Thoughts regarding the Wilderness Systems Aspire

Sold off (or selling off) some boats in my fleet, Had a no-name box store rotomolded boat, and a field and stream fishing kayak that were sold and still selling the Two Banzai’s that were my son’s now that he’s graduated into the Tsunami.

Anyway since thee is this cash windfall, I was thinking to purchase the Wilderness systems Aspire 105, for use a my rec-boat and Light fishing boat, and general screwing about boat. I am looking at this mostly for the phase3 seating (if any of the other had something comparable I’d have kept one.)

I settled on the Aspire mostly because my wife has the 100 and it surprisingly performs well, easily as fast as my field and stream was, and of course with he skeg straight as an arrow tracking and with it up the ability to turn a 180 in it’s own length. since she only rec paddles and this is intended to also serve for fishing too I figured the 105 would be just a bit better.

So what’s the group’s thoughts on this, anyone have experience here? (Want to heat the good the bad and the ugly.)

I think it’s too short but that’s me. I spent the day in a Pungo 140.
Great boat for my size but it certainly won’t turn on its axis.
IMO , the only kayak you listed above that I would have is the Tsunami. The others I suspect perform like they look, short and wide. Good for farm ponds

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I thought so too, but my wife has the Aspire 100, and it was fast (not in the same vein as my Tsunami 175) but quite fast for a rec boat.

I had a Field&Stream Eagle run 12. (12ft boat.) and the aspire was just as fast as it was and was hands on a better turning boat, I tested this by matching speed with her and then checking glide speed (Eg how fast both boats slow down.)

I attributed the sameness performance wise to a longer boat being hard chine vs soft.

it was also as fast as my son in his Banzai, but thats not the main use.

We’ve paddled our nearby lake about 10mi by about 5mi with no issues, and this is where I primarily plan to use it, also on slow moving rivers, and of course I plan to put a track system on it to hold my fishing rod so long haul is not it’s primary intent, for that I have the tsunami 175.

since this was planned as my fishing boat, the maneuverability (because I do fish some tight spaces.) was paramount.

hence why I’m asking about the 105, I know the performance aspects of the 100, and I suspect they will be similar, since the 105 is only 6 inches longer. But that 6 inches buys 400lb capacity vs 350lb. and I’m thinking that 50lb capacity will allow a lower draft for getting into some of the tight spaces I go to where the guys in the bass boats can’t and where the fish are.

I like paddling and looking so longer boats suit me. Sounds like you know what you need.

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With the same load out, the longer boat (which presumably weighs more) will need to displace more water. This will be somewhat offset by the bigger footprint.

I would expect that there would be no noticeable difference in draft, unless the hull shape is dramatically different.

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Here is a way to estimate draft:

Paddler Weight + Gear Weight + Kayak Weight
Divided by
Waterline Length (in feet) x Waterline Beam (in feet) x Water Density* x Shape Factor**
Answer is in decimal feet, to convert to inches multiply by 12.

*Salt Water is 65, Fresh Water is 62.4 (lbs. per cubic foot)
**A realistic factor to use is 0.65, but you can use whatever you want. A hull with a deeper V shape and or a sharper bow and stern will use a lower factor. A flat bottom rectangular shape will be closer to 1.

Aspires are designed as river-focused boats (hence the flatter bottoms than Pungos), where the current will be doing a lot of the work for you. As such, they’re a nice step up in outfitting and comfort from base level rec boats.

Personally I’d spend the little more and get a Tsunami 125 if I wanted to stay short but still get a boat that can get out of its own way on open water.

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@Craig_S, considering your intended use, the Aspire 105 looks like a good option, with at least five points in its favor. Including slightly lighter weight, short for manueverability with a skeg to help offset the short length, higher max load, and between $200 and $400 saving. The main disadvantage is how it would plunge paddling into waves, so you have to consider which body of water you plan to fish. I’ve seen some wind driven waves up around the Susquahanna Islands that I wouldn’t want to paddle with a 10.5 ft boat. You could probably bury the back end of a 10.5 ft boat paddling full power. I wonder if the strap on console for the old Pungo would fit on the Aspire. I tried it on a Liquid Logic rec boat and it fit. That would help to minimize waves breaking over the front deck, and the older console has open dividers for lures and tools. I set my 140 Pungo up for fishing, but fish fear me and won’t t bite a hool when I hold the rod. The newer consoles don’t look as useful. I think the console would be a plus.

Both the 125 Tsunami and 125 Pungo would also work. The disadvantages being cost, slightly higher weight, and the length which is still manageable.

Advantage of the 125 Tsunnami is that it’s set up as a sea kayak, it’s rock stable, tracks and turns easily, and has enough load capacity for you. You know where I paddle. I used mine for a full sesaon and had no complaints (upgraded to 145 then 175 for speed and better head on into waved; I would choose a 125 Tsunami over a 140 Pungo in waves).

My nephew bought the new 125 Pungo for his wife. Same characteristics as the old model Pungo. I passed on 120 Pungo in favor of the 140 Pungo for where I paddle in the Gunpowder River. So use your judgement about the length and how well it’ll work in your fishing area. If you want to test the 120, 125 or even a 140 Pungo or 125 Tsunami, I can meet you at the Islands, at North East or up at your lake.

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So we bought the Aspire 105.

the pivoting many said I’d be experiencing in such a short boat is well close to non=existent, on a left power stroke without the skeg I get about a 2-5 degree deflection in the nose of the boat. Of course this is immediately corrected by the power stroke on the other side. perhaps it’s that I’m used to paddling whitewater boats that are even more maneuverable and have developed the skills to keep them going straight on flatwater.

Dropping the skeg well eliminates all that completely but is not necessary as far as I can see just allows my paddling to be sloppier than normal.

granted conditions were sub-optimal we had a 30 to 50 mph gusts from the east pushing waves that would break over the bow of the boat when headed into them. So being a short boat that meant I got a bit of splash in the cockpit.

so for about 2 miles I ran upstream of the river towards the Holtwood dam, I don;t know what the river was running that day but normally it’s a 3mph downward run. I pulled about 4mph upstream mostly supported by wave surfing as they were running upstream of the current at about 6 mph.

Coming back into the wind, I was only averaging about 3-3.5 mph mostly because my wife was struggling so I had to loop back numerous times.

So no real accurate performance data, however when I want the boat to be maneuverable a simple “C” stroke or “J” stroke will get it to pirouette so for tight spaces it’s most excellent better even than my 12ft Filed and Stream.

And of course the Phase 3 Seating, need I say more. although I think I’d like to delete the seat back for a back band.

All in all it seems to punch well above what everyone expects it to do and as a general purpose, lazy river/fishing/lake boat it’ll meet my needs quite well.

UPDATE: I had the boat out on the lake so no current per se, to mess with performance. I hit 4.4 mph, paddling to my fishing spot about 2 miles away. wind was coming from the south which was the direction I was heading so I was fighting waves crashing over the boat but not as bad as the river trip but enough that It required the skeg, and i could feel the conditions were hindering my top speed.

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That your experience paddling a ww boat would help keep the Aspire 105 on course makes good sense. Glad you’re happy with the new boat.

@Buffalo_Alice for it’s intended purpose,

To Replace my F&S fishing boat, and my Future Beach 125 screwing about boat, it ticks all the boxes. and thins out the over-abundance of boats in my garage it’s kind of swiss army knife, does a little of everything I wanted out of a rec-boat.

And as an added bonus it was faster than I expected, I was expecting about 3mph, on flat water, but I’m getting a little over 4.