My Amigo mods
Sailing with Amigo
Amigo vs Seawave
Last of the Summer Isles
Touring the Slate Islands
Loch & Sea
Summer Isles Tanera Beg
First outing Medway River chutes
I sold my Incept K40 and in the summer of 2013 got a chance to start using a Grabner Amigo I’d bought the previous winter for around £900. The model has now been discontinued as it possibly wasn’t a great seller, looked too much like a Gumotex 410C which goes for half the price. Plus dropping the Amigo made way for Grabner’s pointy but rather wide Tramper (400 x 90cm) which weighs the same as an Amigo but costs 60% more.
The numbers for my new rubbery compadre are: 3.75m long, 78cm wide and 14 kilos, the lightest IK of this size I’ve had, and 2cm less wide than the 80cm which Grabner state.
A mid-IK crisis?
Why go backwards from the fast and agile Incept K40, you may ask? Maybe it’s a starry-eyed ‘first love’ thing but I have fond memories of my basic, do-it-all Gumotex Sunny (now sold as the slightly longer 410C), even though within a couple of years I’d reached the limits of what I could do in it.
The problem was partly the hull flexing which affected speed at sea and also made water come over the sides. With single side tubes and air pressure of 0.2 bar (3psi), flexing is hard to avoid on a 3.9m boat, but was solved by replacing it with the slim Incept K40 which ran 0.3 bar (4.5psi). The Incept was long, fast, high-sided, stiff and had a rudder which was all reassuring at sea. Despite being only 69cm wide I found it stable too, and I’m a bit paranoid about tippiness. But let’s face it – unlike Gael I’m only a coast-hopping amateur when it comes to sea kayaking. And anyway, I like to try new stuff. Crisis? No crisis here, amigo.
Less expensive and easier to work PVC and urethane type fabrics may be coming on (so I was told by a river guide in Utah recently), but for better or worse the Amigo is made of ‘old-fashioned’ Hypalon-like EDPM, a tough, rubber-coated polyester fabric which will last for decades and laughs off UV (more on fabrics here). While in Utah I passed some hypalon-lined salt evaporation ponds baking alongside the Colorado river (left). You could sneak in one night and cut out an IK’s worth and no one would even notice.
So the Amigo simply adds up to an expensive, very well made and much stiffer Gumotex 410C while being a foot shorter, 3 kilos lighter, about as wide and running 50% more pressure – 0.3 bar (4.3psi). Depending on the ambient temps I run mine at up to 5 psi to take into account the cooling of the air chambers once in the water (with subsequent pressure drop). To me it’s a better version of my old do-it-all Sunny that’s good for both coast hopping and river touring where the K40 was more sea focussed. For more Grabner action look at the category on the right or the menu above.