What is your fav Inflatable SOT Kayak?

-- Last Updated: Jan-27-07 2:56 AM EST --

Anyone have experience with a SOT (not SINK) inflatable kayak and have any advice about such? I am thinking Grabner, Clear Blue Hawaii, Innova, Sevylor, Aire etc. Which brands stand out to you as seaworthy (esp if used in ocean) and well constructed with good paddling attributes. I anticipate using the kayak in ocean settings and would appreciate self-draining.

I see Clear Blue Hawaii ads frequently, but no reviews at all on Pnet--anyone have one?

Any favorites?

Thank you.

We have the Innova Solar II
We don’t have much mileage on it yet since we got it late last summer and we are fair weather paddlers.

We got it primarily to throw in the back for when we go to Michigan, although we have used it also on local lakes.

I thought it would be nice to have a boat to just throw in the back and paddle on a whim, which does seem to be a virtue of this boat, as long as you’re not planning on anything wild.

I think it’s about on par with a rec kayak overall, perhaps a little faster.

It inflates easily with either a foot pump or or small electric pump. We have a small Seadoo pump.

We had to send our first one back because it had a defect. On our second, the skeg patch peeled back after only one trip out on Lake Michigan.

We didn’t drag bottom or anything (it’s sandy), it was just from the current, which was choppy, but nothing unusual.

Be sure to carry a patch kit and Aquaseal when you go out.

Also, it’s not a self-bailer, so it’s really not meant for anything much past Class I. On Lake Michigan (and only on mild days), we carry along sponges and bilge pumps.

With the skeg patch in it does track pretty well and doesn’t weathercock as much as expected. Although…with the wind at our backs we booked right along. Coming back was harder.

There isn’t much space for gear when used as a tandem, other than maybe lunch and a change of clothes.

It does pack down very compactly and can be carried in a backpack. A rather heavy backpack, yes, but can be carted a ways. It can also be checked as luggage for air travel.

I hear it is rather fast for an inflatable, but if you are looking for something for above Class I and for touring, you might look at the Innova Helios or the Graebner (sp) boats. I believe these later German boats are self-bailing, which might be an advantage if you don’t like sponging and bailing.

There is a boat called the Lynx II, which is a longer inflatable, but it is wider than the Sunny/Solar and more meant for river travel rather than touring, as I understand it.

I had a Sevylor SOT inflatable sent out to me when I was deployed. I used it in Phuket, Thailand and it was better than I expected. Made a great diving platform http://foldingkayaks.org/gallery/tsunami/Thai1?full=1

You don’t mention if you are wanting a surfrider, or a longer distance paddling boat. I own and paddle a Sevylor tahiti, which is pretty close to a toy. I also own a dagger sink. The sevy is made of unsupported pvc so it isn’t too durable. Its bargelike to paddle but stable enough for me and my dog to play around and its not bad for small wave riding. I have rented several high end inflatables while on river trips. The smaller thrillseeker type of inflatable would be a great surfrider, as that is its purpose on the river. Aire makes a version called the force. I have been looking into a compromise boat from Aire called the superlynx, but I haven’t tried it yet. Its a self bailer 14’ vee bottom. Custom inflables makes the thrillseeker ( easily rented at many river outfitters for a tryout), they also have a few crossover boats and a “seaseeker” for ocean use ( all self bailers).

Innova Solar II
I’ve reconfigured mine as a single. It is a great boat. Innovas are very strong and durable. Also Innovas don’t use an inner bladder / outer skin system – so they are easier to maintain and dry out.

It’s not self bailing but it dosen’t matter. I’ve had a 3’ dumping wave fill the boat with water – out on the ocean – and it stayed a float. And I could still paddle it! Now i just carry a pump. If water gets splashed in, i just pump it out.

Innova Sunny
I’ve owned an Innova Sunny for about 5 years. I take it out in the ocean all the time here in So. Cal. I also own a few hardshell sit-on-tops. The Sunny is almost as fast. It tracks well with the tracking fin in place. It is extremely stable and almost unflippable. I’ve taken it out in fairly rough conditions and it easily floats over most chop and swells. It is not self-bailing, but it does not tend to take in a lot of water. Takes about 20 minutes to set up and inflate. I think it’s a real good boat. Good luck!

whats with you and SOT inflatibles
latley?? I always thought you were a fan of expedition sit-ins. Dont get me wrong, SOT inflatibles are great craft, but I am just wondering what got you hooked onto these crafts??