AirFusion Elite Compared to AirFusion Original

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lee johnson
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AirFusion Elite Compared to AirFusion Original

Post by lee johnson » Fri May 17, 2013 7:06 pm

I have now put the new AirFusion Elite through its paces and find that it equals the original AirFusion while adding more stability, comfort, and versatility. I will keep both my AirFusions, though, because, of all the kayaks I have paddled in recent years, the AirFusions take less effort to move through the water at a sustained touring speed. Being lazy, I really appreciate their ability to slip through the water without tiring me out! They are fast, maneuverable, and fun. The greater roominess in the wider Elite also sports a useful and reachable hatch just behind the cockpit. It sets up faster because the side poles are now gone. It took me only ten minutes to get it ready for the water the first time I used it. This is terrific for a folding/inflatable kayak, given how long it takes (up to an hour or more) to assemble those beautiful folding kayaks made here in Vancouver. The Elite has much greater initial stability - it resists tipping - and is a kayak for any recreational or touring paddler compared to the original AirFusion, which is perhaps better suited to more advanced paddlers. In other words, if one is looking for an inflatable kayak in the 10' - 12' range (Advanced Frame, Bic Yakkair, Innova, Airis, etc.), the new Elite, although at a higher price point, would be very attractive for its even finer performance. Finally, at 32 lbs. (the same as the original), the new Elite is very portable for camping and traveling. It would be hard, if not impossible, to find a better-performing portable kayak at a lower weight. So, paddles up for the new Elite!

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PJohanson
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Post by PJohanson » Sun May 19, 2013 11:32 pm

Hurray! Thanks, Lee, for comparing the models.

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PJohanson
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Post by PJohanson » Sun May 19, 2013 11:33 pm

Hurray! Thanks, Lee, for comparing the models.

aunguyen84
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Post by aunguyen84 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:55 pm

Does the lack of side poles affect its shape and speed?

lee johnson
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Post by lee johnson » Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:42 pm

The original AirFusion has side poles; the new Elite edition does not. Does this difference affect shape and hull speed? No. The new Elite maintains firm sides in part because the high-pressure side chambers are now larger in diameter. The poles are no longer needed. The original AirFusion benefits from having side poles supporting its smaller chambers. I know: I once tried inflating them without using the poles, and they had trouble holding their shape.

A good trade-off for the new Elite is that, without the poles, it assembles faster, still keeps a firm shape and yet maintains a light weight of 32 lbs., as in the original design. It is really quite impressive that a 13' kayak can weigh less than the 10'5" Advanced Frame. The Elite is my new traveling kayak, increasing performance and fun without increasing weight and work.

The Elite rides higher in the water but without a measurably greater displacement and thus maintains the hull speed of the original. The only "trick" I have noticed is that one should pump up the side chambers of the Elite close to full to flatten out the floor of the kayak to get it ready for the rear and front thwarts. Out at sea, the skeg helps tracking and stability in rough weather because the skeg serves as a little keel; and a spray skirt is always a good idea, although waves are less likely to wash over the deck of the Elite than was the case with the lower waterline of the original AirFusion.

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