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Solo Large

 
5.0 (2)
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Short Facts

Brand
Fluid

12 Shochet Street
Parys
9585
South Africa

Phone: +27 56-817-2951

· Show brand details.
· Show all Fluid products.
Model Year
Intended Paddling Environment
Type
Available Colors
Yellow, orange, red, green, blue, black

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You like to run the steeps.

You do it in the company of friends you can trust. You scout the lines, set up safety. But when you get in your boat, leave the eddy to aim for the horizon line, you're really going Solo .

The Solos have been tested over a year period by various team paddlers (and also some novices and intermediates) on 3 continents and one island (New Zealand). The Solo prototypes have been put through their paces on everything from super low volume runs and rock slides to big volume creeks, steep and continuous runs, a variety of waterfalls, overnight trips and full-on expeditions. Name the application for a creekboat and we've tested it there. When all the testing was done, the Solos went through 5 distinct prototype stages. The final product is a testimony to the brilliant feedback received, especially from Joe Stumpfel.

The Solos feature semi displacement hulls, with soft enough rails to keep even the most conservative paddler happy. They turn on a dime, carve like demons and boof on command. Responsiveness and speed is what they're made for. The rocker profile assist in stability when landing drops, and keeps you going where most boats will stall and backender. The decks are slightly peaked for controllable resurfacing without loosing speed. The perfectly distributed volume keeps you on top of the funny water, making class 5 creeks safer and more fun.

User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Design 
 
5.0  (2)
Perfomance 
 
5.0  (2)
Quality 
 
5.0  (2)
Value / Money 
 
5.0  (2)
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(Updated: July 23, 2007)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Design 
 
5.0
Perfomance 
 
5.0
Quality 
 
5.0
Value / Money 
 
5.0

Fluid Solo Large Review

About myself



I have been paddling for more than 3 years now. I paddle as often as I can and paddle all types of rivers., although I have a full time job. Playboating, river running, overnight trips and creeking. I’ve had this boat for a good couple of months now.

About the test environment



In the mostly, shallow, rocky rivers of South Africa (eg. Sabie, Blyde, Ash) as well as some small and large rivers and in Sweden (eg. Piteälven, Kultsjöån, Kalixälven) and Norway (Upper Rauma, Lower Jori, Buadalen, Sjoa, Gåsvasselva, Krutåga, Unkerelva etc.)

Review



+ Overall seating position is very forward and the boat feels shorter than it is when you sit inside. The Solo is very manoeuvrable and turns on a dime.

+ Easy to boof. There is plenty of speed from the boat and it hops over holes.

+ The boat has quite a bit of overall rocker which not only makes it manoeuvrable but also cushions flat landings. There is also ample volume in the bow, ‘under your feet’ and this seems to help the boat return to a stable, horizontal position if you’ve had a bad boof and not gone quite enough to the horizontal.

+ Slightly peaked decks, both front and rear, give quick and stable resurfacing without bulleting to the surface like a water melon seed.

+ Excellent outfitting and super comfortable, also easily adjustable and very simple to use. Back band always in place, very soft (the material) yet firm and also quite large and durable. It has never pinched me. The back band adjusts via some ratchets on the seat in front of you and works very well. No more damage to your spraydeck with cockpit rim mounted types. Soft seat too. Hip pads work well with a simple Velcro and straps kind of setup. Thigh braces have been greatly improved in terms of comfort and stiffness.

+ Plastic pillars in the front and rear of the boat make the boats hull super stiff. This is not to say that they have done this because they’ve used less plastic to make a lighter hull and save weight. No, no this is for extra stiffness!

+ There is also a kind of a rib that sits in the front of the boat and the bulkhead attaches to this. It also acts as a step out platform in case of a vertical pin and also, increases hull stiffness.

+ Another smaller rib/stiffener sits under the central plastic pillar in the rear of the boat. Again, adding stiffness yet not hindering the ability to stow gear in the stern. You can load tons of gear in the stern for those overnight trips.

+ The Solo comes standard with a healthy amount of foam already under the seat to fill any gaps. Most manufacturers don’t do this. Naturally this reduces the tendency of oil canning although I have never seen a Solo (small or large) that has oil canned.

+ Drain plug is recessed nicely and thus protected from damage from rocks etc. when things go bad.
+ New die-forged aluminium grab handles are strong, good looking and far better than the previous handles supplied.

+ The boat comes with 2 bulkheads in 2 different sizes. This ensures that the bulkhead fills the maximum area according to where you have it set and how tall/short you may be. The boat also comes with various pieces of foam in different shapes and sizes and some hip pad spacers as well as a Fluid water bottle and a sponge in the shape of Africa…

• Thigh braces could be improved again so as to grip the knee/thigh on the outside. I added a few blocks of foam and it worked like a dream.

• Not much else to complain about. Sweet boat.


Conclusion



I love this boat and paddled it almost all the time on my recent trip to Scandinavia. The only thing holding me back running bigger drops and more challenging rapids was my own ability and mental state. The boat handled everything I threw at it. With its rounded edges and high volume ends you will always be upright and on top of the water, sticking your line.

The super stiff hull just glides over rocks in shallow rivers and this helps you keep your speed in shallow boulder gardens. The overall stiffness also makes for a responsive boat. Something that really feels good. On big water, the semi-displacement hull works very well and enables one to ride laterals far easier than a full on displacement design. When you’ve lost your speed and the water is whipping underneath your boat, it remains predictable and easily accelerates again with a few strokes.

The boat is not too heavy and on a par with most other creek boats. I wouldn't want a light weight creek boat that would fold on me in any case.

Try it, you might like it.

For more pictures of the large Solo go here:
http://www.fluidkayaks.co.za/Junction_070906.htm


Review

Affiliated
Yes
About Me
Location: South Africa
Age: 25
Weight: 85 kgs
Was this review helpful to you? 
(Updated: December 21, 2006)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Design 
 
5.0
Perfomance 
 
5.0
Quality 
 
5.0
Value / Money 
 
5.0

Great Boat!

About myself


I've been kayaking for about 9 years now and have paddled numerous places in B.C. as well as a little in California and New Zealeand.

About the test environment


I've been paddling the Fluid Solo Expedition for about 5 months now and after the intial 20 minutes or so it took to get used to it (different than my last creek boat - the Blunt, which I also liked) it has become my new best friend on the river. I've paddled it on the very large volume Fraser river through Hell's Gate and went through no problem. I've paddled it on medium volume rivers like the Upper Fraser section which is a world class stretch of class 3 - 5 whitewater .... and I've tried on very low volume creeks with back to back waterfalls.

Review


The Fluid Solo Expedition is an incredible kayak that has so far proven to be a great performer in all types of whitewater - small volume and big volume. It's stable in boils and whirlpools, large waves and seam lines. It also excels, as would be expected of a great creek boat, on the steeps. It's incredibly easy to boof, it accelerates quickly when you want it to and seems to just hop over holes without effort. This boat also turns on a dime!! (you almost have to be careful to not overcorrect). One thing about this boat is that it's a bit heavy .... but word has it that they are planning to trim the weight down. The outfitting in this boat is great in the fact that it fits a large range of people and leaves ample room for gear, both in front of the bulk heads as well as in the rear hatch (which ia a really nice feature). One last thing about the Solo's .... a great feature they have in their cockpit ..... a Rib like support that is placed across the hull for two reasons. The 1st is to add incredible strength (ridgidity) to the hull, and 2nd as act as a "Step" in the off chance you get vertically pinned in a drop. Amazingly enough, about 3 weeks after I got my boat and a friend got hers, I watched her get vetically pinned at some completely random spot between two rocks and climb out of her boat with no problem thanks to the "Step"!!! (If you check out the Fluid Kayak website, it shows pictures of the "step" as well as the rest of their outfitting. I understand that they are making some slight modifications to improve their outfitting so it will be interesting to see how they much better they can make things. I hear they are also coming out with a med Solo next year too!!

Conclusion


Overall, I give this kayak two thumbs up. It performs well and is designed well. Like I said, I'm curious to see the improvements they are going to make since the boat has little to improve on.

Review

Affiliated
No
About Me
Location: British Columbia
Age: 36
Weight: 77.1 kgs
Was this review helpful to you? 

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