The Stearns Pivot Self-Bailing River Runner – A Poor Design

Though it has been discontinued, the Stearns Pivot Self-Bailing River Runner can be a fun boat for a tall individual who likes to spend time modifying a poor design to make it usable.

Features of the Kayak

The cockpit has a removable high back seat with 4-way attach points, thigh straps, neoprene knuckle guards, and an integrated map window with a cover flap on the floor.


Stearns Pivot Self-Bailing River Runner

  • Dimensions: 9' x 36"
  • Capacity: 1 adult (225 lbs)
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Self-bailing design
  • Mini Boston valves

Accessories included:

  • Pump, repair kit, carrying duffle bag

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From the Frame Up

The Stearns Pivot Self-Bailing River Runner has a shallow arch hull, part of the patented TechTour design to provide quick response in fast water. The front air chamber has enough rise to serve as a foot brace for the paddler. The high rocker bow and stern improve maneuverability and these two sections are reinforced to protect against bumps on boulders and other obstacles. The self-bailing cockpit allows for water to drain out.

Reviews have indicated there are several design problems with this model and owners spent a lot of time and effort modifying their crafts to improve them. For example, the four bailing holes are insufficient to move water quickly. Other issues with the Stearns Pivot River Runner: the seat is too far back for many riders to brace themselves, and the hull lacks the rigidity for most fast water.

What We Say

Like the name says, the IK is designed to “pivot” because it rides and plays with waves rather than punch through them, but that’s the best thing you can say about it – it has a great name. Stearns, which is owned by Sevylor, no longer makes inflatable kayaks; instead, they focus on what they do best – producing life jackets. Unfortunately, you can still find the Stearns Pivot Self-bailing River Runner for sale online for around $500. There are dozens of better self-bail whitewater IKs out there as well as Sit-on-Tops that will out-perform this model. Don’t even consider a Stearns if you’re planning to spend $500 on an inflatable kayak.

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