Went to try out my new inflatable boat, the Intex Seahawk 2.
The camera adds 50 pounds. =p
My brother with his kiddie life vest bought in Thailand probably in the year 2000.
Saw a massive Toman, probably 20lbs here. Smashed my underwater camera into my brother while I looked for my rod. Casted out a sasuke 105 silently (lure was already on the line) but the fella ran away!
The next day tryout on a solo mission. This time round, baiting/trolling.
Sitting cross legged is best here. Otherwise, you’ll get massive back pain from the rowing. No pins and needles probably because of the soft floor. Another seating position is to sit open legged (kang kang) but does not give you enough leverage to paddle swiftly and only works if you’re alone.
The boat glides effortlessly over the water but does not track like a kayak.
Total set up time is less than 10 minutes (including double checking everything) if there are 2 people. If you are alone, you’ll probably take about 15 minutes… or also under 10 minutes if someone is watching you (trust me).
This is a pretty damn cool boat and is cheap. Definitely an excellent “first inflatable boat”.
However because the floor is soft, I’d recommend against taking this out to sea. The seams and everything will definitely hold up against the salt water but unless you’re paddling out into calm water and have some kind of anchor or rope, you may be blown out to sea.
For safe excursions into the ocean, I’d recommend that your vessel have these 2 “basic” features.
1) Tracking as it keeps your vessel moving in the direction you’re paddling – i.e. not like a raft – and saves your energy by expending all your paddling power to moving the boat forward. Imagine a hovercraft that has 2 fans on the left and right instead of 1 at the middle. If you alternate turning each fan on (like one person paddling on alternate sides of the boat), a lot of energy will be wasted by the boat swinging left and right.
If you use the oarlocks to row and are a newbie like me, you’ll find it difficult to sync your arms and you’ll still end up spinning (till you get used to it).
Because it is difficult to accurately add a tracking fin at the bottom of a soft floored boat (if you sit on it wrongly the fin could turn you left or right instead of straight and also because it will be nigh on impossible to safely fold up the boat once you’re done), you’ll be hard pressed to find an inflatable boat with such a feature. However, you could easily DIY one. But I would suggest that you add the fin by hanging it out over the stern. It will allow you to adjust your tracking while also minimising the chances of you accidentally adjusting it.
2) It should also have a rigid floor***. This is typically known as a Rigid Inflatable Boat** or RIB***. However those labelled as such typically have the hard floors built in. You could also purchase floor boards (or make them yourself) and place it atop the floor. A rigid floor will give YOU (not the boat), the ability to move around the boat easily. This is very important in case you need to jump to push the boat away from a navigational hazard, or if you need to embark on to or disembark from the boat. The lack of a rigid floor is not a deal breaker as a rule of thumb, I’d recommend this for any ocean expedition. Sans a rigid floor on an ocean expedition, I recommend you stay where you are and position yourself so that you are in reach of the most important things.
Kayaks are really expensive and take up a lot of storage space. Most of them also do not have the deck space to allow you to bring many things. More importantly, kayaks are potentially very unstable. There are a lot of benefits sure but weighing the pros and cons and taking the cost of an inflatable boat into account, I’d take the inflatable any day. Only the Hobie’s with their MirageDrive system (you can “paddle” the boat with foot pedals) has got me drooling.
If you don’t trust inflatables, get a portabote.
*** Editor’s note (27/02/2013):
A Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) or Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) is a boat with a hard hull like a normal boat but with inflatable collars on the gunwale. This type of boat is used by militaries around the world as well as search and rescue units. This is due to it’s immense stability and speed. The point made about a rigid floor is still valid though. Some of the ways to get a rigid floor include the following:
- Using wooden planks are floorboards
- Drop Stitch Inflatable Flooring – An inflatable floor that becomes rigid under high pressure.
Shawn started fishing in 1994. He caught his first fish (an Ah Seng) on that very first trip to Changi Carpark 4 (before it was barricaded). He built up his fishing knowledge and gear over the years but still keeps his old gear, just like the memories.