Originally Posted by johnovice
I think a good question is how much the extra volume of the XP (over the Fusion) would help in big water. The XP is very comfortable, but I have not paddled a Fusion.
Excellent question. From what I have seen, when you match them up side by side the primary difference in volume is that the XP has much more room around the paddlers hips and legs. It doesn't seem to have a whole lot of extra packing room, IMO. If you weigh in at 240+ lbs then its probably a better option than the Fusion. I weigh 170 and have packed my Fusion with about 100lbs of gear (okay, beer), and it's heavy but alright in hard whitewater.
The Fusion is a dream in big water! Actually, one of the only disadvantages of the Fusion is the lack of a center pillar (cause it's narrower) gives the hull a little less support when on creek like runs (the XP has the center pillar). This hasn't been a problem on shallow runs, but could on more abusive creeks.
The lack of volume around the paddlers legs in the Fusion (still creek boat size and comfortable, but comparing to the XP), I believe contribute to it being a faster boat in the flats, but I haven't proved this yet. Going to on our Grand trip this fall... Fusion vs XP self-support face-off round 2 (the first was Selway, and Evan was in the XP9 so I won the uphill ferry surf challenge).
Last note, I'm only refering to the 10'2 Fusion. The Large.