08-22-2012Submitted by: Steve
Reviews for Sunny Kayak by Innova Inflatable Kayaks
Based On: 31 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 After a couple of weeks of online research I bought the Sunny. I am extremely impressed with the ease of setup and handling of this boat. It takes at most 10 minutes to set up. I use a LVM 12 volt inflator and a boat people top off pump. The only hassle is inflating the seats as neither the LVM or the top off pump fit the valves on the seats. I have to use a third foot pump in conjunction with some self made vinyl hoses (used to connect the pump nozzle to the valve) in order to inflate the seats. As others have said, inflate the seats first, put them in the boat and then inflate the side tubes. I inflate the floors last after putting the tracking fin in. If you forget the tracking fin you will notice it right away as the boat turns left and right with each paddle. The nice thing is that you can simply let some air out of the floor, lift the boat up and put the tracking fin in.
When inflated to specs, the boat is fast and tracks very straight. I paddled it in 15-20 MPH winds and the boat had no trouble going up wind. To me, it seems to track and go as fast as other rigid sit on tops that I've paddled. I have no problems averaging 3.5 MPH in this kayak. Just for fun, I tested it on a dead sprint and it made 5.6 MPH top speed on my Garmin GPS. These tests were performed with one paddler. It also continues to "coast" for quite a bit when you stop paddling. Very efficient hull.
The nice thing about this boat is that it is fairly light. I can easily pick it up (fully inflated) with one hand and carry stuff in my other hand on the way to the launch. No need for multiple trips when its time to go.
The boat comes with a nice dry bag back pack. The bag is a tight fit so if you are planning to put the boat back in the bag you will have to pay close attention to folding the boat just right. I needed a second person to help get the boat back in the bag after folding it up. Personally, I would only use the dry bag backpack to pack the boat into some remote location. Otherwise, the boat will likely go into a tub when done. One other note, if you are paddling in windy conditions, be sure to connect a line between you and the boat if you are going to go into the water. Otherwise you may find yourself stranded when the boat blows downwind faster than even Michael Phelps can swim.
This was a fantastic purchase. We plan to take it with us on trips to estuaries, local lakes as well as Hawaii and wherever else there are paddling opportunities. It will be in my family for a long time to come.
I've had my Sunny (old version) for over five years and use it constantly under almost every condition. I've had no trouble with it at all. It's extremely versatile and stable in white water and waves although it will ship water -- which really isn't a problem unless is gets really deep. Then you bail, which I've had to do only once in five years.
08-04-2010Submitted by: Rosa
Submitted by: - Rating: 8 of 10
|This review courtesy of www.altrec.com
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've had my Innova Sunny (Gumotex Sunny) for about five months now, and I'm really happy with it. This is my second inflatable boat (the first was a Sevylor Voyager, that looks like a toy next to the Sunny). I can compare with the Sevylor and some rented sit-on, so I love because its portability, stability and I think it's very fast (average 5-6 kilometres/h GPS) and comfortable. I've used in lakes and sea, even with a windpaddle. It has a lot of space, enough for me, another person, my dog, and some baggage. It tracks very well even with wind and waves (with the fin). It's a very nice boat, we really enjoy getting in and out for a swim, it's very easy and refreshing.
Total set-up time is about 5-6 minutes with a electric pump (15 euros) and foot pump. It's a single envelope, so it drys really really fast, so deflated by itself, I rolled it up and put in its backpack in 5-6 minutes since I'm in land. And I don't have to disassemble and dry it at house.
06-01-2010Submitted by: Mark Yasenchak
So highly recommended!
- Rating: 10 of 10 I just purchased an Innova "Sunny" from Topkayaker.net. Fantastic boat. Florida Keys back country solo or tandem, rock solid, tracks beautifully and has all the sit on top benefits! Like dangling your feet in the water and quick splash in for a snorkel. Set up and breakdown are as fast or faster than mentioned in product literature. A great system for portable, (on the back of a BMW GS motorcycle), kayaking. I couldn't be happier!
06-02-2009Submitted by: robertohess
- Rating: 10 of 10 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!
11-11-2008Submitted by: oloron
- Rating: 10 of 10 I would like to thank all the reviewers of the Innova/Gumotex Sunny 390 on this page as your collective information was certainly instrumental in my decision to buy one after several months of research to find the best all-round touring inflatable canoe.
I purchased one of the older models (yellow interior, no skeg supplied) from an outlet in Germany online – postage was only 20 Euros to the UK and arrived inside a week. I believe the newer model (grey interior) should come with the skeg. I tried the Sunny on two tidal rivers and in Poole Harbour without a skeg, but it was hard work trying to hold a straight line and keep up with a mate in his Sevylor Rio which had a short skeg attached. Not the end of the world, but if you’re planning on touring as I was then a skeg is a must, considering the miles you will put in on a daily basis. So I bought one from gwdoling.co.uk including the nuts/bolts/l-plates/skeg patches/glue (and a repair kit) and it made the world of difference on a recent 90 mile trip down the Dordogne river in France (Vayrac to Siorac : class I rapids).
The Sunny has plenty of storage space if you are paddling solo; I had an 80 litre Nookie drybag behind the seat on this trip and there was room for a 25 litre coolbag (which also acted as footrest) and other gear (pump, etc.) in front of me. The inflatable seat in the older model is not great so I bought a waterproof Highlander seat (£8) and put a chunky, square section of foam underneath to raise the seat and absorb any river water than got into the canoe in minor rapids. The back of the seat was supported by the base end of the drybag behind me.
Storage space is obviously limited if there are two of you (seats reversed, great design!) – more of a day trip canoe – but it is strong enough to support two adults on placid outings. Paddling solo I reckon it would probably cope with class II rapids, but due to the low side wall chambers I expect it would probably swamp in anything more severe.
Flew to France with the Sunny, paddle, pump, etc. in a Scrub all-terrain board bag which I had to carry for 3 km to the river from the nearest station. Recommend taking a lightweight aluminum luggage trolley or golf trolley that will strip down into bits to support this bag if you have to lug all your gear some distance!
08-13-2007Submitted by: Charlie
- Rating: 9 of 10 I bought this boat simply as a means to get back and forth to my sailboat while it's anchored. I didn't want a typical flat bottomed Zodiac dinghy and thought owning a kayak would be kind of fun. Am I ever glad I bought the Sunny!
One concern I had with a kayak was getting into it from the stern of the sailboat without tipping it over, particularly in choppy water. With the Sunny it's no problem at all. I just launch my butt off the swim ladder and onto the seat of the Sunny, grab the paddle and away I go. With two people it's just as easy. The boat is extremely stable.
I can see I'm going to get a lot of use out of this little boat since I can take it out to small mountain lakes and rivers where the sailboat won't go. It's not designed for whitewater but that's not what I bought it for.
One thing I can say about Innova is quality. This boat will take a beating and keep on going. I use a 12 volt electric pump to blow it up and it's ready to go in about ten minutes. The advantage to the electric pump is that I can set the pump to the exact air pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
I chose the Sunny over the Helios 2 since I can change the seat around to paddle solo. I met a guy with a Helios 2 and after one look at my Sunny he said he was going to trade his in.
All in all, this Sunny is a great little boat. Hard core kayakers might disagree, but for my needs this boat is perfect.
07-13-2007Submitted by: Bill
- Rating: 9 of 10 This is my 3rd inflatable boat, and so far the best.
First, it is very portable. While all inflatables are portable by nature, the Sunny is still better than many others. It is not common for a 12'8" boat to weigh only 29 lb.
Second, setup is fast. All the chambers allow the same 3psi pressure, so I don't have to adjust the setting of my electric pump. The seats can be left in the boat when deflated. The metal skeg can be left on the boat. I roll the deflated boat in such position that the fin stands on top of the folded deflated boat. I leave the deflated boat in a plastic storage box, which was purchased from Walmart. The box is tall enough to allow the folded boat to lie on the bottom and the fin stands on top. That way I don't have to worry about the drybag that may bend the fin. So when I take the boat out of trunk, I need only to inflate. No setup other than inflating is needed. It takes about 7 min to inflate. Some reviewers here tried to use only 2 screws to fit the skeg. But I think this may make it less steady, and therefore stress the holding patch and may eventually tear it.
And finally the performance. It is slightly tippy, feels more like a hardshell than other inflatables. Paddling is easy. I don't have a GPS but I calculated my speed from measuring the map. I can finish a trip of 4.5 mile in 1 hr 4 min, that is 4.2miles/hr. I have a Seaeagle's Paddleski 395 that can finish the same trip in 1hr 20min, with the same paddle, that is a speed of 3.4 mph. PS295 is Seaeagle's fastest paddling boat. Some said Sunny is the fastest IK. I think this might be true. The sitting position is very comfortable. The skeg, though, is not as effective as I expected. I can see obviously the swing of the bow with every of my stroke. It is possible that my paddle, 244cm, is too long for this narrow boat. I also wonder if a bigger or longer skeg could improve the tracking.
I give it a 9 since there is still more to expect in the world of IK. My dream is to have an IK hidden in a convertible's trunk yet with a performance not inferior in front of hardshells. Sunny is close, but not exactly yet. Is this the best the IK industry can make?
07-10-2007Submitted by: Dan Weisberg
- Rating: 10 of 10 We purchased our Innova (Gumotek) Sunny in 2001 to fish in freshwater lakes. It requires zero maintenance and has been 100% reliable. It is very stable, and paddles as well as a plastic rental kayak. It sets up and breaks down quickly, and it's compactness makes it easy to carry in a car trunk, or to stow at home in a closet or on a shelf. I always use the skeg, and the boat tracks beautifully. This IK is an excellent value as well. The seats could be more comfortable, and I glued a D-ring on the middle of each tube so the back paddler has a place to easily clip a camera or a brush anchor (it looks like the new Sunny's already have this). Also, I'm going to try installing the skeg with only two brackets instead of four as several reviewers suggest, since getting the skeg into place using all four brackets is an annoyance.
Overall, this inflatable has provided years of productive, trouble-free kayak fishing in an easily stowed and transported package at a great price.
09-19-2006Submitted by: Bill
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've had my Sunny for about a month now and have had the opportunity to try it out both in Lake Huron as well as the rocky shores of Georgian Bay, in the Great Lakes- deep, cold water. I researched inlatables for over a year- I have a hardshell (Wilderness Cape Horn) that I've spent many happy days in, and this is the first experience I've had with inflatables.
I was impressed with the quality of the boat construction, and I'm more impressed with her performance. Rigged as a double, you need to pay attention as the paddlers are quite close and paddle co-ordination is a must if you don't want to be the joke of the beach. There was still enough room for a large dry bag in the bow and a large backpack in the stern. Rigged as a single, there is tons of room for extended camping gear, and the boat moves very well through the water. In windy and choppy conditions, expect to get wet, although due to being low in the water, she handles much better in the wind than a canoe. She's not self bailing so a bailer/sponge is an asset.
The boat has an incredibly stable feel without being a pig in the water- as a single she's quite fast and easy to paddle- very comfortable to paddle for the day- you can change position with ease and even move around in her. The skeg gives her nice direction control, though you'll have to get out in water under about 8" deep.
The reports of the seat ropes being too short are true- they weren't meant for actually tying in but only knoting. The bow and stern lines are also a problem as they are only single knoted as well. I've replace these with 5/8th nylon braided, attached with a figure eight follow through with a barrel backup knot on both sides of the bow and stern, leaving a figure eight on a bight directly over the bow and stern. The seat ropes were replaced with the same 5/8th nylon, about twice as long as supplied, leaving enough rope for a simple square knot. The only other concern I had was the integrity of the air valves, though the company assures me there were few if any problems- I haven't read of any problems with these in any of the reviews. The valve covers would be difficult to operate with cold fingers though- they could be bigger.
The Sunny is easy and quick to set up, and I've even slept in the boat while anchored in a sheltered bay- fortunately I'm not very big as its a snug fit- but it is possible- slept like a log as well.
I wanted the inflatable to take with me on a return extended trip (my seventh) to India where I intend to spend some months on a few rivers. I needed a boat that was reliable, repairable in the field, with lots of gear space, one I could sleep in if necessary, stable and with at least a reasonable turn of speed. The Sunny fits the requirements. Oh- a caution with this and any inflatable. I have a 10 ft. tether that snaps onto my PFD, attached to my bow line. If you think there's any possibility of falling out- you need to be tethered- in even a light breeze the boat will take off on you much faster than you can swim- a caution as well when you pull up on shore and get out, especially if she's unloaded- if its windy you need to tie the boat up or you'll turn around to see her drifting off. Rather embarrassing. Been there, done that.
All in all, I'm very pleased with the Innova Sunny, both in quality of construction and performance. The Innova people have a quality product with performance to match. Just a little nit-pick besides the rigging- the brochure/instructions the company supplies needs a bit of work to bring it up to the world class that the boat itself is.
07-24-2006Submitted by: ekirstein
- Rating: 9 of 10 Received my Sunny a few weeks ago. We are really liking it. I made some mods, though. I added "D"Rings on either side of the seats glued to the tubes so that the seat back is now supported by the tubes and not by the seat bottom. This is a huge improvement. I send you a photo if you email me.
Second mod is I made a longer but shallower skeg, about 2.5" x 8". Works just as well with less draft. Also, you don't have to screw it on each time you use it. Replace the wingnuts with Stainless Steel Nylock nuts. Then attach the skeg to the brackets on just one side. Tighten the screws using wrenches. You never need to loosen these. When you assemble the boat, just slip the skeg and two brackets in from one side. Then slip in the opposite brackets while folding the floor over to make room. Once the boat is inflated, there is no place for any of the pieces to fall out.
06-21-2006Submitted by: fishwinican
- Rating: 9 of 10 A great kayak for fishing when traveling. I recently enjoyed a vacation in the Gulf Shores, AL area and took along my Innova/Gumotex Sunny. I used the boat for a little solo kayak fishing in the Gulf (when it was calm) and in inshore waters. The boat was easy to set up and took only about 10 minutes to inflate with the Innova foot pump I purchased separately from Innova.. Installing the seat was aided by longer tie-in cords that I had made from some 1 foot long pieces of rope. The original cords are too short. The boat tracked much better when inflated very firmly. Still, without the skeg attached, tracking straight was sometimes a challenge, especially with wind to the back. But, the boat paddled easily and rode over 1-2 foot waves, boat wakes and swells very nicely so long as the bow was pointed into the waves. Paddling against the wind, control was much better, but an inexperienced paddler might go in circles, especially if the boat is under inflated. The material is very heavy duty and the boat feels strong and sturdy. With the open design, there is plenty of room for a small anchor, a small cooler, a little fishing gear, landing net and fishing rod. But be sure to put plenty of sunscreen on your legs and feet as they are completely exposed to the sun. I am 6'2" and 225 lbs, and I found that in this boat, paddling with my legs crossed was easier than with legs straight out. But there was plenty of room even for a big guy like me. Fish were easy to land from the boat and the kayak never felt tippy. Keeping sand off of the boat when landing and deflating was a challenge, so next time I will keep a plastic tarp in the back of the car. Then I will toss the boat in and clean it back at the condo with a hose. Next time I use it I will definitely try out the skeg to see if it helps the tracking in open water. This is a great boat, very portable, easy to set up and well made. A great kayak if you are traveling and want to do a little paddling or fishing without needing a cartop carrier, trailer or truck. I was able to get the boat, four-piece paddle, anchor and foot pump all in a large wheeled duffle bag, so I guess you could even fly with it if you didn't mind one big heavy piece of luggage to add to the rest.
06-20-2006Submitted by: Chris S
- Rating: 9 of 10 Let me tell you the worst thing about this boat. The goofy name greatly undersells its true versatility and ability!
Never having got on with hard shells or wanting to deal with owning/transporting one, after an eye-opening day in Idaho in an NRS MaverIK I realised inflatable kayaks were not necessarily beach toys. After much web trawling I finally settled on a Sunny about a year and a half ago and, for the money and fun I've had with it, I have no regrets.
In that time I've paddled it on flat British lakes, rivers and inlets, spent up to 10 days camping along some lovely French rivers like the Dordogne, Vezere and Upper Allier, gone inshore day-tripping off the Croatian coast 2-up and have plans for some longer sheltered sea tours.
Above all I like the 'air-portablility' (I train or fly to France), the simplicity and speed of the set up and the stability without a seeming payoff with speed. I always feel safe and relaxed which I'd never do (or have done) in a hardshell kayak. Being out in the open and not half-sealed in a hull is agreeable in nice weather and the tough material is confidence inspiring: it loses no air for days at a time. If you fall out or swamp, no drama. Easy to drain in mid-water by just flipping, re-righting and crawling back in.
Like many other owners I originally found Gumboats (I own a Safari too) steered like lilos without a skeg. Nevertheless I found the OE one too deep for shallow rivers and got a batch of low profile skegs made which still worked OK. Then last week much of the Allier in France was often too shallow and rocky even for that skeg so I took it off and hey presto!, managed the next 3 days/60kms in a fairly straight line without it! So, with only a year's practice you can indeed get the knack of skegless Gumboating, although for powering on without resorting to finesse/technique (or on the sea) OE skeg is best as you can put all your energy into simply paddling without concentrating on the continual small corrections. As Christy says, it's a good idea to 'balance' the wing nuts on the skeg and make sure it's lined up straight along the hull. Then if it still pulls to the side you know it's you or the wind or any other number of reasons.
I must say I've never knocked out the seat/footrest plugs, but for a while did experiment with jammed-in tubeless car tyre valves which fitted just right (inflated with a pushbike pump). Could get the seat/etc nice and hard this way but I've since gone back to the simple low-tech plugs which I just pump up by mouth as the hull-spreading effect of these thwarts is not so vital on the wide and stable Sunny (compared to a tippy Safari).
I've toured two up with a 15kg load just fine on class 1 rivers but found that in class 3 it was more raft than kayak. I was lucky to steer it around obstacles and anyway, usually got swamped - actually quite pleasurable at over 30°C! Plus it's so stable it did not matter if I went through rapids forwards, backwards or nearly sideways. You can relax and have fun in this boat, but still tour with the rest of them, and best of all, never have to shuttle back or use a car.
It's fast enough - I average 5kph on rivers with much drifting/resting and have kept up on the Thames with a mate in a Klepper and a Feathercraft (but not so well with a plastic kayak).
I like Andy's idea of only jammed in seats (it's never occurred to me to untie them except to change from solo to twin). They are not the greatest - just ordered an Aire seat to fix against a home-made 'spreader board'. Will add a bit of space too. Solo, I've also found recently the footrest thwart too far away to brace on when trying to 'lurch' the beached boat off a rock in mid-rapid. Hopping out would be quicker of course but I may remove the thwart too and organise another board with a useful Otter box in front to foot-brace on. I did wonder about thigh straps on the Sunny to aid manouverability. I notice the Canadian Innova website recommends them but really I think any boat of 3.9m is just too long for class 3 finesse. Anywhere else it steers fine.
I stuck on some extra, home-made D-rings - keeps the luggage in when flipping it to drain it and in case it capsizes (never happened yet).
Self bailing? I thought about it after all that class 3 swamping (aint tried it in the surf yet) but after looking closely I (being 90kg + gear) would definitely be sitting in/towing water. A self bailer (like a Safari) needs a thick floor to keep your butt out of the swill. But give it a go, bailing holes can be reliably duct taped up for dry, flat-water boating (as I've done on my Safari). My crappy looking Bravo pump has lasted just fine so far too - the yellow hose can split, just trim it and jam it back on to the adapter. I also like the idea of trying that Spirit Sail for a sea trip we have lined up.
05-04-2006Submitted by: Dave
- Rating: 10 of 10 For the price, this is an unbelievably versatile boat. I've taken it on a 6-day excursion around a large mountain lake, repeated bashings on Class II rivers, overnighters with my dog in front and my gear in back, and easy paddling as a dual-seater with my girlfriend.
It is easy to re-enter when flipped and the material seems very tough. To boot, you can pack it on your back (for short distances, at least).
A couple of downsides are picky enough that they don't justify dropping the rating: You will get wet if there is surf or rapids, so, you have to dress for the water temp (but this is the case with any inflatable). And the seat chambers can be easily deflated if you knock the valves out accidentally.
All in all, I really dig this boat and owning it keeps me from buying more specialized crafts (I can't justify them when I can get out and do most everything I want with this one)
02-15-2006Submitted by: Victor G
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my third year with Innova (Gumotex) Sunny. Because this kayak is so easy to carry in a car, I have been paddling at least twice a week. Now I schedule all of my appointments in any lake or a bay areas, so either before or after there is at least 90 min segment for paddling. Finally, I got a bug to try real kayaks: composite and plastic hardshells, and high end foldables. I have tried Feathercraft Kanuna (very well engineered and gracious boat), QCC q500x (this a beauty of a boat, it glides like a swan). Than after each ride I would ride Sunny, and every time I prefer it to so called "real" kayaks. Sunny is not slower that Kahuna, and not much slower that Q500X, it is more stable than either, more portable and takes about 10 min to get it from the car to the water. It is much faster than Feathercraft and almost to par with QCC; the most comfortable, and in the summer the coolest. Decision: I'm sticking with Innova Sunny.
During the last year I purchased to great additions to my Sunny: full size Spirit Sail, and K-pump model 200.
The sail works only down wind, so I paddle up wind for few miles -- excellent exercise; then set the sail and glide back. With the winds in excess of 15 mi/h, Sunny with Spirit Sail simply flies -- fun!
K-Pump M200, cut my inflation time from 7min, to sub 4 min. Previously I used Bravo 6 Double Action Hand Pump also an excellent pump. However, K-pump is faster, requires less force, keeps operator upright to prevent any back pain.
I was lucky to buy Sunny, because after over two years of use and my exposure to other kayaks, I still would choose it. The only improvement I would suggest is to put valves for seats.
02-13-2006Submitted by: WR
- Rating: 6 of 10 I bought the gumotex sunny from someone on ebay- warning it doesn't come with the tracking fin (wasn't told that) it needs one- used it in Florida twice - I found I could blow the seats up just blowing into them without the pump- We didn't find the seats had much support but it might have been us- has anyone put d rings on the boat to help with support? also has anyone had any experience with oyster beds in florida I read the shells are very sharp and could cut the boat.
12-18-2005Submitted by: Andy
- Rating: 10 of 10 Excellent boat! Transportable by bicycle if both seats are removed (seats do not need to be tied in as recommended by manufacturer, they are a tight fit and will stay in by themselves) and placed in a separate pannier with the paddles, pump and fin. The Sunny is surfable but tends to bend as surf gets bigger. I am considering cutting some holes in the membrane between the floor chamber and side chambers to make the boat self bailing.
This would improve its performance considerably in the surf.....I just haven't been brave enough to drill the holes in my favourite toy yet. Another time saver is to only use two of the brackets on the removable fin. Both brackets on the one side. This allows you to leave the brackets screwed on and just slip the fin in and out. I have used the kayak for about 6 months in all sorts of conditions (including rather large surf) and the fin has shown no signs of falling out. Make sure you put it in straight though or you'll get one sore arm and a sore back. Leaving the seats untied allows very quick transition from single to double kayaking and also allows for fine tuning of seating position when two paddlers are of significantly different weights.
All around I'd recommend this kayak to anyone who likes/needs transportability in there sporting goods without sacrificing too much performance. The boat is very safe and stable in big ocean swell as it just bobs on top of everything. I'm now saving up for the Innova/gumotex 'Safari'.
12-04-2005Submitted by: Ron
- Rating: 9 of 10 Sunny by Innova is a great boat. I paddled around a hundred single miles in one this summer on eight or nine different outings. We also did a few miles paddling double and it worked very well that way, too. It is great for carrying in the trunk and popping out when the paddling looks too good to pass up. I paddled quite a few miles with three friends in sea kayaks and though I had to work hard to keep up (especially in headwinds), I could stay with them and enjoy the days. I repeat...it is a great boat. Now is Innova could make a 15 footer, maybe I could keep up with the sea kayaks even better. p.s. You really do need the skeg and paddling without it is not nearly as easy.
11-28-2005Submitted by: allroy71
- Rating: 8 of 10 I love my Sunny. I agree with much of the reviews below. Pump up the seats first. I have a hand pump and foot pump. The hand pump is a lot easier to use and very quick. I think I can pump up the boat in 4 mins.
Clean up is the fun part. If you don't have access to a beach side hose, then you just put the boat away wet. Don't forget to get a nice plastic tub for you trunk. Then you can put it away wet and not worry about it till you get home. I like to inflate it indoors to get the little ropes dry, later.
If you have ever been in a whitewater raft, then this boat is just as tough.
In terms of paddling, this thing is smooth and easy to move. Even when the person in front stops paddling!!!
08-21-2005Submitted by: Christy
- Rating: 9 of 10 This is a flat out great boat. I have used it locally in the SF Bay Area in lagoons, on lakes, and off the coast of Kauai off Poipu Beach this summer in 4-6' swells and it handled beautifully. I am 6'3" and 240 and I find the length perfect, and it is a very fast ride as inflatables go. Beautiful looking, "torpedo" shaped boat. Very well made, nice firm ride and very comfortable. The skeg is a must I find. About the skeg, the boat tracks perfectly if you oppose the 4 wing nuts and screws... that is put two screws in from one side, and two from the other side, so that the drag (marginal, but there all the same) from the wing nuts is offset.
I purchased mine used, without the storage bag, but find that the Sunny fits perfectly into the Ricardo Duffle Bag from Costco ($39.95) [boat in bottom, seats and pump up top] and ships beautifully as luggage on an airplane. I see myself using this boat for many years. I have taken my daughter and wife out in it (separately) and the boat handles well even though we nearly max out the weight. Low profile in water is great in windy conditions. Only reason I didn't give it a 10 is due to seats which are comfortable for a couple of hours. I took a 3" piece of stiff, closed cell foam and put it behind the lumbar area of my back and my comfort is greatly improved. Find one, and buy one, you'll love it.
P.S. Tim at Innova helped me with plugs for an old Semperit boat, and went beyond the call... excellent customer service.
07-18-2005Submitted by: G.C.King
- Rating: 9 of 10 My wife and I have used the Sunny just twice. Based on that, we're pleased. It seems quite well made, and the material appears to be sturdy. However, as another reviewer said, tie the inflated seats into the kayak BEFORE inflating the floor and sides; it's much easier than the reverse, which the instruction booklet suggests. The seats' tie ropes are short, but I think this is to ensure that the seats are snugly attached. The kayak performs better with stiff inflation. Also, steering is much better with the fin/skeg attached. For those with short legs, the footrests may not be large enough-- especially at the bow. Ropes on the bow and stern are handy both for carrying the kayak and for attaching accessories. Set-up time is about 10 minutes. All in all, a good buy.
06-01-2005Submitted by: DanG
- Rating: 9 of 10 I love this little boat! I live in Hawaii and have so far taken it out on 3 paddles, two of which involved open ocean conditions. 10-15 knot winds, as well. It performs well! I don't have much to compare it to, but it seems to paddle along at a decent pace. It's very stable and comfortable, with the way it flexes in the swell. Also catches waves pretty easily. So far I've only used it as a single; it might be on the cramped side with 2 adults. This kayak is really well designed and built. One tip: instead of inflating the 3 main chambers and then installing the seats (as instructed in the manual), I found it's much easier to do the reverse. Strapping the inflated seats in first and then inflating the main chambers saves a lot of effort. Set up takes at least 10 minutes, maybe 15, but it's no big deal. Great product!
03-02-2005Submitted by: al partington
- Rating: 10 of 10 Yes it's a gumotex in the U.K. but exactly the same spec and from the comments, the same fun. Superb as a sea kayak on short runs between islands or hugging the shore. Will take 1/2 foot waves in comfort if its not too windy. The skeg is essential for good tracking which can be a nuisance in shallow river water or minor rapids Nice just to be able to get it out of the car boot and set it up in 10 minutes. And easy enough to carry about. This makes it a dream using public transport. Buses, trains, boats and light aircraft - no problem. The material has taken everything so far over 3 years including canal water that looked like paint stripper. The only time I felt nervous was the sight of seals' teeth that had shown a very strong interest in the boat out at sea. Maneuvers well and is fast for an inflatable. Can take some bailing when its windy or surfing which is no problem in warm climates or with a wet suit. Brilliant. A real bonus is its comfort. Dangerously so if you fall asleep in hot sunshine bobbing up and down on a gentle swell!
02-21-2005Submitted by: pssmith
- Rating: 9 of 10 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.)
09-16-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is a simple, elegant, and versatile boat. It assembles quickly, is very stable, and is quite fast for an inflatable. It paddles very well as either a single or double and can be configured to optimize either. The Sunny tracks well with the skeg and is also highly maneuverable. The nitrylon material is very tough. The deflated boat fits into a pack that you can carry on your back right to the waters edge which doubles as a dry bag. Because of the low sides and open deck, this is a boat primary for relatively calm conditions, but it will hold its own in modest chop. Some people have been critical of the valves on the seats and footrests on Sunny’s and other Innova’s. I’ve found that they work quite well, but there is a right way to use them. Consult Innova or your vendor for information on this.
09-15-2003Submitted by: SDW
- Rating: 10 of 10 This boat was exactly what I needed. I moved into an apartment in Chicago on Lake Michigan and wanted something stowable, easily set up, and sturdy enough to put on the Lake. This boat has met all my criteria, plus I could take it touring for weeks configured as a solo.
As a solo, a paddler can stow a significant amount of gear. As a double there is space in back for a backpack. This is a wet boat because of the low sides and no spray deck. So a wetsuit is recommended for chilly water. I've had it swamped trying to surf it. Because it doesn't have bail holes I used a pump to bail it. It won't sink when full of water, but will be very slow, so I would not recommend it for surfing.
It takes me about 15 minutes to set up. If I didn't always attach the skeg, it would only take me 5 minutes. Adjusting the seating arrangment will add another 5 minutes. I keep this boat in the trunk of my car or in my aparmtment. It folds down into it's own backpack. I put a paddle and PFD in a seperate bag with other accessories.
08-07-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 A great kayak for the money. It is ruggedly put together and is just about luggable for getting across country to a river in its rucksack. I paddled it Solo and found it surprisingly easy. It would i suspect been easier if i had appreciated that i could turn the seat backwards and reverse the boat. We used it on a river estuary and out to sea in light conditions. It was stable and the skeg helped its performance. This boat is sold in the UK under its name as Gumatex Sunny .... but I am assuming it is the same. At the price the quality is in my view unbeatable.
09-26-2002Submitted by: jJCE
- Rating: 10 of 10 This summer I became the proud owner of an Innova Sunny. At first I thought it looked like a toy. But after looking and comparing features on almost every inflatable kayak on the market, I chose the Sunny and I couldn't be more pleased with my choice. There is no perfect kayak for all purposes but if you wish for comfort, flexibility, durability, portability, & stability on mostly flatwater, this is the kayak for you. I would not be afraid to take in on class II or III water though it is rated for only class I. The rating is due to the low sides I suppose. The material is tough enough to take some abuse. Did I mention it is an excellent value? I could not find more quality for the money and I looked for over a year before making my purchase.
07-10-2002Submitted by: KirkM
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have had the boat about 4 months now and used it primarily on the Hudson River and occasionally on Long Island Sound. The material is tough enough to launch the boat from New York City beaches that are mainly composed of broken glass with some sand mixed in. So far, the only result has been some surface scratches. The detachable metal skeg is a simple solution and the entire boat is an exercise in elegant simplicity. The ability to configure the boat for either one or two paddlers is great if you basically go out alone but want the option of taking someone else with you. The stability, tracking and speed of the Sunny are amazing - you may not have the speed of a hardshell, but it is not that much slower. I have taken the boat out in fairly rough conditions (20+ mph winds and waves to match) and found the Sunny's handling to be reassuring - even with an occasional wave coming over the bow and sides. Since I live in an apartment, the ability to carry the kayak onto the subway, bus or train to the launch site is vital. It is easy to set up and take down again when you're done. I would strongly suggest that anyone looking for a kayak that is portable, reliable and a heck of a lot of fun give the Sunny some serious thought.
04-03-2002Submitted by: SJE
- Rating: 10 of 10 Fun kayak. Just got it and was surprised at the speed and tracking. I wasn't expecting much, but it certainly works as a legitimate kayak. Maybe not as fast as a hard shell, but not so much slower that it even makes it a big deal. It was as easy to set up as they say. If you are considering a folding boat you should seriously take a look at this boat. Lighter, almost as fast, way easier to transport. I will report back after I have it in some different conditions. I am taking down to La Paz in a month. We'll see how it does. If I could figure a way to make a custom spray skirt I think I would take this thing on a serious travel trip. I think that these modern inflatables may take the thrown for real traveling kayakers. Why buy a pain in the ass folding boat when you can travel with one of these.
12-02-2000Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 This boat is based upon the Helios 380 EX but has some important differences. The Sunny comes with a fixed metal skeg to aid tracking. It works quite well and is more fool-proof than a rudder. The sidewalls of the Sunny are lower than the Helios. My son rides in front and finds this much easier to paddle compared to a Helios. This cuts down on wind resistance and the Sunny is less prone to weathercocking. As inflatables go, this boat is plenty fast. But it (or any other inflatable) will never compare to a hardshell kayak. The Sunny has the same thick rubber skin as other Innovas and it is durable. Air valves are dependable. One additional advantage to the Sunny is that the seats can easily be repositioned to paddle alone. A very nice boat which packs small, is pretty quick and can carry two people and a fair amount of gear.
Don't Miss the Paddling.net Weekly Newsletter!
90,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!