At weights of 23 lbs. (Lagoon) and 26 lbs. (Sport), and at costs that are not that far apart, many of us may wonder about whether to go for the Lagoon or the new Sport. The best way to decide is to try them out, and a good way to do that is to go to an AE "Demo" (times listed under "Events" on the site's homepage). Other than that, here are a few things to consider.
Several years ago, I hit the water with a WM Skedaddle (Dragonfly) and now have the new Lagoon (the Skedaddle is now with another family member). At 8' 4" length, it is very maneuverable - and surprisingly seaworthy. I have had my Lagoon out in wild weather at sea when nearby kayaking classes, with 17' -18' hard-shells, would not venture out far from shore. I was also using the packlite spray skirt, something that cannot be attached to the Sport's larger cockpit. The other point is that the Lagoon has the double main inflation chamber, so that if one chamber should fail, the other will keep you afloat, whereas the new Sport has a single main chamber.
The 10' 5" Sport shaves ten lbs. off the standard Advanced Frame solo - mainly by sporting a larger cockpit (thereby removing some deck), using only one main inflation chamber, and omitting inflatable coamings (where the sprayskirt attaches). Its performance, however, is still very similar to the classic AF 1: very good in all categories. With only one main inflation chamber, though, the prudent paddler would do well to stay within hailing distance of shore, should something go awry, no matter how unlikely.
Final thought: most paddlers would find the Sport to track and glide better than the Lagoon, and its light weight makes it a (similar) great choice for backpacking. That 10' 5" length seems a perfect one for an IK: this is a proven design that really works well. Paradoxically, the Lagoon is safer in challenging conditions, even if it is mainly recommended for flatwater use. It has the double main chambers and accepts a sprayskirt when the going gets wild. Also, the Lagoon is simply addictive, as its fans will attest. You can install a BackBone on the Sport, by the way, but I am inclined to think that if you are under 180 lbs., a BB is not necessary. If you are 230 lbs., for instance, the BB will keep you from taco-chipping the craft simply by sitting in it. If you are, say, 280 lbs., it is time to think "Expedition" or "Convertible."
"Peace" to my Expedition-owning brothers!
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