Advanced Elements of Benicia, California recently introduced one of two new kayaks for the 2019 product year. The AE1007E Convertible Elite is a package upgrade to the long-standing, popular AE1007R Advanced Elements Convertible inflatable kayak for one or two paddlers.

Advanced Elements Convertible Elite set up as a tandem.

First launched in 2003 as the AE1004 AdvancedFrame2, the original model featured an integrated deck for double paddling. The kayak was reintroduced in 2006 as the AE1007R AdvancedFrame Convertible, sporting an open cockpit design which could be enclosed with optional single and double decks for solo or tandem paddling.

The new AE1007E Convertible Elite features the identical kayak materials and construction as the current AE1007R, but with upgraded accessories and features. The Convertible Elite now comes with a 4-6 PSI drop stitch floor, rather than the standard 1 PSI PVC floor with i-beams. The increased floor rigidity enhances the paddling experience with better tracking and glide.

The Convertible Elite arrived this past month so we took the opportunity – during a brief break in the rains – to put it through its paces. Here are details on the AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite AE1007E, a 15 foot inflatable kayak with high-pressure floor weighing in at roughly 54 lbs.

Getting Started with the Convertible Elite

The box as received weighs 60 lbs, measuring 34 x 21 x 12 inches.

What's included inside the box.

Inside, the rugged backpack-style carrying case houses the kayak body, floor, seats, thwart, repair kit and instructions. The kayak with backpack and parts weighs in at 52.4 lbs, while the kayak body is 44 lbs.

Important instructions are sewn into the bag.

Please note: A quick “overview” of set up is now sewn into the inside of the carrying case – we highly recommend that you read this.

Convertible Elite Setup/Inflatation

We began by reading the updated manual. This, too, has evolved over the years and gives excellent explanations on inflation, usage, refolding, etc. And here we come to AirKayak’s Tip #1: No matter how excited you are, take a good look at how the kayak is folded before you set the kayak up, so that you can get it back into the carrying case.

Unfolding the Convertible Elite

First step, unfold the kayak. (Please note: We will repeat some of the details previously mentioned in other writeups.) The AdvancedFrame series of kayaks feature an “inner rib” in the bow and stern, which is basically a u-shaped aluminum rib, about a foot long and one-half inch wide.

Inner rib frame

This comes “pre-assembled” meaning it arrives already inserted into two sleeves inside the kayak cover. Unless you remove the inner bladder, they remain in position. When the kayak is pumped up, the inner bladder with rib presses against the kayak cover – that, in conjunction with two bow and stern plastic sheets, give the kayak a sharp silhouette which aids in slicing through the water. (Please note: We removed the rib from the kayak for illustration purposes, it comes assembled.)

Closing the military valve

The kayak features 8 inflation chambers – two screw-on valves (kayak main body), one military valve (floor) and 5 twist-loks (seats, thwart and two deck lifts). The military-style plunger valves are simple to use – twist one way to inflate (UP position) and the other to deflate (DOWN position).

Various adaptors

Each Convertible Elite comes with a screw-on adaptor (center image, found in the repair kit in the mesh pocket behind the seat) which locks onto many pumps with pin/slot hose fittings. Additionally, a standard Boston valve adaptor (left image) will friction fit directly into the valve opening. A separate adaptor is also included for the high pressure floor (right image).

Miltary valve screw on attachment

Attach the screw-on adaptor to your pump and then couple it to the first main chamber, located on the rear hull. While there is not a pressure gauge included with the kayak, the adaptor features a “lip” that pushes open the spring plunger, allowing a pump gauge to read the back-pressure; if using the Boston valve adaptor, most gauges will only register as you are inflating (needle will go up and down).

Pumping up the Convertible Elite first chamber.

Pump up the first chamber, located on the top-rear of the kayak, until it begins to fill out – we did about 50 strokes with a double action hand pump. Unlike many other brands, the AdvancedFrame series of kayaks features an inner and outer chamber, with a floating “interior wall.”

By pumping up the first chamber partly, you “center” the inner wall. Check the side tubes to make sure they are even within the cover, and check the floor to see if it is still centered.

Pumping up the Convertible Elite second chamber.

Then pump up the second chamber, located inside the kayak behind the seat, until firm to touch (2 PSI) – this took us another 30 pumps. This ensures that both main chambers are now at 2 PSI. Screw on the black wing nut caps so the plungers aren’t accidentally twisted open later.

The dropstitch floor adaptor

Now for the floor. Turn the spring plunger to the UP/inflate position. Inside the repair kit for the dropstitch floor is another adaptor with bayonet fitting; attach to the floor’s military valve with a slight twist until it locks into place. Pump up the floor to 4-6PSI – it will be very rigid, but it doesn’t take long at all with about 34 strokes. Remove the floor adaptor and screw on the wingnut cap. TIP: Put the adaptor in the mesh pocket behind the seat, so you don’t lose it.

Pumping up the dropstitch floor

If the kayak does not appear to be pumping up evenly, make sure that the bladder is centered in the cover, and the floor is centered in the kayak. Additionally, there are four velcro side strips that keep the kayak bladder in position inside the cover. Occasionally, the tubes shift initially, making the kayak appear lopsided. If this happens, deflate the kayak, then take two sheets of paper and insert between the velcro and tube. Pump up the kayak slowly, repositioning the tubes until even. Once everything is centered, remove the sheets of paper and let the velcro “fall where it may.”

The TwistLock valve

Move onto the two deck lifts inside the kayak “shoulders.” The deck lifts “sculpt” the body so that water has a tendency to run off – and not into – the kayak.

Pumping up the decklifts

Put the Boston valve nozzle OVER the twistlok valve on the first decklift. Pump this up until firm (1 PSI). Twist the valve shut, remove the adaptor and move on to second deck lift.

Pumping up the center thwart

Also using the twistlok, pump up the thwart to 1 PSI and place it behind the front seat, attaching to the velcro side strips with the tube side down.

Installing the center thwart

The thwart acts as a back rest support for the front paddler and can be a foot brace for the rear paddler. If paddling solo, put one seat in the center position without the thwart.

Attaching the seat

Then attach the seats by clipping the two straps into the appropriate side clips. If you will be paddling tandem, use the 1st and 3rd clip arrangement – for solo, use the center clips.

Inflating the high-backed lumbar seat

Then pump up the twistlok on each lumbar seat to 1 PSI (easiest just to use your mouth) and tuck the tube behind the seat so it doesn’ get in your way.

Inserting the plastic sheets

Insert the two plastic sheets into the bow and stern sleeves – as a note, this is sometimes easier to do when the kayak is not fully inflated.

The Convertible Elite can be carried over the shoulder

Less than 10 minutes and you’re done!

About Drop Stitch Floor Technology

High-pressure dropstitch material in the floor.

The term “drop stitch” is a method of construction which allows for much higher inflation and pressures than a standard PVC floor.

In a standard PVC floor (as shown above on the left), long “I-Beams” run the length of the floor, connecting the floor ceiling to bottom. This allows the floor to maintain a fairly uniform thickness, but if one of the I-Beams pops (due to over-inflation) the floor will become more like a blob.

Rigidity of drop stitch floor versus standard Convertible PVC floor

With drop stitch construction (shown above on the Convertible drop stitch floor), thousands of tiny threads connect both the top and bottom layers, creating a stronger link that can withstand much higher pressures. Higher pressures make for a more rigid floor, which can enhance paddling performance. This is the technology used in inflatable SUP paddle boards. The image below is from an Airis Inflatable Sport Kayak showing the interior drop stitching.

Airis Inflatable Sport window showing the drop stitch threads

Features and Specifications on the Convertible Elite

The AE1007E Convertible Elite consists of three layers. Inflatable PVC bladders are housed in a zippering fabric cover, allowing the bladders to be replaced if necessary. The covered bladders sit inside the kayak outer shell.

Rugged diamond ripstop material

The kayak upper is comprised of 600 denier polyester/PVC laminate in a diamond ripstop material.

Integrated tracking fin.

The hull is a rugged, puncture-resistant PVC tarpaulin with electronically welded seams, reinforced nose, integrated 2.5 x 7.5 inch tracking fin and 16-inch landing plate.

Molded rubber handle

There are two molded rubber carrying handles (bow and stern), but it is fairly simple to carry by hooking the side of the kayak over your shoulder. These are located 16 inches from the bow and stern.

Plastic sheet insert

Two plastic sheets in the bow and stern – in conjunction with the interior aluminum ribs – provide added structure and rigidity.

Front bungee deck lacing

Bungee deck lacing in the bow – measuring 20 inches wide, tapering to 13 inches wide, and 17 inches deep – includes four d-rings and 3 sets of quick release clips, allowing one to add on various dry packs and gear. The deck lacing begins 32 inches from the nose and is positioned 34 inches from the front paddler. Four more d-rings can be found on the rear deck; these are positioned at 16 inches wide, tapering to 11 inches and 10 inches deep.

Open cockpit design

The 84 x 27 inch cockpit area features a hidden zipper running the perimeter – this is used to attach optional single or double decks. The optional decks act as further protection from the elements, and also have coaming tubes around the cockpit, allowing one to attach optional spray skirts.

Front zipper

A front center zipper can open up an additional 21 inches for easier entry or for those interested in a more open feeling.

Front zipper

There are 4 velcro paddle holders. These are located 50″ and 86″ from the bow on the left side of the kayak, for the front paddler, and 42″ and 76″ from the tail on the right side of the kayak for the rear paddler.

High-backed lumbar seat with paddle base.

The high-backed, padded lumbar seats features adjustable side straps which quickly clip into position while rear stiffening rods create a comfortable option for those needing a bit extra back support than the standard seat offers. The seat back has an inflatable bladder with an extra long 36 inch TwistLok hose, allowing you to change the support level from 1-5 inches while kayaking! In addition, a side zipper allows you to open and move the bladder up or down until you “hit the right spot.”

Repair kit located in the mesh pocket behind the seat.

A gusseted, mesh pocket is located on each seat back; one houses the repair kit, screw-on adaptor and floor adaptor. The Convertible Elite now features a padded seat base to compensate for the rigidity of the floor. Seat back dimensions are 17 inches tall, with a seat base 18 inches wide, 14 inches deep and 1.5 inches thick. The seats can be adjusted about 10 inches in location, based on strap length.

Inflatable center thwart

An inflatable thwart performs multi purposes;  it helps keep the bladders spread apart, provides some support for the front seat back, and can also be used as a foot brace for the rear paddler.

Backpack style carrying case.

The traditional Advanced Elements carrying case has been updated, now coming with two adjustable shoulder straps, allowing one to use it as a backpack. There are also two top carrying handles. Bag size is a generous 36 x 16 x 11 inches.

We did measurement tests. The kayak inflated is just slightly under 15 feet long and 33 inches wide. The side bladders are roughly 7 to 8 inches in diameter, making a well about 7 inches deep. Interior dimensions are approximately 114 inches long by 18 inches wide. The three seat attachment points are located at 18, 36 and 68 inches from the front cockpit opening. The thwart measures 17 x 8 x 10 inches – it is best to place it in the more horizontal position as more of the velcro will be utilized to keep it in position, but if needed, an extra 2 inches of legroom can be gained by positioning it “more vertical.”

Convertible Elite set up as a double.

In tandem mode, when the front seat is placed against the thwart, approximately 50 inches of legroom is available, while the rear paddler has 37 inches from the seat back to the thwart (expanding to 40 inches by rotating the thwart, or to 48 inches by removing it).  There are 10 inches behind the rear seat. The front seat could be moved up or back 5 inches.

Convertible Elite set up for solo paddling.

When solo paddling, with the back of the seat roughly 6 inches behind the center seat clips, there is approximately 69 inches from the seat back to the interior front end, and about 40 inches behind the seat; the thwart is not used in the solo position. This can be somewhat repositioned by adjusting the seat straps. Weight limitations suggest 500 lbs for two persons, or 550 lbs for two persons and gear.

One final comment – we are always asked if this can be broken down to fit in airline luggage, and the answer is yes. By separating the components, one can put the kayak hull in one suitcase, and the other parts in another.

Advanced Elements Convertible Elite On the Water

The Convertible Elite paddled as a tandem.

We first took the Convertible Elite out as a tandem on a calm day. The kayak is very comfortable, stable, rugged and paddles well. It was roomy for the two of us (5’4″ and 6’2″). With two paddlers, you are limited to carrying gear on top of the kayak, but there is so much front legroom that one could stash a pack and use it as a foot brace. The kayak is very zippy paddling straight though turning around is slightly less maneuverable.

The Convertible Elite paddled solo.

Each of us then took the Convertible Elite out solo. My husband at 6’2″ found the Convertible Elite to be roomy while paddling and tracking well. It easily rides over small swells without a blip.

The Convertible Elite paddled solo.

Despite my shorter size of 5’4″, the kayak was quite easy to paddle; the dropstitch floor makes a huge difference in this situation, as the standard Convertible (with low-pressure PVC floor) can be sluggish. In fact, I found the floor stiff enough to be able to stand up, albeit for a short time. In prior tests to compare the standard PVC floor to the dropstitch floor, we were running from 3.1 to 4.3 mph with the PVC, while we ran 3.6 to 4.7 mph with the dropstitch floor. There is also an intangible that I can’t quite put words to – one feels very confident in the kayak construction. While in the past I have used the backbone – which is also a great product – I find the simplicity of the dropstitch floor more to my style, and the added weight savings of 4-5 lbs more to my liking.

Carrying the Convertible Elite

While I was apprehensive about carrying such a large kayak alone, it can be managed by hooking the body over one shoulder; this becomes tougher in a stiff wind. For those who don’t want to attempt it, the Advanced Elements AE3010 dolly cart is a marvelous portable breakdown wheel-set that easily straps onto the kayak hull, allowing one to portage through all types of terrain.

In fact, my only “complaint” (this is too strong a word) is the lack of a foot brace – particularly when out solo or as the front paddler. Once again, Advanced Elements has an adjustable foot peg system which is quite useful for this kayak.

As we get so many questions about kayaking with dogs, we show a picture above with my (past) buddy Eddie, out for a spin in a Convertible with dropstitch floor. The material is rugged enough to handle dog claws.

Bottom Line on the Advanced Elements Convertible Elite Kayak:

The Advanced Elements Convertible Elite AE1007E inflatable kayak is a great kayak. First developed in 2004 as an elongated, enclosed version of the AirFrame, the Convertible Elite – now with high pressure floor – has evolved into an inflatable classic, offering performance, quality and price.

The Convertible Elite paddled solo.

The kayak is comfortable, paddles well, looks good and is quite stable. It is able to handle lakes, Class I to II rapids, inlets, bays and coastal ocean. With years of experience using the AdvancedFrame series of kayaks, we’ve been out in all types of weather from calm water to swells. The kayaks have battled rocky beaches and shallow waters, thick tules, white caps and wind. They’ve been tossed into the back of a pickup – they’re rugged.

As a tandem, it is roomy, paddles smoothly and is zippy. As a solo with the new high-pressure dropstitch floor, it becomes a great single kayak, particularly in conjunction with the optional single and double decks (shown above with the single deck on the Convertible DS in blue) which add a slight bit of structural integrity as well as the ability to attach a spray skirt.

High-backed lumbar seat provides support.

The high-backed lumbar seats with the new padded base are very comfortable and a huge improvement over the standard Advanced Elements seats.

The new backpack-style carrying case is much easier to carry, as well as slightly roomier, thus easier to repack.

Versatility is another aspect that makes the Convertible such a popular kayak. Numerous optional accessories – such as the foot pegs, single and double decks, spray skirts, kayak dolly – can enhance the paddling experience and performance.

The Convertible Elite easily fits in the trunk of a small car.

This is a great choice for travel – it’s perfect for RVs and easily fits in the trunk of a small car. When paddling solo, the kayak’s long length provides ample amount of storage space, making it an excellent choice for a solo paddler interested in camping excursions as well as anglers wanting to set up a fishing kayak with lots of gear.

The Convertible Elite paddled solo.

All in all, the Convertible Elite from Advanced Elements is a great multi-purpose kayak for families, people of all ages and paddling needs. Novices and first-time users will be on the water in no time, while experienced paddlers will find the portability and low-profile hull a great boon. This is also a great solo kayak for the “big and tall” – particularly with the nifty solo deck.

Convertible Elite paddled solo.

Street price is $949. For more info or to purchase, see the Convertible Elite product page at http://www.airkayaks.com. We also have the high-pressure Convertible DS in blue – this is the same kayak but with an integrated front foot brace system and pump with gauge. Looking for a smaller, more portable single option? Check out the 10’10” AdvancedFrame DS XL , the XLC with removable cover, as well as the new Advanced Elements Sport DS also exclusively available at AirKayaks.

Still confused at the options? Read our article on Choosing Your Advanced Elements Convertible, Convertible DS or Convertible Elite Inflatable Kayak.

Posted by: airkayaks | April 6, 2019

2019 Guide to Choosing Your Kokopelli Packraft

Founded in 2014, Kokopelli Outdoors, Inc is one of several of companies exclusively focused on inflatable packrafts, and increasingly known for performance, quality and durability.

83 Mile Journey Down Lower Canyons of Rio Grande

Photo by Colin Arisman

For those unfamiliar with the term, “packrafts” are loosely defined as an inflatable raft weighing under 10 lbs, that can easily be packed/rolled up, making them a great choice for accessing remote locations. While the sport originated in Alaska, the popularity is rapidly expanding globally. 

For 2019, Kokopelli’s lineup consists of eight models for whitewater, lakes, rivers and ocean, ranging in size from 7’1″ to 10’2″ with a weight range of 4.6 lbs to 18 lbs. This includes the introduction of one new model – the beefy Recon whitewater packraft – as well as product upgrades and some new accessories.

With all the styles, activity types, sizes and features, how does one choose the packraft best suited for them?

In the following sections, we outline the different Kokopelli packraft styles. We’ve also put together a comparison chart on each of the packrafts, detailing the features and specifications for each model, followed by weights and types of included accessories as well as compatibility with optional Kokopelli accessories. This is located at the bottom of this article, but you can also see a downloadable PDF copy of the complete table. If you still have questions, you can view details on the various Kokopelli Packrafts at http://www.AirKayaks.com. Or feel free to contact us at info@AirKayaks.com, or call 707-998-0135.

Guide to Choosing Your 2019 Kokopelli Packraft

Kokopelli packrafts are designed with two cockpit styles – open or decked.

The two packrafts with spray decks – Nirvana SD and Rogue – feature a more enclosed seating option which reduces exposure to water, cold, sun or wind. Each includes a spray skirt which fastens to a coaming lip around the seating well, and then to your body for even less exposure.

All other Kokopelli packrafts feature open seating, with either self-bailing ports or no ports. The self-bailing ports are useful if you will be running whitewater, allowing any water spilling into the raft to pass through open holes in the floor. Conversely, if you are in calmer situations, water may accumulate inside. The two self-bailing models – Nirvana SB and Recon – have integrated floors and seat bases so that the paddler sits a bit higher, out of any pooled water. The other Kokopelli packrafts (including the decked versions) are designed without any ports.

The 2019 packrafts have been regrouped into three categories – Whitewater, Lake and Adventure.

The Whitewater Series consists of three models – the Nirvana with Spraydeck, Nirvana Self-Bailing and the Recon. While each of these can handle rushing rivers through Class III, the new Recon weighs in at a whopping 18 lbs with beefed up construction for extra-rugged conditions.

The Lake Series also features three models – the Castaway XL, Twain Tandem and Hornet-Lite – geared towards slow-moving rivers or lakes. The tiny Hornet-Lite weighs the least in the product line, making it very desirable for long-distance hiking but with a performance trade-off. The Castaway XL sports an open design with longer waterline for taller paddlers or those requiring room for gear. The Twain is one of the few packrafts designed for solo or tandem paddling. The two longer models feature removable tracking fins to aid in paddling performance.

The Adventure Series consists of two models – Rogue and Rogue-Lite – geared towards extremely packable “adventures.” Both feature a thinner hull material with beefed-up Kevlar reinforcement which packs down smaller and is lighter, making it more desirable for carrying long distances.

All models except the Recon and Hornet-Lite, are available with TiZip options. This 19-inch waterproof zipper offers additional storage options inside one of the main chambers, allowing one to carry more gear as well as keeping it more enclosed.

How do you use the following table?

First, decide the type(s) of paddling you want to do. Do you prefer running rapids, paddling calm lakes or a mixture.

Then decide how you’ll get there. Will you be backpacking into remote areas, driving to a put-in location or bikepacking?

Determine what attributes are important (or not!) to you – is weight more important or ruggedness? Do you like being enclosed or feel better in “open space?”

Last of all, will this be used by various members of the family? Do you want the ability to bring along extra gear? Do you need an option for tandem packrafting?

Then follow the color key to decide what board is good for varying activities:

Blue – The packraft is great!
Green – The packraft is good.
Yellow – This packraft is not recommended.

Photo credit: Birch Block

For instance, if running rivers was the highest priority, then focus on the Nirvana, Rogue or Recon. The Rogue – with a lighter weight and smaller rolled profile – would be great for backpacking or bikepacking. The Recon would be perfect for weekend warriors where ruggedness is a priority, while the Nirvana fits in neatly between the two and offers both decked and open designs.

Please note: For those concerned with weights, you can piece together the total package weights from the following table by finding the base packraft weight in the Packraft Model section, and adding in the additional weights in the Included Accessories. If you are having trouble viewing this, click here for a downloadable PDF copy of the complete table.

This section shows the Adventure Series which includes the Rogue and Rogue-Lite:

This section features the White Water Series including the Nirvana Spraydeck, Nirvana Self-Bailer and Recon.

This section features the Lake Series including the Castaway XL, Twain and Hornet-Lite.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you can view details on the various Kokopelli Packrafts at http://www.AirKayaks.com. Or feel free to contact us with questions at info@AirKayaks.com, or call 707-998-0135.

And many thanks to Zach Patterson at Kokopelli, who played an integral part in piecing together this information!

 

 

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to take our first look at Innova’s new Thaya inflatable kayak – a 2+ person, high-pressure, inflatable kayak  for recreational paddling.

The Innova Thaya set up for tandem paddling

The Innova line is unique for a number of reasons. First, the kayaks are handmade in the Czech Republic – the factory has manufactured inflatable boats for well over 50 years. Secondly, the manufacturing process produces kayaks that can become quite compact, making them a great choice for travel. And third, the kayaks are environmentally-friendly as they are mostly PVC-free.

The Thaya is the newest introduction to the US market, already garnering a gold model at the 2019 European Paddlesport sProduct of the Year Awards, based on stability, paddling performance and its environmentally-friendly footprint.

While it is not yet available in the states (due in May 2019) we received an early production line piece for review. So here is our write-up on the the Innova Thaya inflatable tandem kayak, which weighs 39 lbs, is 13 feet 5 inches in length and has a payload of 595 lbs for two persons and gear. (Please note: some of the information will be duplicated from other Innova reviews).

Getting Started with the Innova Thaya

The box as received measures 28 x 19 x 13 inches, weighing in at 44 lbs.

The Innova Thaya unrolled has a low profile.

Inside is a very nifty and compact 80-liter backpack with adjustable shoulder straps, front pouch pocket and roll top closure. This contains the kayak body, tracking fin, 2 foot rests, repair kit, instructions, valve adaptor, cinch belt, 2 seats and sponge. Packed dimensions are 25 x 16 x 10 inches as received in the bag, with a weight of 40.75 lbs for the pack and contents.

We read through the included instruction manuals. Just like all the Innova products, the Innova Thaya manual is surprisingly detailed in some aspects, while lacking in others. As the kayaks are made in Europe, many of the details are based around European specs and regulations and can sound more complicated than it actually is.

First step, unpack and unfold the kayak body. What is immediately noticeable is how FLAT the kayak is when deflated – of course, this makes it quite compact for travel.

Installing the tracking fin

Install the tracking fin into the “shoe” before inflating the kayak. Slip the end with the larger slot in first, making sure that the fin is pointing towards the “back” of the kayak. This enables it to slide in enough to fit in the second side. The first time we tried this, we struggled to get the second slot into position but this gets easier with use.

Next, decide which paddling mode you will be doing – solo, tandem or tandem with small being or gear. The instructions suggest attaching and inflating the foot braces and seats first, but these come already attached from the factory. There are four sets of upper d-rings, and five sets of floor tabs – you will use both of these to attach the seats and braces. We opted for a tandem set up for our first round.

Inflating the seat back.

The seats and braces are easier to inflate before attaching to the kayak. There are two valves on each seat, and one on each brace. All utilize a twistlock valve, which performs as it sounds – twist the end to open or close the valve. The Boston valve adaptor will not friction fit over the twistlock so you will have to do one of three things – have another paddler hold the valve over the twistlock; carefully negotiate holding the adaptor and twistlock together with one hand while pumping with the other; or give up and blow it up with your mouth. It took about 1 to 2 puffs to get each foot brace filled out. Then pump up the inflatable seats 1 to 1.5 PSI (the pressure is not mentioned in the instruction manual). Since this also utilizes a twistlock, once again you need to balance – this took about 5 pumps/puffs. AirKayaks note: Here is a nifty little home-made adaptor that works with these twistlocks.

Attaching the seats

Next, attach the seat side straps to the side d-rings. Loop the strap (located on the rear of the seat back) up through the d-ring and then back, looping it through the seat buckle. Use the 1st and 3rd set of d-rings for tandem paddling, the 1st, 2nd and 4th for three, and the 2nd for solo paddling. AirKayaks note: It is much simpler to purchase some small carabiners and attach them to the end of the strap loops. Then you can simply clip these into the d-rings without all the “reweaving.”

Attaching the seats

Attach the seat back straps to the second and fourth floor tabs.

At this point we want to point out that the foot braces came attached in the wrong locations. You will note one brace is a rounded semi-circle, and the other a large rectangle. The rounded brace is used by the front paddler. Attach that to the first floor tab, and the rear brace to the 4th floor tab. Don’t worry too much about the positions, as these will get adjusted when you start paddling.

Now you’re ready to inflate the kayak.

Closing the valve for inflation

The Innova Thaya features three main inflation chambers utilizing military valves – one for the floor and one for each side. The military-style plunger valve is simple to use – with your finger, twist the plunger slightly to the “up” position to inflate (air goes in but doesn’t come back out) and “down” to deflate (air comes out).

Attaching the adaptor

Locate the military valve adaptor in the repair cannister. The kayak does not come with a pump, but the adaptor friction fits onto the Boston valve conical adaptor found on most pumps. (AirKayaks: Before doing ANYTHING, attach the adaptor to your pump with the string.)

The Innova instructions suggest pumping up the side chambers first, and the floor last.

Following this format, lock the Innova adaptor onto the military valve with a slight twist, and push the conical adaptor in to friction fit the two. Since the Innova main chambers are inflated to 3 PSI, it is helpful to use a pump with pressure gauge to ensure the kayak is inflated appropriately. We did have a hard time preventing the Boston nozzle on our pump from popping off the adaptor – possibly some slight sandpaper might rough up the surface for a better friction fit. Worst case, one could glue the adaptor to the Boston valve nozzle.

Pumping up the side chambers

It took us about 40 strokes with a double action pump to reach the recommended 3 PSI. Move on to the other side. Pump up the second side partially, then make sure the seats and braces are centered, pushed into position. Continue pumping again 39-40 strokes to reach 3 PSI.

Pump up the floor chamber – this took approximately 60 pumps with a double action hand pump to reach the recommended 7 PSI. Screw on the valve caps to protect the plunger from sand and salt, or from accidentally being pressed.

Easily carried.

Done – less than 10 minutes, surprisingly simple and very quick.

Deflating the Innova Thaya

Deflation is just as easy. Simply turn all the valves to the open position and push out the air. Remove the tracking fin (if installed) – the seats and braces can be left in place. The air can be quickly pushed out by either rolling up the kayak towards the valves, or pumping out the final air by using the deflate mode on your pump – once done, turn the valves to the inflate position so air doesn’t creep back in, and replace the wing-nut caps.

Rolling up the Thaya

Then fold the kayak side chambers in on top of each other (you don’t want it to be wider than the height of the backpack.) Starting at the rear, fold over the snout up to the fin boot, then fold again. Starting at the other end, fold back about a foot, then again and again. Fold the two sides together and use the cinch belt to hold it shut. This should then slip back into the bag.

Innova Thaya: Materials and Construction

The Innova Thaya is constructed from a 1200 denier rubber-coated laminate material called Nitrylon – this consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube.

Nitrilon material

Nitrylon is the same material used in high-end Zodiac-type yacht tenders, and is stronger, more abrasion and puncture-resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing.

About Drop Stitch Floor Technology

The Thaya is different from Innova’s other kayaks, as the Nitrilon material is used for drop stitch construction.

The term “drop stitch” is a method of construction which allows for much higher inflation and pressures than a standard PVC floor.

In a standard PVC floor (as shown above, PVC on left, dropstitch floor on right), long “I-Beams” run the length of the floor, connecting the floor ceiling to bottom. This allows the floor to maintain a fairly uniform thickness, but if one of the I-Beams pops (due to over-inflation) the floor will become more like a blob.

With drop stitch construction, thousands of tiny threads connect both the top and bottom layers, creating a stronger link that can withstand much higher pressures.

Higher pressures make for a more rigid floor, which can enhance paddling performance – the photo above shows another drop stitch floor sitting on top of a PVC floor. This is the technology used in inflatable SUP paddle boards.

The image above is from an Airis Inflatable Sport Kayak showing the interior drop stitching.

Innova Thaya Features

There are nine inflation chambers – three inflation chambers utilizing military valves (both sides and floor) and 6 Twistlocks (two each on the seats and one on the foot brace.)

Front carrying handle

There are two molded rubber handles located on the splash decks (front and rear). The 16-inch front splash deck has side rope “grab handles” extending 19 inches.

Rear bungee deck lacing.

The rear splash deck runs 26 inches with 28 inches of rope rigging as well as a 7.5 inch deep by 8.5 – 12 inch bungee deck lacing for attaching gear.

Rear drain hole plug

A “drain hole” is located behind the rear handle.

Side d-rings

Four sets (8 total) of d-rings are positioned on the side tubes at 55, 86, 103 and 115 inches from the nose. These are used as seat attachments but can also be used for strapping in gear.

Foot brace buckle

Five sets of floor attachments are located at 26, 65, 93, 110 and 120 inches from the snout. All floor attachments include a web clip and d-ring except for the second one, which features 2 web clips. These are used as seat-back tie downs, brace attachments and also for attaching optional gear.

Center brace attachment system

A numbered boot system is located 55 to 65 inches from the snout. This features slots three inches apart: these are referenced in the instructions, and used to attach the foot brace based on paddler height, when paddling solo.

Inflatable foot brace

The front foot brace is semi-circular, measuring roughly 9 inches deep by 16 inches wide and 2 inches inflated. The brace position has a leeway of about 8 inches forward and back, due to a 16 inch strap.

Foot brace installed

A rear foot brace is more rectangular, measuring 20 inches wide by 8 inches deep and up to 2 inches thick. It has about 16 inches of strapping.

Inflatable Seat

The inflatable seats have two twistlock valves each (back and seat), a bottom strap and two side straps. The seat base measures 18 inches wide by 18 inches deep and two inches inflated.

Twistlock valve and d-ring on the seat back.

The back is about 18 inches wide by 17 inches tall (also 2-inches inflated). There are two more d-rings on the seat back for attaching gear.

Retaining straps for rear storage.

A bungee containment system is located under the rear splash deck – this features two clips on the underside of the deck, with elastic rigging to contain gear.

Underside view with tracking fin.

The hull features integrated drop stitch material, rather than a removable floor chamber. The tracking fin measures 4.5 inches tall and 7 inches wide.

The 80-liter backpack features a roll top closure and a deep front pocket, two padded shoulder straps, grab handle and two d-rings. Measurements are 41 x 10 x 17 inches unrolled, with front pocket dimensions of 14 x 8 x 4 inches.

We measured the Thaya. Outer dimensions were 163 inches from “eyelet to eyelet” with an exterior width of 34 inches at midpoint. The interior length was 160 inches with a 17 inch width, again at midpoint. The tubes are roughly 8-9 inches wide and create a well 8 inches deep. Weight capacity is 507 lbs for two persons with small companion or gear.

Innova Thaya set up for tandem paddling

We measured the tandem paddling set-up as outlined above. With the front seat-back sitting over the #2 on the floor and the side straps attached to the 1st set of tube d-rings, there is 32 to 41 inches from seat back to brace (the brace may need to be deflated to move it forward). With the rear seat-back positioned 2 to 3 inches before the fourth set of d-rings, there is 43 inches behind the seat (22 inches open) and 46 inches seat-back to seat-back. The rear brace can be positioned to allow 26 to 41 inches of rear leg room.

Innova Thaya set up with a third seat.

We then set up the Thaya for three paddlers using a different seat for the third (we did not have another Innova seat). By moving the front seat all the way forward and moving the rear seat all the way back, we were able to position the middle seat using this configuration – the 1st, 2nd and 4th tube d-rings and 2nd, 3rd and 5th floor buckles. This gave measurements of 52 inches from front seat back to inner snout, and 32 inches to the brace. The center seat had 30 inches to the front seat back, and 32 inches from the second seat back to rear seat back. There was roughly 29 inches behind the rear seat to the inner tail. As this is fairly tight paddling, you may opt to not use the center seat (the foot brace could work as a saddle seat).

Innova Thaya set up for solo paddling

Last set up was for solo paddling. We attached the seat base to the 2nd set of d-rings. In this location, there was 82 inches from seat back to nose and 61 inches from seat back to inner tail – the seat can be moved up or back a couple inches. There are four slot positions for the foot brace on the floor, each one set up for various paddler heights; for my height of 5’4″ it was slot #2. Measurements were as follows from seat back to brace: All the way out – 42 inches, Slot 4 – 38 inches, Slot 3 – 35 inches, Slot 2 – 32 inches, Slot 1 – 29 inches. Please note that you don’t need all the slots, but it does keep the webbing in position.

Innova Thaya On the Water.

We tested out the Innova Thaya over a few days.

Easily carried

I first took it out solo on a slightly choppy day. As the handles are located on the bow and stern sides, it is a little awkward to carry solo, though it is possible to hook it over your shoulder. With two people carrying, it’s great.

Thaya paddled as a solo.

First of all, this is incredibly roomy for my 5’4″ – perfect for carrying lots of gear, and the weight is not overwhelming. I was impressed with how well it handled, and how easily it rode over the water. The kayak is pretty zippy and – for a kayak this long – it turns very easily. While I calculated the foot brace Slot 2 as appropriate for my height (based on the instruction manual) I actually felt more comfortable on Slot 3.

Thaya paddled as a tandem.

I then went out tandem with my husband on a calm morning. The Thaya paddles well as a tandem. It didn’t feel quite as fast as paddling solo. but that may be due to the fact I positioned Chuck’s seat back as far as it could go, to judge how much extra room there was for a third small passenger. With the extra weight, the Thaya is slightly less maneuverable – but still pretty good. My husband – at 6’2″ – was very impressed with how comfortable and roomy the kayak felt, and he did not feel any knuckle rub; there was enough clearance. He also felt one could easily bring along a child or dog without being cramped – in fact, the inflatable foot brace could be a great child’s seat.

Thaya paddled as a solo.

My 6’2″ husband then took it out solo. He felt it handled extremely well, tracked well and was speedy. He also particularly liked how easy it was to get in and out, due to the rigid floor, as well as how light and easily carried the Thaya was.

Stable enough to stand up.

I then took the kayak out solo again in calm weather. Once again, I was immediately impressed with how well it handled solo, and how speedy and maneuverable it was. The dropstitch floor feels quite solid; in fact, I was able to stand up, though wouldn’t make a practice of it.

In high waves, with the lower side walls some water will splash in.

Nitrilon materia

Packing up took just a few minutes. The “smooth skin” of the Nitrylon material allows one to just wipe down the kayak to dry it off, and then fold up into the pack. I did notice slight scuffing – Innova says the McNett UVTech is very helpful as a coating to keep the kayak lustrous and prevent scuffs.

Bottom Line on the Innova Thaya Inflatable Kayak:

The Innova Thaya is a wonderful, recreational kayak suitable for those wanting portability, simplicity, easy entry and lots of storage options. On calm waters – such as lakes, inlets and slower-moving rivers – the kayak paddles smoothly and tracks well as both a single and a tandem. On rougher waters, be prepared to dress appropriately, as waves can splash over the side walls.

Thaya paddled as a solo.

Both my husband and I found it to paddle well as a solo yet the Thaya is roomy and comfortable enough for two adults with an afternoon of gear. This would also be a great choice for an adult and child or dog, or those needing enough storage space to haul camping equipment.

Carrying the Thaya to water

While it’s possible to add an optional third seat, three paddlers would be cramped unless they were fairly small.

The material is rugged enough that I would not hesitate to bring along a canine buddy – and there’s certainly room. The photo above shows me paddling with my buddy Eddie in the Innova Sunny, constructed from the same material.

Low profile on the Thaya when deflated.

Set up is very simple and takes less than 10 minutes. Take down is equally simple, just wipe down and fold/roll up – the Nitrilon material is rugged and easy to clean, yet still packs up extremely flat and compact.

Environmentally-conscious paddlers will find the minimal-PVC and China-free construction appealing.

The compact size of the Thaya easily fits in a small car.

The included backpack is compact and rugged, perfect for a trek into remote areas or riding mass-transit. It can also be stashed in the trunk of a small car, and is small enough to easily take on your next plane flight – it’s a great choice for travel.

Thaya paddled as a solo.

MSRP on the Innova Thaya inflatable kayak is $1199, with availability scheduled for early May. For more information, or to purchase, visit the Innova Thaya product page at AirKayaks.com. You can also contact us to get on the Notification List.

Below is a video on the Thaya Dropstitch technology and construction.

We recently received news on the new 2019 Kokopelli lineup of inflatable packrafts and gear.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “packrafts” are loosely defined as an inflatable raft weighing under 10 lbs, that can easily be packed/rolled up, making them a great choice for accessing remote locations. While the sport originated in Alaska, the popularity is rapidly expanding globally.

83 Mile Journey Down Lower Canyons of Rio Grande

Photo by Colin Arisman

Kokopelli Outdoor Inc. of Denver, Colorado entered the packraft market in 2014, beginning with a handful of models. Last year’s Kokopelli line-up consisted of four whitewater models – the Nirvana and Nirvana XL in self-bailing and spray deck versions; three touring series – the Castaway, Castaway XL and the Twain Tandem; and two ultra-packable models – Rogue and Rogue Lite.

For 2019, Kokopelli continues to streamline and upgrade the product line, adding one new model and some new accessories. The packrafts have been regrouped into three categories – Whitewater, Lake and Adventure.

The 2019 Whitewater series now consists of two current models – the Nirvana Spraydeck (above) and the Nirvana Self Bailer – each with tizip options. While there has been no change to the dimensional specifications or weights, the Nirvana Self Bailer is the only packraft with an inflatable floor (elevating the paddler above any water) with integrated seat base and separate backband. Prices remain the same at $1050 for the base models, and $1200 for packrafts with the tizip option.

The third Whitewater model is new for 2019 – the Recon. Weighing in at a beefy 18 lbs, the Recon features a robust 9mm PVC construction with self-bailing design for intense whitewater or rugged conditions. The Recon sports a 90 x 37 inch exterior, a 57 x 15″ interior with 9mm nylon ripstop floor, and is available in Arctic blue without tizip options. MSRP $900 which includes a bellows foot pump with integrated pressure gauge, but not an inflator bag.

The 2019 Adventure series consists of two models – Rogue (above) and Rogue-Lite. While similar in size and dimensions to the Nirvana, the Rogue with spray-deck features a thinner 210 denier hull material with beefed-up Kevlar reinforcement. The thinner denier material packs down smaller and weighs roughly 2 lbs less, making it more desirable for longer distances, while the Kevlar construction makes it nearly as durable as the Nirvana. The Rogue-Lite features an open cockpit and slightly shorter length, weighing in at a mere 5.4 lbs. Both Rogues are available with or without tizip. MSRP is $825 for the Rogue-Lite and $1050 for the Rogue. Tizip options on both Rogues are an additional $125.

Both the Rogues and Nirvana’s now sport an improved material with thicker TPU coating for added durability and abrasion resistance which also adds a slight 0.2 lbs to the raft weight; this has been a running change since last summer.

Three models comprise the new Lake series – the Hornet-Lite, Castaway XL and Twain Tandem. The 4.9 lb 85-inch Hornet-Lite weighs the least in the product line, making it very desirable for long distance hiking but with a performance trade off. The Castaway XL (above) sports an open design with longer waterline of 104″ for taller paddlers or those requiring room for gear.

The 122″ Twain (above) – one of the few packrafts designed for solo or tandem paddling – is also open-decked. The two longer models are used predominantly on flatwater and feature removable tracking fins to aid in paddling performance. These models remain virtually unchanged for 2019. MSRP is $595, $975 and $1100 respectively. Tizip options are available for the Castaway XL and Twain for an additional $125.

Last year’s Castaway and Castaway XL with spray deck have been retired.

The yellow color continues into 2019, but the French Gray is taking a hiatus this year.

Weights range from 4.9 to 18 lbs. All models except the Recon come with an inflation “bag” weighing a mere 4 ounces, though they also can be pumped up using a traditional hand or foot pump with the proper adaptor.

On the gear side, four new accessories are of special interest.

For 2019, the four-point thigh strap system has been redesigned as a 3-point, simplifying installation and use. MSRP $49.99

The new 70-liter Animas River Bag is constructed from a high-performance mesh material and easily fits the raft as well as a paddle and helmet. An integrated quick-attachment system turns it into a river gear bag that can be stowed on the packraft and is compatible with prior-year packrafts with minor adjustments.

Even better, the Animas can be converted into a backpack system (shown above) utilizing the optional new 3-point thigh strap. MSRP is $79 for the Animas Duffel, or $128 with the backpack/thigh strap conversion.

Also new for 2019 is a set of two internal inflatable dry bags which can be used in the Animas bag, and can be used for storing gear with tizip version packrafts. MSRP $150.

For those interested in easier inflation options, Kokopelli has two new pumps.

A 12-volt, ultralight Feather Pump weighs in at a mere 5.5 oz, yet takes only 60 seconds to inflate or deflate one single-sized packraft chamber to 95% – the packraft still needs to be topped off by mouth. The pump comes with a micro USB cable allowing recharge via a USB charge port; there is a 60-minute run time on a full charge. MSRP $39.99

A new bellows foot pump – included with the Recon – features an integrated pressure gauge and a Leafield adaptor, allowing any of the packrafts to be inflated by foot. MSRP $39.99.

The 2019 models are in stock except for the Recon and the new accessories – ETA is late March through April. Contact us if you want to get on the notification list.

Interested in saving some money? A certain amount of 2018 Kokopelli packraft models are available at discounts. Visit the Kokopelli Product Pages at http://www.AirKayaks.com for details.

Posted by: airkayaks | March 12, 2019

New Ergonomic Energy Kayak Paddles from Accent Paddles

Accent Paddles of Minneapolis, MN recently released details of their new Accent Energy Line of kayak paddles. The Energy Line features a soft rubber grip – the Advantage Grip – which simulates the ergonomic benefits of a bent shaft paddle at a more economical price.

At first glance, bent shaft paddles may seem unintuitive.Despite the appearance, bent shaft technology is considered to be an ergonomic, user-friendly design, reducing stress and grip pressure by offsetting the paddler’s wrist angle. Bent shafts also guide the paddler’s hand placement, reducing stress on forearms and shoulders.

While bent shaft paddles can typically retail for hundreds of dollars, the Accent Energy series ranges in price from $99 to $199.

Accent Paddle spent two years creating a “bent shaft paddle” design without the high costs. They accomplished this by taking a standard, non-bent paddle, and simulating the design via a soft rubber grip. The Accent Advantage Grip technology features an ergonomic 7° wrist offset angle which lessens forearm, wrist and shoulder fatigue. The rubber grip material is vibration dampening, and has a soft feel that – when held – reduces wrist, forearm and shoulder strain as well as providing minimal fluctuation in shaft temperature. The placement of the grip forces proper hand placement, ensuring longer more enjoyable outings.

The Energy Advantage comes in three models – the Energy Aluminum, Energy Hybrid and Energy Carbon.

At $99, the Energy Aluminum paddle features an aircraft-grade aluminum shaft with a simple push-button ferrule for three blade angle settings. The fiberglass-reinforced blade is the perfect size blade for most kayaking situations and a great entry-level paddle.

The Energy Hybrid is a step up, featuring an all-carbon shaft providing a high strength to weight ratio. The fiberglass-reinforced nylon blade is durable, and the perfect sized blend for both high and low angle paddling. A Kingpin ferrule connection system provides 12 paddling angles. MSRP $159.

The top-of-the-line Energy Carbon is constructed with premium materials for the kayaking enthusiast. A carbon shaft, paired with Accent’s proprietary carbon-reinforced APX polymer blades, provides the highest strength to weight ratio. The blade design is a perfect blend for both low and high angle paddling, delivering efficiency with each stroke. A Kingpin ferrule connection system provides 12 paddling angles. MSRP $199.

All three paddles at AirKayaks feature 4pc breakdown construction for portability in a 230cm length.

For more details or to purchase, visit the Accent Paddles product pages at AirKayaks.com. You can also watch Accent’s video on the Energy paddle line, below.

 

Earlier this year we received our first shipment of Advanced Elements’ new model, the AE1007E Convertible Elite in red: the Convertible is a popular tandem inflatable kayak for one to two paddlers. This joined the current models, the Convertible AE1007R or Convertible AE1007G in red or green and the AE1007 Convertible DS in blue.  Before they arrived, we were fielding inquiries on all three models which came down to one basic question – what is different?

In a nutshell, all three kayak models are identical in construction, materials and footprint – the only variations are in the colors and included accessories.

Standard AE1007G and AE1007R

AE1007 Convertible Kayak in Red or Green

The standard Convertible has been available for nearly 15 years, and now comes as AE1007G and AE1007R. These are identical except for the color – green or red – and come with a low-pressure 1-PSI inflatable floor with i-beams and pressure relief valve. Both have high-backed seats and come with the standard Advanced Elements duffel-style carry bag. Both have a street price of $699.

Convertible Elite and Convertible DS

Both the Convertible Elite AE1007E and Convertible DS AE1007DS come with the hi-pressure 4-6 PSI drop stitch floor (shown above with the standard 1 PSI low-pressure floor), which greatly enhances paddling performance and rigidity. The drop stitch floor ($239 value) also provides a firmer surface for getting into – and out of – the kayak. Both of these also come with two upgraded, high-backed seats with inflatable lumbar support ($128 value), and an additional padded seat bottom, providing a more comfortable paddling experience. Both of these also include a carrying case with backpack straps ($107.95 value), making it easier to transport. The new AE1007E Convertible Elite is available in red, with a street price of $949.

The Convertible DS AE1007DS in blue is exclusive to AirKayaks, and has been available for nearly 5 years.

AE Brace

In addition to the floor, seats and backpack upgrades listed previously, the current version also includes an integrated, adjustable front foot brace system ($29.99 value).

Advanced Elements Convertible DS

The base kayak also includes the Advanced Elements double action hand pump with gauge ($39.99 value) as well as a bonus StashPack 20 Liter dry bag ($49.99 value). Street price is $899.

Bottom Line:

If you plan on doing mostly tandem recreational paddling on calmer waters, don’t need all the whiz-bangs, or are on a budget, then the basic Convertible AE1007R/G with 1-PSI floor might be your best choice at $699.

If you plan on paddling in a variety of conditions both tandem and solo, with comfort and performance as a priority, then go with the high-pressure versions. For at-a-glance comparison, see the table below.

For more info, or to purchase, visit the Convertible product pages on AirKayaks.com.

We’re making room for new 2019 AquaGlide inventory arriving in the next few weeks. Now is the time to pick up a past season, 2018 AquaGlide HB inflatable kayak at 15% off!

AquaGlide Chelan Tandem for 1 to 2+ paddlers.

All in-stock 2018 AquaGlide high-pressure (HB) models – Blackfoot Angler fishing models, Chelan touring kayaks and Klickitat self-baileres – are on closeout. Paddlers will also find some remaining past season AquaGlide Rogue 2 and Panther inflatable kayaks at even larger savings of 20 to 40%.

AquaGlide Blackfoot XL for 1 to 2 paddlers.

Shop early for the best selection, with kayaks priced from $199 to $934.95. No tax and free US shipping via UPS ground on orders over $398.

AquaGlide Panther inflatable kayak

Visit the AquaGlide product pages at www.AirKayaks.com for details or to purchase.

Late last year we had the opportunity to take our first look at Innova’s newest product for 2019, the Thaya DS inflatable kayak. Designed for 1 to 2+ paddlers, the Thaya DS is a 13′ 5″ inch 7-PSI touring kayak – similar in design to the Innova Solar – now featuring a unique blend of Innova’s traditional Nitrilon material and dropstitch technology.

Innova Thaya Inflatable Kayak

The Innova line is unique for a number of reasons. First, all the kayaks are handmade in the Czech Republic – the factory has manufactured inflatable boats for well over 50 years. Secondly, the manufacturing process produces kayaks that can become quite compact, making them a great choice for travel. And third, the kayaks are environmentally-friendly as they are mostly PVC-free.

The Innova Thaya DS is constructed from a 1200 denier rubber-coated laminate material called Nitrilon (also referred to as Nitrylon) – this consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube.

Nitrilon is the same material used in high-end Zodiac-type yacht tenders, and is stronger, more abrasion and puncture-resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing.

The Thaya is different from Innova’s other kayaks, as the Nitrilon material is used for the floor’s drop stitch construction.

Drop-stitch technology consists of two layers of fabric held together by thousands of threads, allowing the chambers to be inflated to much higher pressures. This creates a kayak body that is quite rigid, stable and maneuverable. The Thaya features a 34 inch beam with a max payload of 595 lbs (persons and gear) and weight of 39 lbs.

Innova Thaya on the water.

Features include molded rubber carrying handles, tie-lines, two inflatable seats, two inflatable foot braces, multiple d-rings, gear rigging, removable tracking fin, a nifty 80-liter backpack, repair kit and sponge.

The Thaya is touted for 1-2+ paddlers; the numerous d-ring attachment points allow one to reposition the seats for optimal paddling comfort, as well as for securing extra gear, or adding an optional seat to carry a child. The Nitrilon material is rugged and easy to clean, yet still packs up extremely flat and compact.

Innova Thaya is portable

The Innova Thaya is estimated to be available in the States in late April or early May, with an MSRP of $1199. Stay tuned, we will have our detailed write-up on the Innova Thaya next month. You can also ask to get on our Notification List at AirKayaks for further updates on availability.

Advanced Elements of Benicia, California recently introduced one of two new kayaks for the 2019 product year. The AE1007E Convertible Elite is a package upgrade to the long-standing, popular AE1007R Advanced Elements Convertible inflatable kayak for one or two paddlers.

New Convertible Elite from Advanced Elements

First introduced in 2003 as the AE1004 AdvancedFrame2, the original model featured an integrated deck for double paddling. The kayak was reintroduced in 2006 as the AE1007R AdvancedFrame Convertible, sporting an open cockpit design which could be enclosed with optional single and double decks for solo or tandem paddling.

High-pressure floor construction

The new AE1007E Convertible Elite features the identical kayak materials and construction as the current AE1007R, but with upgraded accessories and features. The Convertible Elite now comes with a 4-6 PSI drop stitch floor, rather than the standard 1 PSI PVC floor with i-beams. The increased floor rigidity enhances the paddling experience with better tracking and glide.

Convertible Elite - Birdseye view

Other new features include the high-backed lumbar seat, now with a padded seat base. This increases the comfort providing a stiffer seat with inflatable lumbar support, and a slightly higher position that compensates for the rigid floor.

Advamced Elements backpack carrying case.

The standard carrying case has also been replaced with the roomier, backpack style case. making it easier to transport.

The current Convertible remains in the product line in the standard red color (AE1007R) as well as the high-visibility green color (AE1007G). Street price is $699.

Converrtible Elite on the water

The AE1007E Convertible Elite is available in red with a street price of $949.

AirKayaks also has the top-selling Convertible DS AE1007B-DS inflatable tandem with the same features as the Convertible Elite yet includes a front foot brace, double action pump with gauge and the StashPack 20L deck bag for a street price of $899.

Optional single and double decks are available for all three colors – red, blue and green.

See the AirKayaks.com website (links below) for more details or to purchase. AirKayaks also features customized and bundled packages at additional savings.

The new Advanced Elements Attack Pro high-pressure inflatable whitewater kayak will be coming late spring 2019. Stay tuned for details.

Posted by: airkayaks | February 17, 2019

Visit AirKayaks Storefront for Inflatable Kayaks, SUPs and gear

Browse through the following categories:

AirKayaks Main Page Categories

Inflatable Kayaks

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