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Solo Large (expedition)

3.0 (1)
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Short Facts


12 Shochet Street
South Africa

Phone: +27 56-817-2951

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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.

The Large Solo Expedition model is exactly the same boat as the standard Large Solo, with the exception of a hatch compartment in the stern. The Expedition model has been tested thoroughly on the 2004 Maranon Expedition in Peru by some Fluid team paddlers.

The stern deck is sligthly modified to accomodate the hatch cover and foam bulkhead. The hatch opening is rather large to make packing easier. It has a cockpit type rim that fits a neoprene cover. The neoprene cover is protected by a plastic cover, which is held in place by two bungee cords. The bungee cord system is easy to use, robust, almost impossible to undo by accident, and simple to fix if the worst happens somewhere between nothing and nowhere. The stern is sealed off with a 50mm foam bulkhead, keeping your gear dry inside and at the same time producing a huge boyancy compartment.

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3.0  (1)
Value / Money 
3.0  (1)
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(Updated: January 27, 2009)
Overall rating 
Value / Money 

Fluid Solo Expedition (large)

About the reviewer

A novice paddler of limited ability and experience.

Test environment

Eighteen months in class 2/3 waters with a novice paddler.


It is important to realize that this review is influenced by the fact that the Fluid Solo Expedition (large) was the incorrect boat choice for me. As a beginner paddler in Australia where there was no pro-shop to check out, the boat was bought on the internet, sight unseen. The price was excellent! You can see already that such an arrangement can be hazardous to all concerned.

In blissfull ignorance I figured that the little streams locally were creeks, hence the need for a creek boat! The boat I bought is an extreme creeker designed for top paddlers in class 5 creeks!

The main problems I encountered at 178 cm and 73-75 kgs was size and as a novice, a lack of ability. I was too small to boss it through rapids, and lacked the technique to finesse it through. Defensive techniques resulted, rail-roading was common. Further, in muscle terms, I was too weak to carry its amazing weight - 23 kgs without gear - for long!

So, with my inabilities now openly stated, the following pros and cons summarize my thoughts after 18 months of paddling it in class 2 and class 3 water.


Very strong!
An extreme boat built for very steep creeks in expert hands.
The luggage compartment in the stern allows for extended trips.


Needs a large, strong and capable paddler.
Too slow for river running due to the exaggerated rocker.
Without expert paddling it is very hard to steer and control due to its weight and large volume.
The bulkhead between the cockpit and luggage compartment is very poorly sealed.
Without luggage weight to counter-balance the high volume stern the boat is harder than normal to steer.
Very heavy to portage.

I have tried very hard to be fair here. I hope it helps somebody make the correct choice for them. Definitely not a bad product, just the wrong boat in the wrong hands!


The right boat for a very strong, top-class paddler in class 5 creeks! Not for small novices.


About Me
Location: Airlie Beach, Australia.
Age: 50
Weight: 75 kgs
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