Thursday, April 17, 2014
Why Inflatable Kayak – Orange Torpedo Trips
Why Inflatable Kayak
By Mike Slagle
AKA – “the Great One” AKA – “Old Man River”
When Jerry Bentley founded Orange Torpedo Trips in 1969, he pioneered a mode of river travel that would forever alter whitewater boating. Paddlers of his orange inflatable kayaks discovered an experience more rewarding and fun than that provided by the traditional raft as craft. Through the experience, they learned a little more about who they were and were given a glimpse into the great things they could do.
Torpedos are flat out fun. In a torpedo (i.e., an IK), paddlers are closer to the river than is possible in other types of boats. You can actually feel the currents and eddies working beneath you. You connect with the river and begin to feel its power, rhythms and speed. After a day or so, your boat becomes like an extension of your body and your reaction and adjustments to the constantly changing river like second nature. Navigating our custom designed Torpedos, you come to learn that even the smallest waves give way to the roller coaster rides that makes the rapids so fun. Bigger boats merely bounce through the waves, whereas the IK climbs and dives and vaults in an exciting ride that typically elicits ecstatic hollering from its paddler.
Paddling your own IK is uniquely rewarding. Riding on a large raft or paddling with a group on a raft is fun, but when you captain your own IK, it is your boat under your control and YOU are the one who navigates success-fully through the rapids. With this, you become a member of an elite fraternity of river people. A proud mother remarked to me regarding her 13-year-old son, that paddling his own boat was far beyond anything had ever done, in terms of both physical and mental challenges. It was something that she felt changed him. They both went home different than the people they were when they came and proud of what they had done. Be the captain of your own boat. Take my word for it: there’s nothing else quite like it!
Mike has been guiding for OTT since 1971 and has inflatable kayaked rivers including, though by no means limited to: The Rogue, Middle/Main/Lower Salmon, Klamath, Umpqua, Illinois, Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Upper Yough and the Sun Kosi of Nepal.