The Gumotex Seawave is the most popular inflatable boat of the manufacturer and a real all-rounder. It can be used flexibly as a 1-, 2- or even as a 3-persons kayak and can be paddled both open and closed with an optional cockpit. Therefore, the Seawave enjoys great popularity among ambitious kayakers. We were able to paddle the kayak several times and would like to present our impressions in this test report.
455 cm | 14’9”
80 cm | 2’6”
250 kg | 551,2 lbs
68 x 43 x 30 cm | 2’2” x 1’4” x 1′
17.5 kg | 38.6 lbs
0.25 bar | 3,75 PSI
Which model has been reviewed?
Gumotex / Innova Seawave from 2018 and 2021
How did we organize the review?
The Gumotex Seawave was provided to us on a rental basis by Arts-Outdoors, a store and online shop for outdoor gear. Our review is independent of the manufacturer or store and reflects our own opinion of the boat.
How intensively has the product been tested?
2 bars = min. 1 day/ 2 half-day tours
3 bars = min. 4 tours
4 bars = min. 8 tours
5 bars = min. 12 tours (very intense)
Where have we tested the product?
Assembly and first impressions
The Gumotex Seawave is placed in a 100 liter waterproof transport backpack. Provided that the inflatable kayak is properly stowed in the backpack (valve does not press against the back wall of the backpack), the boat can be comfortably transported to next the river or lake for 15 – 30 minutes. We find the front pocket of the backpack very convenient to store small stuff and included accessories. Included accessories are a sponge, a valve adapter for an inflatable kayak pump, a compression strap, a fin, a valve wrench (included since 2021) and a repair box with glue and patches.
We have already had the case with several Gumotex boats that air has escaped from the bottom chamber. In most cases the valve had loosened or the pressure relief valve was dirty. In order to tighten, clean or even replace the valve, a special valve wrench is required, which is now included in the delivery.
Like all Gumotex boats, the Seawave makes a high-quality impression and impresses with its robust boat skin and solid workmanship. You can tell right away that the boat was designed for longevity. The boat skin is made of a rubber-coated fabric material and thus clearly differs from inexpensive entry-level models from other inflatable boat manufacturers, which often only rely on a PVC boat skin.
Before inflating, you push the fin into the fitting, which is located on the bottom of the boat. The directional fin makes the boat run straighter on the water. If you paddle rivers with a low water level, you should do without the fin.
The Seawave has one bottom and two separate side chambers, which are inflated to 0.25 bar / 3.75 PSI via push-push valves using an air pump. The valves are very easy to handle. You open the valve and turn on the valve adapter together with the air hose of the pump. With a reasonable air pump (i.e. at least 4 liter air pump with double stroke function) the Seawave is quickly inflated.
Normally Gumotex inflatable kayaks (except for the drop-stitch models Rush and Thaya) have an air pressure of 0.2 bar / 3 PSI. Due to the length of 455 cm / 14’9”, the higher air pressure of 0.25 bar / 3.75 PSI makes perfect sense to give the kayak a sufficiently high stiffness over the entire length.
For two, the assembled Seawave is easy to transport. It is relatively light for such a large kayak. The carrying handles at the bow and stern are very convenient for launching and carrying the boat. With the help of the boat line, which goes around the entire boat, you can also carry the kayak a few meters alone and put into the water.
In its basic configuration, the Gumotex Seawave is an open kayak. The boat has slots for cross braces and a Velcro edge (on the side tubes and on the bow and stern) to attach an optionally available cockpit. This transforms the Seawave from a recreational to a fully equipped sea kayak. Cockpits are available in 1 or 2-person configurations. There is no cockpit for the 3-person configuration.
Furthermore, the Seawave can be equipped with a rudder. We had paddled it without it and had not missed this when paddling. We have to say that we had optimal paddling conditions (no wind). In harsher conditions a rudder can help to keep the boat on track without having to constantly correct it. A steering system can also be a good choice when paddling rivers with low water levels. When the water is deep enough, the rudder blade increases tracking, but when the water is too shallow, you can simply retract it.
Seats, foot braces and space
The seats and footrests are also inflated. So you can determine the hardness of the seat yourself. The backrest and the seat cushion share the same air chamber, so the hardness of the two cannot be adjusted separately (it is different with the seats from the Gumotex Solar).
Depending on the number of paddlers, the seats and footrests are fixed in different places in the boat. For this, the corresponding markings help. We have tried the different configurations (1er, 2er and 3er kayak) and found the assembly very simple.
Without the seat, the kayak has an interior width of 31 cm / 1′. The seats are wider and must be literally pressed into the interior. This makes the seats sit firmly in the boat without slipping back and forth later when paddling. It also widens the interior space. In a 1-person configuration, the seat is most likely in the middle, giving you a seat width of 35 cm / 1’2”. In a 2-person configuration, it’s about 34 cm / 1’1”.
Depending on the configuration, the Seawave offers different space and touring possibilities:
- As a 1-person kayak, the Seawave offers a lot of legroom and a lot of space for luggage. Thus, day and multi-day tours are possible without any problems.
- As a 2-person kayak the Seawave offers a lot of legroom and enough space for luggage on day trips. With the optional 2-person cockpit, the kayak offers enough space for luggage on multi-day trips.
- As a 3-person kayak, the Seawave offers limited legroom and virtually no space for luggage (10 – 20 liter dry bag between the legs if necessary). Therefore, half-day trips as well as day trips with stops are possible. Ideally, you leave the transport backpack and the air pump in the vehicle.
If you want to paddle the Seawave with three people, you should consider three things: the 3rd seat is not included, the max. load is 250 kg and the limited space inside. We attached the three seats (2 Seawave and 1 Solar seat) as in the manual and measured the following seat lengths:
- Front: 90 cm / 3′ (with shoes) – 110 cm / 3’6” (barefoot).
- Middle: 80 cm / 2’6″
- Rear: 100 cm / 3’3″
In the back, the legroom is not a lot but quite sufficient. However, the seat width is narrowest here, at 30 cm / 1′. You can also position the seat a little further forward and gain 1-2 cm in seat width, but at the same time you lose legroom.
There is the least legroom in the center. An adult person could only sit there cross-legged or with legs strongly bent. Actually, this seat is meant for a child and not for an adult.
There is only enough room in the front for one adult person, provided you sit barefoot. If you wear shoes, you can only use the space to a limited extent due to the narrower footwell in the front.
In the 3-person configuration, it quickly becomes tight in terms of legroom. You don’t need a footrest in this case. Stretching out the legs is no longer possible for all paddlers. For short paddling tours the space is still sufficient, but for a long day paddling tour the space seems to be too little (especially since the luggage has to be stowed somewhere). Therefore, the Seawave as a 3-person is a nice-weather-kayak, which gives barefoot enough space for two large adults and a child. If the adults are smaller, the estimate needs to be put into perspective.
Our figures are based on a person with a height of 189 cm / 6’2″ and a seat length of 3’9″ cm. If you sit on the floor against the wall, you can also measure your seat length and thus estimate whether the kayak is big enough, if you also want to paddle it with three people. You can adjust the seats by the side straps on the backrests variably a little forward and backward and thus adjust the legroom for each paddler.
Optional 2-person cockpit
Actually, the Gumotex Seawave is an open kayak. However, the manufacturer offers two different cockpits as optional accessories for the Seawave, which is equipped with either one or two seat hatches. Thus, the Seawave can be reconfigured as a closed kayak.
There is no cockpit for the 3-person configuration. The cockpit comes with 4 cross braces so that it does not sag. Before inflating the boat, you must push these cross braces into the insertion tabs on the side tubes. After that, you can directly attach the cockpit. To do this, you only have to open the Velcro fastener on the side tubes, which takes a bit of effort at first. Nevertheless, the principle is good because when the cockpit is not in use, the Velcro is not exposed.
The attachment of the cockpit itself is very easy and fits perfectly. The cockpit is placed on the Velcro strips and the Velcro is closed again. This way, the cockpit is attached with Velcro on both sides. It sits very tightly on the side tubes and even in larger waves or in white water gets through the Velcro cover as good as no water inside the boat.
According to the manufacturer, the spray cover for 2 people with cross braces and insert rings costs 499€, for one person 444€. We find the price of the cockpit already quite expensive and can not really understand this pricing.
Gumotex has also improved the coaming of the Seawave. Those who paddle wilder waters or in the colder season with a spray skirt (e.g. from Gumotex or Hiko) will benefit from the improvement. With the previous version (up to and including 2020), the splash skirt could only be attached with difficulty and often came off again. This now works much better. Despite the improvement, you can not compare it with the coaming of a hard shell kayak.
Review of the Gumotex Seawave on the water
The Seawave can be carried well to water for two. It sags only slightly due to the higher air pressure of 0.25 bar. There are no separate carrying handles in the middle on the side walls for sole transport to water. Since the Seawave is quite light for a kayak of such length, the boat can also be shouldered well and thus carried over short distances.
For example, if you have the optional cockpit, you can also use just the cross braces in the open configuration, and use them as a sort of carrying handle (works very well) to carry the Seawave a few feet to the water and put it in the water. For river trips with longer transfers, especially when using the Gumotex Seawave as a solo kayak, we recommend a canoe cart (e.g. Eckla Beach Rolly, ExtaSea Beach Transport Cart).
Thanks to the open design, getting into the kayak is very easy. But even with the cockpit attached, the seat hatches are sufficiently large so that you don’t have to contort yourself when getting in.
Due to its length of 4.55 m / 14’9″, the inflatable kayak offers a lot of legroom for two paddlers and enough space for luggage on extensive day trips. The transport backpack (filled with luggage) can easily be stowed behind the second seat. If you like to paddle the Seawave as 2-person kayak in the off-season or if you want to go on multi-day tours, we recommend the optional 2-person cockpit. Then you have even more possibilities to store luggage.
The kayak can be paddled decently with or without a fin. On lakes and rivers with sufficient water level, we recommend a fin so that the rear paddler has to correct and counter-steer less. Overall, we like the straight running characteristic for an inflatable kayak with a fin. Compared to the Gumotex Swing 2, it runs noticeably faster and you can thus cover much longer distances in the same amount of time. This is mainly due to the long and slim design of the hull. The maneuverability is also good for a kayak of this length. However, we would not use it on river with constrictions due to the length, but fall back on a Gumotex Swing 1.
If you want to go even faster, we recommend looking at the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite, Aqua Marina Tomahawk, Itiwit x500 2 seater or the nortik scubi 2 XL. These kayaks have a sleeker lower hull once again and offer better trim on the water, especially in the 1-person configuration.
In terms of tipping stability, the Gumotex Seawave is very stable on the water. Not even a novice paddler will worry about capsizing right away on their first trip with an awkward movement. Still, it’s not quite as tippy as a Gumotex Thaya, Gumotex Rush 2 or Itiwit x100+, where even standing up is no problem. For this, the Seawave lacks a flat drop-stitch bottom to achieve such high rigidity in the bottom and high tipping stability.
Although the footrests are kept very simple, we have to say that they serve their purpose well. The footrests are secured to the floor with a strap and are also sufficiently wide so that they neither slip nor buckle away when supported.
When paddling, the seats provide good support and are comfortable. The straps on the backrests also allow the seating position to be adjusted individually during the ride. Due to the narrow design, we found the interior a bit cramped but still quite adequate. If you find the interior a bit too narrow, you can widen it a bit by using the cross braces of the optional cockpit.
After numerous tours with the Gumotex Seawave, we can also express our complete satisfaction with the boat skin on this Gumotex kayak. The boat skin is made of Gumotex’s own material Nitrilon, a rubber-coated polyester fabric. We have been paddling Gumotex inflatable boats since 2017. Initially, we were always worried about seeing deeper larger scratches in the boat skin after when we touched the ground. That has never proven to be true. The boat skin really puts away quite a bit. In the meantime, we no longer worry about grounding on river trips or when landing on the shore. If the boat skin does have a hole or tear, it can be repaired like a bicycle inner tube with the repair kit provided. For larger repairs, Gumotex offers a repair service.
Dismantle of the Gumotex Seawave
The Gumotex Seawave is equipped with a drain plug at the stern. If water gets into the boat while paddling, it can be easily drained through the drain plug instead of having to get it out with a sponge. This facilitates the drying of the boat.
The boat is very easy to wipe dry with a microfiber towel. You can reach all the wet spots inside the boat. Most of the air escapes by itself after opening the valves (unscrewing the valve cap and pressing in the red pin). You can pump out the remaining air with an air pump with deflate function. Alternatively, you can fold the kayak in the direction of the valves so that the air escapes when folding the kayak. With the enclosed compression strap, the folded boat can be well secured and stowed in the backpack.
Strengths and weaknesses of Gumotex Seawave
The Gumotex Seawave has its greatest strength in configurability and expandability. It can be paddled as a 1 to 3 person kayak and can be expanded with optional features. As a 3-person kayak, it offers relatively little space and is recommended for 3 adults or 2 adults with a child only for small tours. It must also be noted that the Seawave has a significantly higher purchase price compared to the most other Gumotex inflatable kayaks (e.g. Gumotex Swing 2 or Solar).
configurable as 1- to 3-person kayak + expandable (cockpit, steering system) + good running characteristics and good tipping stability + easy to transport + robust boat skin and good workmanship + good seating comfort and practical footrests + as 1 or 2 variant, plenty of space for luggage + practical drain plug at the stern and easy to dry + life line allows the kayak to be carried on its own to the water and provides support in the event of capsize + spare parts available + manufacturer’s warranty of 2 years + made in Europe
- expensive accessories (e.g. cockpit) – little splash protection without cockpit – little space available as a 3-person kayak – small seat width (for slim person, however, completely unproblematic) especially with 3-person configuration for the rear paddler – as a 2-person kayak without cockpit too little space and fastening possibilities for luggage on multi-day trips
Conclusion on the Gumotex Seawave
The Gumotex Seawave is a high quality inflatable kayak that is aimed at demanding kayak enthusiasts who want maximum flexibility with their boat. The boat can easily be converted into a 1-person, 2-person or 3-person kayak without much effort. This is also clearly a great advantage over fixed hull kayaks, where this is not possible. Whether cockpit, spray skirt, rudder or spare parts, the owner has numerous possibilities to upgrade his boat with additional equipment and to make it ready for further applications even after the purchase. For example, the Seawave is suitable for white water level 2 and thus allows paddling white water rivers, e.g. in the pre-alpine region. Due to the long construction we recommend wide and not too much blocked whitewater rivers. Although it is an inflatable kayak, it must be noted that Gumotex uses very robust and tear-resistant materials and thus possible damage is considerably prevented. Thanks to the slim and long boat shape and the good operating pressure the Seawave is not only very fast but also has really good running characteristics. Fortunately, the narrow cut does not compromise the stability of the boat.