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.
I stand by the "8" rating due to the minor customer service issues, but it really is a solid trailer.
As for wait time on your order... yes, that is true. But I learned from all previous posts and ordered in the fall so I'd have it for the following season. Much better idea!
- I can fit super long surf skis (over 21 feet), the suspension is great, and the wheels are the newer design which eliminates the rust issues mentioned below. Very important change there. I wouldn't have made the purchase if that hadn't been changed.
- I've had a hard time trying to figure out how to fit more than a couple bikes on it. It was difficult to find a bike tray that extends far enough to attach to the lower load bars. I have those on outer sides of the upper load bars. The length between the upper load bars is too far to be able to mount bikes up there. I'd like the ability to place at least 2 road bikes and 2 mtn bikes on the trailer when not hauling boats, but it doesn't seem like that is possible.
- Gas mileage. It was interesting to see someone comment on using their Honda Civic Hybrid and maintaining high fuel efficiency. I have successfully towed the trailer with a regular Honda Civic, but the gas mileage dropped from around 40mpg to the low 20's. And this was just a trip from SC to FL, so mostly flat land. I can't imagine taking it into the mountains. Granted, I had two bikes and two boats, but the boats were very light at 28 and 33 pounds. The mtn bikes were at a total of about 50-55 lbs. So this was a load of about 115 lbs and my gas mileage plummeted. That was very disappointing after spending so much $$ on the trailer and buying a tow package for the Honda Civic. My guess is that a V6 engine or better would pull the same load really well with very little reduction from regular fuel efficiency. Or carrying 2-3 lightweight boats would likely be fine with the 4 cylinder engine. But apparently it's asking too much to haul what I would normally want to haul with a little economy car.
The customer service was so-so. When I could reach the owner he was friendly but very busy. They failed to send some minor hardware pieces which was annoying, but nothing I couldn't pick up locally.
Overall, it is a solid design. Maybe not what I was hoping for in fuel efficiency while towing it, but it seems there is some hope based on comments below.