anyone have HDPE drift boat experience?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Bob Neal, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Bob Neal Member

    Posts: 66
    Maple Valley, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hello all,
    I'm in the data gathering stages of a boat purchase for early next year. I've got a buddy who owns a Boulder Boat Works drifter which is made of HDPE with wood trim...he loves it but the boat is in Colorado so I can't check it out in person. The other main manufacturer of these polymer hull boats is Hog Island Boat Works. They are made slightly differently, with the BBW boat being "welded" sheets of HDPE and Hog Island boats are "roto-molded" which results in a hull that makes an HDPE-foam-HDPE sandwich. They are apparently slippery, quiet, not too hot/cold, durable. The Hog Island boat is actually unsinkable...it got some sort of coastguard certification as such (they drilled holes in it, sunk it under weights for 18 hours or so an it popped back up). There is actually a youtube video of the guys at Hog Island shooting their hull with a shotgun, also they saw it in half with a chainsaw and it still floats.
    Anyway...I'm wondering if any of you have actual experience with these boats (better yet, do you own one or know someone who does so I could check it out!). It sounds like a great material for a boat but is there a catch?
    Thanks again!
  2. veilside180sx Member

    Posts: 295
    Hillsboro, OR
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Only experience I have with HPDE is with Canoes. I know it takes significantly more strokes/power to move one vs fiberglass/aluminum. I can't imagine it being any different with a drift boat. On the flip side, it's SUPER durable and hard to damage.
  3. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,802
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +696 / 5
    I haven't rowed one yet, but remember being pushed hard to try one by one of the companies back there (I thought there were two that made them in Colorado?). I met them at a sportsman show a few years back when I was working a booth. From those I've met who've tried them, the consensus were they were nice boats. Great for transportation. But if you like to hold a spot (side drift, plugs, flydogging, etc) you'll be really oaring like a madman to keep it in place. Sounds like an awesome boat for those who just drift or want a drifter for whitewatering. For me, and my style fishing, I'd be killing myself. LOL. I'm still tempted to try one out myself. So if you buy one, let us know. I'm sure you'll find guys who'll row your boat while you fish. :)
  4. Bob Neal Member

    Posts: 66
    Maple Valley, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanks Jerry...they are indeed both made in Colorado. I've heard that theory about having trouble rowing but of course when you talk to the builders they claim they ride high in the water due to the buoyancy so they row great (the Hog Island boat apparently drafts 5-6" of water with 3 fishermen...though I really don't know if that is good or not). If I end up going that route I'd be happy to let you take her for a spin!
  5. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,802
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +696 / 5
    Not a problem. I do remember I was "supposed" to try a demo boat. I never got a word back, nor a response email to mine several years ago. It's too bad, they seemed like nice boats and some of the options they had were pretty cool.
  6. RFO New Member

    Posts: 2
    missoula montana
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I don't know if you have fulfilled your driftboat dream but I have owned a Boulder Boat for 4 seasons and I can't complain. Their customer servi ce is awesome and the boat is even better. I have about 500 days on it and it has been a great tool for my trade. As an outfitter I can say that I will never own anything but a Boulder. Yeah, the price is huge but if you want a life time boat then this is it. Talk to Andy at BBW if you still are looking. Eric @ Renegade Fly Fishing Outfitters.
  7. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,238
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +223 / 2
    I have asked about BBW and Hog Island before and everybody pretty much blew me off. :hmmm:

    So now that it is being discussed, I gotta ask a question.

    What is it and/or why would it take more energy and/or why does it not hold in one position as well as a fiberglass boat? Does it sit lower in the water? This is the first potentially negative aspect I have heard about these boats and I'm really curious about them.

    I heard there may be a Hog Island rep coming to WA in February for a delivery/demo so perhaps that would be the time to find out.
  8. stratocaster Member

    Posts: 113
    Marysville, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Interesting this thread comes to life again in that I've been doing a lot of looking at these boats in the last couple of weeks. Wish I could see one in person but "on paper" they look great. One thing that kind of steers me away from the Hog Island rig is that it seems to be considerably heavier than a similar sized boat. Still, if a rep shows up in the area I would love to check one out.

    I sent an email to Boulder Boat Works last week with some questions. No reply but I'm sure they get bombarded with tire kicking emails every day. Guess I'll have to give them a call. If I get any good info I'll pass it along. Got to admit, since checking out the Boulder Boat Works I've developed tunnel vision when it comes to other boats.

    I really can't see any logical reason for the rowing theory but would love to hear more if anyone can contribute.
  9. Stewart Skunk Happens

    Posts: 951
    Spokane
    Ratings: +48 / 0
    There was one of the Boulder boats at the Film Tour stop in Spokane last year. They're on the list of sponsors again this year. No promise that if you go to the show you can see one up close, but if you're going anyway...
  10. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,802
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +696 / 5
    Stratocaster what rowing theory? Working harder to keep it in place?
  11. Bill Aubrey Active Member

    Posts: 939
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +165 / 0
    Strato,

    I'm just thinking that if you don't get a response to an email while shopping, what response will you get after you pay the $...
  12. stratocaster Member

    Posts: 113
    Marysville, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Hey Jerry, yeah, the working harder to keep it in place puzzles me. Is it because they are lighter or maybe something to do with hull design?

    And yes, the no response to the email I sent them bothers me, especially when you look at what you could buy local for a lot cheaper and a lot easier. Guess that's why I haven't been in a great hurry to follow up with a phone call.
  13. flyfishn Member

    Posts: 163
    Banner Elk, NC
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I have sold the Hog Island Boats. In demonstration of the boat I took guides places they would never take their other boats. You can stand up on the side and the boat won't tip over, try that with any other drift boat. One of my boat was hit broad side at 40 miles an hours. The repair was simple and you can't tell it was hit. Call John St. John and tell him Brock sent you. You will never regret the buy.

    flyfishn