The Riot Inferno 54 was conceived to perform the next generation of dynamic wave and hole moves. Acceleration and speed make large-scale aerial moves a reality and generous volume helps paddlers stomp their landings. Riot says their unique side-edge design with an extremely high rail improves carving and provides stability and forgiveness.

The Inferno is the first Riot freestyle boat we’ve reviewed that was not designed by Corran Addison. Never before has there been so much eddy banter from our testers about a Riot freestyle boat. Some thought it was the best boat on the river, and it wasn’t the fast-carving crowd saying so.

The Inferno wants to fly and pushes you into big aerial moves. It will even bounce in the trough of the wave. The nasty edges are gone, but so is the crisp acceleration and carving that core Riot paddlers claim to love.

Drop into a hole and the Inferno is alive beneath you. With only one size, cartwheels depend on your body weight and ab strength but expect lots of pop with each end. Fire the bow into the seam and the Inferno launches huge stable loops.

The Inferno offers all-day comfort with enough adjustments to let you change your paddling position to avoid muscle fatigue. Riot pimps out the interior like a Chicano low-rider, swapping drop spindles, air bags and hydraulics in favour of ratchets for the seat, feet and back band. The thigh braces are something new—they rotate and pivot—no more forcing your knees to bend like a flamingo’s under fixed braces.

Between play spots the Inferno is a spud boat through and through (read stable and buoyant). It feels shorter than 6’4”, especially in the stern. You need to work your weight transfers when punching holes to avoid being back-looped. Want out of the hole? The Inferno easily snaps from side surf to blast to exit.

Pros: Built-in bounce. Huge loops. Stable and buoyant. Comfortable outfitting with “revolutionary” pivoting thigh braces.

Cons: Could use more speed for green landings; could use more carve (may also be a pro).


  • Length: 6’4”
  • Width: 25”
  • Volume: 54 US gal
  • Weight: 34 lbs
  • Cockpit: 18.5” x 33”
  • MSRP: $1,099 USD / $1,499 CAD

rapidv7i3cover.jpgThis article first appeared in the Summer 2005 issue of Rapid Magazine. For more great boat reviews, subscribe to Rapid’s print and digital editions here.

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