Product Development: The AirFusion Kayak
Designed to rival the performance and speed of skin-on-frame kayaks, while simplifying the setup procedure, the I.D. Magazine Award Winning AirFusion Kayak has evolved over the years through a series of improvements and refinements into its current 3rd Gen iteration, the AirFusion EVO. An inflatable kayak unlike any other on the water, the AirFusion EVO's design utilizes drop-stitch technology for the main air chambers, low pressure air thwarts to build out the structure, a Polyurethane outer skin, and an aluminum keel frame. Drop-stitch material allows for the creation of high pressure forms that are extremely rigid while the low-pressure air thwarts replace bulky frame parts that are typically used in skin-on-frame kayaks. The aluminum keel frame creates a V-hull for superior tracking while the Polyurethane outer skin creates a hydrodynamic surface for enhanced glide through the water, making the AirFusion EVO a quick and nimble high performance kayak that can be packed up and taken anywhere.
Patent #: US 8,438,986 B2
Portable kayaks offer many benefits to everyone from the novice entry-level paddler to the seasoned life-long paddler. Being compact, and typically lighter in weight vs. their hard-shell counterparts, portable kayaks provide the user with the advantages of easy transport and storage of their kayak. Historically, the key benefits of portable kayaks came at the cost of on-water performance until the advent of skin-on-frame kayaks marginalized these detractors.
Rooted in original Inuit designs, which were built from wooden skeleton frames covered by water-tight animal skins, modern day skin-on-frame kayaks are comprised of collapsible aluminum frames with either a fabric, PVC Tarpaulin, or Polyurethane outer skin. While these kayaks are very compact, portable, and offer high performance, they tend to consist of an abundance of complex frame parts that result in a time consuming effort to assemble the kayak. Upon review, typical skin-on-frame kayak users can spend as much as 45 minutes putting together their kayak.
The AirFusion’s simplified design, which replaces many of the complex aluminum frame parts with inflatable components, streamlines and simplifies the setup procedure resulting in a high performance kayak that is compact, portable, and can be set up in as little as 10 minutes.
A Design Unlike Any Other
Designing an entirely new class of inflatable kayak required utilizing SolidWorks to design custom injection molded parts such as a bow nose cap, stern end cap, a stronger inflation elbow, and a custom Boston Valve housing.
Roll over each part to learn more.
Gen 1: The AirFusion, Trial By Fire
After a few years of production, and customer feedback, this first generation was greatly improved in many areas. Namely, it was found that the aluminum frame parts could be reduced by half by increasing the size of the main air chambers. Additionally, the kayak could be slightly widened for more room and stability without loosing performance.
Injection Molded End Cap was designed to protect the bow of the kayak from impact and abrasion.
Injection Molded End Cap was designed to protect the stern of the kayak from impact and abrasion as well as receive an optional skeg/rudder kit.
This part is RF welded to the main inflation chambers and holds the custom designed Boston Valve Housing. Standard off-the-shelf inflation elbows were too weak to stand up to the rigors needed.
Due to the higher pressure needed in the original AirFusion's main air chambers, a standard Boston Valve was required. This part was custom designed so that a Boston Valve could be mated with the unique shape and orientation of the main air chambers.
Gen 2: The AirFusion Elite, A huge leap forward
The reduction of frame parts greatly streamlined the setup procedure while the slightly larger width and reduction in air thwart sizes provided more room for the paddler, added storage space, and added stability.
A rear cargo access hatch was added as well for added functionality.
Gen 3: The AirFusion EVO, Utilizing new technology
As shown in inflatable StandUp Paddle Boards, drop-stitch material allows for the creation of high-pressure forms that are extremely rigid.
The transition from the AirFusion's original 4 PVC main air chambers to 2 Drop-stitch main air chambers allows for the best in rigidity in all conditions, a smoother hydrodynamic outer skin, and an even more streamlined setup process. Additionally, the transition from the use of a
PVC Tarpaulin outer skin to a Polyurethane Tarpaulin outer skin improves the hydrodynamic performance even more.