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Submitted: 02-21-2005 by pssmith

I do a fair amount of traveling and frequently find myself someplace where I wish I had a boat to paddle (Florida, Colorado, etc.). So, after reviewing manufacturers specifications and product reviews, I decided on the purchase of the Innova Sunny. I liked the ease of conversion from tandem to solo paddling by repositioning the seats and the skeg which can be attached to either end of the symmetrical hull.

I just returned from a week on Sanibel Island in Florida where I had the opportunity to paddle it both solo and tandem, and in the quiet waters of Tarpon Bay and Commodore Creek in the Ding Darling wildlife refuge, as well as both tandem and solo on the Gulf side of the island.

Some personal specs: I am 5' 11" tall and weigh 160, my wife is 5' 4" and weighs about 130. We both paddle Old Town and Wenonah canoes and Dagger Atlantis and Seeker kayaks. We also have an Old Town Loon 111.

The performance of the Sunny inflatable far exceeded my expectations. The boat tracked better than the Loon when it had the skeg attached. My first day, I took the boat out on the Gulf with mild breezes and 2 to 3 foot swells. I took the swells (and near shore the breaking waves) head on, quartering to the left and quartering to the right. I then paddled with the current, perpendicular to the waves, then quartering to the left and then the right (in my experience, the most difficult paddling situations to encounter). This boat took everything in stride easily! I rarely took any water over the stern or bow, and then only a slight splash because the boat simply floated up over the front of the wave and down the backside. The skeg kept the thing tracking straight as an arrow; I couldn't believe it!

The next day, in slightly calmer seas, I took the GPS with me and paddled straight out to sea for just over one mile. I tried a sprint to see what I could get for speed. I attained 4.9 mph during the sprint. When I stopped, the current was carrying the boat at about 1 mph, so my net speed was 3.9 mph. I could easily sustain a speed of just over 3 mph during the total of 4 miles that I paddled off shore during that outing.

Because of the low profile, there is little wind resistance. The open cockpit makes for a nice tanning platform with the seats in the hinged back position.

When paddling without the skeg (which my wife and I did on Commodore Creek due to shallow water) the boat was a bit squirrelly, but it was not difficult to use a bit of a sweep stroke in the stern to keep it going straight. On a longer paddle, the skeg would be a must.

I would have given the boat a 10 if it weren't for the seats. The adjustment straps on the sides of the seats rubbed the sides of my torso and caused a bit of irritation (Tom at Innova was very helpful with information while I was waiting for the boat to arrive at the local dealer; he said he would swap out the seats that come with the boat with other seats if I decided that I didn't want them when I returned from my trip. I haven't decided if I'll do that yet or not.)

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