Last September I completed the Colorado River 100 on a Cobra Expedition and I've been hooked on long distance kayak racing ever since!
After that race I wanted a faster boat so after doing lots of research, and talking with different boaters I decided on a Epic 18x.
Anyway, I had entered the 18x in the Texas Winter 100K on January 28th of this year, and due to low water levels on the Colorado River I decided it wasn't prudent (which was a good call as I would have destroyed it), and 24 hours before the race I got offered the opportunity to race the PRS, which I had never been on before. After racing it 62 miles in sometimes less than desirable conditions I came away extremely impressed! I ran it aground more times than I care to remember, went over twice,(pilot error) and the boat came away unscathed.
It's stable, fast, fun, and relatively inexpensive! I can definitely see me owning one in the future.The Spirit PRS (Performance Racing Ski) a ROTO MOLD PLASTIC SURF SKI, is a one of a kind boat that you need to try. I have had my PRS since late February 2010 and love it. I have been competitively paddling/racing since October 09; I got into the racing game in my prime, old age of 47.
I have 3 race boats the Spirit PRS with the combination over stern rudder and under stern rudder an Epic 16X, and a Spencer Extreme/Solo Unlimited. Each of these boats fits nicely into its own race category and it is nice to be able to pick the boat for the conditions of the day. But if you could have only one boat that you were to race, the PRS would be a great boat to have. You would be extremely competitive with it as a beginning to intermediate racer, if you are a good paddler then this boat will perform for you and you will win many races with it.
The races that I have entered in this boat I have either won or done extremely well, even against middle of the pack carbon boats, so it holds its own. If you just wanted a fast/stable boat to train in, this is your boat, especially if you have river or water conditions that are not always conducive for a carbon boat.
The PRS is very stable compared to other similar boats I have tried, I have paddled an Epic V10 Sport, and the PRS is more stable. I have also paddled the Epic 18X with new rudder system and they are very comparable both in speed and stability.
The only possible draw back is the PRS's weight at 46 to 50 lbs rigged out, because IT IS A PLASTIC BOAT, but it is a good and bad thing in my opinion, bad if you have to portage it a lot, good if you are in the wind and chop, the PRS carves through the chop extremely well, as the first 2.5 ft of the waterline of this boat is very DEEP V'd then rounds out to a pretty high volume bow. My training partner has a Fenn MAKO, he beats me on flat water, but as soon as a 1 foot chops kicks up I catch up.
Being a plastic boat it will take just about any abuse you throw at it, rocks, pilings, gravel and trees. In a race earlier this year in Texas I went right over the center of a 2 foot tree that was crossing the river, the tree was sticking up out of the water about 6 to 8 inches, I got high centered for a few seconds but pushed off without any damage to the boat.
The boat comes in a couple of different configurations and is smartly laid out and pretty comfortable for a ski, Configuration #1) closed foot well, as it does not have a venturi system but rather a foot pump system that you pump with your heels as you paddle, when needed, this system works well from what Iíve heard from other PRS owners. I have a 35 to 36 inch inseam so for me to fit in the cockpit I would have to take the foot pump system out to get the length I need; Configuration #2) is a single large venturi in the foot well. This is the configuration I purchased as you get about another 2 inches in length in the foot well. The venturi is sufficient, as long as you are going 4.7 to 5 mph; it keeps the foot well empty. I have a plug that I keep in mine for when I am sitting still or going less than 5 mph.
As the previous review states the PRS has a great deal of storage for a surf ski, I have my drinking system in the front hatch and run my drinking tube inside, under the foot well and then come through the deck behind the seat, this makes a very clean and comfortable system.
I too will happily enjoy the advantage of paddling this fast plastic boat in the races from Texas to Mississippi; as it falls into the plastic touring boat class, it is less than 20 ft long so it is not put into the fast surf ski class, although I have beat some on occasion.
Mike with www.fitpaddle.com is great to deal with and will help you in any way he can, he is located in Austin, Texas. Here is the link to the PRS http://fitpaddle.com/BOATS.htm
So if you are looking to upgrade or just get into a stable ski you really need to check this boat out.If you want a boat that absolutely excels in downriver racing -- this is it. You need not worry about logs, strainers, junk, rocks, etc. It is extremely durable throughout its plastic build and comes with a tough metal kick-up rudder that has no problem at all with anything it hits.
And the speed... ohhhh, the speed! There is no comparison to any other plastic boat out there. Very sleek design, but somehow still maintains a high degree of stability. I used to think a Pyranha Speeder may be a good idea for river paddling, but when I learned of the Spirit boats I never looked back. This is a surf ski (open cockpit) style boat that comes in really handy for getting in and out of the boat quickly upon sandbars or if you need to portage. Comes with a handle on each side.
My buddy and I just finished 1-2 at a blackwater river race in SC. We each broke the previous course record by about 4 minutes without knowing any of the shortcuts known to local paddlers. And this year the river was lower than back when the record was set.
These are Australian made and only one dealer exists in the U.S. currently. They're out of Texas. URL is www.fitpaddle.com Nice folks with a passion for paddling.
I'm guessing I'll see more of the PRS or its little brother (the Race ski which is about 16 feet long) at races. Until then, I will happily maintain my unfair advantage of paddling the best boat available for river paddling!
I also use it on occasion for flatwater paddling. It's very stable on windy days with lots of chop and has a generous amount of storage in the bow end for longer trips. For those reasons it can be a nice option for flatwater if your other boat is an Olympic K-1 or a real tippy, carbon fiber surf ski.
If you're one of those folks who for whatever reason has to limit your inventory to just one boat (God forbid) this is the one I would recommend. It can do it all.