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Old 08-19-2015   #11
Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 127
I got a mid 2000s Maravia Williawa 2 about 3 years ago. I've put about 100 river days on it so far. Great boat to learn on. It was my first boat and I have banged the hell out of it on rocks galore! No problems. My only complaint is the pin hole leaks in the floor.

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Old 08-19-2015   #12
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,323
I like the the zephyr. I know a lot of you don't like the Maravia floor but if you run in low psi, it tracks nicely. If you pump it up, it will spin all the way down the river. I run different pressures for different conditions. Try that with your I-Beam floor! Seems like every time I see a Sotar flooding by, it takes me ten minute for my eyes to adjust from the color explosion. Boom! Maravia boats hate to be rolled up tight. They need to me folded with care and take up more room then say hypalon boats.

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Old 08-19-2015   #13
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
I have been playing on a sotar strike for the last week. I do like the design a lot but it got a little abrasion mark through the wear pad and its got 4 days on it. Not sure how this happened, frame is completely smooth, maybe a pebble jumped on there during transport. Any way I have run old Maravias totally dirty and sand covered for thousands of miles and never seen a wear spot. There is also an issue on the floor where the lacing is that looks fishy to me on the sotar. And they screwed the logo up and said"it has got ghost logos" deal with it. Still think its the best designed fishing rig out there. My 2 cents. Maravia is a tougher boat.
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Old 08-19-2015   #14
Bismarck, North Dakota
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 207
2 to 3 one week trips a year, get a Star or Maxon.
Remember what the door mouse said.......................feed your head.........feed your head
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Old 08-19-2015   #15
Paddling in to the Future
PhilipJFry's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 401
Originally Posted by galljr13 View Post
I have no interest in hypalon or PVC boats. Thanks so far and keep the reports coming. Especially interested in Sotar SL vs ST for those that have tried both.

Not super happy that Maravia uses a PVC floor.
Maravia's are PVC boats, all the boats start as the same gray PCV the material is then coated in Urethane they call it "Urethane Encapsulated PVC"
the Urethane coating is nice and thick and makes the boat bullet proof/bomb proof. the floors can can also be encapsulated, I've noticed most boats arent, but I've seen quite a few where it's been done. (not sure why some are and others aren't)
"Thats what" - She
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Old 08-19-2015   #16
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 46
I am very well aware that MARAVIA starts as PVC but in my mind they are not because of the coating. Can't compare MARAVIA to a normal PVC raft. I want the best and believe urethane is the best wether it starts as or finishes as urethane.

I put between 1000-1800 miles a season on the boat and need it to last.

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Old 08-19-2015   #17
Paddling in to the Future
PhilipJFry's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 401
With that logic, an AIRE, is a urethane boat because it has a urethane bladder. As far as your decision... both manufacturers make great boats, and both will last as long as you hope, and probably go twice as long as you're hoping to get out of them.

Which weighs more? A ton of bricks? Or a ton of lead?
"Thats what" - She
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Old 08-19-2015   #18
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,362
I have a Zephyr- I believe it is the finest boat on the river.

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Old 08-19-2015   #19
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
I have a second hand 14' ST. It is a basic self bailing Sotar raft, two thwarts, no extras. The boat had maybe 1000 miles (225 of them a GC trip FWIW) when I got it, was a buddies boat. I found a few gouges in the material that leaked, two in the middle of the side tubes on the outside, one on the inside of the bow, one on the right outer edge of the bow. There are bite marks from people pulling dry straps out from under the frame. They do not come with any frame chafe or floor wrap.
My impression of Sotar's material is that the air retention is contained close to the outside of the material, so it may develop a minor leak more easily. The material overall seems to have great puncture resistance, so I have no fear of large blow outs.
Also, my raft was purchased as a package with a frame, dry box, oars, etc. The dry box rides on the floor, and it is causing some wear on the floor. I dip the bottom of my box in water before I stick it in the frame to keep getting grit in between.
My raft is light, like a hundred and 120 lbs. I can pick it up and carry it myself when it is inflated and empty. I tip it on its side and shoulder it like and IK. I load it on my trailer regularly solo from my garage or front yard.
If I could change anything it would be frame chafes and wrap on the outer lower tube, but not the floor itself. The floor shows little wear at all. I hate the thwart system, I change several times a year from paddles to oars, and I have to deal with 16 cam straps to install 2 thwarts. If I bought a 3rd thwart, 24 cam straps each time.
I like where my valves are, I love how the boat performs, I like the bright yellow color. I like the weight advantage at the ramp, and it made a flip recovery super easy last winter. The ST design works well for me, I have a wife and two smaller age kids, sometimes keeping them dry helps the trip out. I haven't rowed an SL, but I like the way they look. I get the impression if I got an SL I'd get a 15' instead.
Some notes on Maravias; not all of them have a rough surface feel, some are glossy like a clear coated car. I believe they are tougher as far as punctures and less likely to show wear. They are heavier than a Sotar by a noticeable amount. Not enough that it would deter me purchasing one. By design, I believe Maravia floors are easier to damage beyond repair than a standard Sotar I-beam floor.
I think design wise (coupled with the ability to order a custom raft) The Sotar brand has an advantage. You can custom order whatever you want down to color and tube size. Shorten it, lengthen it, whatever you want. The Maravias I think overall have a tougher tube design. If I was forced to purchase one more raft and I'd never get another one, I'd be inclined/ tempted to jump ship to the Maravia brand. But then again, Sotar has three different ways they can add protection to your boat. (More urethane, welded on layer of material, flex tuff that looks like truck bed liner) If I paid for the added protection on the Sotar, I think I'd be happier with the Sotar design and ability to pick my sizing and colors. This would make the raft more expensive than the Maravia, but I think when you are playing at this level it is wise to get exactly what you want, even if it costs more. Looking at what any boat with a motor costs, and the life we can get out of them, rafts are a pretty good deal, even if you purchase the best of everything. My raft is a 2008 model year, most power boats have depreciated more than the initial cost of my entire setup when it was new.
Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 08-20-2015   #20
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I was in your shoes a year ago. I did a ton of research & pondering between Maravia & Sotar, plus ST vs SL. I had Maravia cats for a long time and loved them. My rafting buddy has all Maravia rafts and loves them. They are bomber rafts. I chose a Sotar because of design, weight, and the ability to customize. I wanted a 14 foot raft, and the two that Maravia carried were too narrow for me. I checked with Maravia about doing a custom size and it would have been expensive. I chose the Sotar SL because I was switching from a cat and wanted the diminished tube/more rocker design to retain a little extra maneuverability. I don't ever run my raft as a paddle raft, so I didn't get thwarts and saved a couple hundred bucks there. I added the double layer top chafe and added some extra D-rings to my cargo bay. I LOVE my raft. No complaints after 1.5 seasons with it. The SL design will hold more gear in the cargo area, but it will definitely be a wetter ride for your passengers. I got to see my Sotar 14SL up next to a Maravia Williwaw 1 on a recent trip, and I'm glad I chose the Sotar SL for the extra width & cargo space. I also ordered my raft during the Sotar fall sale and saved money.

Both Sotar & Maravia are great. My buddy loves his drop stitch floors in his Williwaw 1.5 and Williwaw 2. He did get some pin hole leaks in the floor of his oldest (10+ years) raft. Otherwise he has had no issues with workmanship on his Maravias. He keeps them folded/rolled all the time. His rafts are beasts as far as weight and folding them up. My Sotar is lighter, but still is a PITA to roll/fold, but not as bad as the Maravias.

It will come down to the fine points to decide on which raft you get. Both are great.

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
Australian Aboriginal Proverb
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