Tsunami Rangers Go Inflatable

by Nancy Soares on July 13, 2015

by Tsunami Ranger Commander Michael Powers

Editor’s note: Thanks to photographers Rob Cala and Dave Norket, as well as our own Michael Powers, for the photos!

TRs Steve and Tim breaking the wave barrier
TRs Steve “El Rey” King and Tim Sullivan breaking the wave barrier

On a day with moderate winter surf conditions, three of the senior Rangers – Steven King, Tim Sullivan and Michael Powers – and long-time friends of the Rangers Rob Cala and Davey Norket, converged at Moss Beach in northern California to test out a new inflatable Advanced Elements double kayak. The boat was one of AE’s “advanced frame expedition” boats that come with a unique zip-in deck with inflatable cowlings and spray skirts. Michael was considering using the inflatables for his upcoming multi-day paddling expeditions along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and along the remote southern coast of Cuba.

Landing in rocks and surf: check!
Landing in rocks and surf: check!

Rangers King and Sullivan launched the boat from a little beach surrounded by the rugged and rocky coastline of Moss Beach, a favorite haunt of the Rangers for past paddling escapades. A short distance north of here was where Powers photographed Eric Soares, Jim Kakuk and Misha Dynnikov punching through surf and rocks for the cover of their book EXTREME SEA KAYAKING. Just to the south was infamous “Sniveler’s Slit”, where Kakuk crashed face-first into the rocks while attempting to surf into the Slit during the making of the Rangers’ first serious film effort, THE ADVENTURES OF THE TSUNAMI RANGERS – viewable now on VIMEO at:    https://vimeo.com/39383078 .

Surfing: check!

Surfing: check!

During this latest Tsunami adventure the Advanced Elements inflatable kayak performed surprisingly well, even though AE designer/owner Clay Haller probably never envisioned his boats being subjected  the punishing conditions of surf zone paddling for which the Rangers are well known. Even with repeated punching through breaking waves, capsizes, and surf landings over rocks, the AE boat and the Rangers survived without a scratch – which was much better than many hard-shell boats have fared at the hands of the Rangers.

Kodak moment: check!

Kodak moment: check!

Bring us you hard shell, your inflatable, your whatever and we’ll try it out! We’ll surf it, crash it, and maybe you’ll get it back intact. Or maybe not…

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Ladd July 14, 2015 at 5:16 am

Thanks for sharing! Go to know of an inflatable travel boat that is tough and TR approved. I wonder what the Rangers would do to the new plastic Epic V7 surfski?


Nancy Soares July 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Well, Frank, as a matter of fact, Tsunami Ranger John Dixon paddled an Epic V7 in the most recent Reef Madness extreme sea kayak race. You can read about it in our previous post at https://tsunamirangers.com/2015/06/22/reef-madness-2015/ He’s very skilled and managed to get through all the surf zones unscathed. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment! Cheers!


Haley C. October 12, 2016 at 7:08 pm

I should think this should put to rest any fears that inflatable kayaks are less safe or durable than traditional kayaks! AE in particular makes some top of the line IKs. Looks like you had a blast testing it out!


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