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Submitted: 05-15-2013 by RavenWing
I've had my FusionS since fall of 2010 (first year for the S version). I chose the Connect30 ww package. The lower performance backband is what I'm used to and demand in seakayaking. The footplate (rather than the footpegs in the RiverTour package) is much more comfortable as it allows a lot of different foot positions. Also a lot more sturdy when bracing in moving water. You can also move the footplate toward you, slide in a few drybags, and put the plate back, gaining some more storage space. Can't do that w. the footpegs. The Connect30 package designed for ww has a larger and more robust foam stiffener up front than the RiverTour.
Build quality is excellent as you would expect - the boat is born of both Pyranha ww and P&H seakayaking design.The HTPE plastic is lighter than rotomould, boat shoulders easily, but takes a knocking. It has never flexed or deformed on a rack or on the water. Seat position is adjustable on the fly thanks to ratchets. I like the performance seating as it's firmer and all of it stays under the coaming unlike some competitors.
The stern hatch is solidly watertight. I had no trouble opening and sealing the hatch cover. For some reason the stern hatch on the S is smaller than the one on the regular (now M) version so take that into account w. your gear. I also deducted a point for the skeg system since the pull cord looks a little light for a lot of use, and it is a little too far back for my liking.
The optional 1L pod is brilliant. Handy space for small stuff (not 100% waterproof tho). Detaches in seconds and goes on land w. you. Innovative and useful - again a perk over pure ww boats.
The Fusions as noted are narrower in beam that their XP cousins and felt quicker and a little more agile. The FusionS was a much better fit for me (5'3" 125 lbs, 30" inseam) and could easily fit a lean someone up to 5'9" and 175 lbs.
This boat is pretty swift on the flats w. the skeg down. I was easily keeping up w. rec boats 10-12 feet, and not even beginning to work hard. Skeg up and it's a pivoting joy to maneuver in Class 1-3 (can do higher, but I can't) Slips over obstacles nicely due to hull config. Very responsive, quick and easy to enter and exit cockpit. Rolls well.
This is a crossover to look at among the few good ones out there. As for me, it's looking like the final answer anytime I want a versatile boat for the river.
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