Buoy Watersports Touring IK Sea Trials in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Written by Denny Hugo, co-founder of Buoy Watersports
After much waiting and anticipation, we finally received our inflatable kayaks (IK) from the factory, and it was time to test the Havasu Single Touring IK on the ocean. So, I traveled from Phoenix, AZ down to Cabo San Lucas with the IK in tow to test it out on the Sea of Cortez.
I had my personal flotation device (PFD), IK, paddle, and pump securely bundled in the heavy duty, wheeled carrying case. I was traveling by air, so I weighed the bundle, and it came it at 43 lbs., well below the 50 lb. weight limit for checked bags.
Upon arrival at the airport, I wheeled the IK to the check-in counter. One change worth considering would be to put handles on the top corners of the bag or to put an extended handle on the carrying case. It seemed to hit me in the foot as I walked along holding it by the handle on the center of the bag. It wasn’t a big issue and it sure beat having to carry it!
Everything arrived in great shape, courtesy of Southwest Airlines, and I gathered up my bags at baggage claim and headed outside to catch the shuttle from the airport to Cabo San Lucas. The IK fit easily into the back of the van and there where no complaints from the driver.
My friend and photographer, Adrian, had a Panga boat rented for us the next morning so we could head out to the famous Arches of Cabo San Lucas for some kayaking and picture taking.
It was a beautiful day to go kayaking! The temperature was around 80 degrees, and the winds were light and variable which allowed us to use the drone for some great videos and pictures.
The boat launch was about 500 yards down the beach from where we parked, so I used the backpack straps, which are integrated into the carrying case, to get the kayak over to the boat. Walking in sand with a 43 lb. pack was a good warm-up for the morning’s activities.
The boat ride to the Arches was about 10 minutes long. While we were motoring out, I took the IK, paddle, and pump out of the bag, pumped up the IK, fastened the paddle together and installed the spray shield and skeg. It took less than 10 minutes to have the IK ready to hit the ocean. Being that I wasn’t going to have to bust through any breaking waves to get out into the ocean, I elected to close the self-bailing holes in the floor to keep the inside of the kayak dry. We dropped the IK overboard, and I hopped in without having to get into the water.
The winds were light, and the waves seemed to be a very comfortable 1-2 feet; a perfect day to go explore. I started paddling toward some rocks and the IK tracked nicely. It wasn’t too much effort to move along at a good rate. The first set of rocks I headed towards had some sea lions sunbathing on it and a few of them were swimming around close to me. As I sat in the ocean, watching the sea lions, I felt very comfortable as the IK was very stable. I never felt like I was going to flip as I bobbed up and down in the waves.
I spent another 45 minutes paddling around, exploring the rocks and paddling over to Lover’s Beach, while Adrian was taking some great pictures and drone videos from the boat. Our hour was up in no time, so it was time to get back onto the boat and head to the shore.
The lightweight kayak was easily snatched out of the water and put onboard the Panga boat. We kept it inflated so Adrian could take it out for a spin after getting some more pictures of the kayak on the beach. He loved it and asked when he could get his!
After a morning of fun, it was time to pack up the IK and head back to the house. We deflated the IK on the beach and rolled it up, brushing off as much sand as we could as we rolled it up. We stuffed everything into the carrying case and I threw it onto my back for the return trip to the car. Adrian’s car is a small Subaru hatchback, and we could have easily packed 3-4 IKs into the back of it. The small size of the deflated kayak is definitely one of the best features of an inflatable over a hard-shell kayak!
Upon arrival at the house, I took the IK out of the bag and inflated it so I could get all the sand off it. I also hosed down the paddle and rinsed the sand out of the bottom of the bag. It’s best if you clean and dry your IK after every use, especially if you are in salt water. I find a little Dove dishwashing soap and warm water cleans the kayak up very nicely.
I let everything dry in the sun for about 30 minutes, wiped off any excess water, deflated the kayak, put all the accessories into the carrying case and left it in the corner of my garage until the next trip, which is planned for the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo where the waves should be a little bigger than the Sea of Cortez and I might get a chance to see some whales. I have great confidence the kayak will perform admirably!