Submitted: 09-20-2010 by gibsonra
We bought this boat for the Ocoee river in Tennessee. We have paddled hard boats but wanted an inflatable for the bigger water. So off we went on the middle Ocoee after 1 month of scouting and talking to people. Thanks to the boat it has gone very well. We have taken the raft lines through the heavier stuff and taken easier lines when we have chickened out.
The boat handles the bigger water and holes very well and turns quick enough to pick your way through the secondary lines. It is also nice to have room for dry bags and an extra paddle.
We chose this model because we wanted the best. We have a house 5 miles from the river and we plan on using the heck out of them. After one summer they only show light scuffs and no sign of wear at all. Everyone that sees it says "I wanted that one but didn't have the money". It really is that good. The Cheetah seat has varied opinions but we have grown to like it. We have also found that it needs to be placed further forward than you think it would. Our feet fall at the drain holes. We will add the foot pegs because sometime you need the extra power. I do wish it had a relief valve on the main tubes. I find the pressure very sensitive to temperature changes and I worry that it will over inflate in the sun. So, I have to carry a pump with me in case it drops because of the cold water.
Some say this boat is fool proof. I am proof that it is not fool proof. The river has made a fool out of me despite this boat on several occasions. You absolutely cannot jump in this boat and shoot class 4/5 rapids without doing your homework. If you do your homework this boat can handle anything you want to do.
Bottom line: if you can pay a little extra money I suggest you buy the higher end Aires. It may be the last boat you ever buy.