
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Old 06-29-2016   #3
 
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Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 781
I find this interesting, there are so many reasons a manufacturer wouldn't explain this. What's in it for them other than a bunch of possible issues.

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Old 06-30-2016   #4
 
Monte Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoops View Post
I've been running the rivers of the west for 50 years, and during that time I've learned a lot about infltable boats. Indeed I know many of the folks who manufacture the boats, and in the documentation of Inflatable Histories I'm doing, everyone has been extremely cooperative, cooperative to the point of sharing their difficulties, warts and the issues they have encountered. In several cases their help in documenting their history comes dangerously close to taunting for litigation. That's quite admirable. Everyone has been cooperative save two manufacturers. Now the questions I would like answers to are quite simple, things like:
1.) If anything important in addition to the bio in your website please let me know, I’m especially interested in how you made the transition from using outdoor gear to designing river inflatables. I’m assuming you started using basic drafting?
2.) How did you fund the initial manufacture and how you designed your boats.
3.) How/why you chose the name “Star?”
4.) Is the U.S. Coast Guard Manufacturer’s Hull Serial Number: XEQ? If not what is it and do the letters stand for anything.
5.) Names and short bios of other significant people in your company.
6.) Names and information on significant people who were your first big sale, etc.
7.) Did Zebec/Woosung build your first boat? What year? Who did you work with at Woosung?
8.) Challenges and how you overcame them with Zebec/Woosang.
9.) What model Leafield valve did you start with and about when did you change models? Do you use the D7 now?
10.) How did you determine any modifications or changes in design and why they were made (like changes in overlapping wrap of floor, PSI rating recommendation for floor & tubes.)
11.) How many threads /square foot on the drop stitch? And what is the tear strength of a square foot of that fabric.
12.) What was the first boat (model) you designed? Tell me about the challenges in getting it from your thoughts to fruition.
13.) You started using basic drafting? Do you use CAD now? When you designed boats how did you determine things like length, width, tube diameter and kick when you designed your boats?
14.) How do you determine how many bow/stern panels to use?
15.) Are the Starlite models SB or NSB?
16.) Does Zebec/Woosung keep samples of adhesion tear strength, fabric rolls, etc.?
17.) Do you have a dedicated staff to build the boats at Woosang (they only build Star)? How many are the core numbers of workers that build Star?
18.) Approximate square feet of Woosung dedicated to Star manufacture.
19). Especially important are copies or originals of early letters or correspondence, photos of first shipment, and other significant milestones. (If you send them to me I will scan and photograph them and return them – I have a good record with other manufacturers); advertisements (I have some from Down River) but I would really like a copy of your first catalog.
20.) Copies of any magazine or newspaper articles about Star.
21.) Where do your boats import to and how are they handled? Import issues you’ve overcome.
So when I receive no response, after multiple inquiries, for well over a year, one is led to one or more of several conclusions: 1.) They don't know (How can that be?) or 2.) For example: if they cannot explain how they came up with a design, and what that design is supposed to do, and when that design very closely replicates some other manufacturers boats, and it is made in a country that has a history of ignoring patents and/or proprietary rights... well then it appears that the valid explanation is that....
So that is where I'm at with Star and Rocky Mountain Rafts - both manufactured in Asia by Zebec. Their non-help is holding up documenting companies like Achilles, NRS and AIRE. So you get the picture! If you have any information, thoughts or other relevant stuff on these two I would really like you to contact me at; hoops@ubtanet.com If you are interested in the 20= manufacturers I've completed email me, subject: Inflatable history.

Herm

Weak sauce man...weak sauce. Bobby at RMR is always picking up the phone.

Way to try and pirate people's ideas and processes. Move on...


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Old 06-30-2016   #5
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 45
Just so you all know.... Herm is a long time river runner, activist, and river historian. He's documenting the development and evolution of river running, not developing his own product. He works with libraries, not Chinese manufacturers.

An example of his work.

http://www.westwatercanyon.com/herm%...Fabricator.pdf

Geez. Ask why he wants it instead of jumping to conclusions.
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Old 06-30-2016   #6
Herm
 
Jensen, Utah
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 16
So when it comes to responding to SLVCampo I have no problem with big time, blond neophytes expressing their go pro mindless thoughts without knowing much. I too was once in that category.... but without the go pro and with pen in hand. But before you spew your words across the internet like some grass fattened Hereford, you might want to take a brief look at some of the other folks who have also commented!:SOME COMMENTS ABOUT THE HISTORY OF RIVER INFLATABLES PROJECT
History of Inflatable Boats and How They Saved Rivers & The History of Rubber Fabricators, B.F. Goodrich, Rubber Crafters and Demaree inflatable Boats:.
-----
River Management Society Documentary Review - By Greg Trainer
"The History of Inflatable Boats and How They Saved Rivers" by Herm Hoops, Jensen, Utah
When I wrote to Herm indicating that I wanted to do a review of his "book" on rubber boats, he was quick to respond that it was a documentation of inflatable boats. I was amazed at the depth of detail, history, and photographs depicting the rise and continued development of the inflatable boat industry. He has managed to collect hundreds of photographs, drawings, illustrations, and first person interviews of the key manufacturers and principals of that industry. He has traveled thousands of miles on his own dime and hundreds of hours on his own dime.
The documentary is bound in a large, three-ring binder with plastic pocket holders for the narrative and photographs holding histories going back to pre-civil war times and up through the current period. The most fascinating part of his documentary are the photographs of the United State Army and the miles of truck-mounted pontoons that got the 3rd Army over the hundreds of streams, canals, and rivers spread across Europe. It was not just the Allies but also the Axis powers that depended on bridge building and squad-level transportation across rivers where no bridges existed. From the time of the Civil War, the European Theater, and down the rivers of Southeast Asia the inflatable boat was there.
A consummate storyteller, Herm, a RMS member, can be found at all the Colorado and Utah Guide and Outfitter meetings, at the annual Moab River Rendezvous, and the RMS-sponsored River Ranger Rendezvous. A large man, with a black curly beard and a booming, deep voice, Herm has been a ranger at Dinosaur National Monument, has worked with many of the non-profit organizations running our SW rivers.
I would also say that Herm has devoted thousands of hours and weeks of travel over the years gathering the data for his histories. He has gone to the sources, the principals of the companies that he describes. When finding the principals gone , he has gone to the "next of kin," unearthing files, lists, photographs, and journals of the people that made the industry that made the river runners, and that saved the rivers. Herm has discovered the interconnectedness between the people and the companies that makes this a truly amazing story.
-----
"This week an encyclopedic ring-binder full of river rafting history magically landed on my cluttered desk. One peek inside and I was hooked by this detailed, illustrated treatise on our epic battle to succeed at aquatic travel. Utah naturalist Herm Hoops has compiled over a century of intriguing river running history, including information on everything from ancient animal skin bladders to the fabrication of inflatable rubber assault rafts and military bridge pontoons. He recognizes influential Jackson river pioneers credited with advanced rafting contributions. In a nutshell, if you’ve ever enjoyed setting a foot (butt?) In a raft or any other river-worthy conveyance, Hoops’ "The History Of Inflatable Boats and How They Saved Rivers " is well worth your attention, Hoops will present his history at the annual Jackson River rendezvous.
- Jackson Hole News; May 29 2013; Paul Braun - Outdoor Editor
-----
Herm
I really and honestly admire the work you've done; I tell everyone it's pure, original research that no one else is doing and you're to be commended. 
- Roy Webb, C.A.; Multimedia Archivist, Special Collections Department; J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
-----
Dear Mr. Hoops,
Last week, our friend Elson Miles came by our offices here in Flagstaff with a copy of your wonderful historic reference: The History of Inflatable Boats and How They Saved Rivers (The Pedigree of The Wild Rivers Expeditions Boats)...WE LOVE IT!!!!!
 
I was grateful to find your offer in the back pocket of the binder! May I order a full paper copy with photographs? Thank you for creating this "labor of love and frustration"! It is the most complete record of the history of inflatable boats we have ever seen. We look forward to hearing from you!
- Sincerely, Nancy (Nancy and Bruce Helin; Professional River Outfitters, Inc; Flagstaff AZ)
-----
Dear Herm: This project you are on is monumental.  I value this work so much, and I know that it is for the most part a labor of love.  I used the PDF of How Rubber Boats Saved Rivers of the West on my web site.  The research is incredible, and even though there is a limited number of us that hold such an intense interest in this, I think we all appreciate it very much. 
My hat is off to you.
- Jack Kloepfer (Jack’s Plastic Welding Inc. Aztec, NM)
-----
Hi Herm,
We received the blue prints, the DVD, the History of Swanson Boat Oar Company and the copy of The Dream Builders. Thank you so much! You've put a lot of work into this project and it shows!! Ron is happy about it and glad to have the material you've put together so well.
- Jana and Ron (Smith) (Grand Canyon Expeditions)
-----
Herm: What a labor of love your work is, thank you for the very kind words about us. We’ve had quite a ride with DIB and you are a big part of it. Your efforts will be a big help for future river runners who want to learn the history and we will enjoy many years perusing it. Thank you for all your hard work, traveling and perseverance.
- Mimi and Dave Demaree; Demaree Inflatable Boats (DIB)
-----
Dear Herman:
Thank you for your "History of Inflatable Boats." You made an impressive study of the boats and I’m really glad to have a copy for the family. I learned a lot from your "project" and I’m sure the "Dreams" (Bob as well and Pete and Ran looking down) are happy to know they made a contribution to white water rafting.
- Elizabety (Betty) Zannoni (Widow of Rubber Fabricators Founder Pete Zannoni)


 
Domar & Canyon Inflatables
Herm Hoops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for your timeless efforts in piecing together the history of rubber rafts - Gary and I are honored to have the edition you sent to us about Domar ... a wonderful project that launched so many different projects for us at Man of Rubber River Gear. Herm, your dedication is notable and your efforts are so very much appreciated by us
- your friends...Gary & Beth Harper (Man of Rubber)
-----
Herm,
Just got home from Arizona and found  your  package in the mail box!  What  great compilation of the History of Domar/Canyon Inflatable's.  You’re tireless  research has pulled together so nicely the  history and "back-story" of how Domar came to be, the challenges along the way and the unfortunate  conclusion of a labor of love for George, Gary and myself. Our goal was to produce the  best river boats around however the challenges of working with Italy, the high  "upfront" cost of manufacturing and competitive innovation trumped us in the end. The era of whitewater rafting boats and equipment innovation was certainly at its peak back then and I observe that so many of the  ideas and concepts  developed during this period  continue to be the standard bearer of  rafting today.  I’m proud to have played a role.

Again, my hat is off to you for this very thorough history and timeline. I do hope our paths will cross one day and we can sit down and enjoy a cold one and  relive a few more stories. I hope we’re sitting on a boat!
- Best Regards, Mike Walker (Domar & Canyon Inflatables)
-----


Leyland and Eurocraft Inflatables

Thank you for a wonderful synopsis of a large part of my life. I would love a copy of the final article and so would Chris Chadwick.I think the Leyland Historical Society would love one too.
My very best regards.
- Chris Burrows (Leyland/Eurocraft- Great Britain)


Campways & Riken
Hi Herm
Amazing book you created. I had no idea of the scope.
- Jon Osgood (Campways & American Whitewater Expeditions)
 


 
 
 
 
 
Ron Smith’s River Canoe
Wow - thanks Herm, very informative.  I really enjoyed it. Frank Sullivan
-----
Herm
Ron and I appreciate your accurate documentation of Ron’s river kayaks and canoes. It is rewarding to Ron to know someone is interested in preserving his contributions to river running.
Jana Smith
 


 
Maravia & Holcombe (and Colorado Headwaters & Stream Tech)
Thanks for all the information. It is an impressive project you have taken on. Congratulations on a job well done. 
Doug Tims (Maravia Founder)



Sea Eagle
Herm I am curious about the huge amount of work you have put into preserving the histories of various inflatable boat companies. What is the reason? I applaud all the hard work you have obviously done. I have the feeling we have been in touch in the past.
Best regards, Cecil Hoge (CEO Sea Eagle)
-----
Great informative read, Herm! Thanks for another piece of inflatable history.
Walt Carr
 
 


Misc. Comments
I love your determination and diligence in gathering all the correct scoop! 
- All the best. Loie Evans (Belknap) (Westwater Books)
-----
Herm: I gave you a little extra for dinner! Your contribution to the rafting history is unbelievable.
- Dave Mackay (Colorado Rivers and Trails)
-----

Congratulations, once again, on your absolutely stellar work! This is really interesting and very well done. Thank you – from all of us rafting history buffs – for all the time and work involved in doing this! I have quite a few of your publications in digital form, and would love to have all of them. Would it be too much trouble to email the entire set?  I would love to be able to pass them along to my descendants (along with 30 year old raft and gear)!
- Cecil Kuhne (writer: Whitewater Rafting; River Rafting; and others)
-----

 
Herm – Keep up the great work – nobody else is doing it – I certainly appreciate it.
- Richard David Quartaroli (River Historian, Northern Arizona University)
-----

Dear Herm
It was great reading the massive work you have compiled on rafts and the importance they have contributed to society both recreationally, in exploration, and in times of war. What a wonderful contribution to history! Having had the privilege to raft with you on several times on rivers in the west, I can attest to your devotion and love of the rivers and rafting them. I, for one, can't thank you enough for the exposure of seeing many of the beauties of the west....the flora, the wildlife, canyons, ancient dwellings, the rivers, sunsets,etc. I am grateful that we have someone who cares enough to share their knowledge. Keep up your good work and be proud of your accomplishments.
- Edie Warthin

-----
 
Hello Herm, you are doing a great service, thank you very much and we would probably like to make a donation to help support your work next year. Keep up the valuable work.
Kind regards
David Evans - Technical Sales Leafield Marine Limited; Wiltshire, SN12 8SB
-----
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Old 06-30-2016   #7
 
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,129
You are a well-established authority and figure in the community. That is true. Documenting elements of our communities history is an appreciated effort. That said, you created a post with a fairly large assumption about a company that has helped many people on this forum get on, and stay on, rivers. What appears to be a sincere effort to gather information was polluted by a few of your statements. As has been highlighted, there are a myriad of reasons a manufacturer like RMR may choose not to disclose information to you and that list only grows when you make the assumptions made here. I know if I was a small business owner and I saw your thread I would feel justified in my decision not to provide proprietary information.

Best of luck in what sounds like a great project.
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Old 06-30-2016   #8
 
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Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
You are a well-established authority and figure in the community. That is true. Documenting elements of our communities history is an appreciated effort. That said, you created a post with a fairly large assumption about a company that has helped many people on this forum get on, and stay on, rivers. What appears to be a sincere effort to gather information was polluted by a few of your statements. As has been highlighted, there are a myriad of reasons a manufacturer like RMR may choose not to disclose information to you and that list only grows when you make the assumptions made here. I know if I was a small business owner and I saw your thread I would feel justified in my decision not to provide proprietary information.

Best of luck in what sounds like a great project.
My thoughts exactly his two options given at the end of his post are not very friendly.

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Old 06-30-2016   #9
Herm
 
Jensen, Utah
Paddling Since: 1966
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 16
Thanks Denny Hugo - Rocky Mountain rafts and Zach of Raftfix for getting back to me. Will try and do a credible job with your history, and I will pull this misanthropical missive soon.


Herm
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Old 07-01-2016   #10
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,114
Zach, Bobby and Denny all rock. Thanks again Zach for the help on the nrs. Heat gun got her done. Nothing but great support from these guys.

The storm is my favorite boat ever and comes at a price even a kayaker can afford. Slaying fish in two didgit flows. Wetter than a ........... When you want it dirty.
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