Submitted: 09-03-2010 by 788parkshore
I own 2 other AE kayaks (8' & 11') and thought the Air Fusion was going to be the ultimate blow-up boat. I took my time assembling the boat (2 hours) and thought I did a good job. One snap- lock on the tubes broke during assembly (another one broke the second trip). I duct taped the joints and it seems to hold OK.
PROPPER ASSEMBLY IS CRITICAL.
First 2 times out the boat wanted to turn left all the time and weather cocked really bad in a <10 MPH breeze. The trips were miserable. I finally noticed the bow was turned to the left an inch or so. Long story short, the main air chambers were installed (by the factory!) incorrectly with the right one almost 2" ahead of the left one. This corrected, the 3rd time out it tracked straight but still weather cocked in the slightest breeze. I adjusted the pressure down in the main chambers. This helped so I let more air out until the chambers were, to me, getting pretty soft. Problem solved. It seems too much pressure causes the boat to ride too high in the water giving the feeling you are paddling a teacup.
After owning 3 AE boats, I am still trying to figure out how you measure air pressure in the tubes. AE warns over and over not to over inflate the tubes but I have not found a way to check it. If anyone can help me here I'd really appreciate it. Storage is very minimal for a boat this size. Getting anything through the front zipper is impossible because of the rod that runs directly under it. The rear zipper may allow something small such as a thermos but, you can't get to it without getting out of the boat.
The seat sits on the center bottom rail which looks more uncomfortable than it is. The problem with the seat is that, although the boat is 25" wide, the distance from the left air chamber to the right one is less than 12" measured at the seat bottom. I've tried every way I can think of to make it more comfortable but nothing works. Suggestions, anyone?Nothing ruins a kayak trip faster than a ill fitting seat.
I like the boat for the most part. Speed, stability and turning compare favorably with a hard shell boat this size. But, the difficult assembly (once assembled I will never take it apart!), factory alignment error, lack of storage and bad seat force me to give it only a 7.