The Evolution of Inflatable Kayaks

Ruggero Arena, Pro Photographer

Location: Italian Alps, Italy

Stats:

  • Model paddled: AirFusion.
  • Water that he paddles: Lakes, Coastal/Ocean, Bays and Estuaries, Slow Moving Rivers.
  • What he uses his yak for: Adventure Travel, Multi-Day Expeditions, Daily Paddling and, most recently, to access sea cliffs for rock climbing!

Bio:
Ruggero is an Italian professional photographer, avid climber, and traveller who has lived in Finland, Argentina, and France and now resides in a small village in the Italian Alps. Beginning as a whitewater paddler in the Alps, Ruggero soon discovered that he preferred to use kayaks for coastal multiday trips in places such as Croatia, Italy, France, and Patagonia. The very first kayak he owned, and still paddles, is the AirFusion. After researching portable kayaks, he chose the AirFusion for his 15 day unsupported expedition to Patagonia in 2012. He says that “it was the perfect choice and handled very rough conditions without any problem”.
Here is more of what he has to say about the AirFusion:
“The Airfusion kayak gives me the freedom to fly or drive with just a backpack storing my boat, providing the oportunity to explore those special hidden places you can reach only by water. I also relax by just going paddling during the weekend in the mountain lakes near my home. I enjoy this especially during the wintertime when there is nobody around and the snow covers the forests all around.”
See his photography work at: www.ruggeroarena.com

Favorite AE Story:
In 2012, my friend Silvano and I ventured on a 15 day unsupported expedition of the little known area west of the Patagonia Hielo Norte ice cap using our AirFusion Kayaks. We were in the last stretch of our trip, planning to reach the Pacific Ocean by the evening and then starting our way back to civilization, when we had what I would describe as a more than interesting meeting on the Rio Negro river.

Having spent the morning pulling our kayaks and gear across 2 km of thick Patagonia forest, it was nice to finally reach the Rio Negro and paddle again. With only a few kilometers to go before reaching the Pacific, we were relaxing and paddling down this small river in the middle of nowhere when all of the sudden we see this white kayak paddling upstream towards us. We were quite surprised to see anybody on the river, and as the oncoming paddler approached, we could tell that she was just as surprised to see us! When the kayak approached, we greeted her and introduced ourselves and she pulled up in-between of our kayaks and said “I’m Freya Hoffmeister… do you know who I am?” Neither Silvano nor myself really follow the kayak world so we did not realize that we were actually talking to Freya Hoffmeister, one of the world’s most accomplished sea kayakers and the only person to ever circumnavigate the continent of Australia. She seemed surprised that we had not heard of her expedition to circumnavigate South America and it was only then that we read the large writing on her kayak: 24,000 km around South America. As we talked, she admitted her surprise at running into us; she had not seen another person in more than a week! Well, as you can imagine, she is one tough person. As we concluded our conversation, she gave us a couple of her business cards right off of the deck of her kayak and then she left like if she was in a hurry, you know… she only has the entire continent to circumnavigate! Let me say it had been a strange meeting on the Rio Negro!

 

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