In Europe (where these boats…
In Europe (where these boats are made) they're called Gumotex from Czecho and I had five great years with my Seawave before I accidentally sold it. Total depreciation: £35 a year.
I’ve had several IKs and this is one of the best all-tube, non-dropstitch touring IKs around. It’s not ridiculously wide (mine was 30.7”, not 33”), can average 3-4 mph all day and once you replace the OTT seats with a packraft base and an SoT backrest, it weighs 17kg (37.4lbs). Stability is not an issue at sea – the boat will swamp long before you fall out, though I find on all IKs paddling and control are much improved with thigh braces.
Rigidity or flex can be an issue in a long IK with a solo (well-fed) paddler, but this Gumo can be improved by running the side tubes up to 4.8psi rather than the specified 3.6. The better Gumboats can take it but it’s worth fitting 4.8psi-rated PRVs (as on the I-beam floor) so there’s no risk of over-pressure damage in hot conditions. The great thing with this mod is you just keeping pumping up until they hiss (purge); no manometer needed.
Gumotex are made without the bladders used in many American-branded PVC IKs. The Nitrilon hull is glued or vulcanised to make three ‘tubeless’ airtight chambers (like a $1700 NRS MaverIK). It costs more in labour this way but eliminates drying issues which are more irksome then you may think.
I made my own rudder just before the Gumotex option came out. It was fun to do but tbh, I manage OK without and hardly used it. Just more clutter. For overnight (all-weather) sea tours, a rudder may be a good idea.
I got the deck too, tried it once and flogged it. Again, for my sort of paddling I much prefer an open boat and wear a drysuit if it’s that cold. If a deck is needed to avoid swamping, it’s probably too rough to be out at sea in an IK.
I’m a bit stuck with what to replace it with, but Covid has nixed this year’s planned getaways. They say a D/S floor Seawave will be out end of 2020, in the style of the new Rush models.
I've had the Seawave for just…
I've had the Seawave for just over a year. My previous favorite inflatable was the Aire Sawtooth I or II. However the Seawave reminded me why Innova kayaks are great. Easy setup, easy to clean, not too heavy, but durable, good tracking, and decent speed. I also have the solo and double deck. Those went unused the first year, but this year I've used them on a couple early spring trips on local rivers. This deck option will extend the paddling season, and will be enjoyed as protection in black fly season here in the Midwest. I'm looking at you Lake Superior! The kayak also looks really slick with the deck on - I always get comments on the kayak when setting it up. I am in the market for an additional kayak and considering the latest drop-stitched designs, but a second Seawave is on my list - it's that good.
I've owned a Seawave for 2…
I've owned a Seawave for 2 years, using it mostly on a trip to Costa Rica. It is amazingly stable, well built, and durable. We were confident in all sorts of large swell and surf that would have been very challenging or impossible in other open boats. Of course it is slow compared to hard-shelled boats (which also tend to be longer and narrower, and incapable of being checked as luggage), but it moved along predictably with minimal effort. I found (and perhaps this is true for all inflatables) that the limitation was never weight, but always space. We strapped dry-bags in and managed our things for a 2 week trip, but packing took some diligence. We also found that slight under-inflation really changed the characteristics, so if you find it isn't tracking well or handling well, consider putting in a few more pumps of air. We didn't get the rudder and never found a need for it, despite wind and waves from all directions. I appreciated that this boat is made with environmentally friendly natural rubber rather than PVC.