The Bullet Story

Beginnings

Bullet Watercraft was started in 2008 by two longtime whitewater industry outfitters.  Their international rafting operation was pioneering descents and teaching guide schools on some of the world’s largest whitewater, through the lower gorges of the Tsang-Po River that plunges through Tibet.  Low water averaged about 50,000 cfs and a typical trip to the put-in was a long 2-day hammering in a rusty diesel truck.  They needed high-quality rafts that would:

  • meet commercial outfitting standards
  • stand up to daily wear and tear against rock, sand, and big-water
  • look great in photos and video
  • ship to almost anywhere in the world
  • exhibit the best design features chosen by guides with decades of experience
A Bullet Dwarfed by Waves on Class V Palsi Rapid: Siang River, India

A Bullet Dwarfed by Waves on Class V Palsi Rapid: Siang River, India

Research

Research into the whitewater inflatable raft market yielded many popular Hypalon and PVC models that met commercial standards, but in the end, none came with all of the things RiverIndia wanted to see:

  • Easily Customizeable Options to Match Colors and Personality
  • Wide Geometries and Fat, Buoyant Tubes with at least 4 Tube Chambers
  • No bladder-based systems that leaked around valves, sucked up water, or wore out with sand
  • Affordable and Fair Pricing:  Reflective of today’s economy
  • Minimized metal on the boat:  no zippers, optional key-rings
  • No floor bladders, thwart belts or buckles, and a strong strength to weight ratio
  • Plenty of handles on a side
  • Well-tended perimeter lines with multiple D-rings for gear
  • A solid thwart attachment system- no buckles or belts to chafe fabric or scrape skin

 

Prototypes and Construction

After a well executed search, Bullet’s leaders decided to create their own unique design, with enough built-in flexibility to be customized for other outfitters and private boaters wanting to set themselves apart on the water.  After creating a prototype, they partnered with a production facility.  Unlike most of their competitors, though, they chose not to order large quantities of mass-produced boats.  With Bullet, each boat is built to specifications chosen by a customer.

Bullet has worked with the same talented team of about a dozen engineers exclusively since Bullet’s inception.  Regular video-conferences help to discuss production and brainstorm new ideas.  US-based Bullet staff, including our multiple regional reps, and Bullet retailers have spent lifetimes growing up around and guiding on rivers.  Over half a century of combined international rafting experience allows Bullet to ensure quality, and design a boat that focused on simplicity.  A streamlined ordering system allows boats to be built and customized by craftsmen and imported and distributed via Los Angeles within 2 months.  For a name, Bullet shook off the “Inflatables” label, because to Bullet, inflatables sounded like a pool-toy.  Instead, like a Bullet, our watercraft would have a smooth finish, a focused target, and finally some sex appeal.

Field-Testing

The Bullet Prototype on a RiverIndia Trip

The Bullet Prototype on a RiverIndia Trip

Bullet developed and field-tested their product and began offering boats to friends and professional guides- and ultimately, the commercial retail market.  Proud of their product, they tested, ran, and continue to run Bullet Watercraft down some of the largest whitewater in the world.

Bullet Boaters Testing the 6'11" Wide Bullet 12 ST

Bullet Guides Testing the 6’11” Wide Bullet 12 ST

The Future

We hope you’ll join us in believing that the world’s best boats should be well-designed, not overpriced.  In short:  fine lookin’ boats for everyone.