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Fords vs Chevys
Posted by Michael Strahan on Mar 29 2006
Alaskacanoe,

I'm an avid proponent of AIRE products for three simple reasons:

1.  Performance.  Plastic material is stiffer than rubber and, in my opinion, performs better with big loads and / or with an outboard because it doesn't flex like rubber boats do.

2.  Inner bladder construction.  I can (and have) repair a slice in a tube with tape in about ten minutes.  Of course I'm going to do a regular glued patch job when I can control the conditions, but in the field you can get by with tape if you have to.  There isn't another boat on the market where this is possible.  By the way, the bladder system lets me patch the boat on the INSIDE, which eliminates the chances of the edge of a patch catching on something and pulling off.

3.  Warranty.  If anything happens to the boat within the first ten years of its existence on the planet, regardless of how many times it has changed hands, and regardless of cause, it will be taken care of.  Nobody else in the industry offers this kind of warranty.  Period.

I have not made a single dime promoting their stuff, nor have I received anything else in compensation for doing so.  I promote AIRE because they offer things other boats don't.  These things are of vital interest to Alaska boaters.

It's been my observation that some folks have not been able to embrace the changes that have come to the industry in recent years.  The fact that some manufacturers keep making boats the same way they always have has created a false perception that is because the old ways are better.  The truth is that it's very expensive to re-tool an entire manufacturing process, and most of the "big boys" aren't going to do it until they have to.  Those days are upon us.  When AIRE first came on the market, industry leaders said they would fail.  Even the most optimistic said their warranty would be impossible to fulfill.  Today, I believe AIRE sells more cats and round boats than any other boat builder in the country.  Alaska Raft and Kayak is their largest retailer.

This isn't a "Ford-Chevy" debate; it's a "Ford-Humvee" debate.

But that's just my opinion.

-Mike

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