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Submitted: 07-12-2014 by Yang

I bought my kayak in February of this year (2014). I was a college student at the time and did not have a space to store a hardshell kayak. I've researched much into folders and inflatables. My type of style is more of casual kayaking which means that folders would be too tedious to setup all the time. In all my searches for inflatables, Advanced Elements Airfusion's design made the most sense for me.

I really like the incorporation of the aluminum poles. They add rigidity to the overall structure and gives the kayak a solid look. Bow and the stern are made with a hard plastic allowing it to obtain a sharp cutting edge and can take a beating. The multi-layered design is tough to break through which eases the mind about puncturing and allows for a better experience. The bag that it comes with fits all my kayaking gear which is a big bonus. The first time that I set it up took me an hour. Now it takes me just under 20 minutes to setup and under 15 minutes to put it a way.

I recently took this kayak on a camping trip in Wisconsin and the kayak performed amazing. It cut through the water nicely. I left it inflated for the entire trip (3 days) and it still held its shape. There were times when rocks scraped the underside of the kayak (on accident) and I even got lodged onto a dead tree that was hiding underwater. The kayak came out with scuff marks only and no deep scratch or penetration. I flipped over once while getting into the kayak and the water was easily removed by tilting the kayak upside down (the zipper holes help a lot with this).

The kayak paddled quickly and responded well. It stood up to the waves that pounded it and did not deform at all. It is definitely comparable to a hardshell.

Lets talk about the critiques.

  • Paddles: I used the AE 4-piece fiberglass paddle that came with the kayak. After long periods of time, the rough texture of the poles will give you blisters. I suggest wearing a glove or getting a different paddle with a smoother texture.
  • skeg: I suggest that you get a skeg if you're going to be traveling long distances. I found myself working trying to keep the kayak to travel straight.
  • Inflating: When inflating, it is very important that you align the front and rear thwart correctly. They can disrupt the shape of the kayak resulting in loss in performance.
  • Bow/Stern: Once in a while, you should check the bow and the stern to make sure that they are in place correctly. After so many setups/takedowns, I found that the bow started to tilt to one side instead of remaining straight, i.e. if looking from the front, the bow tilts to the left or if looking from the top, curving to the right.
  • Seat: The bottom of the seat will tend to shift after several hours of use and will need to be re-positioned unless if you find a way to attach it to the floor mat such as Velcro.
  • Foot rest: The foot rest is the front thwart. It can be comparable to you siting on the ground facing a wall and placing your feet against the wall. If you place your feet flat on it while paddling, your legs will get numb due to the weird foot placement. I suggest that you either get a foam block that is shaped to what you're comfortable with or changing the way you rest your feet against it. I find that pushing it with the ball of the feet prevents this numbing.
Overall, I really like this kayak. It takes some getting use to at first but once you get the hang of it, its really enjoyable to kayak in. I think I might look towards getting the Advance Frame as a secondary kayak for friends who wants to join me.
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