Gumotex Swing IKs

Summer 2019:
They say new Swing Evos are in the works with D/S floors (like the Thaya) but also integrated D/S bows and sterns, which will be interesting.

swinginovlitesThe regular Swings are fixed-decked IK solo or tandem IKs pitched at recreational users who seek reassurance in a very wide boat and the dryness of a deck. There were once and are maybe still two versions of Swing 1 and 2. Innova gumotexfabrics18distributors in the US show red/black or 2017> green/grey hulled models which they still list as made from Nitrilon Lite™.
Europe and maybe Elsewhere never had the black-hulled models and are made in Nitrilon (Nitrilon Lite™ has been dropped). The claimed weights for identical boats from EU/US are the same – you presume the green/grey doubles are now identical. See the table right about IK materials with more here

SWING I ▪ Length 3.16m ~ 10′ 4″ ▪ Width  87cm ▪ Weight 11.3kg ▪ Maximum load 120kg ~ 265 lbs £549

SWING II ** ▪ Length – 4.02m – 13 feet  ▪ Width  87cm ▪ Weight  14.3kg ▪ Maximum load  220kg ~ 450lbs £729

Note that what Innova in North America call the Swing EX is a Framura in Europe – a fixed-deck, 4.1m Ik much more suited to solo touring and modest sea kayaking.

swingbotsAs others have commented, they appear swingwideto be taking on IKs from Advanced Elements and even the bird’s-eye view is similar. From the profiles it appears they’re more ellipsoid or ‘lemon-shaped’ than other models, or maybe it’s just that they’re substantially wider which exaggerates this impression.
swingbowThe Swings use 2 or 3 curved alloy crossbars (left) to keep the 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.

As far as the preferred boats for touring, what is desirable is a decked boat the length of a Swing 2, but set up for a single paddler. That is the Framura or Swing EX to Innova – a good-looking, solo-touring, fixed-deck IK for those who think soloing in a Seawave is a bit much.
Sure you can sit in the back of an SW2 and load the front, but it’s not right, is it?

What are the actual 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 but they fall into the less desirable ‘bloat’ category: much 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 for the smaller niche of multi-day touring and sea use (space, speed, convenience), they’re not so ideal.

Another review some Swingers chatGumotex assembly pdf
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6 Responses to Gumotex Swing IKs

  1. Hi again, thanks for the research and the advice. I ended up buying a Swing II, as the price here in Oslo was half of the Thaya. The hull is entirely made of nitrilon according the seller, and it says on the box “Our boats are not made of pvc”.
    I usually paddle my inflatables in the fiord of Oslo with my girlfriend, and it actually makes sense with a deck, as our experience with the Solar was that freak waves (caused by passing boats usually) often splashed over the sides. The Swing seems solidly built, but is, as you have noted, rather wide.

    As for the degradation of the Helios, the Twist and the Solar, I’d like to be more specific. The Helios was actually the Innova version (1997), and it was coated inside and out. I think that I destroyed it myself, because I punched holes in the seam between the inner and out sides, which was ok, and mounted metal eyelets, which was not OK, as it appeared that the glue of the seam reacted with the metal of the eyelets and started to leak air. Even then, the Helios lasted for ten years.

    The Solar (2008) was coated on the outside, but not the inside, whereas the Twist wasn’t coated at all. The Twist started to leak air the creases and folds, especially from the bottom part, and the Solar only leaked air from the creases and folds of the uncoated part, so I really think that this is an engineering error and that it had nothing to do with exposure to sunlight or other environmental stress.

    Best regards,
    Marius

    • Chris S says:

      Yes metal eyelets are a bad idea. I have seen the same on Grabners. I think Gumo lost direction a bit with Lite fabrics. But they are back on. track now. I am sure your all-Nitrilon Swing will be fine and very stable when a cruise liners comes too close ;-)

  2. Dear Chris, I’m happy to have stumbled upon you blog, as I’m in the market for a new inflatable kayak. I had the double Innova Helios from 1997 to 2007, in the end it couldn’t hold the air inside, and a bought a double Solar in it’s place. The Solar lasted from 2008 to 2018, when it started leaking air from almost everywhere. I bought a Twist for my daughter in 2013, got it replaced in 2015 as it didn’t holdt the air, the replacement gave up in 2017. My impression is that Gumotex has been experimenting with the fabrics, and that their products have actually been getting worse.
    My question to you is: Are the kayaks produced in 2018 worth buying, and is there anything special that i should look out for? I might get hold of a new Swing II for reasonable price, it’s probably produced in 2018.

    Best regards from Oslo, Norway.
    Marius

    • Chris S says:

      Hi Marius, I would be quite pleased but still a little surprised if I got 10 years from a Helios or a Solar before they leaked badly. Last year on the Tarn I saw a Helios which must have been 20+ years old.

      Did you leave them out in the hot sun too many times, perhaps? I have never owned a Gumo for more than 5 years (Sunny and current Seawave bought 2014) but I have no complaints and never had any leak, lifting of seams or puncture. I have left my Seawave inflated and outdoors (but out of the sun where possible) for 3 months at a time. I give it a coat of 303 UV protectorant once a year.
      The Twists are another matter. Many complaints (relatively) of leaks and weak fabric on the original models. The newer one is back to normal Nitrilon fabric.
      I don’t know if the 2018 quality has dropped – I have never seen a Gumotex shop anywhere. I doubt it but I must say i have never been fully convinced by the Swings which look like less expensive, ’Twist-quality’ boats. If you are looking for a double with an optional deck, all I know is you can’t go wrong with a Seawave like mine. Once you try a higher pressure IK you won’t go back. Or look at the new Thaya. Or, I have a friend who is selling my old Grabner Amigo. Built like a ’brick shit house’ as we say in the UK ;-)

  3. 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

  4. 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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