It's the boat for me
About the reviewerI'm not big (length and weight are estimates, the figures I entered might be a bit smaller than the real thing), other kayakkers are just really small. That being said I'm not too much of a beginning freestyler too, other people are just really good. So perhaps everything you're about to read here isn't true, have this boats is nowhere near good, all others just suck. I mostly paddle WW2 on which I'm confident and in control, and paddled some class 3 rapids too, although I have less experience with them than I'dd like to have. I'm not in anyway related to Fluid, unless being a fan counts.
Test environmentI've had this boat for about half a year now, in that time I've taken it out on small, local rivers, alpine volume runs, a couple of playspots including Hawaii sur Rhone, the biggest river wave in Europe, out to sea for a bit of surfing and into a swimming pool.
ReviewI made the right decision, this boat is what I wanted. I'm only learning to feestyle, but I could double pump this boat quite soon, by now I'm wheeling, kickflipping and landing on the water wrong way down when trying to loop. Other people in the club may joke about it being a battleship, but for me it's small enough. In fact I wouldn't want it to be smaller, because I didn't get this boat for pure park and play, I wanted to take it out on some runs too, and there too it hasn't disappointed me. The boat is quite slow, as are most playboats, but it's got a good volume distribution, the extra air just behind the seat keeps the stern from going under all the time as it does in some other boats, this really helps in staying upright. The boat is quite broad and stable. It's not nearly as forgiving as more creek-inspired boats, naturally, but it's not extremely edgy either, for a playboat it's quite relaxed. Surfing this thing is great, in fact it feels a bit faster on the waves than it does otherwise. Both in riverspots and out in the sea the boat combines a playboat hull with just enough of a forgiving nature. The boat is a bit on the heavy side, but that shouldn't be a problem for anyone big enough to be interested in it (it certainly isn't for me). The plastic is no miracle of solidity, but it's good enough, it survived me so far.
Now for the downsides, as I mentioned it's a bit slow, but the main thing that troubled me is that it doesn't roll too easy, and that might be an understatement. It took me a while to get used to it. Through using it a lot I've managed to make my right hand roll more bomb proof than ever by now, but I'm still a bit in the process reinventing my left hand roll and my roll without paddle, the latter one being hindered by the extra volume behind the seat which stops me from laying down flat on the hind deck. As Fluid was just getting started when they made this boat the outfitting has its imperfections, the grips on the front and the back of the boat are not as sturdy as one might wish for, that's why I managed to get them broken already. The backrest is also vulnerable, I broke the rope that holds the backrest in place, it had been cut through where it goes into the seat, I guess being aware of this and moving the rope a few centimeters from time to time should fix this.
ConclusionAll in all the pro's of this boat far outweigh the minor issues I've had with it. There aren't many playboats in this world that fit my physical proportions, let alone my wishlist of properties, but the Flirt large is definately one of them. Thanks Fluid, it's a great boat.
Weight: 100 kgs
I fit into this play boat 6' 7" tall
I was looking for something to replace my Wave sport super big easy. After some stuffing around with the fit out( I replaced teh pathertic hip braces with foam blocks) I fit into the FLuid Flirt large very comfortably. It is a hard boat to roll, harder than my Wave sporty super big easy. But it is fun to paddle. Great for surfing and spinning. Difficult to get out thru the surf at beaches ( the best boat for that was my old wavesport Z). So far so good
Weight: 100 kgs
Like a nasty fungus you picked up in a public bath house, this boat grows on you.
I started kayaking this spring, but quickly progressed to a solid class III boater. I mostly play, but like to run things when the water's up. I also enjoy going to the beach and playing in the surf.
About the test environment
Potomac River (Mather's Gorge/Great Falls area) and Ocean City, Maryland.
I went from an old WaveSport Z to the Flirt, and I have to be honest, I was a little disconcerted at first. Because of its width and volume, the Flirt is super stable for a playboat, but this makes it harder to roll than most. This took a little getting used to. However, after a few sessions, I was totally comfortable and appreciated the extra stability. I often take this boat down Mather's Gorge on the Potomac at low to moderate water levels and it rips. It spins like a top, carves like a knife, and cartwheels like a 5 year old school girl. In the ocean, this boat is super fun, easy to handle, and fast.
I bought the boat used with the older Fluid outfitting, but it's bombproof, simple, and easy to adjust. I can spend all day in the boat and not cramp up. From what I've seen, the new Fluid outfitting is even better and the best I've seen in any boat. Cheers to Fluid on the improvements.
Takes some getting used to, but well worth the investment. I love this boat and wouldn't trade it for the world.
Weight: 99.8 kgs
Great boat for tall paddlers
I'm fairly new to paddling but I have got into playboating, I can't do anything fancy but I can surf in waves and holes and have fun. I'm 6'6" and have only been able to paddle an old dagger animas before I got the Flirt.
About the test environment
Golden Playpark: A series of 5 or 6 holes and waves some big, some small. Levels ranged from super high to pretty low.
I love this boat. The other Playboats that I have tried either felt like I was paddling a bath tub, Jackson super fun, or the stern sunk, Jackson super star. The flirt does neither and it also seems faster than those others. The boat is so responsive that even a beginner like me can stay on a wave and eddy hopping down the park is great fun. It carves great and as far as I can test it it has performed superbly.
This boat is also super stable and I can hold it on edge all day. It is wide and so rolling it is quite hard work but having said that it is the boat I leaned to back deck and offside roll in. The back deck is very stable too, I feel like I could fall asleep back there and stay dry but this does make hand rolling hard.
The outfitting is unusual, the thigh braces seem really aggressive, but once I got used to it I have not found any problems. The ratchets for the backband sometimes stick but that is hardly a major problem as 10 seconds of jiggling loosens them up again.
The plastic also feels bomber and I think it would take a big hit to seriously damage it. For what it's worth, a friend who works at a kayak store recommended it to me even though that store doesn't stock fluid kayaks, he's not the greatest salesman but he's pretty honest.
I haven't yet had to get out to streatch whilst I have been paddling this boat and I even have room to build footrests from the foam that came with the boat. That is the main point for me. It is comfortable for very tall paddlers but it still feels as though it will perform anything my skills will allow it to. I love it and would advise anyone to try one if they have trouble fitting in other boats.
Weight: 90.7 kgs
The most comfortable playboat around for very tall paddlers
I've been paddling for 2 years, only being able to fit in large creek boats. Most of my height is in my legs which has stopped me getting into anything smaller than a Liquid Logic "Huck". It was at a freestyle surf carnival that I first saw the Large Flirt, it looked huge and i fitted into it perfectly, i used it in the comp to see what it was like and was amazed. After using it for about 40mins i could pull off flatspins, blunts, cartwheels and even a loop! I bought it that afternoon.
The first time I used the Flirt was at the beach, it was very loose but still fast easy to carve with. I haven't used it on the river yet, but all that extra volume will help alot in running bigger grade rapids. The longest i've spent in it is about 3 hours and didn't feel cramped at all.
For any really tall paddlers out there who are looking for a comfortable playboat check out the Large Flirt. If you can demo it, you won't be dissapointed!
Weight: 90 kgs