By: Zuzana Prochazka
I love to fish, and so do my wife and kids. They just don’t love it for as long as I do per day. I have a 20-foot bowrider with a 150 hp outboard and not much room to carry water toys to keep everyone busy when they get bored. I don’t want the kids on their smartphones all day, so what can I distract them with?
Bored family on a small boat? That’s easy: inflatables. Even on a compact boat, you can carry kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUPs), as long as they break down into a tidy package.
Inflatable kayaks come in many shapes and sizes. For basic models at basic prices, you may be able to get away for under $200. Check out the Sevylor Tahiti PVC tandem kayak that will carry two and weighs under 20 pounds.
As you step up in price, you’ll also step up in sophistication. Longer kayaks with small plastic skegs will track better and will be easier to paddle. Kayaks with rudders will be easier to steer. Some kayaks have bungee cord stowage systems so you can send the kids off with a can of juice or a towel attached.
The more advanced Walker Bay Airis inflatable kayak series includes three models: Play (8 feet, 6 inches), Sport (11 feet) and Tandem for two (12 feet). Storage dimensions when deflated are about 2 feet by 2 feet by 1 foot, and they weigh 18 to 28 pounds. The kayaks have adjustable seats, so people of all sizes can ride them; they have three inflatable chambers, so they’re unlikely to sink no matter what your kids do to them; and they store in a bag with backpack-style straps, so they’re easy to carry. The best thing about them is that they are made with Walker Bay’s AirWeb high-pressure construction. Imagine, a webbing inside the structure that allows you to inflate the kayak to a higher PSI without bursting it. It makes for a very rigid kayak, almost like a rotomolded version, but much more storable.
The same AirWeb technology goes into Walker Bay’s Hardtop SUPs that are 8 to 12 feet long, have fiberglass footpads that keep your feet stable, a built-in storage compartment that holds gear for longer outings and keeps it dry, and comes with an optional kayak seat you can attach for paddling around, which will kill two birds with one stone. The board requires a special pump that is not small but it does blow up the board in minutes without too much exertion.