In 1971, Tom Love was a river guide living the dream in the small town of Ohiopyle. With extensive experience in repairing and crafting boats under his belt, Love was approached by his friend Tom Clark, who suggested that they collaborate to create a boat that would accommodate river photographers. They needed to make something light and sturdy. Together, they came up with an idea: a boat with a fiberglass frame. Love made the tubes, but Clark never made the fiberglass pole.
“I said ‘What the hell am I going to do with these tubes?’” Love recalled. “I guess I’m gonna finish this the way I want.”
And the Shredder was born. In 1992, Love committed to production and needed a brand. He held a contest with his friends to name the boat; his neighbor won the contest with her entry of “Shredder.” In exchange for the name, she received a boat for the price of materials.
The first Shredder was tested on the loop section of the Lower Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle by Love and his friend. Love still has a video of the first run on VHS. It shows the two men running the iconic Ohiopyle Falls, which was illegal back then.
The Shredder’s first rapid rally was successful. The boat was dried off, boxed up and shipped to Australia.
The Shredder is unique because it was the first high-performance inflatable boat without a metal frame, can be compactly folded and is self-bailing. Believe it or not, there used to be a designated rafter with a bucket, bailing water out of the boat while going through a rapid.
With hundreds crafted annually, the Shredder has made a lasting impact on the boating community. A favorite among seasoned paddlers, the Shredder can be spotted on rivers all over the world.