Reasons NOT to buy a SOTAR? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-10-2009   #1
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1900
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 22
Reasons NOT to buy a SOTAR?

Hello all,
So I think I've finally narrowed my boat choice down to SOTAR or NRS. I know, totally different boats, totally different materials, etc. I'm coming from a (free) late 70's NRS Hypalon (denier 5) and just graduated and am looking at finally having a boat that holds air and that is a self bailer. I keep hearing great things about these two companies, and I am quite familiar with the whole hypalon thing, which is good, but I live close to the SOTAR factory, and am torn between these two boats. I'm just wondering if anyone could help steer me in one direction. The thing I like about SOTAR's is they're lightweight and their smaller boats have bigger tube diameters. My older brother is a whitewater kayaker and he is trying to tell me to stay as far away from SOTAR as possible, but I'm just not finding corresponding info on the net to back that up. Any ideas? Anyone rowing a SOTAR raft that can tell me about their experience, patching, etc., and likewise with an NRS? Thanks a ton!!!

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Old 06-10-2009   #2
caspermike's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
So you know sotar stands for SWIM. OVER. TO. ANOTHER. RAFT.
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Old 06-10-2009   #3
Mr Beaver's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 188
I have seen plenty of SOTARS up here on the Rivers in Oregon and their owners seem to love them, the couple I have been in seemed very nice.

One negative to large tube dia. on small boats is the lack of interior space for people/gear. I am guessing you are an experienced rafter so you know this, also it has been my esperience that large dia tubes don't punch holes as easily, they just tend to ride up. I also like diminished tubes for less wind resistance on slow water. But to each their own.

I personally have an AIRE, which I love, but have nothing bad to say about either boats, except they might be a little overkill for the recreational rafter, but at least you will have it forever because I think either (brand) will last as long on the river as you do.
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Old 06-10-2009   #4
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,600
I love my SOTARs. I've had great experience both with the people, and the product. You can do custom tube diameters also, and custom colors (accent color Dring patches look nice). They are made one at at time, and if you do any custom stuff (handles, drings, sizing), it's important to be very clear, and check when you get the boat. The good thing about custom can also be the bad thing.

Go through a local rep and get a killer discount. Payette river equipment just outside of Boise is one such rep.

NRS, great entry level boat. SOTAR, for when you become more picky in what you want. Both good boats, I started with NRS, and moved to SOTAR.

Also, it's cool to be able to be a "locavore".
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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Old 06-10-2009   #5
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 351
Nice thing about Sotar is you can weld patches on which seems pretty bomber. One thing I dont like about sotar is they are slippery to sit on, or at least used to be. As I recall we put some patches on the top to make a better spot for paddlers to sit on. Don't know too much about NRS boats. Think if I had my choice I would go with hypalon.
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Old 06-10-2009   #6
Wirednoodle's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 114
Hey Matt! SOTAR did me right the whole way through. I have had a couple conversations with one of the technicians as well as the sales deprtment. Can''t say enough good stuff about them.

I came a stamp width away from getting an NRS rig, but with the money involved and having the ability to have something exactly the way I wanted it sold it for me. I pestered several folks with tons of questions and all said the same thing about the customer service.

That said, NRS does make good boats. Either way you get good quality.
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Old 06-10-2009   #7
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
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You have probably already considered it but storage it going to be different with these two boats.

NRS you can roll it and store it, with a Sotar you are not going to want to roll and store for long periods of time as the material will crease and possibly crack over time.

I personally prefer a stiffer boat and pump my hypalon super tight but some folks don't like a stiff boat and feel that they are easier to flip.

Either way you are going to get a sweet boat.
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Old 06-10-2009   #8
Bend, Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Just picked up my new 15'6 SOTAR Legend Cat. What a sweet experience working with everyone down at SOTAR! Could not have asked for a better buying experience and people to work with. Everything was built custom exactly how we wanted it, all the way down to the drink holders on the frame... One of the best looking boats on the river in my opinion... however it is my boat so of course I would think that. Cheryl and the crew down there were awesome.

We were going back and forth between AIRE and SOTAR for a while. The AIRE rep at the Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival was a total douche, he blew us off when my girlfriend asked him a question. Guess he could care less about selling boats. Ultimately it came down to buying local and the level of service we received fro SOTAR. I like their boats better anyways so it worked out for the best!

Good luck on your decision, you will be stoked either way!
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Old 06-10-2009   #9
Uncle Rico
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 13
SOTAR.....i bought a used approx 10 year old boat from a friend. The boat has stood the test of time and mileage. Have taken the boat down the Grand, Cataract several times, the Arkansas and many more and the Boat still holds air great. When I had issues with the floor, SOTAR sent out a new floor at their cost even though it was outside of warranty. Will buy another SOTAR without hesitation. Great company with a great product.
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Old 06-10-2009   #10
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 969
SOTAR has a great reputation. The material may be harder for on-the-fly repairs (anyone feel free to correct me or elaborate). They are probably one of the higher-end boats you can buy out there based on what little I know. NRS make a great boat, and hypalon works quite well and can take a beating. I've paddled a lot of Hyside hypalon boats too, and one or two NRS, and I think they are very comprable on the quality and handling. If you are checking out NRS, you may want to check out Hyside too, not sure price-wise how they compare. My Hyside is from the mid to early nineties, and holds air perfectly despite a full career as an outfitter boat.

Either way you go, you will have a nice rig, enjoy!
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