Submitted: 07-22-2003 by waterdoc
I too have been using a Gaia float for several years and second everything that GPROACTION said in his review. When my wife started paddling a closed deck boat, I was ready to get her another brand instead of driving 120 miles round trip to the closest "local" stock of this paddle float.
My wife wouldn't hear of it. Even though she never paddles alone and would almost always be doing an assisted re-entry, she felt that if there was a reason that I used that particular float than she should be using it too.
I have found that it is very easy to work the push-pull valves with my teeth, and tighten the draw cord around my paddle with only one hand. This leaves a hand free to hold the boat or anything else that you might need to hold.
Recently, I started using a Greenland Paddle, and I was concerned that the float would not stay on it. I found that my fears were pointless as long as I wrapped the teather around the shaft and clipped it. The dual chambers give a nice safety margin, especially when you consider that just using one chamber still gives enough stability for me to get my 225 pounds into the boat.
Because the valves are push-pull, deflation is very easy. Just open the valve and stick your paddle partway into the water while keeping the valve out of it. The float quickly deflates by itself. This way there is no funbling around while trying to keep a valve open and you are still in conditions that caused you to capsize.
My float has only been used once in a real situation of 25 knot winds and 10 - 11 foot swells, but has been used in countless practice sessions. It has held up very well and still looks like it is brand new.