Incept’s New Whitewater IK
Hardshell purists take note: Vertical pins and broaches could be a thing of the past, thanks to Incept’s newly designed Sally IK (K30X) for whitewater, the world’s first lightweight back-packable high-performance inflatable kayak. While New Zealanders have been using it to huck falls and run everything from tight creeks to big-water rivers for years, now it’s been refined and upgraded for its debut in the states. People are rodeoing it, surfing it, and backpacking and flying it into remote rivers, opening a new realm of exploration.
We must admit we were skeptical at first. But when one arrived at our office and we put it through its paces – taking it on our local play run and even Class III-IV Cross Mountain Canyon of the Yampa River – we discovered it in indeed has its niche. People have taken IKs on Cross before, but they’ve never hit the lines we did in the Sally. We went wherever we’d normally go in our kayaks, even straight into the maw of Ender ROock.
The Sally is like a conventional inflatable kayak on steroids, letting you do close to what you can do in a hardshell in an inflatable. All this owes itself to its design. At just 9’10”, it’s nimble enough to take into tight spots, peel in and out of eddies, and even surf waves. It also bounces off rocks, and virtually eliminates any fear of pinning.
Admittedly, we were a bit gun shy taking it into the beefy playhole that routinely thrashes local hardshells. But we side-surfed it and spun it with aplomb, our only complaint being when the skirt came un-done after a particularly thrashy ride. But its ample flotation let us paddle it to shore for a quick bailing and we were back in action. And once we figured out the skirt, it stayed on. The outfitting – including padded, quick-release thigh straps and adjustable footpegs and back rests — also allows you to roll it. Though rolling isn’t quite as easy as it is in smaller hardshells, it’s still accomplished without much headache, opening a new world of inflatable adventuring: an IK for whitewater that you can roll.
Another thing you notice is its rigidity, thanks to 1100-dtex woven polyester base cloth, with air compartments 100% high-frequency welded and thermo-bonded. The result: one of the most rigid IKs on the market, offering the closest feel to a hardshell you’ll find – so much so that the big dogs can actually cartwheel it in a hole.
On the accessory side, a large rear stowage compartment lets you carry gear, grab handles make for easy portaging, and protective end cones absorb beatings. It also comes with a pump and repair kit, and specially shaped neoprene spray deck.
Bottom line? While it might not replace your creek or play boat, it’s a welcome addition to your arsenal. Its stability will open doors for beginners, while its packability and performance makes it a craft worthy of experts.
Length: 9′ 10″
Tube diameter: 9″+ (tapered)
Weight: 29 pounds
Materials: 1100 dtex woven polyester base cloth
Rolled up volume: 2.3 cubic feet
Price: $1550 US
Warranty: 5 years against faulty materials and workmanship
Airis’ New Sport IK
IKs cme in all shapes and forms, and few are better for open-water touring or simply messing about in boats as the new the Airis Sport, a versatile cruiser for short expeditions and day trips alike. We took it out on the flats of the Colorado River in Utah, as well as weekend forays to local lakes, and found its long hull design, combined with its rear skeg and bow keel, to track uncannily straight for making time. In fact, at times it seemed to almost tract too straight, requiring sweep strokes to turn. But hull speed and tracking are far more important in a tourer. Bungee tie downs and a dry storage compartment take care of gear, while its lightweight (21 lbs. for the 11-foot model) make it easy to cartop, carry to camp or portage. Plus, it comes with its own backpack when it comes time to head home, or traipse into the woods to that hidden trout lake.
The Sport is available in two lengths ( 10 and 11 feet), the former for smaller paddlers and those who want a craft that’s a tad nimbler. Other features include: Hi-Pressure AirWeb hull & floor (patent pending); portaging backpack; adjustable back rest; bow keel & rear skeg for excellent tracking; splash guard; high-pressure air pump with gauge; four molded carrying handles; four D-rings; two drain valves; dual cup holders; bow bumper rail; and repair kit.
Sport 10 Sport 11
Length 10’0” (305cm) 11’0” (335cm)
Width 33’0” (84cm) 33’0” (84cm)
Weight 20Lbs (9Kg) 21Lbs (9.5Kg)
Air Chambers 2 2
Person Capacity 1 Person 1 Person
Max Load 250Lbs (113Kg) 250Lbs (113kg)
Air Pressure 6.5psi (.45bar) 6.5psi (.45bar)
(With Pumped Attached) 28” x 15” x 21”
(71cm x 38cm x 53cm) 28” x 15” x 21”
(71cm x 38cm x 53cm)