Gumotex have a new model of the Safari self-bailing white-water/surf IK called 330 or 330 XL. According to the stats the new boat is 26cm or ten inches longer than the regular Safari and now 80cm- or no less than three inches wider, which means buoyancy is up 30% to a rated 130kg. Weight is down 500g too. In the UK they go from £460.
I had the original pre-2003 Safari (left and right) – my very first IK and a very tippy boat for which I was too heavy and perhaps just too big. Part of the reason for tippiness is you’re sat high because a self-bailer needs a thick floor to put the your butt above the water level swilling around the draining holes in the floor. If that boat is also narrow and you’re an over-fed newb, then you both sit in water and have trouble keeping upright. Post 2003 Safaris were said to be much less tippy.
The new 330 retains the all-important thigh straps but will be a more stable, user-friendly IK that’s still suited to rapids and surf without the need for decks (as on the Framura or Swings) or for frequent bank-side visits to drain it (right). But you get the horrible, old-school Gumotex footrest and a seat with no back support. I’d glue on some hull-top patches for a proper backrest like on my Seawave or Grabner, and a footrest tube too.
The claimed specs are: 330cm long; 80cm wide; 12kg; max load 130kg and 3psi pressure with a PRV in the floor. The preceding Safari was: 304 x 72cm; 12.5kg; max load 100kg and runs the same pressure and PRV.
I presume for the moment the shorter, narrower model (10% cheaper) will still be sold. For lighter and proficient paddlers it’ll be a more agile white-water boat. If you’re trying to decide between one or the other, I’d say go for the bigger model if you’re over 90kg and more than six-feet tall. Either will make a great play boat.
Lurking in the weeds we find Gumo’s other new IK, a fishing kayak called the Halibut. I do like a tasty halibut fried in butter and lemon, and this well-equipped trawler is high-seated, heavy but reassuringly wide (3.75m long, 96cm wide, 21kg).
It also comes with a floor plate for standing, but energetic casting might take some skill to pull off. At €999 it’s quite pricey too, but there are probably more fishing kayakers out there (mostly in hardshell SoTs) than the rest of us put together.