Hyside Sells, Headquarters Moves to Utah


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Hyside, a longtime maker of inflatable rafts and IKs, has sold after 38 years

The new owner, John Seiner, moving the operation to Layton, Utah.

“It’s a good time to pass the torch,” says founder Richard DeChant, a long respected member of the rafting outfitter and private boating community. “My sincere thanks goes to all of the dealers, outfitters and those that have been such loyal customers of Hyside. I will miss their friendships and shared love of rivers as well.”

DeChants adds he plans on helping Seiner with knowledge and ideas to keep Hyside as one of the top innovators in whitewater inflatables. “I will always consider Hyside my baby that has now grown up and started a new life,” he says, also crediting his wife, Marianne, for putting up with his endless travel running the business. “It’s been a hoot.”

Hyside has long been a favorite raft among outfitters for its double denier nylon construction (braiding the nylon prior to weaving it, creating higher tear strength; use of hypalon, the most reliable and durable inflatable coating available, with high UV and abrasion resistance; coating the bottom of its rafts with urethane chafers for wear protection and performance, and creating a slippery surface for sliding over rocks; and triple-bonded seams.

Hyside raft
Hyside has gained a reputation as one of the industry’s most durable inflatables.

“Hysides are the most durable and maintenance-free rafts we have used and we have tried every brand,” says Jerry Cook, president of West Virginia’s ACE Adventure Resort, which uses a fleet of more than 250 Hyside craft. “This year we are finally retiring rafts that were built in 1992. That is 23 – 24 years of use on the New River Gorge and Gauley River in Class IV-V whitewater.”

For DeChant, meanwhile, it’s all been about customer service.

“Thinking back, the correlation between customer service and product development seemed to be my biggest motivator,” he says. “My goal was always translating actual needs into a high end reliable product.
“Our advantage came about by having a personal relationship with the raw material suppliers, working through years of R&D with the staff and constantly acknowledging their efforts on the other side, building a lifestyle relationship with the end user, the boaters,” he adds. “Funny …after selling the company, my first trip was an off road trek to a mining camp where I encountered the Schmidt tunnel. Henry “Burro” Schmidt had spent the identical amount of time (38 years) hand digging a tunnel 1/2 mile in the hopes of moving ore off the mountain faster. He finished the tunnel but no ore was ever moved through it. Made me realize that the fruits of my labor will be passed on.”


Seiner is moving the headquarters from its longtime home in California to Utah. The new address will be 1558 W. Hill Field Rd., Layton, Utah 84041.

Info: 800-868-5987; info@hyside.com

Hyside: A Brief Bio

Richard DeChant began his river running experience in a raft he purchased at Sunset Sports and launched on a swollen Salt River in 1979 while he was enrolled in Arizona State University.  He quickly recognized there was a need for a higher quality whitewater raft.“Those first five years of the business were pretty lively,” he says. “We started in Korea, moved to Taiwan, and then back to Korea in five years. All these moves involved different factories and different ownership.”

The final move back to Korea proved to be the home run, teaming up with a manufacturer implementing the world’s newest Hypalon-coating equipment. Next came developing product and networking with outfitters, many of which he had already established rapport with from previous work with Campways/Riken.

“I logged 159 trips to Korea to oversee production, design and development,” he says.

At the time, the factory was only making military boats and life rafts. Dechant brought in new designs for river running and developed urethane coatings for the bottoms of river rafts for extra durability and sliding over rocks. It was a six-year process to get it right, he says. “It was a game changer,” he says. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished.”


Today, Hyside is one of the world’s leading makers of inflatable rafts and kayaks, with their durability especially enjoyed by outfitters worldwide. Info: www.hyside.com


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