Larger and smaller rafts are available but are better suited to specialized uses rather than general recreational activities. The 130A is still a guide favorite, and a raft that we continue to use in an expedition capacity for protocol and training runs because it’s an excellent training boat that is highly responsive, and in the hands of an experienced paddling crew it can run some pretty amazing whitewater when it’s not weighed down. This design has larger tubes and is narrower than other raft designs that are for similar uses, and it does just fine, and in a lot of ways is superior. This rubber ducky is light and lots of fun. It is sleek, fast, useable, and in the words of one of our trip leaders on the Skykomish; “it just gets the job done”. Alpine Adventures offers guided whitewater rafting trips & scenic raft floats throughout Washington State. Lead guides on the Skykomish River did not report back any serious complaints, and as this raft was utilized alongside a very popular raft in Washington, the Aire 130R, it was reportedly nimble enough to keep up and handle the steep technical drops of Boulder Drop on the Skykomish. However, the best spot for whitewater rafting is at Jinja, Uganda where … Small Paddle Raft (12' and under) R2/R4 Shootout, 14 foot Whitewater Raft Comparison Shootout, 13 foot whitewater raft comparison shootout, Small Paddle Raft (12' and under) R2/R4 shootout, River Rescue Throw Bags, Ropes, and Static Lines, Triad River Tours, 336 36th Street, Suite #191, Bellingham, WA, 98225, USA, https://www.nrs.com/product/86038.01/nrs-outlaw-130-self-bailing-rafts, http://www.aire.com/tributary-raft/tributary-thirteen-hd.asp, http://www.maravia.com/index.php/main/product_detail/154/7, https://www.nrs.com/product/1081/nrs-e-132d-self-bailing-rafts, https://sotar.com/products/sotar-st-13-classic-raft, http://www.maravia.com/index.php/main/product_detail/173/4, https://www.nrs.com/product/1136/nrs-otter-130-self-bailing-rafts, http://www.aire.com/aire-raft/super-puma.asp, https://www.nrs.com/product/1076/nrs-e-136-self-bailing-rafts. Nonetheless, if money is no object, and you want to have a private rapid running raft for the rest of your life; call Sotar and tell them we sent you. Ours was also printed in the colors of the American flag because we ordered it on 4th of July weekend, which is cute. While there is a common perception that NRS rafts are not rigid enough to drop waterfalls, if it’s pumped up enough it handles the steep “fence” drop through the needle on Boulder Drop just fine, and could be made tight enough to run Husum Falls on the White Salmon so long as a frame wasn’t involved and the tubes were pumped up intentionally tight. Most of the rafts have video footage that has been analyzed by management, and feedback reports given by the guides have caused them to be ranked where they are. The Otter Livery comes in many sizes, but we like the Livery 106 because NRS added an extra foot of space. Instead it occupies a niche in a raft fleet for a commercial operation in it’s ability to take 3-5 guests comfortably down lower water on technical rivers. The raft does not have the low water abilities of the Super Puma or even it’s smaller sibling, the E-130. We put this on the list as one of the best “starter” binoculars at an incredibly affordable price. Like a little racing car, it’s size makes it a speedster. The tubes are 20.5, making it pretty thick and capable of carrying a lot of weight down the river. The Hyside design is commercial friendly, and perhaps a little to stout for most private boater use. The E series is also a nice medium between the R (round) and D (diminishing) tube designs of their other rafts in that it isn’t as sluggish as the R series and is more stable than the D series. So, if you need a raft that is a little larger than most self-bailers out there, this is the boat build for party people. Often times you see the 14 foot raft holding this position in other states, but in Washington where the narrow channels and coastal conditions mandate a tight fit, the 13 foot raft reigns supreme. The criteria for our rankings are weighted with the most importance being given to safety, ride, and maneuverability in whitewater (think; the boat the guides liked the best), next to that durability vs. cost (something that’s important in any river rafting business), and finally the look and feel of the boat as it relates to the preference of the guests. The Aire Super Puma was recommended to us by a local kayaker who worked on the Upper Yough in Maryland, with a river similar to ours in some ways and a system similiar; technical, steep drops, quick turns, well compensated guides, simple system. Flowing through North Cascades National Park the Skagit River is known best … The NRS Otter 130 Whitewater Raft. Furthermore, there will never be another raft of this design that surpasses it’s abilities in the type of water it was designed for (see the Hyside Max 12.0 or the Star Wonder Bug). Source: http://www.aire.com/aire-raft/130d.asp, Worst thing about it: Excelled at things more relevant to the private rafter market. Ultimately, if this list is being utilized to make a purchase by a private rafter, it’s vital to recognize that the boats being used for commercial and training purposes place a very high importance on safely getting 6 novice paddlers down Class 4 water. The floor is stable enough to stand on but not self-bailing. Source: https://www.nrs.com/product/1081/nrs-e-132d-self-bailing-rafts. Notably, the crew of Triad River Tours did like this raft and it ended up on the river a lot, and there was one commercial trip where the river swelled just before getting started and it handled the big water surprisingly well, making it a much better choice than a Super Puma for big whitewater. They get full props from us for being Johnny on the spot with custom designs, and being just in general a great group of people to work with. Ready for big water and big rapids? If you put it in technical Class 4 water, or you get her turned sideways for even an instant and you’re upside down. The 143D is fast, turns well as a straight paddle raft, and the … AIRE decided to redesign their well-made boats. Meeting at the perfect crossroads of … The E-136, quite simply, has almost no weakness, and for that reason it tends to own other rafts because no matter what you do, if you run whitewater rafting trips long enough, the weakness of your system will be exposed. One of the top rafts out there, we like that this 14-footer only weighs 119 pounds. The design of the Super Puma can really only be done by Aire as it has the continuous rocker of the sewn outer skin. So, when you set out to learn how to guide a river trip professionally or privately, you’ll be learning from the best. 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