This review is for the Liberty base model.
The only difference between the base model and the DX is that the DX has the bulkhead and the skeg. My Liberty base model now has the skeg, courtesy of the dealer in Western New York where I found the boat, also on sale:); the boat also has a rear hatch, making the bulkhead hardly necessary. In the Liberty, there is plenty of room to stash gear for those multi-day trips or to haul around from one place to another, or to stash the beer cooler:)
I bought this boat partly because I already have an Aquafusion kayak. Several years ago I bought an Aquafusion Breeze. It is royal blue and was a demo boat at a store in Stowe, Vermont. The Breeze is about eleven feet long, made from "tough superlinear plastic," as it is described on their website, really a euphemism for polyethylene, and is a strong boat that is capable of taking just about anything. The boat was scarred pretty good when I got it; I have, of course, only furthered this condition, but it just keeps on going. A couple years ago I even towed in a stalled motorboat with my small Breeze.
The Liberty is the Breeze and then some. It is also the same color. It is about thirteen feet long with such a roomy cockpit that I could even move forward and practically kneel to adjust the foot pegs while underway. I like this roomy cockpit. I am 6' 225lbs (not all blubber:)) and trying to fit into those small cockpits is like squeezing into spandex. The bow is flanged, the hull chined. The bow does a wonderful job deflecting the waves that the Liberty just glides through with hardly a thought of them. I have deliberately put this boat into cross-currents of motorboat wakes; it just parts them without effort and keeps moving on. The hull makes the Liberty as steady as time. You really have to work at it to dump this boat.
The Liberty is a multi-tasking boat. It is at home as a fishing platform or sailing across the open water. I am not a fisherman. I go for touring and putting the miles behind me. The Liberty glides along like a cloud. Sometimes, especially when the water is laying flat and undisturbed, motion hardly seems perceptible, except for the shoreline screaming by. I can now paddle a lake about five miles long in about 1.5 hours without hitting that wall of exhaustion, like I did with the Breeze. Unlike the Breeze, which can spin hard with the skeg up, the Liberty stays right in line, the bow barely yawing with each dip of the paddle. The skeg reduces this to nothing and keeps it right in line. I might try to get a rudder on it this winter.
This is a heavy boat to carry but, like its sister, it is really strong. I might be able to tow in more than a motor boat with her:) -- that is, of course, if I have the strength:) Once up to speed she really hauls along. Best of all, the Liberty is well under a thousand dollars. She will last well over a thousand miles and still keep on trucking. This is a fantastic boat for just about any purpose except, perhaps, for rivers, and well worth the considerably smaller investment. I will, no doubt, paddle far with my Liberty.Proud new owner of a dream fishing machine!!
I am first and foremost a fisherman, did lots of canoeing in Northwestern Quebec growing up, had never paddled a Kayak until this spring when I started searching for a new portable fishing boat (didn't want a canoe, a kayak seemed to be the answer, especially after seeing what fishermen in the USA where doing on various fishing websites). I had been searching for a stable fishing Kayak and came across the Aqua Fusion website. The helpful staff provided valuable assistance during an open paddle night at the Fanshawe River Conservation area.
John Kleiber, a very knowledge paddler in his on right prepared a series of different Kayaks whose profile seemed to fit my needs; very stable craft, maneuverable and nimble and a joy to paddle. Up until trying the Liberty DX Kayak the qualities I was looking for still eluded me.
I tried the Liberty DX last and man what an enjoyable surprise. The boat was fast, could cut very easily and the secondary stability was amazing. John noticed me flopping about in the distance and was wondering what the heck I was up too. Upon returning he realized that I was trying to dump the boat, I guess not the smartest thing to do on the Thames River at the end of April, water is still quite chilly. Needless to say I stayed dry, my first comment upon reaching shore was "what is the lead time on this boat, I want one as soon as possible"!
John was quite surprised when he realized that this was only my 3rd time in a kayak (had gone to a few other open paddles trying other types of Kayaks searching for the elusive perfect boat for me), I believe all the credit goes to the Liberty DX, it is that easy to paddle, the speeds attained after only a few strokes pleasantly surprised me. With some technique adjustment I am confident in hitting 8 kmh on a power paddle.
The other night I was paddling upstream in the Grand River under the Glen Morris bridge when I came across 2 canoes drifting downstream. I was paddling by them upstream, getting back to a nice smallmouth bass pool I had discovered. The guys were quite surprised by the way I climbed the fastwater (that's what it felt like). The beauty of going upriver is you really enjoy the drift downstream, kind of like the Tour de France after they finish a climb, the descents are just delightful, makes you feel like a kid again.
The DX model that I picked has a few extra bells and whistles in features but the hull design is the same. On the DX the extras are a skeg, more comfortable foam seat, water tight rear hatch and bulkhead.
After some trial and error I managed to dump my boat in deep end and re-enter without touching bottom. It was relatively easy for me to return the boat to its upright position. I proceeded to enter by climbing up onto the rear hatch and just sliding into cockpit. When I had my re-entry practiced perfectly I could go from wet to semi dry in under 5 minutes. To empty the rest of water I just turn on my 1100 GPH bilge pump (leftover from my livewell on my power boat).
There is ample storage in rear water tight hatch. Spare life jacket (remove CO2 jacket in presence of white water), skirt, goretex anorak, spare tackle box, water bottles, drift sock, Coast Guard Approve Safety equipment etc. The size of the hatch creates a very buoyant stern area, perfect for executing emergency re-entry.
Have converted my Liberty DX which is in essence a a recreational kayak into a lean and mean fishing machine (couldn' t resist the pun for although quite corny it really does describe my boat to a T).
All in all in a very good boat, there is always the inevitable BUT.
There is no drain plug direct from factory, although it is quite easy to install for a "Do It Yourselfer", it would be nice to have a factory install.
The foot pedal adjustments require you to bend inside cockpit to adjust further back, going forward is no problem. This is the 1st item I will upgrade on my boat, everybody wants to try it and I am taller than average :wink:. I tried out other boats with a pull strap, very easy to use . Luckily both drawbacks are pretty simple to remedy after market, would be nice to have the option for more upgrading so to speak, like buying a vehicle with all options. Of couse you pay for what you get, us fishermen don't mind shelling out extra money for more fishing enjoyment down the road, just look at all the lures we buy and never use :lol: .
The skeg is a nice feature, not necessary on the a river, but during lunch time paddle in the Hamilton Harbour accessed through BayFront Park (beautiful area) with a stiff breeze blowing I realized how the skeg helps you track in a straight line.
I was so happy with the boat that after a good year on the markets (no I didn't buy the company), I decided to get 2 Breezes DX for my young nieces, a Liberty DX for my godson (asked him what colour he wanted and he replied in French meme couleur que toi M'Oncle) he also will be getting a Sun Mystery DX model. My oldest niece is into backcountry stuff so I got her a Quest DX, she can't wait to smoke her friends who are all in canoes. :lol: