Gumotex (Innova) Swing IKs

Here I go again, confidentially sprouting forth about IKs on the basis of stats, pics and online interpolation. I have not tried or even seen this boat. There seem to be two versions of Swing 1 and 2 being produced. Innova gumotexfabrics18distributors in the US get black hulled models with a dirt- and water-shedding teflon coating. Europe gets  grey hulls which appear shinier; only the deck is Hevealon. More on IK materials here or right; note the 2018 updates.

The decked Swings look based on the more modern Twists. As others have commented, they appear to be taking on IKs from Advanced Elements and even the bird’s-eye view is similar. From the profiles below it appears they’re more ellipsoid or ‘lemon shaped’ than previous incarnations, or maybe it’s just that they’re substantially wider which exaggerates this impression.
Me, I’ve always preferred the lack of a deck on my IKs. It makes packing, getting in and falling out all so much easier, and paddling in the open is much more fun. The problem with my old Sunny (which became the near-identical 410C then a Solar 3 in 2017) was that it would swamp fairly easily in lumpy water because it was a long boat with low sides that flexed in the middle with the weight of a hefty single paddler like me. This is partly a function of Gumotex’s single side tube design as well as its pliable ‘easy fold’ Nitrilon fabric; it’s less rigid than the twin tubes and stiffer PVC fabric of my notably faster Incept.
swing2sideTwo big improvements on the Swing boats: they modified those horrible, nail-breaking inflation valve caps; you get something more akin to the Halkeys in the Incept. And you still get the ever-unsung pressure release valve for the I-beam floor – always a good idea on a IK, plus there’s the new-style slot-in skeg.
Classic Nitrilon has natural rubber on the inside and Nitrile (synthetic) rubber on the outside – very tough and good for air-retention plus quick cleaning and drying, but may be considered a tad over the top for an infrequently-used recreational IK. Nitrilon Light fabric is half the weight of classic Nitrilon but you do hear of ruptures which you never do on full Nitrilon. The durability of the US-only black-hulled Hevealon with its low-friction, water-repellant teflon coating on the outside hull surfaces is unknown. It won’t be as hardwearing as an outer layer of Nitrile but is much lighter which again attracts buyers. The decks on both EU and US versions don’t need to be that tough or even waterproof and so are made of a much lighter Hevealon, a PU-coated fabric, but as Paddlesheep (see below) has observed, the partial zips could be a weak point and even then, the decks will reduce easy wipe access and drying time inside, compared to an open IK or zip-off deck IK like the Innova. But then again, the insides ought to get less wet in the first place.

The Swings use 2 or 3 curved alloy crossbars (left) to keep the Hevealon deck taught (similar system on my Incept and Seawave) and make room for the legs, as well as spread and form the width of the boat. Some blurb states these crossbars make the boat more rigid which may well be true. Pushing the hull sides apart to make width and form and avoid a slack deck won’t make an IK more longitudinally rigid, but I suspect that constraining the sides (stopping them from flexing out as the boat bends longitudinally) will have some effect, and it seems that the T-bar ends of the Swing’s crossbeams could do this. If you think about it, when an ‘open peapod’ vessel like an IK flexes longitudinally in the swell / under the paddler’s weight, the hull sides will tend to fold and bow out in the middle. So if the T-bar ends of the crossbars do indeed slot in and constrain the sides, that may well restrict out-bowage and so sag on longways flex – probably no worse than any tentpole on an Advanced Elements or a broom handle as I tried myself on my old Sunny.

SWING I ▪ Length 3.16m ~ 10′ 4″ ▪ Width  87cm  ~  34.2″ ▪ Weight 8/11.2kg  ~ 17.6 lb (weight verified by French distributor, despite Gum HQ comments below) ▪ Maximum load 120kg ~ 265 lbs

SWING II ** ▪ Length – 4.02m – 13 feet  ▪ Width  89cm ~ 35″ ▪ Weight  14kg ~ 30.8lbs ▪ Maximum load  204kg ~ 450lbs

** Swing II stats verified by theboatpeople, but could refer to US-only black hulls models. I am still not certain of the weight differnce between EU and US versions. Gumo say they are the same.

green swingAs far as the preferred boats for this ‘touring IK’ blog go, what might have been desirable was a decked boat the length of a Swing 2, but set up for a single paddler. A boat rather like my Incept. Sure you can sit in the back of an Sw2 and load the front, but it’s not right, is it? Fact is, such dreamboats hardly sell because when people other than me get serious about kayak touring and twistiesmulti-day trips they get a proper hardshell or even a folder. IKs are still seen as goofy rec boats for users who want to pump up and play on a bay for a day.
The solo 8-kilo Swinger looks like a fun day boat, but no more than a Twist at just 6kg and over a foot shorter, or a full-Nitrilon coat Helios 1, same length, only 71cm or 28 inches wide but 4.5 kilos heavier. Or of course a Sunny or 410C.
twisterrOne good point mentioned on a forum is that getting back into a Swing in the water may be quite difficult because IKs sit high in the water when you’re not in them. It’s not just a matter of pulling over and flopping in onto your air bed,  you have to get your legs back in the cockpit. It’s something I found myself last year when experimenting with my similar Incept. It can be done, but alone in choppy water (the reason you fell out in the first place) it’s tricky. In the Incept I could unzip the deck and crawl in that way.
And so we ask again, what are the actually benefits of a near-permanent deck on an IK? (the Swings’ decks only unzip partially) Limiting swamping – sure. Keeping the sun off – maybe in sunny lands. Keeping you warm – I suppose so, but that’s what a dry suit ought to do: ‘dress for the swim [falling in], not the paddle [air temps]’ they say.
And so I conclude that the Swings may well sell well for Gumo Inc (they certainly have in the US), but they fall into the less desirable ‘bloat’ category: wider than they need to be which is great for nervous day/rec users who are attracted to the perceived safety as well as genuine storage advantages of IKs. But as a multi-day touring proposition (space, speed, convenience), the longer boat may not so optimal. Price in the UK summer 2017 is around £550 for the solo or £750 for the double with skirt/s.

Another review some Swingers chatGumotex assembly pdf
This entry was posted in Gumotex IKs, Inflatable Kayaks and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gumotex (Innova) Swing IKs

  1. Chris S says:

    Mr P went on to ask Gumboat HQ about the seemingly differing models of Swings.

    “I am hoping you can help me with a question about the Swing. I am a little bit confused about the material that they are made from. The Gumotex website says the hull is made from Nitrilon with Hevealon cockpit but the Innova website says the hull is made from LitePack with Teflon coating (Hevealon?). Innova and Gumotex also give different weights for the Swings. Are the EU Swings made from different material to the USA Swings perhaps?”
    GHQ replied
    “Yes, that´s absolutely right. The Swing which is made for European market is from light Nitrilon + cockpit from Hevealon. But Swing with brand Innova (US brand for GUMOTEX) is [entirely] made from Hevealon because Innova company insist on totally PVC free material. And that´s only Hevealon. The weight is same for both of the type of Swing (Swing 1 = 11,2 kg a Swing 2 14,2 kg).”

    So now we know. I did not know Nitrilon or the lite pack version was a ‘PVC’ type of material, but perhaps ‘synthetic rubber’ covers that. And since then the weight of the ‘heavier?’ EU Swing 1 has been verified at 8-8.5kg

  2. Chris S says:

    IK fan Mr P (Mk1 Safari, Mk1 Sunny, Scout Eco) writes:

    “… I’ve just had a look at your Swing article and have a couple of points. Like you, I’ve not seen one in the flesh, so have been trying to get an idea of what they’re like and what they’re made from. Gumotex and Innova each seem to tell a different tale. Innova (and The Boat People) say they’re made of the new version of LitePack – ie Hevealon – but Gumotex say they’re made from Nitrilon, with only the cockpit (I’m assuming they mean the decks) made from Hevealon. This might explain the pretty large weight discrepancies – Gumotex reckon 31lbs for the double, with The Boat People (who claim they have actually weighed it) giving it as 28.5 incl. ribs and fin. But 31lbs is 5lbs lighter than the similarly sized but undecked 410C, suggesting that they can’t be using full fat Nitrilon for the Swings. Perhaps they have started using the 450 denier Nitrilon again (apparently they used to make their boats in both thicknesses, with the EX signifying that it was made from the thicker stuff). Who knows? Food for thought anyway…”

    I think he has a point although I would read ‘cockpit’ as the inner surfaces of the boat and suspect the Hevealon deck material is as light as it can be. I see now that the Innova Swings (US) pictured above have black hulls that look less shiny so could be the teflon-coated fabric Hevealon. But the European Swings (on the Gumotex website have grey shiny hulls suggesting Nitrilon and inner surface (see the unzipped picture) that looks shiny too, so full coat Nitrilon?
    And yet in December Paddlesheep in BC tried a grey hulled boat in Seattle, though the inner looks uncoated – i.e: old Litepack? Could early US Swings have been made in Litepack and the ones that have just arrived in the US feature black hulls in Hevealon?
    But then again GW Dowling – [used to be] a good place to buy Gumboats in the UK – sold a ‘Hevealon Repair Kit’ which features black patches…

    What does it all mean?
    Quite possibly that Europe gets heavier ‘semi-full Nitrilon’ Swingboats, while the US gets lighter Hevealon black hulled boats.

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