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Old 01-13-2013   #1
Enfield, New Hampshire
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 332
IK choice?

Which is better wrt stability and performance in cl 4 type gradient bet. the new Force series and the Outfitter series?
Also, I used the Strike for a few years before selling it, mainly in cl 3 stuff. Would either of the above show noticeable difference in improved stability and performance over the Strike?Any other make to consider, eg the sotar??

Thanks in advance for your advice.


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Old 01-13-2013   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
If you are looking at an Aire IK for stability in class 4 the outfitter will be the best choice. the Force will be more for playboating and not as stable as the outfitter or strike. what do you mean by performance? do you mean maneuverability or speed or something else? in that case the Force might be best. perhaps you should consider a Lynx if you want a mix of both.

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Old 01-13-2013   #3
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,406
I think the Force is the best choice for paddling difficult whitewater, especially big water because it doesn't fill and sink. Bailing is super fast on the Force because of the small cockpit. That said, it's not an IK for the beginner and takes a little getting used to. If you want a mini-raft experience buy a full-on duckie like the Outfitter. If you want to feel like you're kayaking, buy the Force.
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Old 01-13-2013   #4
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655

I've paddled a few boats, I started with a Riken 2 person IK, and paddled a Force XL for almost ten years, and my wife had a Sotar for 8 years. I classify IK hulls into to styles, oval footprint and square footprint. Boats like the Force, Thrillseeker, and Sotar have an oval footprint, with curved diminishing tubes. The Lynx, Outfitter, and Tomcat are square footprint boats.
The square boats are better load haulers, and good class III boats. I don't personally like them for Class IV boating, but part of that is the rivers I run and my paddling style. I like the the Sotar boats for their durabilty, the rocker they have, and the smooth, flat seam the have where the floor meets the tubes. The square boats force you to paddle straight into big waves, if you are at a 45* angle to the wave face the bow will get forced to the side, typically causing me to get flipped. My Force could either punch those larger waves, or I could hit them at any angle and I could brace through and I wouldn't get turned. I also prefer a shorter waterline for creeks with lots of protruding rocks. (Something my Force lacked, it had no rocker) The Sotar was my favorite boat to paddle. I was 340 lbs paddling a 10 foot model, and that is about 75 lbs more than that boat should handle, but I could still go paddle my favorite local III-IV river with no problems. I'm not the type of person that says that one boat is the best, but that is a short example of my experience.
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Old 01-14-2013   #5
Buffalo, New York
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 109

I have paddled a Tomcat solo in class III and IV for the past four years and love it for stability. Just added some thigh straps for this season and know it'll keep me in the boat in bigger drops. Most of the time when I fall out, I'm looking at scenery or wildlife.

A lot of my buddies run paddilacs and Sotar Fabrezi for multi-day runs, but I can still get quite a bit of gear in the Tomcat.
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Old 01-18-2013   #6
Albany, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 46
Mania makes a great point. The Lynx is a great balance between stability and performance. Plus, you just can't beat Aire's warranty. If you wanna save some dough, the Aire tomcats are great boats. They are a little heavier and aren't quite as high performance but they are very stable and comfortable and can haul a lot of gear for an IK.

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