First time and some questions

AE1040-Y (2010)
AE1041-Y (2013-2017)
AE1042-O (current)

Moderator: JCOOLEY

Post Reply
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:39 am

First time and some questions

Post by Salas » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:07 am

Hi there,

After mulling over between the AEX with backbone or the Airfusion Elite I decided for the latter one. The kayak came this past week and today I could try it for a short trip.

First of all, I would like to say that the kayak looks really nice. It is sleek and yet sturdy at the same time. Also owning the AE convertible, I can say that the fusion elite is really lightweight and easy to carry around. The airfusion also dries faster than the AE convertible after its use.

Regarding the assembly, I did have some trouble trying to put together and align the poles 1, 2 and 3, but after the first setup joinig these three poles is no longer a problem.
The position of the thwarts is a bit hard to get right, though. When you have the rear thwart aligned with the dashed line, when you start inflating the main side chambers the thwart changes a bit its position and is pushed upwards, so, it's very hard to align the bottom of the thwart with the kayak floor. Any advice on that?
For some reason I am not experiencing that problem with the front thwart, I guess it has to do with the fourth pole, which must be preventing the front thwart from being pushed upwards. This thwart also works just fine as a foot rest.

Rocker of the Airfusion Elite: the rocker of the airfusion is quite pronounced. That should be what gives the kayak its excellent maneuverability. But that becomes a small problem if I want to paddle long distances, since the kayak tends to move towards the direction of the last stroke. My question is: Could moving the seat forward alter the rocker of the kayak, making it less pronounced? Or should I direct my efforts towards getting/making a skeg?

About the kayak speed, I could only try the kayak for a short trip, and the average speed, measured with GPS, was 3,7 mph, with a peak of 7,7 mph. I expected to go a bit faster on the average speed, but I will wait until I go on a longer trip to give the final veredict on that regard.

Overall, and having to test it more on longer/more demanding trips, the kayak feels great on the water and is really easy to carry around. Now I am eager to take it on a longer trip!!!

User avatar
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:48 pm
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada

Post by PJohanson » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:38 pm

Happy days with your new AirFusion!

If you are noticing too much wag with each stroke, your stroke is too long or too strong for this short a boat. Try not reaching so far forward. Try not digging so deep or paddling with a lot of force.
Instead, take a short, easy stroke. Your kayak will run straiter, with less wag from each stroke. (You're also less likely to get a repetitive stress injury this way.)

If you want to go faster, don't do longer strokes or stronger strokes, as you would in the Convertible or a long sea kayak. Instead, increase your cadence. It won't take much practise to be able to do a lot of short strokes each minute.

Site Admin
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:52 pm
Location: Concord, Ca

Post by rlpugh1 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:14 pm

Hi Salas,

A few answers to your questions:

The front thwart shifts less, or not at all, during the inflation process because of its size. Pole #4 probably helps somewhat with this as well. It's approx double the size of the rear thwart, so its covering more surface area along the main chambers which allows it to stay more firmly positioned. The best way to keep the rear thwart level/even in the kayak is to inflate all of the side chambers approx half way and then fully inflate the rear thwart, making sure that none of the side chamber material is tucking under the thwart. Then finish inflating the side main chambers, adjusting the thwart as you go and making sure that the side main chambers are not tucking under the thwart as this is taking place. The rear thwart may push up off of the floor a little bit, but this is ok; as long as the main chambers are not tucking underneath it and pushing it up.

As far as rocker is concerned, shift your seating position forward so that the boat is as level as possible in the water. If you need more leg room, shift the front thwart up to your desired foot bracing (you will need to partially deflate the front thwart and then re-inflate it once in the desired position). Then, I would suggest using a sharpie to mark a line on the inside hull of the kayak where the front thwart is so that your next setup will be faster. Really, you want to keep the kayak seat in the middle of the cockpit area at all times and adjust that front thwart as need for leg room. This way you won't be essentially "popping a wheelie" in the kayak by having the seat to far back.

After making these adjustments, if you're still looking for that extra tracking aid, I would recommend the AirFusion Skeg, Model #AE4002. It can be found at the bottom of this page:

As for speed, you're pulling a pretty decent clip for that model. I have had a few tell me that they average approx 4-5 mph as an average, with speeds up to 7-8 mph full out. I've never clocked myself. With the numbers you are producing, you'll probably get better speeds once you make the adjustments mentioned above.

Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:39 am

Post by Salas » Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:31 am

Thanks PJohanson and rlpugh1 for the replies!

This past weekend I could test the kayak on a long trip and the overall feeling is that the airfusion elite is a great kayak. I paddled 15,5 miles, with an average speed of 4,6 mph (stopping to take several pictures) without getting really tired. I think it's a great cruising speed. I didn't get numb legs either, which was a problem with other kayks I tried for such long trips.

During some landings I did, the bottom of the kayak brushed against rocks and the hull didn't present any scratches on later inspection.

The only minor issue the kayak has is that when you stop paddling, after some seconds the kayak turns to the direction of the last stroke. During the setup, I positioned the front thwart and the seat so that the seat was right in the middle of the kayak. When paddling, I didn't have any problem to keep the kayak straight, but when I wanted to take some pictures while sliding on the water from the momentum, tha kayak turned left/right depending on the last stroke.
I guess the only solution to that will be to get a skeg.

Regardless of that minor issue, the kayak is really nice to paddle and I can only recommend it!

Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:55 am

Post by spikeithard » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:22 am

Great thread! very useful advice.

Cant wait to get my AFE this week!

User avatar
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:48 pm
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada

Post by PJohanson » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:57 am

Sounds good, Salas!
That trend you noticed, of the kayak turning when you drift because of the last stroke, is a feature of short or short-ish kayaks in general, when the paddler is doing strong strokes. It's not just you! :) So, when you know you're going to stop paddling in a moment, make your last stroke really soft or short and the drift to left or right will be less pronounced.

Post Reply