Maravia Cyclone vs. Williwaw 1.5 vs. Sotar SL 15 vs. ST 15 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-06-2017   #1
Crested Butte, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 7
Maravia Cyclone vs. Williwaw 1.5 vs. Sotar SL 15 vs. ST 15

Been a very happy with my Sotar Legend 14' cat with oversize 26 in diameter tubes for the last 8 years, had 1000's of miles of no tube maintenance. Maybe for sale soon???

I'm looking to go to a 15' self-bailer for next season and can't make up my mind. Kind of leaning towards Maravia Cyclone for wave punching ability and gear weight toward to back. I run mostly multi-day trips (Middle Fork, Grand, Gates, Deso, etc). Anyway what experiences/opinions do you boaters have.

Lets hear opinions:
-Maravia Cyclone
-Maravia Williwaw 1.5
-Sotar SL 15'
-Sotar ST 15'

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Old 11-06-2017   #2
Los Anchorage, Alaska
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25
Don't have personal experience Maravia or Sotor... but I can get you a sweet deal on a beautiful orange 1971 Rouge bucket boat. Needs glue. ; )
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Old 11-06-2017   #3
Electric-Mayhem's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,199
I've never rowed a Maravia and only very limited time behind the oars on a Sotar, but they are both great boats. I got an Aire 136dd over the summer and I'll say it is GREAT to have the extra room inside the boat that the diminished tubes give you. The floor area on my 13.5' boat is about the same as a buddies 16' boat. The tubes on the 16' boat are taller though. The extra space is great, but the one down side is that it is easy to overload the boat. No biggy, you just have to keep it in mind.

If I personally was given the choice between Maravia or Sotar, I'd probably go Sotar by a hair. That said, if I was shopping for a new large boat, I'd personally go for the Aire 160DD since I like my 136DD so much.
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Old 11-07-2017   #4
Crested Butte, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 7
Oh AK guys that forget glue. How much you want for that leaky orange raft? Funny to run into you guys here.
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Old 11-07-2017   #5
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,177
I haven't run all 4 - actually just 2 - the willy and I own a 15' SL. The SL handles differently than any other boat I've rowed. As a diminishing tube boat it diminishes all the way to the middle section giving it a constant rocker. Maravias have diminishing tubes front and rear with a more standard straight section in the middle. You can get Sotar to make that style as well.

The thing with the SL is it runs over everything, you don't get the pillow rebound affect nearly as much as with other designs. It's somewhat difficult to describe but it's quite noticeable. It handles more like a traditional raft when run very soft. I love it and it's perfect for what I do (75-80% fishing), it's extremely efficient when back rowing and awesome to fish out of but does take some getting used to for most people new to the design. You will run right over eddy fences and small laterals that you might have used in the past to redirect momentum... I feel it takes LESS work once you get used to it, but initially you will do an ass load of over correcting and it'll feel like more work to row.

My concern would be the press that Sotar has gotten recently. I love mine, it's now 4 years old and has no issues at all but I've seen a few too many complaints from others over the past few years. I sure hope they have fixed everything and are back on top of their game. The design really is perfect for me and I want a smaller one someday in the near future...
"If you dont do it this year, you will be one year older when you do"
-Warren Miller
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Old 11-07-2017   #6
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1960
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 236
We are having a great sale right now on Maravia's and even have some "Vintage Logo's" on more of a discount if you want to take a look at our site. I am going to leave the opinions for the rest of the crew on here to share with you. we sell Maravia, NRS, AIRE, RMR and Hyside although anyone who knows me knows that I am a Maravia girl. Best of luck in hunting for a new river ride, let me know if I can help with anything!

Keep it Right Side Up,
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Old 11-09-2017   #7
Boise, ID
Paddling Since: '99
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 282
If I were in the market for a 15’, it would be tough to look past a Zephyr. I don’t personally own one but have spent a lot of days rowing heavily rigged Zephyrs and wouldn’t want to be in anything else. My personal boat is a Diablo.
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Old 11-09-2017   #8
Crested Butte, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 7
Thanks for the input everyone. Really thinking Zephyr or Cyclone. Only difference is Zephyr has diminishing stern. Thinking I'll have more weight in the back on long trips would the Cyclone make more sense? Or the balance of Zephyr which both ends diminishing?
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Old 11-09-2017   #9
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 76
Another Diablo owner that would say go Zephyr.

Not sure you would really gain much with the Cyclone. You are still going to want a balanced load and the shape difference seems like it's mostly above the waterline. Maybe not all that useful unless you were going to run a stern frame or motor most of the time. The Cyclone specs also show it has 10" less straight section than Zephyr (and also shorter than the 14' Diablo) so you may not be able to run the frame you want. I guessing the Zephyr would also have much better resale when that day comes.

You may also consider moving up to a 16' with the rivers you have listed. More diversification with your 14' cat as well.
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Old 11-13-2017   #10
Wavester's Avatar
NorCal, California
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 358
I think those are the two best boat brands out there.
But I'd go with SOTAR, easier to roll up a little lighter and easier to clean.
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