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Grand Canyon Experts !? Tube Seam Rips Causes and Questions?

3240 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  catflipper
attached are the photos from the raft. My interoperation of the seem rip is as follows.

1. The stern - starboard chamber deflated due to a seem rip in the flat water after unkar rapid in the Grand Canyon June 2014 flows 7.5 -13k (cfs).
2. Photo 1 & 3 shows a clear abrasion along the floor and toward the stern and rip area.
3. Photo 2 shows the rip is along a seam which suggest a pressure rip on a weakest external point within the camber this rip is along the abrasion area seen in photo 1 and 3.
4. I am unsure of the boats age or total amount of use on the grand and other rivers as we rented it from an out fitter. I suspect it was getting towards the end of its life as all champers needed toping off daily in order to stay at or above the recommended 2.5 psi.

Questions for Mountain Buzz Experts:

1. Are rips along seems common in grand canyon or other rivers? If so does this happen more often with newer or older boats?
2. Was this a result of a older boat - with weaker seems or was it a result of involuntary user use?
3. How much do you think it should cost to professionally repair this rip?


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I'm no grand expert, or boat failure expert for that matter, but my first impression is that I would have been surprised if that boat didn't come back with some sort of failure. It appears to be well worn, to say the least. The failure photo seems to show plenty of wear nearby (when and where that wear happened is anybody's guess) but the threads in the fabric seem off colored to me. Don't know what kind of boat it is, nor how long they were exposed to water but it certainly wouldn't be beyond conceivable that they had been getting wet and rotted. If the rental company is blaming you I would cry BS. From what the pictures indicate to me, the failure is just part of the life a raft and the rental company should offer their apologies for renting worn out crap, not asking you to finance their fleet maintenance.

All that said if you overinflated it then slammed it into a sharp rock then things could be on your head. Only you know that for sure, but to me pinning seam failure on a customer is at best questionable...
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interpretation? Me thinks.

Oh and I think they rented you a steaming pile of worn out goo.
No expert for sure but given the multitude of other patches on that boat it looked pretty trashed before you got it. I would probably say on a river like the grand you're going to have a lot less patching and issues versus other rivers due to its structure. Fairly deep with sandy beaches and big waves. I mean it's not like bouncing down the Ark hitting every rock in sight sometimes and dragging bottom.
either he had some weird sepia function on his camera or that's the worst rental boat i've ever seen!! with all that rubber worn down to the fabric i'm not surprised the fabric is rotting away.
don't let em make you pay for that shit man.
that's a serious patch in a serious spot. who rented you that boat anyway?
Well, I'm no expert, but I'd say that's one POS raft they rented you. The fabric looks old, worn and tired, and the multiple patches suggest it's had a long, hard life. No surprise it ripped on your Canyon trip.
I have an old raft (18 yrs.) and it doesn't look like that pos. They should have retired that boat along time ago!
Yeah I am curious too as to who rented that boat as we are right now in the process of working with an outfitter for our next April trip. We are renting 6 boats and they claim they are all top notch. That one wasn't. Maybe let us know if there is someone to avoid.

I think some of the "worn look" was just sand on the boat, but I did count 5 patches...

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*I processed the light

1. I should add a disclaimer that I adjusted the light on the original photos in Lightroom to make the abrasion and existing patches on the raft show better.

2. (2 of the 6) patches in the first post photos I applied while repairing the boat on the river.

Attached are the four images. The first is close up from my camera of the exact area of failure. The next three are from their repair work.

Currently, I am debating (with the outfitting company) on weather or not the rip occurred on a interior seam with the outfitter after agreeing to pay the cost. Their contention is that the rip is not along a seam. If it is not along a seam then what would define the rip area as?

Perhaps the better question is which grand canyon outfitter provides the highest quality boats? I have used REO, PRO River and Ceiba. I liked PROs boats the best. They also have a sweet DC powered water filter system.


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That is a better asked question. The company we are currently working with is Canyon REO. A few friends who will also be on that trip just used them and thought it went great.

An unsolicited gripe about REO. They outfitted us too to bottom in May. The rubber was all solid. The straps were awful. The ammo cans leaked.

The food was dismal. The quality was good but the quantities were awful. The tiny portions left us all Losing 7-10 lbs. One breakfast was 4oz yogurt, 1 nutrigrain bar and half an apple. Roughly 280 calories.
Typical lunch was 4 slices bread, 2oz meat, tomatoes, lettuce, and a can of Pringles split 16 ways.
We literally begged food off of other parties.

We leapfrogged a party of 5 outfitted by REO who had the exact quantities we had. Night 2 tilapia. Us: 16 3 oz portions them: 15 3oz portions.

Gripe off.

Again, good rubber!

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Lets keeps this honest and positive

I should add another disclaimer and request for this form. Honesty and positivity.

I do not want this to be a space to drag the various grand canyon private trip river outfitters names trough the gutter. It is unfair to them.

My original intent was to get the communities perspective on a raft seam failures incident. And that was more than accomplished.

Intent number two was to create a space for honest and positive based recommendations to outfitters based on more positive trip experiences. I DO NOT want to feel responsible for starting a wild fire for flaming outfitting companies based on negative experiences. If that is your goal please create another thread and let this one die smiling.
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