Itiwit releasing new inflatable race kayak

My fellow folding kayak friend, Simon, who lives in Singapore, posted notice that inflatable boat maker, Itiwit, is finally releasing their new dropped stitch floor race kayak, the Itiwit Race. Looks akin to a surfski but made strictly for competitive speed and not necessarily suitable for surf or rough water. It’s kind of hard to dial into information on this because Itiwit duplicates the names of many of its craft and it already has both a kayak and a paddleboard with the “Race” name. And Itiwit is owned by UK sports chain Decathlon so most searches end up routed to their marketing sites.

Tentative information is that it is Just shy of 17’ with 21" beam and weighs 43 pounds, also will have either a rudder or skeg. Reportedly it will sell in Asia and Europe for around 1000 Euros (currently $1100). I’ll link a YouTube video by a guy who owns a couple of Itiwits and has been following the news on this new boat – he rambles a lot so you have to kind of wade through it to find the few specifics but here is a screenshot of what the boat will look like:

Itiwit Race Kayak

That is actually a little heavy for a 17’ Surf Ski, but it is way less expensive.

Also, packed down in its duffel bag you can check it as luggage and take it on an airline trip when you travel, or store it in a closet if you live in an apartment, stash it in the trunk or your hotel room for security on road trips and even tow it with a bike trailer.

I’ve been using folding kayaks for 21 years and the travel convenience is one of the main draws for me. I’ve taken a folder through the airports and to Europe with no excess baggage fees . The bag in this photo holds a 12’ sit inside kayak, 4 piece paddle, all my gear and paddling clothes and even an inflatable roof rack kit to carry the set up boat on my rental car – all that stuff plus boat weighs 48 pounds, 2 under the airline max and the dimensions are also within their baggage standards. This was on a trip from the US to England.

even if you choose to check a packed folder and pay the excess baggage fees, that is still cheaper than having to rent a boat at your destination, not to mention the convenience of having your own boat 24/7 when and where you want to use it. I know paddlers who work for government agencies or contractors who often get sent overseas or out of town for long work assignments who bring folders with them.

Not a surf ski, looks like a flat water-only boat for the fitness paddler.

I noticed the Itiwit X500 is available in the US now from the Decathlon website. They must have caught up with demand. That’s one I’d like to see in person.

Correct, flatwater racing and fitness.

X500 had two versions. V1 is reported to be faster and tippier. V1 is available in Canada if you want one.

very cool

I saw that. V1 hull looks like a deeper V than V2, so maybe straighter tracking but less beginner friendly. It doesn’t matter to me. My only interest in it is on the engineering side. I want to see how the boat is constructed. I have no interest in paddling it.

Not very useful for a “surfski” users.

For the Swedish impaired readers:
Recommended Uses: This kayak is not built to be surfed on breaking waves. …

The “surfski” reference was from a blogger’s site (who shared early release pics of the boat). Itiwit has been consistent in designating the model as a racing kayak, for flatwater speed, not a surfski design.

I posted because there have been a number of exchanges on the forum recently by folks seeking speed, and this appears as if it might be an affordable option for those looking for a racing or fitness boat.

The construction is high pressure dropstitch, which is an inflatables technology which creates an interlocking web of closely spaced connections between and bridging the inner and outer skin. That maintains a fixed distance between them, enabling a low profile and more rigid structure since it can be inflated to a higher pressure than conventional bladders that make a more rounded and raft-like craft. The design has greatly improved the performance of higher end inflatable boats in recent years which can now be more streamlined and rigid.

The first customer to take delivery of one of the new Itiwit’s posted this extensive review of it on Facebook, for anyone curious about the boat:

First impressions of the 500 race kayak owned by Joseph Koh in Singapore (first buyer worldwide)

Short version:

A fairly quick workout kayak for calm lakes or flat water close to shore for those with limited storage/time. Much faster than the Itiwit x500, as you would expect, but it’s not a surfski by any stretch of the imagination

Long version:

Paddler profile (me)

Experienced sea kayaker (mostly folding kayaks between 4.2 and 5.5 m long and 50.5 and 58 cm wide). I have also had a KxOne 17 arrow inflatable surfski and have paddled a Nelo 510 surfski and the Itiwit x500 v1.

63 years old, 174 cm tall corner, short legs, and a puny 64 kg

Intermediate wing paddler (Zastera Z1 small wing paddle)

Edit: NB: at the time of this test, my fitness was low, due to an enforced 10 week break

Conditions: almost flat coastal water with around 10-15 km/hr wind and 3 km/hr tidal current

Speed measured with Garmin gps wristwatch


I wasn’t there for the initial inflation, but Joseph said it took only a bit more than five minutes, not counting the rudder assembly – much quicker than inflating his 18 psi SUP

With three chambers, it’s a much safer kayak than my KX One 17 Arrow was, and hopefully much better built – the main chamber on my KxOne 17 ruptured at a seam, causing the boat to sink

While the seat is not adjustable, the foot rest is, so even short people should be okay in this kayak

The seat is slightly raised, but doesn’t give much support for your buttocks

The footrest seemed fairly solid, and the hull seemed to be pretty stiff

Build quality of the hull seemed good. Although the cockpit sides are fairly thin, they could easily take the weight of me resting on my hands without flexing. Rather unusually, the side walls forward of the cockpit slope inwards towards the deck and not outwards.

Joseph said it is easier to carry than his SUP.


Much more stable than we thought it would be. Joseph has limited experience, but had no trouble staying upright in it once he was moving. He gave it a 7 out of 10 for stability on flat water, but it is of course noticeably less stable than the Itiwit x500 v1.

Getting in and out of it was also fairly straightforward, but it’s not as easy to straddle as a surfski or sea kayak because of the high sides.

The underwater profile is a fairly shallow vee, and just like a single hard chine sea kayak of similar dimensions, it wants to flop to either one side or the other a bit, unlike a round bottomed surf ski. Not an issue at all, but i’s a bit harder to balance perfectly than a sea kayak with a similar underwater profile, partly because the cockpit is quite large and there are of course no thigh braces.

Perhaps because of the relatively high seat and the limited contact points in the wide cockpit, you don’t feel that well connected to the kayak, and it felt noticeably less stable than the Nelo 510 that I was trying at the same time and for the first time (an entry level surfski; 5.1m x 55cm, 22 kg).

While primary stability is good, once it gets to a certain point it suddenly wants to tip over quite quickly, unlike the Nelo 510, which has good secondary stability (similar to a sea kayak of a similar width).

It’s definitely not suitable for stretches of unprotected water but it’s a lot more stable than the KxOne 17 Arrow was, even when that was only inflated to 7 psi and had thigh straps fitted.

Despite the very high bow, it seemed fairly unaffected by side winds, perhaps because of the skeg-like protrusion built into the bow underside

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to practice self rescue techniques (we were paddling very close to the shore)


I could get up to 9 km an hour in the same conditions in which the Nelo 510 was easily able to achieve 10 to 11 km an hour (12+km/h on the KxOne 17)

It felt noticeably more sluggish to accelerate than the Nelo, perhaps due to the less efficient hull shape – there is a noticeable bow wave where the built-in front skeg is, and also some turbulence at the stern of the kayak where the drain plug is. My impression is that due to the wetted surface area and the turbulence, it’s also a bit more work to paddle at 8 km an hour than one of my shorter folding kayaks.

It didn’t seem able to catch the same very small waves that the Nelo was able to surf

Paddling efficiency is limited a bit by the high bow and high sides, even compared to a sea kayak, not to mention a surf ski. This makes it quite difficult to get an effective narrow catch with a wing paddle, but it does mean that very little water gets into the open cockpit.


It tracks well with limited need for corrections to keep on course.

It could be how we set up the rudder, but the rudder didn’t seem to have that much bite (better than those puny K1 rudders though), so while the rudder does work, it doesn’t turn on a dime, unlike the Nelo

I know I’ve forgotten some of the other points I was going to make, so feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Pics show the underwater hull profile and Joseph holding his kayak😊

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