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Old 04-22-2011   #11
Wavester's Avatar
NorCal, California
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 330
If you actually paddle a Sotar you will be sold because the stiffness of the boat makes them noticibly more responsive then a simular sized Hypalon boat. Sotars are very easy to roll up, no real difference then any hypalon boat that I have rolled up other then they are much lighter and you will notice that also when you lift the boat into your vehicle. A lot of people confuse a Sotar with a Maravia, both are covered with Urethane but Sotars use a pliable nylon base material while Maravia uses a PVC type of base this makes them heavier and more difficult to fold then Sotars. As far as durability that is very subjective but both boat makers have a reputation for high quality. One area that Sotars are superior in is that every boat they make is a custom boat made to your specifications and color at no extra charge.
I came down to the two same boat makers you did when I was researching a new boat last year Sotar and Avons, both make some of the best. In the end I chose the material, Urethane and the boat maker that I thought made the best Urethane boat on the market imo.
There's also some very complete study that the US navy did regarding hypalon verses urethane that is available if you want to get real techy.

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Old 04-22-2011   #12
rafterswhite's Avatar
HSS, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by SALRVRRT View Post

I don't have much space so I'll be deflating it regularly.

I too like the fact of the good old US but, at least the Avon is not made in that ONE (I don't even want to start that) place.
I know I'll catch hell for it, but I don't care for the feel of Maravia. Sorry all, we have one at work and it's just too stiff. Nothing personal.

How difficult is it to find repair parts and pieces for the Sotars? I know that a local outfitter here runs Avon and I would make repairs easy.

Can you roll up a Sotar?

I think both are currently building their boats with Leifield valves / prv's, so parts are equally easy to come by. Sotars can be rolled and stored just like any thing else. They glue like anything else. I bought a new one last year, to me the big difference was not only American made, but custom made. I spec'ed the position of every valve and d ring, added d rings, changed tube diameters etc. Avon is a great boat, but you get what's in stock, on nothing else.

Before I bought last year, I tried to start with an open mind, looked at a lot of boats, and heard a lot of sales pitches. Almost all the new hypalon boats are including a Polyurethane "skid" on the bottom now. Some have a polyurethane chafe on top. By the time I ordered a Sotar during one of their sales, I paid less for it than I would of for a new Avon, Hyside, Achilles, or even an NRS, and got to spec everything on it. Did have to wait a few months for it, but for a boat I don't intend on replacing for 20 years, the 10 weeks isn't a big deal.

Urethane boats are a little different, there lighter, stiffer, they float a little higher, and carry a little less momentum. The down side is that they're lighter, stiffer, float a little higher, and carry less momentum. Did I mention they drain wicked fast?

As an outfitter in the 90's, I was looking for new boats, I had and liked hypalon, and pvc had a negative connotation for commercial use. But I ran into Bill Wing and quickly fell in love with his Polyurethane boats. Ended up buying 8 of them and one for my buddy. My buddy still gets compliments on his "brand new" Wing sixteen years later. The polyurethane just holds up better than any thing else. Add that to Sotar's customer service and customization, and you can't go wrong.

But the Avons are good too.

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Old 04-23-2011   #13
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
For a paddle boat for six people and the guide I really don't think you can beat the Avon. Although I would love to try some of the newer larger tube boats from Maravia.

R2ed the day stretch on the Headwaters Salmon at nine feet. For those not local this is a local class three central Idaho run that at that level gets really fun. Several solid fours and one mile of very continuous exploding waves. With fairly large tubes, just right for sticky. Great to wedge in and you can top them off and get them fairly stiff.
Did the Murtaugh section of the snake in one at 20K too.

I couldn't imagine a better performing raft for an oar boat than my Willi 2 from Maravia. It runs big holes and huge waves equally well. Holds a bunch. Flat bottom stiffness let you surf and slide around on the big glassy entrance waves. It drains quick but not too quick if you know what I mean.

For comfort against my butt advantage - Avon. It feels good. My old boat is pretty easy but some of the newer ones just seem downright abrasive against my sensitive bits. A by product or because of is that the material appears to be bulletproof on the new Maravias.

I give the low water rock slime boogey advantage to the Maravia. With the width the Avon gets hung up just as easy almost. If you run them super soft you get away with a lot more.

Sure would like to try a Sotar someday. They look like a blend of some of my favorite things. Haven't paid too much attention to tube size though it seems on par with the Adventurer.

That's probably more than you wanted to hear. Damn I need to go boating.
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Old 04-23-2011   #14
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
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I know its not the same as a raft but my maravia cat is pretty durable. The ONLY thing I don't like about it is it does not roll. So I have to ly flat. My aire boats roll, not real tight but I'm happy with it. The reason the Maravia's are so unpliable is they have a nice heavy sprayed on coat of urethane. They actually can do some pretty cool color combos because of this --- but I know nobody buys a boat for their color. What I like is my d-rings look trashed as all shit but the boat still looks incredibly new.

Just about everyone is putting urethane on the bottoms of their boat as a more durable option. (or with Aire offering it as a $$$$ upgrade) Just what does that tell you?

I've never seen a Sotar rolled but they have similar characteristics as far as durability as a Maravia however apparently different characteristics as far as rolling

My best friend has an AVON I/K and its pretty nice too.

After having Hypalon, PVC, and Urethane I'd have to give my nod to Sotar/Maravia for durability, Aire for quick field repair and good warrantee, and then a hypalon boat. If the pricing is even relatively close I'd definately go with the Sotar although if you are sold on hypalon then the Avon is a good choice. I think either way you can't go wrong.
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Old 04-23-2011   #15
Goshen, New York
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 63
OK, maybe GSXR is a little much. The AVON handles like a Buick, and the Sotar handles like a Harley...
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Old 04-23-2011   #16
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
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Posts: 1,146
Is this a welded vs glued thread? I see a lot of older hypalon buckets where the floor is delaminating from the boat
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Old 04-23-2011   #17
Medford, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 88
No you had it right Avon like a Buick and a sotar like a GSXR!!! No not like a Harley. Sotars don't leak and they ride really smooth. Haha. If anything like a little older R-1. Oh and they roll fine. They even come rolled in a nice boat bag.
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Old 04-23-2011   #18
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
The Avon is far from a Buick. It's a Jaguar sedan. The Sotar is a Cadillac. They both are great boats, but the Avon has a considerably higher resale value (think $1,000 more in 5 years) and is going to be a little easier on your shorts paddle rafting. Either way you're going to be loving life with that fancy new boat!

One thing to consider is pre-season pricing. If you order a new boat from either company in the fall you might get a discount. That discount might just cover the 4 rental days needed to really check out both boats on the water. You may also be able to demo, though finding a local dealer for either can be tough, depending on where you paddle.
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Old 04-26-2011   #19
salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 30
Thank you all for the info.
Ithink Randaddy called it best. I'm going to watch for a good sale and try to get my hands on a Sotar in the mean time.
Does anyone know where I might rent a Sotar? I have a MFS this year and that would be a great test drive.
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Old 04-26-2011   #20
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vancouver, Washington
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Check out sales hotsheet on sotars page. Maybe you get one and run it and if not 100% satisfied then sell it next spring

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