- Can spin with one stroke
- Gear-hauling machine
- High profile
- Catches wind
- Subpar thigh straps for hard whitewater
- Width affects speed
The S10 is the perfect craft if you’re planning on as much touring as you are whitewater. Its rocker means quick spinning in tight situations, but it comes at the cost of speed. Its high profile also is a bit of a bear in the wind.
While the SOAR Inflatables 10 one isn’t as streamlined of a whitewater-oriented IK as the others we tested—it’s more of a Cadillac—it holds its own as a very capable river-runner.
Made from a tough hypalon/neoprene combo, its 12-inch tube diameter and four-inch-thick floor place you higher off the ground than the others, making it easier to see over upcoming horizon lines or eyeball tree fruit on meandering Costa Rican waterways. Y
You’ll also notice its 40-inch width and banana-esque rocker; like a hardshell play kayak, this makes it spin a 360 with just one stroke. While this hampers its hull speed somewhat, it also makes it suitable for tighter, more technical creeks, allowing you to turn away from trouble on a moment’s notice. The girth also serves as a great gear platform for longer trips.
In bigger waves and holes, like when we punched through the river-wide, rookie-munching C and D holes on the Yampa, a bow sprit deflects waves like a shield so they don’t land in your lap.
For outfitting, the knee straps aren’t as bomber as those on more whitewater-specific models, but enough to keep you in, and it comes with either a canoe seat for sitting or kneeling, or a lower IK seat with foam cushion and back rest. It comes standard with Hawkey valves, a double-action hand pump, packing straps, repair kit and whopping five-year warranty.
Specs: L: 10’; W; 40”
How We Tested It
We took this one down the tail end of raucous Fish Creek into the more tranquil Yampa, punching wave trains and holes and even making the do-or-die ferry to the Boat House Pub for a mid-run libation.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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