Posted by: airkayaks | August 28, 2016

Product Review: Newly Updated AE1017 Sport Inflatable Kayak from Advanced Elements

In late spring 2016, we received our first shipments of the newly updated AE1017 Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport inflatable kayak – a stripped-down classic blending performance, price and simplicity. The kayaks now feature an integrated 1-PSI pressure relief valve in the floor bladder, enhanced high-backed seating, beefed-up graphics and redesigned hardware.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport

At that point we realized our previous write-up was several years ago and featured the Gen 1 version. So, we took the opportunity to also update our readers with details on the newly updated AdvancedFrame Sport AE1017, a 10’5″ inflatable weighing in at roughly 26 lbs with an MSRP of $449. (Please note: some of this will be repeated from prior reviews.)

Getting Started with the AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak

The box as received weighs 34.4 lbs, measuring 32 x 18 x 11 inches.

What's in the box

Inside, the rugged carrying case measures 30 x 18 x 10 inches, and houses the kayak body, seat, repair kit and instructions. The kayak folded size is approximately 30 x17 x 10 inches. The kayak body and seat in the case weighs 28 lbs, while the kayak and seat alone are 26 lbs. The case has just enough room to include a small pump and breakdown paddle (not included).  AirKayaks note: Take a good look at how the kayak is folded BEFORE setting up, this will help during breakdown. The instructions are located in a small plastic pocket inside the carrying case.

AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak Setup/Inflation

We re-acquainted ourselves with the kayak by reading the updated manual. This, too, has evolved over the years and gives excellent explanations on inflation, usage, refolding, etc.

Unpacking the Sport

First step, unfold the kayak. The AdvancedFrame Sport – along with all AdvancedFrame models – features an “inner rib” in the bow and stern, which is basically a u-shaped aluminum rib, about a foot long and one-half inch wide.

Inner rib frame

This comes “pre-assembled” meaning it arrives already inserted into two sleeves inside the kayak cover. Unless you remove the inner bladder, they remain in position. When the kayak is pumped up, the inner bladder with rib presses against the kayak cover – that, in conjunction with two bow and stern plastic sheets, give the kayak a sharp silhouette which aids in slicing through the water.

Military valve

The kayak features 4 inflation chambers – one military valve and 3 twist-loks. The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist up to inflate (this is the closed position where air goes in and doesn’t come out) and down to deflate (air goes in and comes back out).

Military valve and adaptor

The kayak comes with a screw-on adaptor (found in the repair kit in the mesh pocket behind the seat) which will fit some pumps based on the hose fittings. Otherwise, a standard Boston valve adaptor will friction fit into the opening. AirKayaks note: Make sure to attach the screw-on adaptor to the pump tether, so that it doesn’t get lost.

Pumping up the main chamber

The AdvancedFrame Sport features one main chamber, located on the top-rear of the kayak. Pump this up to 2 PSI; in this case, it took about 45 strokes with a double action hand pump.

At this point we should note there are two pieces of velcro holding the bladder cover to the kayak cover – these are located roughly mid-center on the sides. Sometimes these “grab” at the wrong spot, causing wrinkling or skewing. For your first inflation, separate the velcro pieces, making sure the kayak is centered as you pump it up. When finished, let the velcro “fall where it may.”

Screw on the black wing nut cap so the plunger isn’t accidentally twisted open later.

Twistlok valve

Next, pump up the floor. First, make sure the floor is centered and flat. Twist open the orange cap. Then using the same Boston valve adaptor (conical nozzle about ½ inch in diameter), fit it OVER the twistlok valve on the floor cushion.

Pumping up the floor

Pump this up until firm (1 PSI) but there should be slight give when depressed. We pumped it up about 15 strokes. Twist the valve shut. If you hear a hissing sound, that is the new pressure relief valve, gently informing you that you’ve been too zealous. (AirKayaks note: Make sure to tuck the twistlok tube on the floor into the side of the kayak, so that you don’t accidentally twist it open while paddling.)

How do you tell if you’ve pumped it up enough? If you lift the kayak up by one handle, and it sags in the middle, it needs more air.

Pumping up the deck lift

Move onto the two deck lifts inside the kayak “shoulders” which also use twistlok valves. In conjunction with the thin coaming tube that encircles the perimeter of the cockpit, the deck lifts “sculpt” the body so that water has a tendency to run off – and not into – the kayak. As each deck lift took only 1.5 pumps to 1 PSI, it is sometimes just as easy to blow them up with your mouth.

Installing the seat

Then attach the seat by clipping the two straps into the appropriate side clips. While there is an elastic “attachment” at the back of the seat, there is no place to attach it on the Sport – this is used on the other AdvancedFrame models.

Inserting the plastic sheet

Last steps, insert the two plastic sheets into the bow and stern sleeves.

Easy to carry

Just over 5 minutes and you’re done!

Features and Specifications of the AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak

Molded rubber handle

The AdvancedFrame Sport AE1017 is constructed with two molded rubber carrying handles (bow and stern), but it is fairly simple to carry by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder.

Bungee deck lacing

Front bungee deck lacing begins 8 inches from the cockpit opening, and measures 10 to 12 inches wide by 6 inches deep.

D-rings

There are two plastic d-rings featuring a new, lower profile, making it easier to attach the optional rapidup sail or dry bags, as well as four cloth loops. One quick release clip and tensioner allows one to easily stash gear on the hull. The front decking system is roughly 32 inches from the paddler.

Wider cockpit opening

The wide 44 x 19 inch cockpit area features a low profile coaming tube to keep water from running in. Neoprene knuckle guards span each side, measuring 22 x 8 inches at the widest points.

Velcro paddle holder

Two sets of velcro paddleholders – one on each side of the kayak – are located 40″ and 82″ from the nose.

Highed back seat

Also new is the high-backed, stiffer, padded seat, featuring adjustable side straps which quickly clip into position. Now 16 inches tall, the back wraps 19 inches and is 1.25 inches thick with breathable mesh. The seat base measures 18 inches wide, by 11-15 inches deep, and is 0.5 inches thick. One gusseted mesh pocket measuring 9 inches tall by 6 inches wide, houses the repair kit. There is one d-ring for attaching gear.

Rear d-rings

Four more d-rings are located just behind the cockpit, measuring 9 inches deep by 12 to 16 inches wide. This is located just behind the paddler and could be a great candidate for some additional bungee deck lacing.

Pressure relief valve

There is one military valve and 3 twistlock valves (2 deck lifts and floor.) New features include the integrated 1 PSI pressure relief valve in the floor, ensuring the chamber is not over-inflated.

Nylon ripstop material

The kayak consists of three layers. Inflatable PVC bladders are housed in a zippering fabric cover, allowing the bladders to be replaced if necessary. The covered bladders sit inside the kayak outer shell. The kayak upper is comprised of 600 denier polyester/PVC laminate in a diamond ripstop material.

Rugged hull with integrated fin

The hull is a rugged, puncture-resistant PVC tarpaulin with electronically welded seams, integrated 2.5 x 7.5 inch tracking fin and landing plate.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport

We did measurement tests. The kayak inflated is 10’ 4 feet long and roughly 33 inches wide. There are 43.5 inches of the upper hull before the cockpit, and 35″ upper hull behind the cockpit. The side bladders are roughly 7 to 8 inches in diameter, making a well about 9 inches deep with the deck lifts.

Interior dimensions are approximately 65 inches long by 16.5 inches wide. When the seat is positioned just behind center (seat back is roughly 6 inches from the back end of the neoprene), there is is approximately 39 inches from the seat back to the inner nose with 13 inches covered. Another 25 inches is located behind the seat to the inner tail, leaving a rear covered well roughly 9 inches deep by 12 inches wide with an additional 16 inches open. This can be repositioned roughly 5 inches forward and back by adjusting the seat straps. Weight limitations suggest 235 lbs for a person, or 250 lbs for person and gear.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak On the Water

We took out the “new” Sport on a mildly choppy day with a light, steady breeze.

Advanced Elements Sport in use.

As a few years had passed, I had forgotten how nicely the Sport paddles. It’s zippy, tracks well and is pretty maneuverable. For my size of 5’4″, it is quite roomy – and it’s easy to carry. Heading into the wind, the Sport rode over small swells easily, though I paddled a little harder.

Advanced Elements Sport in use.

My 6’2″ husband took the Sport out next. In the past, he has been cramped in the AE1012 AdvancedFrame which features the same basic footprint.

Wider cockpit is more spacious

But, by putting the seat all the way back, and paddling with low-profile water shoes, he had no problems; the open cockpit design allows him to bend his knees slightly, maintaining comfort. He also felt it paddled very well, and noted it is much easier for his larger frame to get in and out of.

Advanced Elements Sport in use.

I next took the Sport out on a very calm and balmy day – this is where the Sport REALLY shines. It was fun, responsive and quick. The open-style cockpit was refreshing and roomy – really a joy to be on the water. While the Sport features the same footprint as the AdvancedFrame AE1012, the wider cockpit allows it to “open up” a little more. The addition of Advanced Elements’ optional inflatable foot brace made a huge difference in paddling comfort, by giving me something to push against.

Packing the AdvancedFrame Sport up is easy. Open all the valves to let the air out – this can be helped by using the deflate mode on your pump.

Folding the Sport up.

Tighten and close the valves so air doesn’t creep back in, and then simply fold in half the long way, then fold the two ends towards the center, just behind the landing plate and fin. Then fold in half again. This should slip back into the bag if you’ve removed all the air. AirKayaks note: If you have problems, put your pump into the DEFLATE mode and pump the rest of the air out of the kayak.

Bottom Line on the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport Inflatable Kayak

The AdvancedFrame Sport AE1017 inflatable kayak is a great, streamlined kayak at a very good price, the perfect choice for those wanting “fun on the water” without the extra weight or “bells and whistles.”

Advanced Elements Sport in use.

The kayak is comfortable, paddles well, looks good and is quite stable. The open cockpit design of the AdvancedFrame Sport AE1017 Sport  will appeal to those who want ease of entering/exiting, making it best suited for lakes, bays, calm rivers and inland waters.

AdvancedFrame with Rapidup sail

Numerous optional accessories – such as the high-back lumbar seat, an inflatable foot brace, rapidup sail (shown above), the backbone and high-pressure drop stitch floor – can enhance the paddling experience and performance.

The new pressure relief valve takes the guesswork out of the floor inflation, while the high-backed seat offers vastly superior support than the previous padded seat.

Fits in the trunk of a small car

This is a great choice for travel – the carrying case is rugged enough to check as baggage, it’s perfect for RVs and easily fits in the trunk of a small car. And at 26 lbs including the seat, it won’t break your back.

Sport versus the AdvancedFrame kayak

If you plan on milder kayaking activities (lakes, calm rivers, inland waters), prefer the ease of a lighterweight kayak, feel more comfortable in an open design, or are on a tighter budget, the Sport will be a great choice – and loads of fun. If you want a bit more flexibility in paddling conditions, or the ability to use an optional skirt, check out the AdvancedFrame AE1012 (shown next to the Sport in the above photo).

Advanced Elements Sport in use.

Street price is $399. For more info or to purchase, see the AdvancedFrame Sport AE1017 product page on AirKayaks.com,  or watch our YouTube video – this will also be updated shortly.

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