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I haven't experienced excessive "bow bobbing" as described elsewhere on the net. One fault that I see, the center tube is very low in the water, almost giving the boat a "T" hull shape in order to obtain a low center of gravity. The center tube can grab rocks and flip you fairly easily, so entering rapids sideways is a bad idea until you learn to compensate for the center tube rock grab tendency.
Overall, great, beautiful boat with good compromises designed in to run bigger water safely. Surfs good from front, side surf difficult but possible after learning proper angles. Running Class IV or bigger and want portability? This is your boat. Running Class III down to flatwater and want some storage for longer excursions? Get the faster, lighter, more playful, even less stable Innova Safari.
Compared to an Aire Lynx, this boat is a super performance fast boat. Be forwarned though, if you are used to a super stable Aire barge like the Lynx, you MUST give up stability for performance. Knowing that is very important. Performance boats REQUIRE a good brace in whitewater or you might as well just jump in and swim the rapids without your boat. If you've got your brace down, you'll love this performance kayak and you'll be asking yourself "why was I paddling that Lynx???!" If you don't have a good brace, you'll have step down to class II and develop one or you'll be swimming a lot! Already paddling a hardshell playboat in Class IV or higher? This is your packable, comfortable boat! Overall, A solid 9 performance inflatable!
Aire's use of inner bladders with a thick PVC outer skin makes their boats very durable and repairable (although I have not had to test the reparability). A drawback is that water does seep in between these layers. In clean, fresh water this is not a big problem. Storing the boat partially inflated for a few days, the water will drain or evaporate. It could become more of a maintenance issue if you boat in murky or salty water. The chambers can be unzipped, but Aire discourages doing this more than necessary. If you mess with them the inner Aire cells don't always realign themselves very well without a struggle. The one time I tried it, I had to take it back to Aire to get it straightened out, which was okay for me because I live in Boise.
Depending on what you want to do, and in what water conditions, the Aire Force XL could be your best choice.
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