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Question about Firefly

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:47 am
by newbienick
I am a bit new to kayaking this summer, but I have been paddling and been around water my whole life. Lately, I have been spending my weekends renting by the hour various recreational kayaks on the many lakes around my area, and have been having the time of my life. My friends and family tell me I need to stop obsessing over getting into kayaking, but I guess I simply have an addictive peronality. Of course, I would love to own my own kayak so as not to wait in lines for them, and not be restricted by rental hours of operation, etc. I live in a condo, so space is an issue, as is the cost of a hard shell kayak for someone as new to the sport as me. I would like to do it for a year to see how much I enjoy it and maybe try different types of Kayaks out as well.

That is when I found a fantastic deal on the Firefly kayak from an online retailer. Sure, it's not the AdvanceFrame 10.5 footer that is hailed as one of the best creations from AE, but at the price of only a few weekend rental sessions, I could carry this little 16 pound beast from my condo down to the lake on my back and do it anytime I wanted, no lines no waiting. Problem is, I can't find anyone who has it, has used it, or can offer me any advice on "Buy that up, use it as often as possible" or "Save that hundred bucks and put it towards a bigger badder guy in a year."

I know the firefly is the most basic entry model, and it appears it doesn't offer all the features of even the lagoon model, but somebody somewhere has to own one of these, right? Is the material cheaper than the lagoon model? Is it the same AE quality that the others are praised for, or is this a really expensive beach raft? (I am not sure I believe that for a minute). It looks like a great pick up and go kayak perfect for a fun few hours on the lake or down a calm river. Where is the love for the firefly??

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:51 pm
by lee johnson
May I make a suggestion? Go to and look at their video on the 2008 Dragonfly XC, which they are selling for a blow-out price of $199. With the Dragonfly XC, you get everything the Firefly offers - but with an extra half foot of length (which helps tracking) and the quality decking and features found on the Advanced Frame line. My good lady has both the Firefly and a 2008 Dragonfly XC - loves both but says the extra three or four pounds of weight on the longer XC are well worth it. Of course, for quick and dirty guerrilla kayaking, there's nothing wrong with grabbing the Firefly from the trunk of your car - but its price is essentially the same the the deal on the XC.

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:22 am
by newbienick
Oh I agree that is a great deal. But the retailer I found with the firefly is $99. For that price, I could always keep it is as a spare even when I do upgrade to a bigger yak later.

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:28 am
by davh01

I been shopping around for a kayak. Can you post the info for the retailer with the $99 for the firefly.


"Guest Kayaks"

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:32 am
by lee johnson
Good heavens! $99 for a Firefly - you are in danger of being incarcerated for theft - you could throw away the kayak and keep the duffel bag for that price. But, how about this: What is better than one kayak? Two, of course - to share with a friend. At the price you are thinking of, why not get a "Guest Kayak" - and, again, I would recommend upgrading to a Dragonfly XC on airkayak's current sale while supplies last. You'd essentially be getting the new Lagoon 1 without deck lifts in the front. What a great way to get into this great activity.

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:35 am
by newbienick
Hah! Well, I can't imagine why they have it listed so cheap, but the retailer is Honestly, my budget is tight this summer, so this seemed like the best thing to do for now, rather than spend the extra $100 and get the lagoon model from airkayaks. I am hoping next summer to purchase a bigger, pricier model, maybe one of the advancedframe models or a hard shell possibly. The firefly will likely always stay in my trunk for anytime I am anywhere and see some water that looks like it needs some paddling company.

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:24 pm
by newbienick
Curiously, today, the price on the firefly from that retailer jumped up to $209.99. I placed an order over the weekend while it was listed under $99.99, so I guess we'll see. Maybe they lsited it incorrectly or saw this thread and realized that was too cheap. Who knows.

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:50 pm
They had it listed incorrectly. Good thing you got it when you did.


Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:03 am
by newbienick
OH NO! Well, now I do feel like a thief. In any case, I guess I can always say my first kayak was an Advanced Elements.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:01 pm
by PJohanson
You're not a thief. Retailers who honour their ads get increased customer volume & loyalty, so it works out for them.
Smart idea to buy a small kayak -- I had the idea too, to buy an affordable kayak instead of paying rental fees. It's a great way to find out what I like about kayaking. It's been a couple years now, and I have a couple different kinds of kayaks, short & wide, long&thin, folding, hard, etc. Sold one of them for most of what I'd paid for it, cuz kayaks aren't like cars... they don't lose half their value the first time ya use them.
I think you'll have a great time with either the Firefly or the Lagoon -- small enough to carry a good long way. I use a small luggage roller to make it even easier.

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:33 am
by newbienick
I was out on the lake over the weekend paddling around a hardshell rental when I saw a very nice couple on a pair of AdvancedFrame 10.5's. Was very cool to see one in person instead just all over the internet. It got me excited about getting the firefly in the mail.

I finally got the Firefly yesterday, and after work, took it home, and put it together in the condo just to see how I would fit, and how it was built. I was skeptical about both from the start, but that is because I have been skeptical about inflatables all along. Once I saw how well it was constructed, and realized that I was a PERFECT fit inside of it (I am 5'10" and 200 LBS), I couldn't contain myself any longer. I had an hour before the lake behind my condos closed for the night. I deflated it, tossed everything (Kayak, foot pump, dry box, and cheaply made paddle) into the duffel bag, didn't even bother to make it all fit or zip it up. Threw it in the trunk, drove down to the beach on the lake, and only took about 10 minutes to set it all up.

Once it was in the water, getting in the boat proved a little difficult. I tried to sit down in it, but with one hand on the side, it pressed it under the water and the cockpit flooded. No worries, cleaned that up and tried again with minimal water flowing inside. Once I was in, tough, I pushed off and was on my way. Again, it's like the thing was designed around my exact body size. It fits like a glove. Even with a ridiculously cheap plastic paddle that bent every time I made a stroke, the Firefly tracked straight as an arrow and went mcuh faster than I thought it would. Now, I am not going to win any races in it, of course, and when you stop paddling, it also stops rather than gliding like a hardshell would, but I was amazed and astonished at the quality of the boat. The sun was going down, the wind was pickign up, and it cut through the waves like a butter knife. I love that you can feel the waves while still retaining a rigid structure. You don't get that kind of comfort in a hardshell.

In any case, I was only out for 15 minutes or so, but it was a great 15 minutes or so of paddling. I hope I can get out of work in time to go back tonight and stay a little while. I really thought I would only like inflatables because of their easy storage, and simply put up with everything I didn't like about them, but after last night, easy storage is just a bonus. It really is the little things that make me smile! Like, the velcro paddle straps on the side of the Firefly. they aren't mentioned in any of the ad materials, but are perfect for just floating around without losing your paddle.

I will have to wait and see what I think after spending some real time on the water.

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:35 am
by PJohanson
Wow, sounds like you had a great time!
For getting into the kayak, you've got two main alternatives. Tall people can straddle the kayak, maybe standing near the bow. Sit down onto the cockpit, wiggle in and bring in your legs.
I'm not tall. I stand with the kayak on my right side. I lift my right leg and put it into the boat. I sit down into the boat and lift my left leg up and then into the boat. It's easier if the stern of the kayak is just barely grounded on the sandy beach, but I can do this off a dock from a seated or lying position now.
So your choice is basically: butt first then legs, or one leg first then butt then other leg.