For me there is only one type of board that suits my lifestyle and where i want to paddle. I was recently asked why I was using an Inflatable on the Yukon River Quest. My immediate response was: Why not !! They told me that they had seen the speed of a 14 foot rigid board and they thought it was better than an inflatable.
My decision is a bit more calculated, and based on my previous river journey experience, you wouldn’t catch me dead on a rigid board in the wilderness environment.
Why not! There is a massive risk of damaging your hull on rocks when you have to land on a rocky shoreline to stop for food or more personal important matters.
When we need a pee or worse, to eat, or just need to stop NOW !!. How are we going to land on a rocky shoreline on our own in a swift flowing river, to get our boards secured onto a rock strewn shore.
Grating up against the rocks on the shore is not the best way to beach your board. Given that there is just one of us on our 14 foot boards. With the boards being so long, we will struggle to haul/carry them onto the shore. With around 30 to 40 kgs strapped to their decks without snapping our fin off.
Damaging of your hull on rocks can lead to boards splitting or breaking in two. It’s been seen many times in Surf Competitions, Rigid boards being snapped in the surf and washed to shore as the Inflatable’s head out to sea to complete the course and return unscared.
We have a couple of rapids to negotiate, Once again a massive risk to the boards. If we fall off, the risk of the boards being crashed into the cliffs around these rapids will almost certainly lead to damage or destruction.
Low water levels in the river will expose the rocky river banks and indeed reduce the river levels causing more rough water stretches. Yet more chances to hit some rocks.
Well that’s the if’s, probably won’t happens, but could and you never know what’s around the corner.
I guess you could pop an inflatable. But the boards I ride have been scientifically tested, thrown of the top of a warehouse, driven over by a 4 x4 farm tractor with a front end fork lift with telescopic boom on it. “Geeze that gotta hurt your feet if you got to close!”. Just in case you think I’m nutts, (and a few people do). Click the link to see what I mean. View Video here.
But seriously, it a nut shell, Why do I ride Red Paddle Co, I want to do my own thing, I wanna go where I wanna go, So I need a “do anything, go anywhere Board”. I roll it up and it goes with Me. In my Van, In the Plane, on my mate’s boat.
My Red Paddle Co board has rounded The Great Orme headland (Wales) in heavy seas, Journeyed the length of the Severn River (UK), crossed Bounced off rocks on the shores of Loch Ness as friends and I paddled along the Caledonian canal, The length of the Clutha River (NZ) diced with Ice bergs in the Tasman Glacier Moraine Lake (NZ), Menai straits and North Wales Coastline.
Now My Go anywhere, Do anything, Red Paddle Co 14 elite race board is going to roll up and journey to Canada to complete in the 2016 Yukon River Quest.