Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 / Another Toy
- It's tough to go with her when we have only 1 kayak.
- My back and bum wanted a more adjustible seat. The Impluse is very good--better than some chairs in my house--but I'm very old and stiff.
- I wanted to explore the Potomac River near my home, but it features whitewater, and though I'm not interested in serious whitewater, like a good breeze to a sailor, a few waves look like fun. Unfortunately, the Impulse stinks in white water.
Basically, an upgraded recreational kayak with a few features to make it more at home in moving water.
Just north of Widewater on the C & O Canal. I had to special order a different color; I just couldn't see bight orange in a wilderness setting.
Aspire seems a good choice. It may prove the optimum choice for running long stretches of flat and moving river and for the occasional rough day on the Chesapeake.
Update 5-5-2013. Jessica and I took the Aspire and Impulse out on the open Chesapeake just as a small craft advisory had lifted; still a bit bumpy, and the water is still only 13C. Lots of laughs and relaxing too. The lessons:
- The spray skirt, which is required for whitewater, would have been nice in the rough water. We took enough waves to require bailing about every 20 minutes (1/2 gallon). a little safer and warmer too.
- Entering a kayak from the transom when the waves are rolling 2-3 feet is daunting. Possible, but non-paddlers will hate it.
- Speed. Identical.
- Stability. About the same; the Aspire has greater initial stability, but the impulse has a very good feel for secondary stability.
- Comfort. The Aspire has a nicer seat and thigh padding.
- Maneuvering. The Aspire is very nice in the waves and wind with the skeg up, but the bow blows off with the skeg down. Once back on track, the skeg is nice and we like it on flat water. The Impulse, not surprisingly, is somewhere in between. No question, the Aspire is more maneuverable, but for general use both are fine.
- Weight. I need to weigh them. The Aspire is only reported to be 4 pounds heavier (44 vs 48), but it seems like more to us when pulling it on deck. On this factor alone, we give the Impulse top marks for good paddling and light weight; simplicity pays.
On the Potomac above Old Anglers Inn. I was surprised to be able to catch this while on moving water. Credit to image stabilization and a stable kayak. He was several hundred yards away.
Update: June 2016 I noticed that the water tight bulkhead separating the stern compartment had started to leak, either the result of rough treatment in white water, or perhaps the result of dropping dropping down onto the seat. It was easily repaired with polyurethane caulk--Locktite PL S30(NOT silicone).
The skeg has also developed some severe cracks, though it still works.
I made a cockpit cover from some scraps of Sunbrella. Helps keep it dry and keeps the UV off the seat, the most vulnerable part (I keep it on the boat, on its side, all year).