Arancia’s History

Who We Are

ARANCIA is a small company dedicated to the production of high performance quality inflatables which are also safe to operate.

What started out as a leisure activity gradually became an obsession. We were determined to design out the faults, problems or annoyances in our craft which most other inflatable manufacturers seem happy with. If you have had experience operating a few different makes of inflatables you will know what we mean. I guess it was this philosophy and be­ing in the right place at the right time that got Arancia involved in Surf Res­cue.


After much rowing back and forth perfecting our small tenders, so to speak, we were ready for other en­deavours. This came about through an approach by several Piha lifeguards while we were exhibiting our craft at the 1978 Auckland Boat Show. They informed us of sea trials of inflatable rescue craft at Piha by NZ Surf Life Saving Association personal and an Australian delegation. We dropped everything and drove to Piha only to find the evaluation of surf craft had finished and one half orange converted H umber sport boat lying on the beach. We didn’t even get to speak with the organizer (National Powered Craft Of­ficer Don Wright). However, he did call on us at the factory the following week to view our 3.8m sport and dive boat. Having failed to persuade Don to trial our craft even with extensive modifications, we agreed to design a craft specifically around surf use.

This first Arancia IRB prototype was delivered to Piha in November 1978 and within hours of being launched was involved in rescuing a swimmer who had been washed up onto the rocks. Although this craft performed well in varying conditions at different beaches over the 78/79 Summer, Don was not happy so we agreed to rede­sign the Arancia. Prototype No.2 was designed, built and delivered in time for Don to take to the 1979 Christchurch SLSA National competi­tions. When he returned we were given the thumbs up, this craft dis­played the characteristics he had been looking for. Following an evaluation of the craft in New South Wales (winter of 1979) where the Arancia received favorable comments, we received our first or­ders.

These first three production craft were a refinement of the second pro­totype and we delivered these craft in October 1979 to Taylor’s Mistake, Waikuku and Waihi. From this point on Arancia has involved itself 100% on producing rescue craft for surf use and we hope to continue playing a vital part in the development of surf rescue craft in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, United Kingdom and United States.

  • 1975 – Prototype craft are designed, constructed and tested.
  • 1976 – Arancia Industries Limited is registered as a company and production of all inflatable dinghies, sailing tenders and sport boats from 8′ to 14′ commences.
  • 1978 – Current 3.75m sport boat viewed by SLSANZ Powercraft Officer and rejected as not suitable for Surf use.First surf boat design discussed and construction started October 1978.November – Mk1 Arancia IRB delivered to Piha Beach for evaluation.Design registered under Number 15833
  • 1979 – March – Released MkII Arancia IRB for evaluation at SLSANZ Nationals in Christchurch.October – After minor modifications carried out on MkII design, approval is granted to the MkIII Arancia IRB and first deliveries to surf club begins.
  • 1980 – First exports to Australia. Design registered under Number 78604
  • 1983 – Hull reconfiguration undertaken (for speed) unofficial designation MkIV Arancia.Waihi SLC lose their Arancia and engine in a storm where the crew had to abandon “ship”. Three months later it was found on Mercury Island and returned to club where after a service to remove the barnacles it went back into service. They were not so lucky with the engine.
  • 1984 – 100th Arancia IRB sold.
  • 1985 – Last production of dinghies, tenders and sport boats in order to concentrate on surf rescue.
  • 1988 – Orange Hypalon fabric now supplied by Pennel & Flipo in France.
  • 1991 – First sale to coastguard – Sumner Life Boat
  • 1992 – First sale to Indonesia (Bali)
  • 1995 – Manufacturing capacity expanded for export demand. First sale to Cornwall in the United KingdomSales to Australia resume
  • 1996 – Arancia moves premises to Western Springs after 17 years in Onehunga.
  • 1998 – World Surf Life Saving Championships held in Auckland. IRBs were included for the first time and they were all Arancias supplied through Surf Life Saving New Zealand. Not only did individual clubs win gold but Opunaki were the overall winners on points. New Zealand won 12 medals and Australia 7 medals.
  • 1999 – Five boats and engines sold to Wales U.K.First sale to Hong Kong.September – the Arancia 377 which is a smaller edition of the Arancia 388 was produced and tested. One craft sent to Australia for approval and the other to England where it was approved immediately.October – attended the inaugural IRB Championships in the UK.
  • 2000 – First sale to Scotland
  • 2000 to 2018 – To be updated