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Thread: AIRE's Warranty- Second to NONE!

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up AIRE's Warranty- Second to NONE!

    Hi folks,

    Just a note singing the praises of AIRE's warranty. If you've read these forums for long, you've heard me sing this song before. But this time it's different, and here's why.

    Last winter someone alerted me to an AIRE Super Leopard cataraft that was for sale at a screaming good price on Craig's List. So I took a look and sure enough, a guy out in Wasilla had one he was selling for $2000. Now, keep in mind that the tubes alone used to retail about eight years ago for $3500. I went out and looked at the boat and, sure enough, the guy had the entire boat, PLUS a brand-new frame, three oars, pump, repair kit and all the straps for two grand! I grabbed it.

    For those who don't know, the Super Leopard was a very specialized high-capacity cataraft that was originally build for Wild Alaska Rivers Company here in Anchorage. It is not a production boat, and it is rare to find one for sale. It is the only cataraft out there that I would comfortably put two or three hunters, two moose, and all the trimmings for an expedition float hunt on board without reservation. It's the ultimate big load-hauler. It has twin tubes on each side; the outer tubes are larger around than the standard Leopard tube, plus there is an inner sponson on each one, creating a huge amount of lift. The bow and stern are the new smooth taper, making them great performers with outboards of all sizes.

    At any rate when I looked the boat, over I noticed that the fabric on the main tubes was pretty scuffed up, like someone went at it with an orbital sander or something. More importantly, it looked like the fabric was severely weathered and starting to become brittle. I checked the serial number and saw that it had over a year left on warranty, so I bit the bullet and bought it, thinking that I might have a warranty claim. Even if AIRE denied the claim I was pretty sure I could at least break even if I decided to sell it later. Anyway I got it home and called Tracey Harmon at Alaska Raft and Kayak, and he told me that they had a couple of other Super Leopards out there with bad fabric that was prematurely weathering. He thought I might have a claim. Must have been a bad batch of material or something, as I have never seen this with their boats before.

    At any rate I talked with AIRE about it and they REPLACED BOTH TUBES WITH A BRAND NEW SET! Not only that, they also gave me my choice of fabric colors, since it was a non-production boat and they were going to interrupt their normal production run to build them for me! Talk about standing behind your product! Folks, I have been referring people to AIRE for many years because of the way they take care of their customers, but this was WAY beyond even what I expected. Once again, they have made a believer and a life-long customer out of me.

    So despite all the bad news in the paper these days, high prices, runaway inflation, global warming and lousy summer weather in Alaska this year, it's nice to know that there are still companies out there that, though they have become very large indeed, have still not lost sight of their customers. Even if it is one individual living way up north here, on the edge of the earth.

    Thanks again, AIRE! You're a class act.

    By the way, I found another Super Leopard on Craigs List for $4500, fully-rigged. HERE'S THE LINK, for those interested. It comes with a 30-horse outboard and a trailer. It's yellow, which is very unusual, as all the others I have seen are green with a gray bottom. Yellow is not my favorite color, but it would be great in a rescue situation, where being spotted from the air is very important. With what you're getting, the Craig's List boat looks like a whopping good deal. It would cost you well over $8K to get that setup new.

    If someone reminds me later, I'll post a photo of mine. The new tubes are on the way in, and I have Alaska Raft and Kayak building an adjustable transom for it, along with a couple of minor frame modifications. If you want to see a photo of one right now, there's a picture of one on page 112 of my float-hunting book. I took that photo at Wild Alaska's shop a few years ago.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  2. #2
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    Default Good to know about Aire's customer service

    I bought an Aire Super Lynx IK from AK Raft & Kayak. I got great service from Tracey and Brian at the store. I got the Aire double action pump. When I got it home I found out that none of the adapters with the pump fit the valves on the kayak, despite both being marketed with the Aire brand on them. I sent an e-mail to Aire and asked them if I could order a few adapters that would fit, since the pump came without one and I should have spares in case I lost one.

    A guy named Eric Duckek with Aire wrote back and said, "your pump comes with several adapters connected by plastic lanyards, there is one of those that will work." This, after I had already told him that none of the adapters fit the valves. He went on to say, "If you are having issues, Alaska Raft and Kayak is located in Anchorage."

    So, I'm happy if you had a good experience with their warranty. I hope I don't ever need to find out how well they'll stand behind the 10-year "no fault" warranty that came with my kayak. Based on my brief correspondence with them, I'll hope that I deal with a different department if the time ever comes. I love my kayak; I'm not so crazy about my one contact with Aire's people. (And believe me, this in no way reflects on the guys at AK Raft and Kayak who, in my book, are super to deal with.)

  3. #3
    Member Trouthead's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bibico View Post
    I bought an Aire Super Lynx IK from AK Raft & Kayak. I got great service from Tracey and Brian at the store.

    A guy named Eric Duckek with Aire wrote back and said, "your pump comes with several adapters connected by plastic lanyards, there is one of those that will work." This, after I had already told him that none of the adapters fit the valves. He went on to say, "If you are having issues, Alaska Raft and Kayak is located in Anchorage."
    I would have to agree with the guy from aire that the rings fit, the air hose doesnt have to latch onto the valve. I just selected a ring that I can push into the valve hole and fits snugly and pump away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouthead View Post
    I would have to agree with the guy from aire that the rings fit, the air hose doesnt have to latch onto the valve. I just selected a ring that I can push into the valve hole and fits snugly and pump away.
    Actually, when I took the pump back over to AK Raft and Kayak Tracey tried every one of the adapters and saw that none of them worked. He was nice enough to give me a rubber fitting that acted as an adapter. There were no "rings" with the pump. The pump works great, and I can fill my IK in less than 10 minutes without really having to push myself, but the double action pumps don't come with the necessary fittings to fill either an Aire IK or a cataraft. The adapters that come with it are suitable for air mattresses.

    My complaint isn't with the product. It's with the attitude I got from Aire. That was the point I was trying to make. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

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    Default They took care of me

    Yup, Aire is great. I loaned my Leopard to a friend for Kenai dipnetting a couple years ago because he said his NRS cavatated too much under power. They pumped it up super tight in the cold of night in the cold water then drove it home in 80F+ weather (not this summer, obviously) without relieving any pressure. and when I saw it I thought it was about to pop. Later I noticed some of the stitching coming loose. I took in to Tracy at AK Raft & Kayak after the season and he sent it to Idaho where they stitched it up good as new and returned it to me at no cost, including freight. I'm sold. Now if I could just find an Aire inflatable kayak on craigslist.

  6. #6
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    Mike, you stated that the Super Leopard has bigger outer tubes than the standard Leopard. I purchased a standard Leopard from Aire about 13 years ago and since then have had several buddy's buy Leopards in the last 6 years or so. The tubes on my cat are noticeably larger in diameter than my buddy's boats, although, I have never actually measured them. The material on my boat also appears to be thicker. Now I'm wondering if the tubes for my boat were originally built for a Super Leopard, then they just left the smaller internal tubes off. Do you know the diameter of your Super Leopard tubes?

  7. #7
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Interesting... could you be the same guy?

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    Mike, you stated that the Super Leopard has bigger outer tubes than the standard Leopard. I purchased a standard Leopard from Aire about 13 years ago and since then have had several buddy's buy Leopards in the last 6 years or so. The tubes on my cat are noticeably larger in diameter than my buddy's boats, although, I have never actually measured them. The material on my boat also appears to be thicker. Now I'm wondering if the tubes for my boat were originally built for a Super Leopard, then they just left the smaller internal tubes off. Do you know the diameter of your Super Leopard tubes?
    Hi Trout,

    This is interesting. I was speaking with Tracey Harmon and he said that he recently spoke with someone who was claiming the same thing. In fact, the guy bet him over the phone that his Leopard tubes were larger around than the stock tubes on his friend's boats (same situation as yours). The guy came in to the shop, they inflated the tubes right next to a brand new set of Leopard tubes and wouldn't you know it-- they guy swore that the new Leopard tubes in the shop were the big ones too, because they were the same size as his! I got a laugh out of this, because sometimes you just can't convince folks.

    I wonder if you are the same guy.. heh!

    Seriously though, I have never heard of Leopard tubes made of different fabric (thicker or thinner) or a different diameter. It's unlikely that they would mistake a set of Super Leopard outer tubes for standard Leopards, because the Super Leopards were not a regular factory run boat. Every one was a custom job, though they did prefer to build a few at a time. Also, the Super Leopard tubes, unlike the regular Leopards, are perforated every few inches, to allow the passage of a 1/4" nylon lacing rope to pass from the larger tube through the shell of the inner sponson (that's how they hold the tubes together). So AIRE would have had to not only swap the Leopard tubes for the outer Super Leopard tubes, they would have also have to have punched the lacing holes in them too! It's very unlikely.

    Still, it would be very interesting to actually measure your tubes and compare them to a new one.

    Are you sure you're not comparing a Leopard to a Jaguarundi? They ARE a different diameter, but the Jag is a couple of feet shorter too.

    I don't have the dimensions on my tubes, but would be happy to provide them once I get a chance.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Default

    I have an older Aire 14' self bailer that certainly feels like it has thicker fabric than the new boats. But I suspect that the old boat has sat in the sun for too long without any protection allied, and has just gotten stiffer with age. PVC keeps on out gassing some of its more volatile chemicals for many years, and mine seems to have aged prematurely. Perhaps that's what you are noticing with your boat.

  9. #9
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Hi Trout,

    This is interesting. I was speaking with Tracey Harmon and he said that he recently spoke with someone who was claiming the same thing. In fact, the guy bet him over the phone that his Leopard tubes were larger around than the stock tubes on his friend's boats (same situation as yours). The guy came in to the shop, they inflated the tubes right next to a brand new set of Leopard tubes and wouldn't you know it-- they guy swore that the new Leopard tubes in the shop were the big ones too, because they were the same size as his! I got a laugh out of this, because sometimes you just can't convince folks.

    I wonder if you are the same guy.. heh!

    Seriously though, I have never heard of Leopard tubes made of different fabric (thicker or thinner) or a different diameter. It's unlikely that they would mistake a set of Super Leopard outer tubes for standard Leopards, because the Super Leopards were not a regular factory run boat. Every one was a custom job, though they did prefer to build a few at a time. Also, the Super Leopard tubes, unlike the regular Leopards, are perforated every few inches, to allow the passage of a 1/4" nylon lacing rope to pass from the larger tube through the shell of the inner sponson (that's how they hold the tubes together). So AIRE would have had to not only swap the Leopard tubes for the outer Super Leopard tubes, they would have also have to have punched the lacing holes in them too! It's very unlikely.

    Still, it would be very interesting to actually measure your tubes and compare them to a new one.

    Are you sure you're not comparing a Leopard to a Jaguarundi? They ARE a different diameter, but the Jag is a couple of feet shorter too.

    I don't have the dimensions on my tubes, but would be happy to provide them once I get a chance.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    No, that wasn't me. I am definitly comparing Leopard's to Leopard's. Here is a pic of my boat, probably doesn't show you much, but let me tell you these pontoons are HUGE. I need to go home and put a tape on them.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    Here's another pic.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default I know that spot!

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    Here's another pic.
    Trout-

    I know that spot (upper Kenai, right?) I was fishing on the other side one year and a guy was in his tent right where your family is sitting, when a large brown bear came across the river and walked right next to his tent. He never woke up.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  12. #12
    Member gspd750's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Aire

    I've only owned my 2008 Aire Leopard a few months and the fun just never stops. With the recent purchase of a Honda 8hp it just became more versatile. It's also a floating playground for the kids as you can see in the pics. Photos taken on Babine Lake BC (N.E. of Smithers). It's BC's longest natural lake at 122 miles long. Keep that a secret.
    Yup, Aire gets my vote too.






  13. #13
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Welcome!

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing them, and welcome to Outdoors Directory!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  14. #14
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Trout-

    I know that spot (upper Kenai, right?) I was fishing on the other side one year and a guy was in his tent right where your family is sitting, when a large brown bear came across the river and walked right next to his tent. He never woke up.

    -Mike
    Ya, the Powerline Braid. We just pulled in there the other day for a quick lunch. We saw 7 bears on the Kenai on Tuesday, 6 blacks and a brown down by Skilak. Did you ever get a chance to measure your tubes?

  15. #15
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Tube measurements-

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    Ya, the Powerline Braid. We just pulled in there the other day for a quick lunch. We saw 7 bears on the Kenai on Tuesday, 6 blacks and a brown down by Skilak. Did you ever get a chance to measure your tubes?
    Trout,

    I'm in California right now attending a wedding. But I will be home in a couple of days and will try to remember to put the tape to my tubes- including the Super Leopard tubes that have finally arrived. Should be interesting.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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