Two New Boats from Fluid
By Wendy Lautner
If you’re looking to turn some heads fast – namely yours – then take a ride in South African manufacturer Fluid’s latest playboat, the Flirt. You won’t have a problem turning this boat. The Flirt’s loose hull spins on a dime. Its kick rocker keeps it from pearling on the wave – so front surf away – and don’t be afraid to make this baby your default river runner. On the stability meter I give it an 8 out of 10.
Weighing in at 155 pounds and at 5’6”, I’m probably just the right size for the small model, but found the volume in the bow makes it difficult to throw multiple flatwater cartwheels. However, stick this baby in a hydraulic and it will throw ends faster than you can say tricky woo. The lines are hard, really hard, which slapped me down fast in couple of instances. I wouldn’t say the boat is forgiving, but its saving grace is that it rolls easy.
One last note – the outfitting is no Lazy boy. I can never get the back band to feel tight enough and after a day on the wave it pinches my backside with the seat. Overall, the Flirt did improve my game in some instances – my cartwheels in the wave go higher, blunts seem easier and I can spin like a freakin’ Ferris wheel. What I’ll be looking for from the Fluid headquarters is an improvement in outfitting (I’ve heard they’ve made improvements for 2008) and for my taste – the lines could be a little softer.
L: 6′, 6’3″, 6’6″; Vol: 45, 52, 58 gal; Wt: 31, 33, 34 lbs.; MSRP: $900
For those of us with the sometimes less-than-snappy hip snap, I found Fluid’s improved Solo creek boat a major aid. Case in point: practically the very first thing I did in the Solo was attempt a hand roll (just for fun and just for your information – I can’t normally hand roll). I got three in a row effortlessly. Needless to say the Solo is my new favorite creek boat. You never know when you’ll be upside down in a frothy, churning mess without a paddle and the Solo’s hull gives me the confidence that I can right this thing no matter which sticky hole I’ve wandered into.
But wandering into sticky holes isn’t the Solo’s forte. Point it where you want to go and it turns quickly and gets there faster than you were probably expecting it to. It’s fast and responsive. Does it have the burliness to charge through powerful hydraulics? So far, so good. It tracks like a laser beam, so as long as I’m putting my paddle in at my toes if I get chundered the only thing I’ll have to blame is me.
At 5’6” I found the medium Solo the perfect fit. On the boof-o-meter, I got heaps of loft with every stroke. This baby’s definitely a keeper but I must admit the outfitting still gets a 60 percent in my book. Who said kayaking’s supposed to be comfortable anyway?
L: 7’3″, 8′; Vol: 65, 75 gal; Wt: 39, 41 lbs.; MSRP: $915