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I and three buddies are looking to purchase a raft best suitable for Class IV and possibly V runs. I know that some outfitters use Hysides in my area, though from a guide's perspective, they seem to be a bit too high off the water at the stern for my tastes. I know that Aires are good in Class III but have done a couple in IV, seem harder to control in technical water. I'm wondering if anyone here has any suggestions. I have done Hysides and Aires from some guiding experience, but never Maravias. Some say Sotar SLs are good. Is high rocker better than lower? Diminished tubes better than non? For technical water? It will be used as a paddle boat, preferably for four to five people. Also fabric, I have heard that Aire fabric is better than Hyside, Sotar better than Maravia. Kind of wondering on that, too.

Marcus H.
 

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I would be worried a little more about the ability of the rower, not the raft being used.

Also...communal purchases seldom end well..,

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Good Question by the OP. I've often wondered about how performance changes from raft to raft. Who knows what the US national team uses?
 

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Good Question by the OP. I've often wondered about how performance changes from raft to raft. Who knows what the US national team uses?

What does that matter?

I am sure they use different rafts for different conditions and situations...it varies.

Beyond that, they all have the skill, and ability, to row each raft as they want to row it.


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What does that matter?

I am sure they use different rafts for different conditions and situations...it varies.

Beyond that, they all have the skill, and ability, to row each raft as they want to row it.


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What does it matter what raft professional rafters use when trying to conquer class IV and V rapids? I believe that is the entire purpose of the thread.

Yes, a person or a group of people's ability to row is way more important than the rig they are in. But to sit there and say an AIRE puma handles the same in a particular rapid than an RMR Storm is just remedial.

Straight from SOTAR's website; ST’s have a relatively consistent tube diameter throughout the circumference of the boat. For years this has offered a pretty dry ride, significant lift when exiting large hydraulics, and, when combined with our I-beam floor it has a very predictable level of tracking.

That seems to me like rafts are designed with different performance expectations in mind. So back to the original discussion; What rafts are better suited for more technical rafting (i.e. class IV and above rapids) and why?
 

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I would be worried a little more about the ability of the rower, not the raft being used.

Also...communal purchases seldom end well..,

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+1. Saying things like one company is more capable than another is too loaded. There are several "Top of the line" manufacturers including Hyside and Aire and Sotar and they all make different models for different purposes. If you want to know about design, sticking with a rocker vs non-rocker type of question will suit you better. You will see all models of every company running all classes based on the skill and needs of the rowers.

I'm partial to Aire boats so watch this video and let me know if you think Aires can handle class V https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwx2CL4-9eA
 

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i think the only real solution is to buy a boat from P.r.o because they are the only true legit boat on the market.

Enough with being a smart ass. As many stated it depends on the rowing skills. I am of the opinion Aire, Maravia, Sotar are among the elite brands, but that is just my opinion
 

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First off guys, it's called PADDLING when you use paddles.

All the well known manufacturers make good boats and they make a variety of styles. If you looking for a paddle raft for running tech water with 4 dudes, you can eliminate certain types of rafts. For instance, very wide boats, boats with really big tubes, big rocker is nice if your sitting on a frame in the middle of the boat but not so much if you are in the guide seat, anything with less than three thwarts because imo foot cups suck, weight could be an issue for hiking...
 

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I and three buddies are looking to purchase a raft best suitable for Class IV and possibly V runs. I know that some outfitters use Hysides in my area, though from a guide's perspective, they seem to be a bit too high off the water at the stern for my tastes. I know that Aires are good in Class III but have done a couple in IV, seem harder to control in technical water. I'm wondering if anyone here has any suggestions. I have done Hysides and Aires from some guiding experience, but never Maravias. Some say Sotar SLs are good. Is high rocker better than lower? Diminished tubes better than non? For technical water? It will be used as a paddle boat, preferably for four to five people. Also fabric, I have heard that Aire fabric is better than Hyside, Sotar better than Maravia. Kind of wondering on that, too.

Marcus H.

We have been lucky enough to try a bunch of different rafts (NRS, Hyside, Sotar, ect) on class 4 and 5 whitewater and hands down Aire is the best in our opinion. The floor is made to take in some water on the bottom which makes the boat significantly more stable and has little effect on performance. We have also found that Aire boats also handle significantly better than the others in both tight technical rivers/creeks and also bigwater rivers. I really like the design with a bladder inside the outer material as a tear usually only goes through the outer layer making a repair much easier if you go on multi-day trips. Another biggie is the 10 year warranty Aire offers that most other companies do not. If you are running hard whitewater any boat will get beat up and that warranty is killer. As shape goes I like diminished tubes (Aire D series) and also the shape of the E series. So I guess to sum it up if we are running hard whitewater with high consequences we definitely want the best boat and Aire has always fit that criteria. I posted two videos one with the D-series and the other with the E-series. Hope this helps

Little White Salmon in the Aire D-Series
https://vimeo.com/90092667
NF Payette and Tumwater in the Aire E Series
https://vimeo.com/160812329
 

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i really doubt that sotar material is better than maravia. my maravia cat is on its 14th season, last year several people commented on my "brand new boat".
i own both.

for class IV and V? ..... get a cat!
 

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This is a very subjective post. Personally, Dan (who posted above) is an above average paddler and runs some of the hardest white water, so I might listen to what he has to say. I love my Super Puma. Is it the right boat for you? Possibly. As the cost might be divided by /4 the cost on the Super Puma or the 13 or 14 ft D or E series boats is pretty decent. I like the Maravias, Highsides and Sotars as well, but my Aire has been a great boat in the 14 years that I have had it.
 

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We have been lucky enough to try a bunch of different rafts (NRS, Hyside, Sotar, ect) on class 4 and 5 whitewater and hands down Aire is the best in our opinion. The floor is made to take in some water on the bottom which makes the boat significantly more stable and has little effect on performance. We have also found that Aire boats also handle significantly better than the others in both tight technical rivers/creeks and also bigwater rivers. I really like the design with a bladder inside the outer material as a tear usually only goes through the outer layer making a repair much easier if you go on multi-day trips. Another biggie is the 10 year warranty Aire offers that most other companies do not. If you are running hard whitewater any boat will get beat up and that warranty is killer. As shape goes I like diminished tubes (Aire D series) and also the shape of the E series. So I guess to sum it up if we are running hard whitewater with high consequences we definitely want the best boat and Aire has always fit that criteria. I posted two videos one with the D-series and the other with the E-series. Hope this helps


Little White Salmon in the Aire D-Series
https://vimeo.com/90092667
NF Payette and Tumwater in the Aire E Series
https://vimeo.com/160812329
Barf, did aire write that for you? You're sponsored and get free boats. Of course you love them.
 

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are you greenwalls butt buddy?


prettyy sure his point was made clear that aire's can handle the class 5+
Butt buddy, who's says shit like that these days? Move along kid, the adults are talking. I have nothing but respect for Dan and love his vids. But if you're going to make a sales pitch like that you should mention you are sponsored by them.
 

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Butt buddy, who's says shit like that these days? Move along kid, the adults are talking. I have nothing but respect for Dan and love his vids. But if you're going to make a sales pitch like that you should mention you are sponsored by them.
I felt he made a strong thesis statement and backed it with some video. Sure he is sponsored, but that doesn't make his opinion not true.
 

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I felt he made a strong thesis statement and backed it with some video. Sure he is sponsored, but that doesn't make his opinion not true.
Dan is the man but he has been shilling aire for years and I had to bust his balls about it. You could give me any of opies boats and I would do just fine.But From my experience hyside and nrs are out. A sealed floor has no buisness on any class 5 run. Aire boats with the same specs are 25 pounds heavier then a sotar at the put in and 50 at the take out with a flooded floor. No thanks.
 
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