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Submitted: 08-04-2009 by aklish89
Although not given a high rating for rapids by Walker Bay (manufacturer), this boat is awesome in the whitewater, especially as a play boat!! It is by far the highest performance inflatable kayak for whitewater surf play available (I've paddled nearly every IK out there!!). The fact that this boat is supposed to be run at 6.5 PSI (most IKs are run around 2.5-3 PSI) makes it very rigid - no flexing or folding. The stiffness, plus a flat planing bottom and a broad inflated bow with excellent buoyancy all help make this boat a surf machine! The bow design doesn't funnel the water right into the cockpit like most other IKs. And it has a much smaller cockpit anyway so even when totally swamped you're not carrying 20 gallons of water like the long, open IKS. At only 8 feet long and 15 pounds this boat feels like a go cart - super quick and light; and it fits on waves that the longer boats (even the Aire Force) just don't have a chance at. Also, the boat is very easily righted when you capsize. The upturned bow and the light weight make it very easy to flip back upright, and the low sides make for easy entry mid-stream. Self-rescue is a cinch with this boat.
You can see video clips of the boat being put to the test on Youtube at:
More to be added over the summer so check my channel periodically (aklish89).
I cut off the skeg and added an NRS backband and thigh straps to maximize performance. New D-ring placements may be necessary to get good thigh strap placement depending on your leg length. Definitely a good buy, especially with some of the deals to be had out there. If you are looking for something more exciting then your old tub of an IK, but aren't sure about going to a hardhsell, this is the ticket!! That was exactly where I was at - looking for something that would allow me to push further, especially in surf play without having to go to a hardshell.
I am so psyched that I came across the Airis boats on the web and recognized the potential. It was a gamble because I couldn't find anything saying that the boat was good in whitewater. But the more I looked at the pictures of the flat bottom and the broad bow the more I became convinced that this was the next step in inflatables. I can't be more happy with the purchase.
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