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Discussion Starter #1
Just for the hell of it I am trying to put together a list of info about popular whitewater inflatables manufacturers.

I am looking for company start dates, location Changes, dates boats were introduced, and dates Major changes were made in materials, boat designs/accessories and any other random knowledge you might have on these manufacturers.

Please add other popular manufactures that I haven't listed.

Here is what I have so far


Aire: 1989 Meridian Idaho

Sotar: 1980 Merlin Oregon

Maravia: 1872 Boise Idaho

JPW: Started business in 1982 became incorporated in 1988 in Bondad Colorado. Moved to Aztec New Mexico in 1990 - Present

NRS: Started in 1972. Not sure when they started making boats. Boats are made in Mexico.

Thanks


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I'm pretty sure Maravia started in either Point Richmond, or San Rafael, CA.

Demaree in Maryland would be a big one to leave off the list. I think they were always in Friendsville, MD.
There's also Custom Inflatables.
NRS has had boats made in Japan too, and possibly Taiwan. And of course China for quite a while now.
Hyside started off as "Sunrunner" when the boats were Taiwanese, but moved around late 1986 or early '87 to Korea.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I wasn't counting the Chinese off shoots of NRS or Aire, but I guess I should. Do you know what year Aire introduced the Tributary line?

I am not sure when RMR started, but I know it wasn't that long ago.



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I want to say Trib started (with the Tomcat kayaks) around 2002 or 2003, but Sheena would know better than I.
There is also Airtight Inflatables, maker of the Shredder. They are 100% American as far as I know. And a company called Canyon Inflatables out of CO that made some super high quality boats, but was only around a few years.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I want to say Trib started (with the Tomcat kayaks) around 2002 or 2003, but Sheena would know better than I.
There is also Airtight Inflatables, maker of the Shredder. They are 100% American as far as I know. And a company called Canyon Inflatables out of CO that made some super high quality boats, but was only around a few years.

Canyon was bought out by a company called Rogue. Their website says they will continue to make boats with the Canyon designs. Not sure if they will still be made in the states though.

http://www.canyoninflatables.com/


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Actually, I was thinking of Colorado Headwaters. Don't know why but I tend to mix them up with Canyon. The guy at C.H.was named Chris, and he had a really good reputation & was a super nice person. Unfortunately he had an awful lot of hours into building his boats so that may have broke the camel's back.
What's confusing is that there was another Canyon Inflatables around in the late 80's or early 90's that had nothing to do with the Oregon Canyon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not finding much info on Colorado Headwaters. I did find one page that said they started business in about 1994. Does that sound right to you?


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Yes, and I think they lasted maybe 2-1/2 years. Not a long run, but great boats while they produced them. Probably the best workmanship I ever saw.
 

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I still have a Colorado Headwaters in my family fleet. The material is very good, but all of those boats were constructed with butted seams. I think that the butted seams are why the company didn't last. My tubes are still holding together, but I have seen other boats with seam problems because of the design.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I still have a Colorado Headwaters in my family fleet. The material is very good, but all of those boats were constructed with butted seams. I think that the butted seams are why the company didn't last. My tubes are still holding together, but I have seen other boats with seam problems because of the design.

Hey Mike, would you mind posting a picture of it here?


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Discussion Starter #14
That's another thing to add. If you have an older inflatable (let's say up to year 2000) please post a picture here with the date of manufacture if you know it (usually the last 2 digits in the serial #). That would be a huge help to show the changes through out the years.


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Don't forget Achilles, my 1985 is running strong after years as a commercial paddle boat. Let me know if you need pictures
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How long did the original Avon build boats for? What is the long version for the acronym Avon?


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Discussion Starter #19
Update #1

Please let me know if any of this info is incorrect.

Aire (Argonaut Inflatable Research & Engineering): Founded in 1989 in Meridian, Idaho. Started by Alan Hamilton, Kris Walker, Greg Ramp, Dennis Hill and Bob Perlatti. Originally used a German PVC from the Heywinkel company, but then switched to a French PVC from Ferrari in the mid-nineties. They are still using the Ferrari PVC today. Aire also makes some entry level boats overseas in China. These boats go under the name Tributary.

Sotar (State of the Art Raft): Founded in 1980 in Merlin, Oregon

NRS (Northwest River Supply): Founded in 1972. Not sure when they started making boats. Boats are made in Mexico, Outlaw boats are made in China. Panel Orca (hypalon), Outlaw boats are PVC.

Maravia (Marine & Aviation): Founded in 1972 in Boise, Idaho.

JPW (Jack's Plastic Welding): Founded in 1982. Incorporated in 1988 in Bondad Colorado. Moved to Aztec New Mexico in 1990 - Present.

Avon: Founded in 1959 in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. They moved to Llanelli, Carmarthenshire in the 1960s. The company was sold to Zodiac Marine of France in 1998.

DIB (Demaree Inflatable Boats): Founded in 1982 in Friendsville, MD

CH (Colorado Headwaters): Founded in 1994?

R&R inflatables: 1984 Grants Pass, Oregon. R&R merged with Maravia around 1987

CI (Custom Inflatables): Founded in 1989 in Reedsville, West Virginia. First boat was the Supper Duck soon followed by the Thrillseeker IK.




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Discussion Starter #20
After some digging I did find another source saying Maravia was founded in CA. Not sure what town. They moved to Idaho in 1985.


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