Update 18-03-2015: Dutch Water Dreams is closed because of technical problems inside the building. Maybe it will reopen in fall? Has anybody got 2 million euro to spare?
About the Gumotex Safari:
The Gumotex Safari “Ducky” is a very versatile inflatable, self-bailing sit-on-top. It is fast enough to paddle calm waters, yet fully able to handle wild water up to class III. Unlike many other inflatable wild water duckies, it has a narrow hull, which requires the paddler to use all normal kayak skills like leaning away from the current and low and high bracing. If you cannot paddle a class III in a normal kayak, you will not be able to do it in this ducky either.
Pro’s and Con’s:
Pro: it is a fun boat!
Pro: it is light, only 12 kg
Pro: it folds up in a small enough package to take it as cabin baggage during air transportation
Pro: it turns very quickly, yet it is faster then the average creek boat (eg 4 km in 40 minutes on a lake)
Pro: the sit is really comfy
Pro: it is very easy to climb back into the boat after a capsize (great safety feature when paddling alone on open water!)
Pro: the material is very strong
Pro: the boat comes with a heavy duty backpack, which also can be used as a waterproof bag
Con: it is pretty hard to fold this backpack correctly, to make it really waterproof.
Pro: it is in-expensive. 500 euro in Germany, 400 euro in the Czech republic and I got mine for a mere 300 euro directly from a Czech web shop.
About rolling: it is harder than in a normal kayak, but it can be done. eg with a long role: youtube.com/watch?v=hOoBe_pSBl0, but I have a friend who can roll it pretty well with a normal screw role.
This boat is sold as the Innova Safari in the states and is there a bit more expensive.
Other video’s on the Safari:
youtube.com/watch?v=fYDvWfd53nY – This shows two Fench heroes (ab)using the Safari for low-volume creeking. It clearly demonstrates how tough the rubber is.
youtube.com/watch?v=69sLldDsux8 – A true Polish hero surfing the Safari in what seems to be a storm. I have no idea how he ever managed to paddle through that surf.
About this video:
This video shows that the Safari also handles well on a class III with quite a bit of volume. It was only the second time, that I paddled the Safari on white water. Yes the first time, I had quite a few swims. This time, I only capsized when I tried to surf.
About Dutch Water Dreams:
Located in Zoetemeer this white water track constitutes, what Dutch paddlers in these lowlands have dreamt about for generations: white water in our back yard. It is a challenging track, more suited for intermediate and advanced paddlers, than for beginners.
About NKB WildWaterAcademie:
The volunteers of WildWaterAcademie organize training sessions on DWD every three weeks. A very big advantage of these sessions is the absence of rafts. That is, if you do not consider my small ducky to be a raft.
During normal business hours, there can be a lot of rafts on the track, which make a descent of DWD even more challenging.