Perception Airalite

Has anyone tried out one of these new lite yaks. I’m looking and have a time set up for a test on the Sundance but I don’t have much experience. Thanks!

Airalite @ 100.00 a pound
They are not that much lighter than the Percepttion poly yaks. A 12 foot Sundance in Airalite weighs only 4 pounds less than the poly yak. However it does cost 400.00 more. That’s a hundred bucks a pound. Not worth it in my opinion.

Come on, where are the experts on this
Airalite is going to be found in more and more boats as time goes on. Why? Because it offers a very sleek material that is far less labor intensive than laying up a composite boat. The difference between Airalite and a Poly boat are indisputable, A flimsy plastic tub can in no way compare to a solid Airalite boat. A friend has a Sonoma, it’s the first Airalite I’ve seen and I’m very impressed at how solid,smooth and fast it is. At first glance it looks like PVC, the same plastic used in plumbing pipes and appears to be glued up the same way.

But we need an expert to tell us the true advanteges and disadvanteges of the product like weight, durability, repairability, cost, (Prices should drop as this material catches on and more manufacturers start using it)longeity, how does it handle UV and many more questions. In looking around the net it seems like there are no tecnical articles that tell much about the product. Someone in the business tell what that stuff is…can we trust it??? How are the boats made and put together??

Eddyline has been using something
similar to Airalite for years - they call it Carbolite. I have a boat made of it. It’s a Nighthawk 16, that weighs 49 lbs. It’s tough, good looking, and durable. I don’t know about sun damage, because I’ve only had mine a year - but there are a lot of Carbonlite Eddylines around here, and I’ve never seen one with sun damage.

You might go to the Eddyline site and see what they have to say about their material.

I personally wouldn’t buy a poly boat simply because they are too heavy for this arthritic body to handle.


Airalite Sundance and Sonoma

– Last Updated: Jul-17-04 1:03 PM EST –

I have a Sonoma 10' and a friend has the Sundance 12'. I would buy this again over poly. My Sonoma weighs only 35#. The Sundance weighs 44# and the same size Sundance in poly weighs 52#
Although both of these boats are very small and thus maneuverable anyway, I think the Airalite makes them even easier to handle and much stiffer than poly. Nicer looking too!
Ours are both new this year so I can't comment on UV damage other than no signs at all thus far. Mine is stored hull-side-up on a rack on my deck.
As far as price, I think I paid around $700 and the Sundance was around $850.
Also check out the CD Kestrel. I remember it being a very nice looking and nice size rec. boat and it is made of the same type of material.

no free lunch
a big Aerolite kayak will weigh a lot,a small will weigh less. If I was looking for a “sea kayak” I’d get an Eddyline before a Perception just because Eddyline has been doing it longer and Perception designs for a price/features balance more than total design including function.

The Sonoma13 is a unique and worthwhile design. I’m still leery of Perceptions handle on the hull seam technology. They should make the Avatar in Aerolite instead of the Carolina simply because the Avatar could be a light kayak,the Carolina is only a few lbs lighter than the rotomolded kayak.

If you look at the larger Eddyline kayaks and the larger Perception kayaks there isn’t a significant weight savings compared to fiberglass or rotomolded.

For a big sea kayak an eddyline with modulus lay-up makes sense.

Other brands
You might look at Hurricane Aqua Sports kayaks. Their boats are much lighter and much cheaper than Perceptions.

And, perception hired Hurricane to teach them how to build these boat. I would think they did not teach them all the tricks.

I have a Hurricane Tracer (16.6 feet). it is fast, lite and the quality is first rate. It weight only a couple of pounds heaver than the 13 ft Sanoma.

Take a look at them. All the outfitters and dealers I have talked to say the comapny is great to work with.

the experts evidently have no comment…
…NT, but if you do a search of this topic, it has often been suggested these materials (Carbonlite, Airlite, Trylon, whatever Dagger calls it, etc,) all begin life as basically the same product in sheet form. I also suggest that the marketing experts don’t want you to know this.

Also, Perception does now offer the Avatar in Airlite (saw one on ebay).

I dunno…
I’ve been talking to some kayak retailers in Northern New York State, who carry Perception boats but are staying away from and steering their customers clear of Airlite, on the basis that Perception hasnt been doing this process long enough; quality control is not as good as say Eddyline, and from what they have seen, 'a lot of unhappY Airlite owners are going to be coming back with their boats in a year or two. I was actually fairly bent on getting a new Carolina Airlite, as they are being discounted by 25% in Kingston Ontario, but based on comments of some dealers who actually sell Perception yet refuse to carry Airlite, decided to go with a Prijon Calabria.

Eddyline Carbonlite
Eddyline first came up with a lighter material than aerolite. It is called carbonlite and was first introduced by Eddyline in 2000.

Go to Eddylines website and you will find that there kayaks are much lighter than the aerolite kayaks that are made by perception.

It is also very durable, especially on rocky beaches in the Jackson Hole area. I highly recommend this as it also paddles on the water like a fiberglass/kevlar kayak.

I own an Eddlyine Carbonlite Nighthawk 16 and a Modulus (which is a kevlar kayak with carbonlite)

Merlin LT.

It you can, demo any of these brands as kayaks are a personal choice!

Life’s a trip, bring a paddle!


According to a source at Current Designs (soon to release similar constructed craft called “thermoform”,or something like that), the material all comes from the same manufacturer, and is sold to the kayak makers in sheets of varying thickness. It can then be heat molded into whatever shape you want or in the case of Eddy’s modulous, bonded to kevlar. Rumor around the campfire is that most every manufacturer will be using it soon.

Yes I’d say get used to it… it’s coming
That rumor is true. The material has already proven it’s self and you will be seeing more and more of it. For those of us who like a good hand made lay-up we’ll still be able to buy them. But those prices will be going up as production line boats become more popular. If I had to choose between Roto molded and Airalite I’d much rather have Airalite. I’m sure those boats I’m looking at it the store will out perform any of the Roto boats and many of the hand made composits. Just looking at them…they scream “Speed”

How durable?
There are a lot of hull hazards where I paddle - oyster banks, stumps, and other things that go bump in the hull. For those who have the airalite boats, how have they held up?

Non-Expert Opinion
I have a Night Hawk also, and while I do not consider it an abused boat, it doesn’t show much wear.

Eddyline does mention that they will custom make a boat with a process they call “extreme modulus” that they say produces a virtually indestructable boat. Finding that hard to believe, Eddyline’s web site does explain how to repair Carbonlite. It actually doesn’t sound too hard.


they’re pretty tough!
I have been paddling my Sonoma 13.5 for about 2 seasons now. I’m not sure about the long term durability as it relates to seams or sun damage but from a material strength standpoint it is excellent. I have dropped my boat several times from a considerable height onto concrete with no damage. I also have landed on rocky shores and have more than a couple significant bumps on rivers into trees, rocks, etc. Although I have the standard scratches on the hull, overall it has prooved its toughness to me. The pretty paint job is a bit more delicate than a plastic boat (obviously) but I actually like the idea that I don’t have to fully baby my boat like a composite.

scrapes on Airalite
A previous post likened the look of this material to PVC pipe. Not a bad analogy! I have run over many stumps, hit beaches slightly less than gently, and also gone over a few rocks with mine. It does get gouges in the bottom, but it’s a solid material, so unlike a gel-coat, it doesn’t take the color off. It seems pretty durable and is a lot stiffer than poly.

Like everyone, I hated that first scratch in the bottom, but now I don’t worry too much. It’s there to enjoy and have fun with and by the looks of it, it should last a good long time.

soft in high temps?

– Last Updated: Jul-21-04 10:00 PM EST –

I'm looking to buy my first kayak and I keep coming back to the Sonoma 13.5. I'm not completely new to paddling... but this would be a slight step up from any of the kayaks I've rented or borrowed.

I've spent a lot of time on the internet so far and I've been trying to track down a shop in my area that actually has them in stock so I can try one out.

I found a shop in my city that carries the Perception line but he didn't have any of the Sonomas in stock (although he said he could order it of course). The problem is he expressed some concerns.

He said when cartopping airalite kayaks he'd noticed they seemed a little soft. Now he did say they didn't stay out of shape but he had no way of knowing if the problem would become more severe as time went on. This being Florida it does get rather warm. He also said the material gouged easily and pointed out that most of the waters in our area are filled with oyster beds and such.

He did say it was a beautiful boat to look at and it handled really well. He just wasn't convinced that the weight difference was worth the extra cost.

But he's not a 4'11" single woman who would like to be able to lift a kayak without assistance from total strangers.

Anyone care to make an additional comment one way or the other? From what I've read here so far the good outweighs the bad. I DID check out the Eddyline models and they seem even pricier.

I have found a store about two hours south of me that actually has them in stock. I need to contact them and see about setting up a demo. I'm almost afraid to go down there because I figure once I see the thing I'll probably be doomed and have to buy it.


I like the Sonoma 13,the problem is that they’ve built it to fit the “average” paddler just like the other “kayaks for small people” like the Sole or Corona that actually fit taller people well as the foredecks are pretty high,I wish they made the Sonoma 13 with a lower deck for folks your size.

regarding softness…
I actually haven’t noticed any sort of softness with the Sonoma. (I can’t speak for all Airalite boats). I have left the boat on top of my car for several days in some pretty high temperatures (80’s and sunny) while camping and haven’t noticed any change in the material stiffness. It’s much stiffer than a standard poly boat and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that it will oil can or deform due to heat. As for the material, although I have dropped it several times and scraped it over rocks, I’m not sure of what sort of damage oyster beds can do so I’m not really sure. They say to basically treat it like a composite boat. This is the perfect day touring boat for me. It’s not an expedition boat or a big water crossing boat by any means, but it is a dream to paddle on quiet lakes, rivers, and even short trips out on lakes such as Lake Michigan. It is remarkably fast for it’s length and I have no trouble keeping up with my sea kayaking buddies in their 18 foot boats (although if they wanted to they probably could slip away with some effort). The negatives to the boat is that it has a tendancy to weathercock a bit in high winds although it edges so well that this is easily corrected. Also depending on your skill level, this is a relatively tippy boat. It has taken me the equivalent of a whole paddling season to get to the point that I don’t feel nervous without an active paddle in the water. I initially thought that this boat would make it impossible to take pictures from, but after some good seat time, I can practically take a nap in it. Definitely try out the boat and if the price is right (I bought off season), it is a great little boat that you will not easily grow out of if ever.

Thanks, I feel better now…
I must admit I left that shop yesterday a little deflated thinking I’d missed the mark totally on the Sonoma.

I think the guy was being honest with me about his concerns but I don’t think I’d have the same issues that he would have. I wouldn’t be leaving it car topped for extended lengths of time and it would be stored in a large shed. As far as scratches…er gouges even… in the bottom… well, they make them to be used don’t they? I certainly wouldn’t intentionally be raking it over the oyster beds.

The height thing is one reason why I’m so desperate to try it out. I’ve paddled other boats that surely weren’t made for anyone my size and managed just fine although I bump my arms a lot. The Sonoma would actually be the narrowest boat I’ve ever been in.

Which brings up the tippiness issue. I’m definitely a beginner kayaker and I surely expect to take more than a few dunkings if I get the Sonoma. However, it sounds like it would be a great boat to learn on and I’ve heard more than a few people say it’s a boat a beginner can grow into. I could get one of Perception’s Carolinas and never worry about tipping it from what I hear. I’m actually looking at the Carolinas for my parents… they think they’d like to try kayaking as well.