The Hellbender is a short, hard-chined squirt boat designed for paddlers with a 28-32″ inseam. (Longer legs? Look for the Underdawg) At 8′ in length, the boat is a quick and nimble river-runner that can carve up waves and shred holes with abandon. It’s quite bossable. The signature hard chines and fairly flat hull make it responsive and fast in heavy whitewater, while low volume allows quick mushes on the fly into seams and boils. This well-rounded design can make the entire river an amusement park; holes, waves, eddylines, boils, seams and rock pillows, there’s no river feature that a Hellbender can’t turn into a playspot. The boat is not bad for mysteries…it will sink willingly, but the hard chines require you to stay on top of the boat at all times to keep it level and spinning. Surfing, cartwheels, mushmoves, and cruising on your ‘to do’ list? Here’s the tool for that.
This is an excellent competition design as well, having taken the Silver and Bronze medals at the 2002 PreWorld Freestyle Championships (Men’s Squirt and Women’s Squirt, respectively) and Silver at the 2002 US National Championships (Men’s Squirt).
About Jim Snyder
Jim is a world famous kayak designer and paddle maker. He’s been doing both for decades and is credited with helping the sport evolve into the cubic state it is in today. He was one of the pioneers of squirtboating and was the first person to cartwheel a kayak on flatwater in 1981. Jim began his whitewater career as a raft guide and lives like a squire in northern West Virginia. He was inducted into the International Whitewater Hall of Fame years ago but claims he only needs rocks and water to keep himself happy.
In 1980/81, Jim designed his first kayak- the Slice. It was the first commercially produced short boat in the country. The next year Jess Whittemore kicked off the sport of Squirt Boating by discovering many new exciting moves in his long pointy squirt boats~ fun things like Blasting and Splats. Jim detoured into trying to design a cartwheel-able boat and went off to design his own shorter squirt designs. In 1983 Phoenix Kayaks started making Jim’s Arc design and an early prototype of that design (the “Baby Arc”) was the boat he did the first flatwater cartwheels in- fetching 12 ends right off the bat in January of ’83. New Wave Kayaks started making his designs in 1985 and they were the major factor in popularizing the sport of squirt boating. Today Jim’s designs are produced by Murky Water and PS Composites.
Visit Jim’s Website