Sunday, March 28, 2010
first impressions of the SL350 MAX plastic slalom boat
(top boat is SL350, bottom boat is SL350 MAX)
I threw a bit of foam (not much needed) into the new SL350 MAX yesterday and met friends on the Rattlesnake section up in Falls Village. This is a great proving ground for me to test a new slalom boat because I used to live up there, am used to the water and the races we often hosted on this whitewater.
My impressions can be summed up simply and (almost) all positively, by saying that this boat is a real deal modern slalom boat.
The only difference is that it is in plastic, thus weighs 14 Kg instead of 9 Kg. I knew the boat was ICF legal because of it's width and length, but I didn't expect it to paddle as well as a modern slalom boat (probably a plastic prejudice). A lighter boat would certainly be better for competition, I felt like I was not losing other performance features in this new plastic boat.
I enjoyed the SL350 "regular" last year, but honestly felt that it was a bit too small for 180 lbs. (It felt better at the end of the summer when I was 15 lbs lighter). I must admit a preference for larger boats, and am not so used to the skinny slalom boats since I stopped training several years ago (spent more time in fat creek boats).
The SL350 MAX is exactly the boat I have needed: a modern design in a more durable format that composite.
I am not bringing these boats into the country. I am taking time to focus more on my art.
Tony Z, at Donkeflip.com is taking pre-orders for the boats and he has a nice shipping arrangement with Forward Air.
So, if you want a plastic slalom boat, contemporary design, bigger than the regluar Dragorossi/Rainbow SL350 and the Fluid Donza; that is ICF legal (the Galasport plastic boat is too short for ICF rules), then think about the SL350 MAX