Indus™ Walkthrough with Benny Marr

Of all Indus™ testers, Benny Marr put early versions of this high-float PFD to the lengthiest and most rigorous challenges. Benny utilized and provided feedback on prototypes for over three years on high volume rivers all over the world.

First on his home river, the Ottawa. Then during the massive volumes and peak flows of Stakeout. Benny took it to the Stikine, surfed it on Skook, completing the infamous Patagonia Triple Crown with it (Baker, Pascua and Bravo), paddled with it in the Himalaya as well as high water Zambezi (setting a new highest known descent of the Minus Rapids). 

If anyone can walk through the Indus™ features and comfort, it’s Benny.

ASTRAL // What’s the largest volume or pushiest river you’ve ever paddled?

BM // By volume and power, the Inga Rapids in the Congo River take that easily. However, besides the classic and large-volume rivers in Quebec and Ontario which can reach up to 3500 cms where I like to paddle through and surf on big waves regularly the next highest volume whitewater I have run are the rapids of the lower Fraser in BC including Bridge River Rapids and Hells Gate. 

Congo: 1,600,000 cfs (43,243 cms)

Ontario Quebec Spring runoffs: 31,450 – 129,500 cfs (850 – 3500 cms)

Fraser River: 185,000 – 266,400 cfs (5000 – 7200 cms)

ASTRAL // When was the last time you swam?

BM // I swam out of a C1 last summer on the Ottawa River but my last ‘I need out’ moment was during a massive flood event on the Ottawa River.  I got stuck in a large pour-over hole on one of the side channels and swam into the main channel to collect my boat and paddle.

ASTRAL // You’ve used the Indus™ prototypes for years now. What rivers have you paddled with it?

BM // Ottawa / Mistassini / Mistassibi / Ashuapmushuan / Ocean – Skookumchuck Narrows / White Salmon / Little White Salmon / Zambezi / Futaleufu / Baker / Bravo / Pascua / Meyer ++

ASTRAL // Can you describe the way it fits and how a high-float life jacket can be comfortable?

BM // The Indus forms around the kayaker’s body as they pull and cinch forward on the fit straps and safety harness and down on the straps beside the chest panel.  It is called the ‘Torso Fit Adjustment’ system.  This system brings the floatation snug to the kayaker’s body, which is safe and comfortable.  If the PFD is snug then when the kayaker is swimming it stays in place, which will bring that swimmer comfort.

ASTRAL // The Indus™ was designed for big water class V kayakers. Who else do you think will enjoy the benefits of High Flowt™?

BM // The intention behind this design was big water class V situations, sure.  What we have now is a piece of equipment that lends more safety and comfort to any kayaker in a variety of situations outside of class V high volume. Beginners and intermediate kayakers who are pushing their comfort levels or progression and are feeling like they may be having a few swims each season. Or, kayakers who are, for sure, swimming each season.  Another way to look at it is if you recreate on a river where there is commercial rafting this PFD will give you closer to or the same amount of floatation as a rafting client, with way more style.  So rafters, canoeists, and all who recreate on whitewater should give it a try.  And then bigger kayakers for sure, you are bigger and heavier so take the extra buoyancy.

Indus

With 22 lbs of flotation sculpted into Astral’s industry leading FoamTectonics™️ architecture, the Indus™️ is the world’s first freestyle-inspired high float life jacket.

Related stories