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Old 04-17-2013   #11
Healdsburg, Cali
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
I happy to respond to a few of the comments here, and perhaps shed some light on why SOARs are awesome inflatables. Whether they are the right one for you is for you to decide.

I designed the SOAR canoe over 20 yrs ago, wanting to create an inflatable that could be paddled sitting or kneeling canoe-style, hold people and/or gear, be tough and rugged, and be performant in moving water. We succeeded on all counts. No other small inflatable on the market can do what a SOAR can. That's why SOARs have their unconditional supporters.

There are many owners who use kayak paddles, but I find that w/ a canoe paddle, the paddler(s) who knows what he / she is doing can make a SOAR dance through the water.

TW....after 3 mns of paddling a SOAR, you will never think that the beam is too wide...guaranteed. The floor of a SOAR is not flat. There is not a single flat surface on our floor. There is side to side rocker, and the i-bearms are rounded. Tracking is not an issue because of the floor. Like any inflatable w/o a keel (or any whitewater boat), tracking is an issue if you don't incorporate a correction in your paddle stroke. The same is true for a SOAR. Once you learn your corrective move, you'll find that a SOAR tracks as well if not better than any small keel-less inflatable.

I-beams: No other small inflatable manufacturer producing i-beam floors uses a higher pressure release valve. We work to maintain a very high quality in the i-beams, so they don't blow. Can they blow? For sure. Do we occasionally see blown i-beams? Yes. But if think about how many boats we sell, how many i-beams in SOARs are in existence w/o any problems, it is an extremely low percentage.

Floor Pressure: To Lee / Boat People: The suggestion that there is a very fine line between too much air and not enough air for gear support is ludicrous. Sorry, man but that is way off base. Can you be specific about this fine line? I have personally carried heavily laden boats down rivers w/ floors of varying degrees of pressure, and unless the floor is super soft, a SOAR will still have great maneuverability. To me, its more about the paddler than the boat. If you know what you're doing a SOAR will shine. However, if someone wants to remove our 3.25 lb psi valve for a lighter pressure, it is easily done. However, if someone wants to remove our 3.25 lb psi valve for a lighter pressure, it is easily done.

IT repairs most of our inflatables, and he sees less than 10 a yr...ask him. And then ask him how many Aires, Hysides, NRS, etc that he sees. SOARs don't keep IT in business. They'd go broke waiting on SOARs to burst an i-beam. Invoking a 3rd person is not a fair statement.

I am proud that we have survived and thrived for 20 yrs w/ a unique inflatable that no one else produces. People choose SOAR because they are proven to be rugged and reliable on remote rivers. SOARs take paddlers and adventurers all over the world. As you can read by a few of the testimonials, if you're a SOAR owner, you are a very satisfied paddler. I stand by that.

Thanks for your time. Happy and safe paddling this spring.
Larry Laba,
Founder / Owner of SOAR Inflatables
since 1993!

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Old 04-17-2013   #12
cadster's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
SOAR canoes are designed to have the floor lower than the side tubes whereas inflatable kayaks have floors that should float higher than sides.

That makes the SOARís deeper and better for kneeling. It also increases the SOAR weight capacity, but slows self-bailing.

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Old 04-17-2013   #13
RockyMountainMan's Avatar
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 44
Thanks Larry - this is very good info. And welcome to Mountainbuzz.

Thanks cadster
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Old 04-17-2013   #14
Healdsburg, Cali
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
Cadster, you are absolutely correct on all points. Thanks for the addt'l info.

When kneeling and paddling whitewater, always keep your upstream knee lifted lightly off the floor. That is enough to shift your weight to maintain the downstream lean. It is also key in catching tight eddies and ferrying.
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Old 04-17-2013   #15
"Just Read and Run Baby!"
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Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 57
The two boats you've mentioned are very different from each other. The Outlaw II would really be too small for two larger people and keep your butt dry. It has small tubes and a thin floor. The Soar would work better for two people and has the cargo capacity. A tandem Hyside Padillac would also be a good option. I've owned a tandem Tomcat in the past and it kept me up out of the water but I didn't like cleaning between the layers of material. I have a solo and tandem Padillac now and typically use a type IV seat cushion to sit on to keep my butt dry. There's plenty of load capacity there but the quick bailing nature of the floor has you sitting pretty low.
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Old 04-17-2013   #16
cadster's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
I did a UT Escalante River trip with a guy in a Padillac. He installed a plywood floor and then mounted a low camp chair on that. One way to keep your butt dry if flipping isnít an option.

I was in a SOAR cat which I think is ideal for the Escalante. Your butt sits out of the water, but nothing to block splashes.
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Old 04-18-2013   #17
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durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1964
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 160
Ik floors, drop stitch, and hybird desing concept

I have been aware of the design concept of the soar boat for many years. We have built IKs with raised floors, and floors that drop below the main tube. Customers have responded both positively and negatively to both concepts. We have built about 10 or 15 I beam floors, but none came back for I beam repair, and none had Pressure relief valves either. They were welded Ibeams. That was 1998, and we have not built any since. We do not put PRV in Drop stitch floors, and in fact we are convinced that Drop stitch is better for floor design. So that is where we are going. Years ago we explosion tested a drop stitch floor to 53 psi. That was 2 psi greater than the Maravia test. Both were 6 inch drop stitch. The amazing part was the welded structure did not break; the drop stitch did not break. The side panel holding the drop stitch together exploded. It was 32 oz. PVC fabric with a 7 oz. cloth. Ok so this is why some people feel they can pump their inflatable SUP to 20 psi. We just tested one to 26, in a 4 inch model let it sit all day, and had no problem.
Ok I am getting ahead of myself. The idea of the floor lower than the side tube is a design concept that we wanted to expand on, with the introduction of a Drop stitch floor that has a rocker just like a SUP. I am very pleased that people responding to this thread think kneeling is a good way to go. I personally have more fun on an SUP kneeling. Perhaps I am getting old, and I need training wheels, but the concept of the secondary stability issue by having the floor lower than the main tubes is very interesting to us, so much so that we are working on a hybrid model that functions as a sup, and IK both. So I would not mind getting some feedback on design. So please have a look at this concept that I have just posted on our web site.

I would like to thank Larry for being part of this forum. We have been following each otherís product for years now. I keep hearing about how well the Soar boats do in Alaska for fly in hunting trips.

Thank you everyone for reading this.

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Old 04-18-2013   #18
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Danville, California
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 190
PRV valves, etc

Hi Larry-

Hope all is well up in Russian River land.
It is probably fair to say that you have a bit more faith than I do in pressure relief valves. They do help, but are far from a cure-all for floor failures Ė and in fact I feel they tend to instill false confidence. A necessary evil that must be mixed with a large dose of common sense. Any whitewater repair shop will tell you that most I-beam repairs are on boats with p.r. valves. As they get older, p.r.v. tolerances change due to both grit getting inside, and changes in the spring strength. The very best case I have seen claimed for a out-of-the box p.r.v. is 10% by Leafield, but not too many years ago even their pressure gauges were reading as much as 25% below the real pressure. And I would argue their gauge is made with more precision than their p.r.v. If we very optimistically figure + 15%, assuming your relief valve is set to 3.25, if itís in fact not blowing off until 3.75 psi this is pretty high for any glued I-beam regardless of the country of origin. It might be okay on a Grabner or Demaree, but those are vulcanized boats.
As to how your boats handle with the floors softer (I wasnít speaking of supporting gear, I was speaking specifically of hull speed), the difference between 2 and 3 p.s.i. was noticeable to me. On the 14í I was in on the Merced many years back, it seemed quite a lot more responsive with the floor firmer, and I did not think it was a subtle difference. I also had some water around my knees with less pressure, as did the other fellow in the boat. You yourself have told most SOAR owners weíve talked with to keep the floors fairly firm, no?
You mentioned that Inflatable Technologies only fixes about ten SOARís per year, and I believe you, but that does not mean only ten are blowing I-beams. Most boats with I-beam separations, yours included, are out of warranty and I.T. is far from the only boat repair shop in the U.S. Out of warranty one will tend to go to the nearest place for repairs. This does not mean that your boats blow more I-beams than other rubber boats, itís just that most companies are pretty conservative about their floor pressure suggestions. As to whether I.T. sees more floor failures of another brand than they do of SOAR boats, that is a rather dubious argument since there are far more NRS or AIRE boats in the field. And those two brands in particular have a long established record of high reliability where I-beams are concerned. Again, no one reading this has to take my word; ask the repair shop owners who post here like Zack Baird.
I donít come on here running a brand down just because we donít sell it. Weíve spoken well of many products on the MB forums that we donít carry, and we do the same on our website. I also take great pains to point out any shortcomings of the products we do carry.
Your main Alaskan dealer had a fair bit to say about the matter here though-
pioneer x-stream
-and while I realize this post is nearly three years old and that there are two sides to the story, it coincides with much of what I have heard. I do talk with six to eight SOAR owners per season. A large majority are happy with the performance of your boats, but at least one out of 3 or 4 have also had I-beams go south. And the very reason that some of them are calling is to ask for repair advice.
None of this means someone should pass on SOARs, but I strongly suggest that owners of boats with inflatable floors consider the age of their craft when leaving it parked in the sun, or when using cylinder pumps that are capable of higher pressures.
As to canoe style inflatables, your brand and the pricey Grabners (for those who can take out a second mortgage on the house) have more choices than any other companies. No question there. But I donít think it does any disservice to your customers to tell them to watch the floors when the boats are on dry land in the sun. We do that all the time with every brand we carry. And, further, to not expect a small piece of hardware to take the place of keeping an eye on air pressure.
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Old 04-19-2013   #19
NikonFotoMatt's Avatar
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
not sure if that was you who picked up the soar 12 on sale in the ads...but it sure looks like a nice boat. i've been running a boat modeled on the grabner. it's my buddy's boat (the best kind!) and he picked it up from the boat people. it's not available anymore...but the soar 12 and the orinocco (Orinoco Inflatable Canoe Canoe by Innova Recreational Products -
comes closest to what i run.

you sit on wooden seats (put a pad on it). i use my dry backpack as back support. the one i own has grommets through the full length and that makes the seat position highly adjustable.

i've done a number of short runs on the lower blue, upper c and 10 days in deso/gray. you're only problem with these is - you guessed it - wind and flats. on deso/gray i did not do the first day or two...through the first flat water.

but - if you want a bomber platform that can carry gear - AND keep your a** out the water (like most duckies) - get something like this!

not sure if this works, but here's a gallery on my faceschnook page:

from somewhere on Colorado's Continental Divide...

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Old 04-19-2013   #20
Enfield, New Hampshire
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 332
Re above picture..

Hi Nick,
Can you post some more details re this Eagle boat, like the manufacturer, its ww characteristics, etc, and any vids of it in ww?It looks very intriguing. What are the hugely rockered ends for?
thanks a lot.
I cannot get to anything on FB.


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