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Force XL

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Force XL Description

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Force XL Reviews


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Force XL Reviews

Read reviews for the Force XL by AIRE as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

I bought a 2009 Aire Force...

I bought a 2009 Aire Force XL (they're redesigned for 2010). Here's the scoop... Construction Quality - 10! Stability is very good for a performance infla-yak, much more stable than my Innova Safari. Slower than my Safari. Doesn't "play" as well as my Safari in waves and holes. Doesn't "surf" as well as my Safari. Not as "packable" as my Safari. Cannot eskimo roll. Forget about that, both on Force and Safari. Wet exit is a no-brainer. Feels "tall" which is good for feeling of safety and for visibility. Gives good feeling of security for big water. Bails fast, and not much volume to bail in the first place. Great feeling of "one with the water". Comfortable. Stiff. Punches through holes great.

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!

I have had the Aire Force...

I have had the Aire Force XL for a few months now. I have taken it through big class 3's and some class 4's and it performs very well. It is a hard decision as to which boat to choose, the XL or regular smaller Force. I chose the XL because I wanted to be able to take it in bigger water. The smaller boat is great for tricks and surfing and is much faster but pretty tippy and gets swallowed up in holes very easily. If you don't mind swimming a lot or you are a pimp at bracing, get the small one. Otherwise the XL is the all around performance inflatable with stability.

The comment that a novice...

The comment that a novice would not tip in class 2 water is irresponsible. This is a performance craft and one should not take it class 2 water without some guidance.

The Aire Force XL is...

The Aire Force XL is designed to be possibly the best inflatable kayak for whitewater. It is very sturdy and maneuverable. It is very stable, and it is unlikely that even an inexperienced person will get overturned in less than Class III whitewater. The sturdy footrest chamber and backrest chamber are adjustable. There are adjustment straps on those chambers that are not visible in the pictures of this boat fully inflated. The adjustments have to be made on shore with the chambers deflated. Back support is pretty good. Maybe a notch below the seats of the Lynx in comfort, but better than some others. This boat is adequate for day touring. Three miles an hour is easily sustainable with pretty good tracking on flatwater. Beyond about three and a half miles an hour tracking gets very bad. There is no keel, rudder, or skeg. The Force XL is not too bad for one person to carry, and a thigh strap can serve as shoulder strap. There are four D-rings on the rear deck. The Prijon Wild Wasser dry bag fits these nicely. A larger dry bag could be attached with bungee cords. Still, this boat will not carry a lot of equipment, and like any whitewater kayak, this is the wrong boat for extended, self-contained touring. The heavier Lynx is not faster on flatwater than the Force XL, but its greater cargo capacity could make it the better choice for extended touring.

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.