Originally Posted by MT4Runner
you can't really "upgrade" a ballast floor...pretty much have to unlace it and lace in a new sealed floor.
I have two ballast floor Aires. I can definitely tell the difference.
You'll learn the difference, but you won't hate the ballast floor. It's not as sporty, but it's more forgiving.
The best boat is the one you're in and using frequently.
Sorry...I combined two thoughts I was having without completing either of them.
First thought was, its only ~$400 more to have the sealed floor when you buy the boat but if you change your mind and want the other one its gonna be a lot more expensive and you'll probably end up buying a whole new floor. Second part of that thought was, with a bit of work it may be possible to modify the ballast style standard floor to behave more like a sealed floor but it wouldn't be easy or reliable so you'd be better off just getting a new floor if it was that big a deal to ya.
Sorry for the confusion.
I agree that whatever boat you are rowing at the time is an awesome one. Still...given the choice when buying the new boat...go with the one you think out'll like the most.
As for running through flatwater and staying in the current... I find that the level to which you inflate your floor will make a huge difference for that. For me...if I need to make moves and cut across current...I inflate the floor hard and its much more nimble but won't track as well. If I'm trying to make time and have the current push me along...then having it much lower pressure and floppy makes a huge difference in how fast you go. Like, the difference between being left behind and out in front of everyone with ease. For my last grand trip...I would inflate the floor up for the big rapids and then let a bunch of air out afterwards. For something like the middle fork at high water (did at 6' or so this year)...I kept it fully inflated for the first couple days and the last day.