Weldcraft Founder: Norman Evan Riddle
It was 1965 when Norm and a close friend decided to journey by boat up the intimidating rapids of the Snake river and forge deep into the Hells Canyon Wilderness. The epic adventure got the wheels of innovation turning in Norm’s engineering-minded head. Upon the return, he declared, “I want a boat.” This started a new chapter in his life. He would be boating on that river for many years to come, becoming a guide, fishing, hunting, holding tours and building a lodge in the upper depths of the canyon in the 1970s.
In 1968, Norm started Weldcraft Custom Boats, which quickly grew in business. Near this time, the lodge went up at Kirby Creek on the Snake River, which encouraged him to design and build a better boat to reach the depths of Hells Canyon. He started Snake River Outfitters, Rafting, and Jetboating.
Norm passed away Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, of natural causes at 87 years of age. A true Idaho innovator and individual, he was born in Meridian, Idaho, on Sept. 29, 1927 to Voyne and Bernice Riddle and was the youngest of two boys.
Norm’s legacy will continue to live on with every Weldcraft that rolls off the lot.
Intelligent, sturdy and versatile, Weldcraft Boats have a long history that stretches back nearly 50 years to its beginnings in Clarkston, Washington and the demanding rapids of the Snake River. Then, only a handful of river-running pioneers dare test these waters. The intense power of this river can swallow boats in an instant turning them to scrap in moments. So only the most skilled boat operators in boats expressly designed for the might of this river made it their gateway into dazzling and spectacular country out-of-touch by most.
Weldcraft was one of those pioneers. It’s where these boats were borne and where they’re still built today. Frankly, if a boat can withstand the rigors of the Snake they can stand-up to pretty much anything. And from the outset, that was the goal --- to build boats to a lifetime standard. Weldcraft Boats have been painstakingly designed to deliver all the attributes anglers and boating enthusiasts demand. Beyond all the construction elements, features like interior space, walk-through space, attention to ergonomics and comfort, balance and attention to detail are wrapped into every Weldcraft package.
Weldcraft’s rugged good looks punctuate its sturdiness and affinity for angler functionality. These are hard working, hard fishing boats first and foremost. Don’t let the rich paint schemes or thick upholstery fool you, it’s Weldcraft’s strength of character that’s been its main attraction since the beginning. It’s precisely this character that’s won legions of fans who take these boats offshore in search of tuna, halibut and salmon. Whether it’s running enormous whitewater, scooting across shallow riffles, running out of sight of land or motoring across a favorite reservoir, Weldcraft’s a boat that says, “bring it on”.
Weldcraft is owned by Renaissance Marine Group (RMG), based in Clarkston, Washington. As an RMG brand, access to service, strict adherence to Weldcraft’s high standards of construction and performance and state-of-the-art design and manufacturing assure an exceptional ownership experience for Weldcraft owners past and present.
While you may never venture 50 miles or more into the Pacific, power through three story rapids or be faced with a 100 mile run across wind-blown chop, know that you could. That’s the spirit of Weldcraft, to capably take you and your precious cargo wherever your imagination allows.