From Vincent Nicolet
Seawave main page (less speculation; more up to date user-info)
The Seawave was released in 2013 and in 2016 a very similar model came out with a rudder option. The Seawave can be used as a single, double or triple and was being sold in France and Germany for around €990 and in Czecho for around €700 and up to a staggering £1140 in the UK with extras. In the 2020 Covid recession sales it’s being discount by 20% down to £799 – a lot of boat for the money.
My stats are 4.5m, 78cm wide and 17kg with a claimed payload of 250kg which sounds plausible. Significantly, the Seawave’s pressure is rated at 0.25 bar (3.6psi), midway between the Gumotex IK norm of 0.2 and Grabner’s 0.3 bar. Some of Gumotex’s orange series whitewater boats run 0.25 and their IKs were never that shoddy. Having said that, the PRV in the floor of the Seawave has the same ordinary rating you’ll find in a Twist or a Palava or probably any other Gumotex IK (more here). It’s the side tubes that now rated to take 0.25 bar, not 0.2. What they now call Nitrilon is not like the stiff old hypalon-like Nitrilon of my early Gumboats. Increasing hull pressure is one way of getting a more rigid and therefore faster IK, but it’s the integrity of the ‘I-beam’ floor that’s the usual limitation. The Seawave has a pressure-release valve in the floor but not on the side tubes, and I read these pressures are said to be on the conservative side. Gumboats can handle more in the side tubes providing you watch it when out of the water in the heat
Looking at the stills and other pics of what may have been an unbranded prototype at Le Ciotat, the Seawave definitely isn’t just a regular 410C with an optional, €200 velcro deck supported by curved alloy spars (similar to my old Incept K40). Velcro’s a trick I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to consider on my old Sunny in an effort to make it drier.
The Seawave is long for an IK, but with just a skeg (also optional – but there’s a rudder now), you wonder if this could be hard work to turn into the wind. However, in France kayaks destined for sea use (beyond a certain distance from the shore) must be homologated or approved in some way, and the Seawave has passed this test.
The great thing with the velcro deck (for one or two) is that it can be removed; on my Incept I paddled like this 99.9% of the time, with the deck rolled to one side. Even at the slightly higher pressures, I have to say at one point in the video I noticed the Seawave bending with the swell. My Sunny used to do this, taking on water over the low sides, but with a deck that ought not be less of a problem, even if you imagine there’ll be some seepage through the velcro in heavy conditions or white water.
Flexing is a problem with any long inflatable and even my short and high-pressure Grabner (left) flexed in certain conditions. Manufacturers get round it with metal frames (Feathercraft, Advanced Elements), twin side tubes (some Grabners, Gumo Seakers, Incept) stiff fabric (Incept) or just high pressures like Grabner, but that demands very good construction. Drop-stich panels are the new way of doing it now.
There are more impressions as well as some nice pictures from an actual owner, Norman, right here (translated from French). He ran a 410C for a few years and talks of pumping his Seawave right up to 0.35 (5psi) bar which makes for good speed (6kph average he claims). That is 40% above the recommendation so let’s hope the seams on the Seawave can take it, cap’n.
It looks like grey, Halkey-like valves in the back, not the old-style black ones that Gumo used. And I see that Gumotex have again adapted an idea that I had on my Sunny years ago (right), a drain hole at the back. Only theirs features a neat sliding cover. It could all be the normal process of improvement of course, but I recall that after I had some smaller skegs made for my Sunny (and sold to a few others), Gumotex reduced the size of theirs to the current black plastic ones. And then the velcro deck idea. Whatever, it’s gratifying to see ideas I have tried or written about actually making it into production.
Enough of this speculation! Actual impressions on receiving my boat here, followed by half a decade of use.