AirKayaks.com - Gumotex Inflatable Kayak Line Update Review
Gumotex is well-known in Europe as a manufacturer of high-quality inflatable kayaks and canoes which are environmentally friendly as they use minimal PVC. Each can be inflated up to 3-PSI, making them more rigid for better performance. Additionally, the manufacturing process and materials produce kayaks that are quite compact, making them a great choice for travel.
In 2016, Gumotex acquired the company and assets for Innova, Gumotex’s US-based dealership, and began importing more of the Gumotex product line to the US under the name Innova Kayaks by Gumotex.
For 2019, the Innova product line has been redesigned with product tweaks, material upgrades, price changes and the introduction of one new model featuring high-pressure, drop-stitch material.
On the entry-level side, Innova has redesigned the popular 8’6″ Twist 1 and 11’10” Twist 2. Both kayaks are now constructed from Nitrilon, the rugged material used in the original Sunny and Helios models and currently used on the Solar and Safari models; the 2018 models were produced using Light Nitrilon, a less rugged and lighter material. Nitrilon (also called Nitrylon) consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube; it is stronger, more abrasion and puncture-resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing.
While the kayak silhouettes remain virtually unchanged, the added material thickness increases the kayak weights from 16 and 24 lbs, to 20 and 29 lbs respectively. With the material upgrade comes price increases. The Twist 1 pricing will rise from $399 to $449, while the Twist 2 increases from $519 to $599. The Twist 2 interior has been redesigned slightly to include additional d-rings, providing an easy conversion from a tandem to a solo kayak, thus more versatile for larger paddlers, or those needing more space for extra gear.
The 13’5″ Solar 410C has been redesigned as the Solar 2019 and can be considered for 1-2+ paddlers. While material construction remains the same, the interior has undergone some updates with seating placement, splash guards and added bungee deck lacing. The kayak comes with two seats, but there is the option to purchase a third inflatable seat, allowing two adults and a small child. The Solar comes with the upgraded 80L backpack similar to the one included with the Sunny and Helios. Prices remain the same at $759.
The decked Swing series – consisting of the 10’4″ Swing 1 and the 13’2″ Swing II– have also undergone changes. While the upper deck still features a polyester (PES) fabric with polyurethane (PUR) coating, the kayak hulls have transitioned to Nitrilon, matching the construction of the current 13’6″ Swing EX. The two kayaks now come with draw-sack carrying cases. Prices have increased on both; the Swing 1 moves from $599 to $699, while the Swing II changes from $799 to $879.
While there are no design changes to the Swing EX touring model, the 2019 price has decreased from $899 to $799.
Biggest news is the introduction of the Thaya DS, a 13’5″ high-pressure touring kayak – similar in design to the Solar – now featuring a unique blend of Innova’s traditional Nitrilon material and dropstitch technology. Dropstitch technology consists of two fabric layers held together by thousands of threads, allowing the chambers to be inflated to much higher pressures. This creates a kayak body that is quite rigid, stable and maneuverable. The Innova drop-stitch material utilizes Nitrilon rather than the PVC found in other high-pressure kayaks, and is glued and welded to the side tubes. The Thaya features a 34 inch beam with a max payload of 507 lbs and weight of 39 lbs. Similar to the Solar, the Thaya is touted for 1-2+ paddlers, with the ability to reposition the seats as well as purchase an optional third seat. The Thaya DS comes with the upgraded 80L backpack. MSRP is $1219.
The 1-2+ paddler Vagabond canoe has been updated with a sportier look, narrower bow and stern and elongated hull to improve handling. The canoe length was increased 8 inches to 13’1″ with a decreased beam of 35 inches. The new silhouette offers more room for baggage and a greater variety of seating positions. Foam-covered plywood seats allow one to paddle sitting or kneeling, with the ability to carry lots of gear or add an optional third seat. Pricing remains the same at $899.
The 10’10 Safari 330 self-bailing whitewater model, the 14″11 Seawave touring model, and the 12’4″ Halibut fishing kayak have undergone minimal changes. The Safari 330 and Seawave maintain the same prices at $699 and $999 respectively. The Halibut pricing will be increased from $1199 to $1249.
The 2019 Innova models are expected to be available in late Spring 2019.