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Submitted: 01-30-2012 by coffee-jerk
I honestly wasn't looking for another boat, but ended up with one of these strapped to my car, to deliver to a friend. (perhaps an evil trick, in hindsight?) I thought that as long as it was on my car, I might as well stop and paddle it. Now, I own two of their boats…
Wait. I think I'm supposed to list my height, weight, credentials, duration of test, wave height, wave type, water temperature, current, turbidity, type and length of paddle, model of PFD, and the relative position of various celestial bodies.
So: I am an Aries (rising), 6’-0”, a solid 175 lbs. and like to paddle; a lot. I pride myself on developing my skills, but frequently paddle with those whose skills far outweigh my own, and perhaps always will. But, I try. I have paddled the Xplore-S in conditions ranging from placid to beach launching into 30 knot downwind six to nine foot scrotum-shrinking mayhem. And, it is a joy to paddle.
It feels fast and slippery, and the cockpit is ergonomic and refined. In calm conditions, it responds to commands subtle or large. In rough or windy conditions, it responds to commands subtle or large. That is saying a lot, and here is where the Xplore-S shines above similar volume designs. If you have the guts to heel it over while in waves, it will still respond, steer, correct course, what-have-you. In this case, it will hold its course better than, and is more maneuverable than, the reliable Cetus LV; and has higher secondary stability than the Nordkapp LV.
If you have not inspected the design and construction of a Tiderace boat, you need to do so. Rather than assemble the boats as a Frankenstein combination of existing models, ("We'll combine the stern of this model, the cockpit of that old one over there, and the bow of that one. Oh, with a little more rocker…") each design has been optimized. Look down the seam: it is a continuous, beautiful curve; as is the waterline.
If this wasn’t enough, the layup is absolutely bombproof, a paradigm shift upwards for the industry. You could write a review of this advancement, alone. One result is that under normal loads, you will have a hard time making the hull deflect; at all.
I now own Tiderace boats from Finland and Thailand, and the construction of both is superlative. I don't know what else to say. Many of us are looking for the perfect boat, or boats. For the foreseeable future, I think these boats are "it".
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