|Advanced Elements Advanced Frame 1012|
We came back from the trip and started researching the Advanced Elements line of inflatable kayaks. These seemed like a good idea but I was weary of how well they might hold up over time. They are inflatable. I also wondered whether I could find a model that would handle my height and girth.
After looking on-line reviews of inflatables in general, the Advanced Elements line kept coming to the top, consistently getting the highest ratings from everyone I found, even making certain to mention their quality despite there being an inflatable. They didn't see that as a particular disadvantage.
|4-part travel paddle breaks down and stores in the travel bag.|
Next to figure out, where is the best deal available. I tried the usual--Amazon, REI, West Marine. No matter where I looked on-line, no one under cut a local dealer in Anacortes, Marine ServiceCenter, the dealer Mike and Sarah had bought their kayaks last year.
They had purchased theirs at the Seattle Boat Show where they got a free paddle and the upgraded inflatable lumbar seat that offers much better support--a great deal.
We decided we'd wait until this year's boat show to make our move and so for the past several months we've been waiting for the show. When it finally arrived I called the store to find out if I could get the same deal as Mike and Sarah had, the answer was no. That was an introductory offer with a new line of products. This year the offer is just a free paddle.
|The model 1009 Y|
The salesperson suggested I would do better to try on the Advanced Frame Expedition model 1009Y (that's the yellow one). It fit considerably better. Its length is 13" compared with the 10 1/2 feet length of the 1012. The 1009 has the same 32" beam and only weighs 6 pounds more than the 1012. Yet the maximum weight capacity on the yellow 1009 is 150 pounds greater than the 1012. Just about right for me.
The yellow 1009 does cost quite a bit more than the 1012, the the 1009 come with the inflatable lumbar seat standard--a nice plus. But true to her persuasive ability, Leslie managed to talk the salesperson into throwing in the inflatable lumbar seat on her kayak as well.
|The inflatable lumbar seat option|
So in the end we managed to walk out with exactly what we hoped for.
Next summer we will mount the kayaks to either the bow stanchions or to the stanchions on the upper deck depending on where they best fit to stay out of the way when underway and anchoring procedures. Either way these kayaks are going to open up some fun and interesting opportunities to more intimately explore our anchorages. We also hope to drop them in Lake Whatcom or other area waterways.
Because they easily deflate and fold down to store in a handy carrying case, they can also be carried on airlines and taken to some of the places we travel. I can see them being handy when we visit our friends in Florida or on road trips.
Now to start getting myself in better shape so I have an easier time getting in and out of my kayak. Here is a link to a video about the model 1009: http://youtu.be/_mhaH5cOhBQ