Friday, June 4, 2010

Innova Safari Inflatable Kayak First Paddle

Finally, after many delays I managed to take my new inflatable kayak Innova Safari out for a paddle.  A good place to put-in is Vanier Park by the Coast Guard station and the entrance of False Creek in Vancouver.
Putting together the boat was a real snap.  The red hull is first unrolled on the ground; then the skeg is mounted under the stern; after the seat and footrest are to be inflated first, then the bottom chamber and sides last.  All this is done with a foot pump.  Getting myself ready with all the proper paddling clothes, etc. - one needs to be dressed for immersion around here - took longer than preparing the kayak.

But first, an introductory photo

These photos of the Safari being assembled were taken during a paddle at a later date.  This explains the different scenery.

The rig.

Out of the bag.

The seat and footrest are inflated first.  The bottom next; then the two sides.

Finally ready.

Carrying the boat to the water is really easy.  It weighs just little over 10kg.

Getting into the kayak... no problem.  Oops, wide angle lens shot.

So far, so good.  This kayak is so small at 10' LOA compared to the Wisper!

Stability for now feels similar to my FC Wisper.  It tends to weathercock a bit with each paddle stroke. I'm sure that with practice I'll learn to compensate for it.  Boat speed isn't bad either, not as fast as the Wisper though.
It's nice to be in an open boat.  No cramped feeling.

This is really fun.  Look mom, paddling with my eyes closed!!

The Safari "turns on a dine".  Notice the wake.

Then off towards Vancouver's skyline.  BTW, that's the first blue sky in weeks.

A view of the cockpit.  The footrest needs to come closer.

All together I paddled around False Creek for about an hour.  The Safari is really fun; stability is comparable to the Wisper but even with the skeg weathercocking is noticeable.  Like anything new, it will take a bit of getting used to.

Overall the Safari is a pleasure to paddle.  My leg still tried to fall asleep, but being an open boat I was able to stretch and hang the leg out for a while to get the circulation going.  This isn't possible on the Wisper.

For a first paddle I was really impressed with the little Safari.  Next outing I will start practicing self-rescues.  They say there's no need for a paddle float.  One just straddles the kayak and climb back on board.  We'll see... I'll bring it just in case it's needed.