The Innova Traveller Kayak - A Special Purpose Whitewater Kayak

by Tim Rosenhan
(Burlington, WA)

The Innova Traveller was designed for up to Class IV whitewater and is used extensively in Europe for "big whitewater." It can be used, of course, in flat water conditions, but the design intent was to have a portable kayak for experienced whitewater paddlers. The deck is provided not so much to keep the paddler dry and warm, but to keep the kayak at a constant buoyancy and to maintain its agility when in big whitewater waves. Open-decked self-bailing kayaks carry a volume of water with them in rough conditions and this makes them sluggish compared to the Traveller.

The Innova Traveller is quite maneuverable but tippy compared to self-bailing duckies like the AIRE Lynx. It's not a kayak that I would recommend to a new paddler. However, in the hands of a whitewater kayaker, the Traveller is amazing in technical conditions, and a team of Czechs took Travellers down the Zambezi River. I have seen paddlers Eskimo roll the Traveller using a "hand roll" without a paddle.

Because it vaguely resembles a sea kayak with its deck and cockpit, some people have thought that touring is its main purpose. Instead, the Traveller should be thought of as a special purpose whitewater kayak. Whereas a duckie paddles like a mini-raft, the Innova Traveller paddles like a portable whitewater slalom kayak.

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