Forging Ahead: Co-Founder Death and The Resilient Journey and Future Vision of Hydrus Paddleboards

Forging Ahead: Co-Founder Death and The Resilient Journey and Future Vision of Hydrus Paddleboards

The Past, Present, and Future of Hydrus: Paddling Through Life’s Rapids


Life is a tumultuous river, filled with rapids of joy and whirlpools of sorrow. It was on one such river, the Payette River, that I experienced a profound loss that would forever alter my perspective on life and my craft. My brother, my partner in adventure, and my co-creator in our beloved paddleboard-making business, Hydrus, tragically drowned while we were paddling together.

The Unthinkable Happens

The image of him falling on a rapid, disappearing beneath the swift current, is one that haunts me. It serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of life. This moment shattered me, leaving me feeling helpless and empty. We had spent our lives adventuring together, playing hard, and working even harder. Our shared passion drove us to pioneer the sport, innovate materials, and construction techniques that remain unmatched to this day.

Remembering My Brother

My brother was more than just a business partner. He was an engineer with a boundless imagination and creativity. His work ethic, instilled in us since childhood, was irreplaceable. He was the kind of person that anyone who knew him well would call when they needed help. He was special, known for his grumpy moods 10% of the time and his infectious, bouncing-off-the-walls happiness the remaining 90%.

Coping with Loss and Finding New Paths

In the aftermath of the accident, I found myself struggling to return to Hydrus. The thought of not being able to get back into the business we had built together was daunting. To distract myself, I delved into dirt bikes and started a brand called Rixor Motors.

The Outpour of Community Support

The outpouring of support from our Hydrus customers was overwhelming. Condolences for my loss and concerns about their future paddleboards flooded in through messages and calls. It was during this time that I realized the impact Hydrus had on people. We had built something truly special. Our customers became my newfound motivation.

Hydrus: More Than Just a Paddleboard Company

Reminiscing about the lives we had touched through Hydrus was heartwarming. From people regaining health after injuries or battling diabetes to those who found solace in SUP yoga or relaxing paddles after a stressful day, we had made an impact. Hearing stories of families bonding, friendships strengthening, and the sheer joy of people catching their first wave or fish from a paddleboard was incredibly uplifting.

The Transformative Power of Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is a unique sport. It's a low-impact, full-body workout that is also meditative. It connects people to nature, freeing them from electronic devices, and providing a unique kind of mental cleansing. The sport can quickly usher you into a dopamine-rich flow state, whether through surfing or river rapids, or even from the mind-clearing state achieved from exercising with balance and full-body engagement.

Moving Forward: The Future of Hydrus

This sport benefits a wide range of individuals: from the young to the old, from the extremely fit to those embarking on a health journey. Everyone can benefit from paddleboarding, and this realization reignited my passion. My mission now is to never quit and advocate for this sport as much as possible. I aim to scale Hydrus, letting the world know about this incredible sport and our unique brand. I envision Hydrus as a trusted resource for everything paddleboarding, and as a platform to give back to the community.

Conclusion: My Brother’s Legacy

My brother's legacy lives on in every board we make, in every person we introduce to the sport, and in every life we touch through paddleboarding. In the face of adversity, we paddle on.  

Among so many other Hydrus products and designs, Nick co-invented Armalight Hard Boards as well as Armalight Air inflatable paddleboards.

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