the straight-on shots are at the bottom as well as my impressions for the first day of paddling this boat
The SL350 weighs 14kg with all the outfitting. I'm sure if someone wanted to save weight they could take out the seat and shave at least 1.5kg off. But, weight saving is not really the point of a plastic slalom boat. Having a boat for teaching people how to paddle a slalom boat IS one of the reasons for having a plastic slalom boat. Also, it makes a great, durable cruiser for slalom boaters who don't want to beat up on their $1500 composite competition boats. So, the ready-to-go outfitting is nice.
It has an adjustable ratcheting backband and traditional style footpegs.
The SL350 is a completely modern slalom design, made with the design concepts with which current slalom athletes are accustomed.
It measures just barely over 350 cm,and is within the competiton dimention requirements.
here is a nice shot of it next to the Reaction so cruisers can get an idea of the size of the boat
I let James Capozi take the boat for it's inagural run down Bulls Bridge at just over 1/2' on the gauge. He is well over 6' tall with long legs and big feet. He fit very well in the boat. I don't know his weight, but he is super thin. Still, he looked like he was at the boat's max weight. It was James' first time ever in a slalom boat and he found it stable. While he complained about not being able to turn it (ha ha ha slalom boat newbie!!!) he was making it look good and nobody in the group could tell that he had not paddled in a 3.5m boat before.
Second run was my turn, and first time in the SL350. I weigh 170lbs and feel that the boat would be an acceptable size for me to compete in C/D racing, but I'd probably be better off with a larger bow if I were to race in the higher ranking race with more difficult whitewater. I was fine in cruising mode, but I just always preferred a larger bow. Some current competitors my size might argue otherwise.
The stern felt small. So, it's probably the boat that I envision, but if I was 150lbs. I'm anxious to have Ted or Devin try it out and get their impressions. Devin is lighter than me, but about the same height. Ted is much lighter than I am so will be a good indicator for some different paddlers.
I have paddled a couple of the new 3.5m boats briefly in the past. This plastic boat feels exactly like the contemporary boats and is a great improvement over the old Reflex and Fox.
Honestly, I need to get into my old slalom boat for a better comparison. I'm going on a bit of memory and have been paddling fat creek boats for the past couple of years.
Check the blog later because I will get some more people in the boat and get some more comparative runs in different slalom boats myself; probably ask to borrow one of the Vajda or Galasport models from this year.