The trend of “Going Commando” continues to increase this boating season with more and more people realizing that the Bombard Commando meets their needs and then some.
Considering that the Zodiac Bombard Commando doesn’t come with any lipstick or rouge, or in other words fancy accessories, you wouldn’t think they would sell so quickly or well. Imagine a boat that will fold up and go into a small plane or submarine, even the family car that will take a goodly amount of power and handle the worst water. Now forget about what you were thinking and picture this.
What The Bombard Commando series represents is a good solid platform that is configurable for most any mission on the water. We have cut our teeth at IBC in class 5 white water running souped up outboards with the Bombard Commandos starting with Captain Ron. IBC’s Mike has utilized the Commando series on countless missions in the polar and equatorial regions and swears by it’s dependability and stamina in the face of adversity. Both Mike and Capt. Ron still own Bombard Commandos all these years later providing proof of the Bombard Commandos’ durability.
Many of IBC’s customers have been on the Bombard Commando boats since their inception in the very early 80’s. Once you get used to the performance of a Bombard Commando it’s hard to go to another boat type despite the attractiveness of some of the offerings today.
While we still class this boat series as recreational, many rescue and enforcement teams have recognized the advantages offered by the more rigid wooden keel setup and bigger outboards the Bombard Commando allows. Ease of assembly with the wooden keel far outstrips the inflatable keel variety in this size and class of boat due to relieving the tension on the inside of the tubes caused by the bow sag on a deflated tube. The once common place wooden keel fell by the roadside during the leisure society movement to make it easier for families to manage parts wise.
If you flash back forward you’ll see Bombard Commandos used for fishery science, marine mammal research, ecological missions, high latitude sailing, fishing, hunting, water sports, law enforcement, fire rescue, and the list goes on and on and on.
Here’s a few pics of what’s what from our friends afloat.
To get your very own Bombard Commando give Mike a call (503)235-2628 or order it from our online store inflatableboats.com
When a first time inflatable boat owner goes to register his boat with the state of their residence they will often experience some trepidation on selecting the proper system. The registration agent will undoubtedly send the nonplussed boater in the wrong direction naturally assuming that simple office store stickers will suffice for an inflatable tube. They will not! The other wrong direction most times suggested from the would be helpful registration agent is to affix said stickers to “boards” and “hang them over”. While this might have been acceptable in the past prior to the 911 attacks, it is no longer acceptable and now illegal.
The Dept. Of Homeland Security/USCG now states that the numbers must be fixed permanently to the port and starboard bow. To accomplish this task IBC recommends the boat number plate system. This system is a made to order/bespoke option that adheres to the inflatable portion of inflatable boats and ribs. It is provisioned for hypalon or pvc and it comes in many different colors to choose from. The boat number plate system meets all U.S. state and territory requirements and also includes an area for the registration stickers. They are manufactured with a port and starboard side thereby eliminating the often misunderstood placement issue.
IBC sells a coupon that is redeemed online, manufactured, and mailed directly to you. All you have to do is glue them on and place your state stickers in the provided areas. The boat number plate system allows for rolling and unrolling on boats where it is a necessity and where it’s not, + they look great for years. Remember glues or adhesives are not included with the boat number plate system so please plan accordingly.
If you have any questions at all we’ll get you sorted by calling (503)235-2628 ask for Adam.
While having a look at some recent searches on our blog here I see a common search term, “How much air do I put in my Zodiac?”.
To answer this question I’d always refer to your boat’s manual but a good rule of thumb is 3.48 P.S.I.
This pressure would be the same for hypalon or pvc material. If you are using the supplied foot pump that came with your boat you won’t be able to over pressurize your Zodiac as the pumps are designed to only pump up to the rated pressure. Even if I was standing on the foot pump and had a friend helping it would only pump to it’s rated pressure.
When we are talking about a Zodiac Fastroller air floor the pressure would be 11.2 P.S.I. and would be in it’s second stage of it’s two stage pump.
Air floor pressure on the Zodiac Aero series of boats have a pressure of 8.5 P.S.I.
Remember that pressure is dependent on temperature and after launching your boat it’s a good idea to kick a few more pumps into the tubes, keel and floors of your boat to accommodate for the cooling effect of the water. The inverse is true if your boat is left on the hard and it gets very hot outside. you may need to vent out some excess pressure to keep it in the right operating pressure.
One way to remove all ambiguity is to buy a 12V inflator pump with gauge and auto shut off like this one here.
If you have questions we have answers, just give us a call (503)235-2628 (ask for Adam)
There is no doubt that the Zodiac Fastroller series of inflatable boats rule supreme when it comes to portability and performance. In the last couple of years these boats were uncommonly hard to find due to their popularity with sailors. This year we doubled down and brought even more of them in to IBC to meet the needs of cruisers and sailors everywhere.
While costing more than a Chinese built inflatable boat their value is understated in their pricing. French built to standards the other manufacturers wish they could attain the Zodiac Fastroller is the leader of the roll up. The French have a rather novel way of Thermobonding™ their special Strongan Duotex™ Fabric together that vitually eliminates any seam leaks or repairs. Upon inspection the user will see that there is very little glue at all on the inflatable boat with the lion’s share at the transom bed. Everything else is Thermobonded™ and won’t come apart sitting in the sun for days, weeks, months, or years.
About the only negative thing on the Zodiac Fastroller is they last too long. Well negative is a perspective thing, it’s negative to us here at IBC because we likely won’t see that customer again for 20 years when they are looking for the same thing or a bigger size.
The Zodiac Fastroller series has an actual keel shaped keel that inflates when the floor is inflated. Just forward of the transom there are two additional skegs that address any yaw on a hard maneuvers giving boaters an additional edge for those tricky beach landings.
Premium Zodiac exclusive materials, and equipment mean your grocery getting needs are handled. When you’re not using your Zodiac Fastroller it can easily be deflated and rolled up into a small package that can be stowed almost anywhere.
So much of the Zodiac Fastroller’s popularity has leaked into popular culture that it’s become the RV boat of choice. Because you merely unroll and inflate, it goes from zero to hero in minutes without breaking a sweat. Smart RV owners have opted for the 12V electric inflation pump and launching wheels. What this one two punch means is everything is loaded into the finished boat and casually walked to the water. No muss, no fuss, all fun in the sun!
RVers aren’t the only ones picking up of the ease of use of Zodiac’s Fastroller. Fishermen with little time , money or space have opted for the portable Zodiac Fastroller since they can fit it into even the diminutive Smart Car or Prius. Crabbers up and down our West Coast have been using the Zodiac Fastroller for decades and that trend is only growing.
Yes the incredibly responsive yet light as a feather Zodiac Fastroller is blurring the lines between dinghy and stand alone boat. For many it will be the only boat they’ll ever need, for others it’ll be the boat they come to when their no name boat falls apart. In either case IBC has you covered with a goodly supply of Zodiac’s Fastroller Inflatable Boats. Follow this link to buy one today.
Questions? Call us here at the IBC headquarters in Portland Oregon (503)235-2628.
Mike had some down time here at the shop due to completely using up his computer so he took a minute out of his schedule to install some Seadek non-skid to a couple of boats. Seadek comes in sheets and custom CAD/CAM configurations to meet most of the inflatable floor types we use here at IBC.
Sure pretty colors and nice contours look sharp but what is Seadek really? The Seadek product is an EVA textured non-skid that holds up to bare feet and combat boots alike and offers easy cleaning and comfort. Positive traction when a boat is on plane and in heavy maneuvers means a lot to our professional users as well as our casual recreational users alike. If you’ve ever had to get on your knees on a waffle deck or hard non-skid in any sort of sea state you are aware how uncomfortable it can be doing simple tasks.
Enter Seadek to the rescue and suddenly you have a cushion beneath your body and the hard surfaces that not only looks great but actually serves a purpose. The large sheets can be measured and cut to fit just about any floorboard model and most RIBs and applies merely by peeling the backing sheet and sticking it down just like a sticker. The adhesive used in the Seadek product resists just about anything you’ll encounter in the marine environment making it a first choice for non-skid. Here at IBC we use Seadek on our aluminum floorboard Zodiac and Bombard models to enhance footing and overall looks.
On our deluxe RIBs such as this Avon Seasport 360 IBC designs foot well inserts the Seadek then manufactures in a teak look product that fits as well as it functions. No measuring simply peel and stick and you’re off the the yacht club in fine style and comfort.
Hopefully Mike will get his new computer fixed up and ready soon but in the mean time he’ll be installing Seadek non-skid on customer boats. To find out more about Seadek Non-Skid Products give Mike a call (503)235-2628 and be confident with what’s under your feet.
Those of us who have been watching the international boat show series and the big show in Florida were thrilled to see the award winning Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classic HD media leaks. We were left wondering if there are only 50 of them being made worldwide would we even see one in real life here in the US? Looking online you see the usual suspects advertising units with the same stock pics that were leaked out and that are on Zodiac’s webpage but no real pics. Hmmm…. You wonder reading on their pages of 8 week lead times, hidden rigging costs, and appointments to view the Zodiac MK2 Heritage in person. Do they even have one?
Well now you don’t have to wonder, IBC in North America has two in stock ready for pickup today. No hidden costs or misleading lead times because we actually have them and don’t need to sweet talk France out of a unit for a hasty order. IBC is rigging these girls with Yamaha F40 fuel injected high output green motors that sip the fuel and exhale the lowest emissions possible. Keeping the planet green (and blue) has never been easier!
If you have been looking for a unique inflatable boat as a sport cruiser with an impeccable pedigree look no further. The Zodiac MK2 Heritage Classic has all the bells and whistles as standard equipment as well as some novel approaches to common questions. Back to back seating that converts to a sun deck, deluxe helm and dash with stereo, and much more mean you won’t be wearing the same outfit as John or Jody when you pull up to the yacht club or water gathering.
Let’s say you’re into sport, you want to pull the kids or a friend on a wake board or skis. Post your observer in the rear facing seat, get your tow line rigged and snatch the rider out of the water with ease. You’ll be amazed at the speed, power, and torque that the Yamaha F40 provides for towing fun! Maybe you just want to GO FAST on a glassy morning or sunset? Push that lever forward and hold onto your hat as the Zodiac MK2 Heritage slips effortlessly across the water’s surface on it’s way to the horizon and beyond.
The Zodiac MK2 Heritage’s Seagull Hull design is proven to make speed with less power and it handles the bumps with aplomb. Zodiac has taken a page out of IBC’s playbook by adding synthetic teak flooring to the Heavy Duty Floorboards making traction positive and visually appealing. We can’t say enough about this model and everyone who’s seen it in person covets it.
Don’t come late to the party this model is extremely limited and highly desirable by mariners everywhere. Buy yours today and select in store pickup on our secure website or give us a call to get your very own. IBC is the only dealer in North America that actually has one on display in our showroom and we don’t require an appointment to see it. Give us a call (503)235-2628 today!
As I walked around the shop “topping off” all the CSM/Hypalon boats this morning I thought to myself, “How come no one talks about air retention on Strongan vs Hypalon?”. This is a very valid question to the person looking for a tender or stand alone inflatable boat.
Let me put this into other words, Strongan is what we casually refer to as PVC here at the shop when discussing boat materials and manufacturing processes. To be so casual is actually kind of detrimental to a degree. When discussing PVC inflatable boats many makers will spec out their fabric in mils (equal to a thousandth of an inch) or millimeters also expressed as “mils” on various websites albeit incorrectly in efforts to dupe the customer. The other manufacturers count on you being uninformed to swell their bottom line. Further use of incorrect terms along with drawings and lots of text that “sounds official” on their many websites plus dubious reviews means you end up with a cheap boat that came with free shipping and absolutely no support. Any boat deal that comes with free shipping should be a red flag just so you know.
Cutting down on the volume of calls we receive here at IBC from Amazon or Ebay bargain shoppers means it’s time well spent to bother with this topic.
Obviously we don’t sell brand X nor do we offer free shipping. I can’t understand why other brand/site customers call us all day long for support of someone else’s product. Weird huh? The simple answer is those sites like Amazon or Ebay don’t have a support structure, they offer cheap products with free shipping to capture the bargain shopper. They don’t have a store, or a phone, or employees to take the millions of calls about their junky products and their failures.
Going back to formula we’ll first educate you about what Strongan is and what PVC and Hypalon isn’t. Using our time machine let’s go back to the polyester years of the 1970’s! 😉
Strongan Duotex is a fabric originally developed by the Espace Division of Zodiac France as part of a joint project with CNES (National Space Research Center). Developed to be better at air retention and water intrusion than ordinary PVC it was further refined and developed to be Thermobonded by purpose built machines existing only in Zodiac France.
Basically PVC was a truck cover material that was semi-water tight but not airtight, (more on this later). The Zodiac answer from the joint space research project took 8 engineers and technicians and a support staff of 14 to tackle.
“Welding” of PVC used in the knockoff industry is a lap seam. One layer is placed on top of another and heated under pressure to make the bond. This technique will make most PVC materials watertight but leaves something to be desired for airtightness.
To accomplish this technical feat Zodiac developed their thermobonding process where two precision cut pieces are butted up edge to edge and overlayed on the outside for mechanical strength, and the secret internal layer overlayed on the inside defeated air leaks and made the bond airtight.
While seeming relatively simple to the layman, the material science and process engineering was very difficult and very costly. Zodiac invested heavily in the engineering of the process and at the time it was considered a gamble. The old guard of neoprene sand and glue construction people never thought PVC could have the air retention of Hypalon/Neoprene. Zodiac’s gamble paid off, and dramatically lowered the costly labor process involved by 75% while producing a boat unparalleled in air retention and strength. This hyper-technical approach catapulted Zodiac’s aerospace and leisure products divisions to the forefront of their respective industries. Yes from the humble beginnings of Maurice Mallet’s sewn and varnished balloons in 1896 to 21st century space exploration and Strongan Duotex inflatable boats Zodiac reigns supreme.
To sum it up in a few words Zodiac’s Strongan Duotex fabric is the gold standard for air retention and modern inflatable boats.
Saying that all boats are not cut from the same cloth is a gross understatement. Buyers should beware the great pretenders in the market today all vying for your hard earned dollar.
Today when I went to IBC’s repair shop to measure the differences in thickness from one brand to the next I was amazed at the startling differences between the Zodiac Strongan Duotex and the ordinary PVC from the other manufacturers. The average measurement in mils or thousandths of an inch of the most basic Strongan fabric was .040″ and the next best competitors came in at .015 to .029″ or one to two thirds thinner. The average thickness of a Thermobonded seam was on the order of 1/8″ or .125″ compared to a seam of .030″ to .060 for the others .The Zodiac fabric is thicker by it’s self than many other manufacturers seams! So thickness of the Zodiac Strongan coupled with the additional thread in the scrim or substrate of the Zodiac Strongan fabric adds additional strength and resistance to forces such as torsional loading over all other manufacturer’s samples compared.
Much has been written about the dreaded UV rays and the havoc it wreaks on boats. Myths abound on the internet of UV radiation turning boats brown and causing them to “pop” while exposed to the sun. I would refer you to the earlier paragraphs to note that Zodiac’s Strongan was developed with the space program in mind. Believe me there is far more UV in space than at the waterline.
UV damage mechanisms of the various materials here on Earth generally cause what’s known as “photo-bleaching”, whereas the material in question turns white not brown. The mechanism is virtually the same for PVC, Hypalon, and even diamonds! Look at an old car dash, did it turn brown, or is it whiter and bleached looking? I thought so! Short wavelength high frequency radiation in the UV regime and it’s interaction with matter is well understood. One simply can’t take a random website’s claims as truth these days, we’ve even added “fake news” into our language to define this phenomena.
Generally speaking all inflatable boats are called Zodiacs today due to commonality in conversation, but all inflatable boats are not cut from the same cloth. If it doesn’t say Zodiac on the boat it’s not a genuine Zodiac, ask for it by name.
Note: Bombard and Avon are both Zodiac products.
Edit: Richard Meister (Technical Support Manager at Zodiac Nautic) added to our Facebook page “Environmental positives too! Strongan plastomer is thermoform and can be melted and recycled. No wasteful and annoying dust generation either.“
What Richard means by dust generation is Hypalon/Neoprene fabric requires sanding and scuffing prior to cleaning with toluene solvent, then finally several applications of adhesive are added to make a seam or install a simple patch. This dust, solvent, and adhesive is a potential hazard if improperly controlled during the assembly and repair process. While Zodiac leads the world in green environmentally sound practices, those other boat builders, errr…. not so much.
To see what Richard means about recycling of materials one only needs to look as far as the Bombard Air Ethic. The Bombard Air Ethic is made utilizing green manufacturing processes, novel materials and recycled materials. This represents a first in the boat building industry.
Thanks for bringing up those valid points Richard!
Hypalon/Neoprene or as it is generically called CSM is a man-made artificial rubber coating over a substrate or scrim. It offers some advantages over plain PVC with the foremost being resistance to solvents and fuels. UV absorption is virtually identical to PVC and several other materials such as Urethane and with all of the hype and misinformation this is a hot button topic for the web forums and novice yachtsman. If you had any doubt just look at the multitude of aftermarket products that claim UV resistance and protection catering to the hyperbole.
Hypalon performs slightly better in the drum test for abrasion resistance than PVC but in terms of air retention it fails miserably compared to Zodiac’s Strongan Duotex. Hypalon inflatable boat manufacturing is a very dirty and labor intensive process taking up to three times as long to complete when compared to a Zodiac Strongan Duotex inflatable boat of the same dimensions. This labor comes at a cost and this added cost is much of what the customer assumes is quality when simply comparing prices. Remember the statement that not all boats are cut from the same cloth? This holds true for Hypalon boats as well. That “good deal” for a brand X Hypalon boat will cost you in the long run on repairs. You are much better off sticking to the brand that started it all…Zodiac, Avon or Bombard when asking about Hypalon inflatable boats.
Give us a call and we’ll sort you out! (503)235-2628
This model is based on the Bombard Commando C3 with added Scotty Fishing attachments, a fish finder/GPS, Scotty strong back oar conversion kit, adjustable oars, collapsible paddles, bimini top, Yamaha F20, bench on rail seats, and more.
Setup with the outdoorsman in mind this package can be broken down and packed for transport by, auto, truck, or plane and reassembled on site to go where the sidewalks end. Suitable for waterfowl hunting, fish, crabbing, big game, or even just a fun day trip. With the Bombard Commando C3’s wooden keel assembly is easy and choppy water is a walk in the park.
The Yamaha F20 four stroke motor operates very quietly and barely makes a sound at idle. The clean and efficient Yamaha F20 can make your precious fuel supply on back country hunts seem to last almost indefinitely when used smartly thereby extending your reach. Full throttle operation brings the “RECON” on plane with three to four men aboard and tops out around 25 mph at sea level. Two separate shallow water settings on the Yamaha F20 will make possible entry into sloughs and creeks while fully laden with a hunting camp gear a breeze and make you wonder why you didn’t think of the “RECON” sooner.
This boat is quite possibly the best boat package ever made for the Northwest Territories and coastal regions because of it’s carrying capacity, ease of use, and safety.
You can see one in person at the NW Sportsman Show booth #1143 and talk to Adam or Mike about what you want to do or where you want to go and get one made for yourself custom. We love the water and the woods and it’s very likely that’s where these two guys would be if they weren’t there to meet you and talk about exciting times to be had with inflatable boats.
Today we’d like to mention a little known Zodiac gem that does not disappoint, the Zodiac MK2 Classic Fastroller. Mike and Adam were going to shoot a video on how to setup the Zodiac MK2 Classica Fastroller but then they realized it would be utterly boring. You see with the Zodiac MK2 Classic Fastroller all you do is unroll and inflate. That’s It! No fitting floorboards or struggling with stringers anymore just unroll and go.
The Zodiac MK2 Classic Fastroller fits the bill for a premium dinghy, exploration boat, fishing, hunting, camping, etc. because it’s so easy to use. One thing the guys love around the shop here at IBC is the Zodiac Classic Series of inflatable boats performance. While we don’t constantly show them online, we constantly love them on the water. They are such well thought out boats they are often our first pick for many missions and outings.
Manufacturing is done in France by the same people who build the Bombard Commando and Zodiac Futura models. All Zodiac Classic inflatable boats are made of stronger stuff, i.e. Zodiac’s “Strongan™” fabric that is thermo-bonded by the same machines the ESpace Division developed. ( yes Zodiac is an aerospace company too)
The Fastroller airfloor is an option on the Zodiac Futura series and for small tenders in the Zodiac Cadet series. Lightweight and ease of use make this the ultimate portable boat. Don’t get taken by some cheap imitation airfloor from a company that you never heard of, get a real Zodiac, made from the real fabric, with a real Zodiac 5 year Warranty.
Get your next Zodiac simply by shopping in our online store, or by calling the pros at The Inflatable Boat Center (503)235-2628.
It’s full steam ahead at IBC right now as we rig and receive boats daily for the upcoming season. The 2017 NW Sportsman’s Show is right around the corner and we’ll be there showcasing models that fit the mission of hunting and fishing. Tubesets are coming and going every time I blink it seems and new sport boats and Avon tenders seem to be all the buzz.
We are open despite the weather so give us a call (503) 235-2628 or stop by the Portland Showroom on 2041 SE Powell Blvd. and talk face to face with one of our pros.
Now is the time to be thinking about your new tender, your old boat that needs repair, that motor service you put off, basically anything that needs doing or buying so you’ll be ready when the weather turns nice again.
Remember Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax so our prices are even better than you thought! Find out why more boaters come to IBC than anywhere else (503)235-2628