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Submitted: 12-16-2010 by jeremy
I bought a 2009 Aire Force XL (they're redesigned for 2010). Here's the scoop... Construction Quality - 10! Stability is very good for a performance infla-yak, much more stable than my Innova Safari. Slower than my Safari. Doesn't "play" as well as my Safari in waves and holes. Doesn't "surf" as well as my Safari. Not as "packable" as my Safari. Cannot eskimo roll. Forget about that, both on Force and Safari. Wet exit is a no-brainer. Feels "tall" which is good for feeling of safety and for visibility. Gives good feeling of security for big water. Bails fast, and not much volume to bail in the first place. Great feeling of "one with the water". Comfortable. Stiff. Punches through holes great.
I haven't experienced excessive "bow bobbing" as described elsewhere on the net. One fault that I see, the center tube is very low in the water, almost giving the boat a "T" hull shape in order to obtain a low center of gravity. The center tube can grab rocks and flip you fairly easily, so entering rapids sideways is a bad idea until you learn to compensate for the center tube rock grab tendency.
Overall, great, beautiful boat with good compromises designed in to run bigger water safely. Surfs good from front, side surf difficult but possible after learning proper angles. Running Class IV or bigger and want portability? This is your boat. Running Class III down to flatwater and want some storage for longer excursions? Get the faster, lighter, more playful, even less stable Innova Safari.
Compared to an Aire Lynx, this boat is a super performance fast boat. Be forwarned though, if you are used to a super stable Aire barge like the Lynx, you MUST give up stability for performance. Knowing that is very important. Performance boats REQUIRE a good brace in whitewater or you might as well just jump in and swim the rapids without your boat. If you've got your brace down, you'll love this performance kayak and you'll be asking yourself "why was I paddling that Lynx???!" If you don't have a good brace, you'll have step down to class II and develop one or you'll be swimming a lot! Already paddling a hardshell playboat in Class IV or higher? This is your packable, comfortable boat! Overall, A solid 9 performance inflatable!
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