As a specialist store with a long history in Paddlesports, our staff are well informed to provide you with the correct information about our products. Prefer to watch rather than read? See my video here:
The benefits of inflatable models are obvious, making your kayak effortless to transport and simple to store. Of course, not all inflatables are built equal and this is reflected in the vast range of shapes, materials, features and budgets. The Cirrus is Aquaglide’s latest release and a major shift from the status quo. As a rule inflatable kayaks tend to be either twin skin construction with a polyester outer cover and removable internal bladders, or use a heavy duty PVC single skin shell. In contrast, the Cirrus brings the Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) fabric to our inflatable kayak range for the first time. You might ask why? The answer is a huge weight saving compared with PVC alternatives. TPU has been the standard in super light pack rafts for many years, which can weigh as little as 3kg. It therefore seems logical to introduce it to inflatable kayaks. To give you an idea of the advantage, a PVC 12ft boat tips the scales at 13kg, while the comparable size Cirrus is less than half this weight at 6kg.
(Seen here in the 15ft tandem configuration, the Cirrus is also available as an 11ft solo model)
While the use of TPU in packrafts makes them compact, light and highly portable this has almost always come at with a compromise on the water. Speed and glide are reduced, while straight line tracking is poor. Their short and wide plan shapes, combined with flat bases, make them slow and highly maneuverable. These are not traits that most of our inflatable kayak customers or staff would view as desirable. In contrast, a boat like the Cirrus is longer, flatter in rocker and more tapered to the bow and stern. It tracks in a straight line well, allowing you to cover a greater distance with less energy spent. This can also be attributed to Aquaglide’s decision to use a drop stitch floor. Most inflatable kayaks use a hollow chamber floor, or one divided by simple baffles. The result is a recommended PSI figure from 1-1.5. In contrast, in a drop stitch floor the top and base of the bladder are connected by hundreds of fabric strands. The result is support and a much improved pressure figure, generally from 6-8psi. This tripled rigidity transforms the feel of your kayak, bringing the Cirrus closer to the feel of a traditional plastic model but while retaining super simple transport and storage.
One aspect that is often overlooked when choosing an inflatable kayak is drying time. I worry that if a boat takes hours to dry this could reduce the frequency of use, as well as limiting time on the water during the colder months. The beauty of the TPU fabric is that there is nothing to saturate, so a quick shake off and you can pack the boat away without any concerns. Hopefully this lack of maintenance requirement means you will use the kayak more frequently!
Every kayak is a balance of performance traits and if you improve one aspect you tend to hinder another. A good example of this would be that a marathon racing boat will be extremely narrow. The speed and glide is amazing but the stability is massively compromised as a result. With the Cirrus Aquaglide have aimed to strike the right balance between performance and usability. Ultimately boats in this category are not marketed for Olympians. Instead, they cater for everyone and aim to encourage you onto the water with confidence. As such, you can be reassured that at 11ft x 35” (110 solo) and 14ft9 x 34.5” (150 tandem) each Cirrus model will be efficient yet stable, cutting through the water easily but without the risk of falling in.
In the interest of weight reduction Aquaglide have made the decision to retain crucial features, while simplifying others when compared to the likes of their heavier Chelan model. Retaining the drop stitch floor bladder, mentioned above, is a major positive and you will paddle further with less effort as a result. The side chambers are hollow and made from TPU, thus maintaining the light weight feel and smallest pack size. Each bladder is inflated using a high pressure halkey robets valve. This is a bayonet fitting for quick inflation and deflation. A pump with an integrated pressure gauge will be a useful addition to your package, thus allowing you to accurately achieve the 3psi side chamber, and 6psi floor bladder, figures.
Any inflatable kayak is more prone to the effect of wind compared with a rigid kayak so it is not unexpected to see removable tracking fins, as well as moulded smaller fins. You will find these reduce the impact of wind, such as downwind drift. They also help you keep the boat in a straight line. With each paddle stroke you will make forward progress, rather than spending time correcting your line.
(quick fitting fin to aid straight line tracking)
As standard the Cirrus comes with lightweight but supportive seats. The 110 is a solo boat and thus includes a single seat, while the 150 is viewed as a tandem and thus comes with two. It is important to stress that the 150 can also be used solo by repositioning the seat into a central position. In doing so, the correct trim is achieved and you benefit from additional leg room or kit storage. You will attach the seats to the side bladder mounted d rings using forward fitting straps. These also allow adjustment of the backrest angle, with greater strap tension resulting in a steeper angle and more support for the paddler.
(lightweight yet supportive seat with adjustable straps for tension)
As kayaking is a full body exercise it is nice to see Aquaglide include a footrest with the Cirrus. This is attached to the floor bladder along a Velcro track and you can therefore position it to perfectly suit your leg length. The kayak is a more comfortable place to sit as a result, as well as allowing you to push through the footrest as you paddle. In doing so your power is more accurately translated into the boat.
(this footrest allows you to put good power into your stroke, as well as improving comfort)
Whilst on the water you might like to carry additional items. There will be room for drybags both in front and behind the seats, as well as the ability to put smaller items such as jackets underneath the splash cover bungees. Away from the water, the Cirrus is extremely simple to carry. Its light weight construction is partly responsible, but also the positioning of central and bow/stern mounted handles.
(bungee storage on top of the splash covers)
kayak, seat, footrest, fin, storage bag.
kayak, seat (x2), footrest (x2), fin, storage bag.
The world of inflatable kayaks is a competitive one and unfortunately there are more poor quality boats than good ones, hence why our specialist staff are extremely careful when selecting our stock models. The Cirrus from Aquaglide is a high point in this class, offering the absolute lightest weight and smallest pack size. The brand have managed to balance amazing portability but without significantly compromising on the water performance or durability, which would be a major risk in the case of a specialist pack raft. The Cirrus would be the perfect choice for anyone wanting to paddle flat water, whether inland or at the coast. The efficient tapered shape and low to mid rocker ensure you can cover distance with ease, while the included accessories only add to your comfort on the water. For many of our customers the weight of a kayak, as well as the relative maintenance requirements, are a massive deciding factor and thus I am certain the Cirrus will continue to be a popular choice.
(hull drainage, allowing you to quickly empty the kayak after paddling)
(halkey roberts quick inflate valves, along with d-rings to secure luggage)