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Submitted: 06-02-2009 by robertohess

I took my new Innova Sunny out today for the the first time, and must say that I am very, very pleased so far.

To begin with, I just love the light weight - 29 pounds. Even my kids could carry the boat to and from the water together. The boat is also fast to inflate, maybe 10 minutes. Total set-up time is just about 15 minutes. I leave the fin installed, which is no problem as long as the fin is allowed to stick up when the boat is rolled up. And when we were done, I simply deflated it, rolled it up, and threw it back in the trunk of my car.

I am also very impressed with the space inside this little boat - it is after all 2 feet shorter than my Scupper Pro. On our first outing today, I was sitting in the back seat, my 10-year old daughter in the front seat, and my 7-year old son behind me in a third seat (my Surf-to-Summit GTE Elite fishing seat), which we attached to D-rings right behind my seat. The Sunny has lots D-rings all over the place - awesome.

All three of us were very comfortable. I used my thin XSL seat on top of the Sunny inflatable seat for better hip support, which worked out great. Because the inside of the cockpit is fairly narrow, leg support is quite good too. My feet comfortably and firmly rested against the front seat (providing additional back support to my daughter, as well). This allowed me to use the second, smaller footrest for thigh support. Altogether, I felt quite comfortable and well-connected to the boat that, frankly much better than I had anticipated. I can actually see myself paddling the Sunny for more than just a couple of miles like we did today.

The kids loved the boat too. They were very comfortable, and sat or lay down in different positions when they weren't paddling. Especially my son in the S+S GTE seat was living the good life back there. But the front seat is quite spacious too, and my daughter managed to lay down either facing forward or backward and be comfortable. The kids also tried standing up in the boat, without any problems. The boat is rock-solid. My son even climbed around me over the rails to sit in front of me for a little while. This was significant because he tends to perceive boats (i.e., my SP) as tippy, and later said that the Sunny was "not wobbly."

This illustrates once again how important comfort - perceived and actual - is. If a boat is or feels uncomfortable, whatever its other merits, they really don't amount to much because no one wants to paddle the boat for more than a few minutes.

Speaking about other merits, the performance of the Sunny is no less impressive than its space and comfort. Paddling by myself with two kids in flat conditions (we paddled in a marina) is a bit harder than paddling my SP, but really not all that much. With even the slightest help from my daughter (this was her first day using a double-bladed paddle - a 220cm Werner Sprite with a kid-sized shaft and blade) for more than just a few strokes), I felt that we were moving at least as fast as I would have on my Scupper Pro paddling alone. I haven't paddled the Sunny solo yet, so can't say anything about that yet.

Another performance feature I was even more thrilled with was tracking. At least with the three of us in the boat and the fin installed, the boat displayed hardly any weatherhelm in about 10-12 knots of wind from abeam. I had been worried about this and, frankly, expected that the boat, being an inflatable, was going to be all over the place. But it wasn't. Amazing. I guess that little fin really does work.

For anyone considering the Sunny as a family boat: I give it two thumbs up!

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