The Innova Solar is an excellent boat. Perhaps it is slower than a hard-shell of comparable dimensions, but if so it isn’t by much. I have used the Solar in 2-3 foot waves and the ride was very smooth, stable, and forgiving. One advantage of this inflatable is that it flexes over waves while hard-shells I have used have a tendency to get “bounced around” in similar conditions. The Solar assembles quickly and easily. It weighs only 22 or so pounds and easily packs down into a back pack that comes with the boat. This means that you can carry this boat anywhere.
I also own an Innova Sunny and can offer a few comments on how these two boats compare. Obviously, if there are times that you will want to take another passenger along, the Sunny is the only way to go. The Sunny can be configured as both a single and a double while the Solar is strictly for the single paddler. When paddled as a single, my GPS says that I generally move a little faster in the Sunny than the Solar, but this isn’t surprising since the Sunny is 2 ˝ feet longer.
A friend of mine who weighs about 225 pounds actually found that the Solar was a bit sluggish. The boat seems to ride lower in the water when he is paddling it than when my 160 pounds are on board and I suppose this affects performance. Perhaps this is why Innova says that the maximum capacity of the Solar is 220 pounds. My tentative conclusion from this is that if you weigh much over 200, the Sunny which has a maximum capacity of close to 400 pounds, may be a better choice even if you are going to paddle it solo. The greater carrying capacity and larger size also makes the Sunny a better bet extended camping trips. However, if you weigh less than 200 and do mostly day excursions or short camping trips, the Solar is a great boat. I use mine more often than the Sunny when going solo because it’s more compact, significantly lighter in weight, and takes even less time to set up.
One other difference between the Solar and Sunny worth noting is the seats. The Solar’s are somewhat cushier, but the Sunny’s comes up a little higher on the back. I find the Sunny’s seat to be slightly more comfortable, but I know some people who feel the opposite. The Sunny’s seat has a bottom that keeps you off the floor, while in the Solar you are sitting on the inflatable floor. This means that if there is any water at all on the floor from paddle drip or anything else, you will be sitting in it. The Sunny seat keeps you a little higher and drier. I obtained a Sunny seat from Innova to use in my Solar, even though the Solar seat works almost as well for me.I purchased an Innova Solar from The Boat People who proved to be most helpful with advice and information. I needed portability in a small yak for fishing when it was not suitable to haul a hardshell yak with me. The Solar is exceptionally well built, far more stable than I could have imagined, and paddles very well on flat water when the skeg/fin is attached. Moreover, it handles rough water far better than my SOT hardshell yak
The Solar does not come to a near stop like a hardshell when you are paddling into waves. it glides over them. What it lacks in flatwater speed (and it is not slow), it makes up for in speed when paddling rough waters.
I attached a piece of rope to the seat mount on each side of the seat and ran it through the footrest strap. thus, I can attach my paddle leash, rod leash, tackle bag and whatever for security reasons. I use it to fish the Gulf area bays in Louisiana. Inflates in a very few minutes and off you go fishing.
I am yet to puncture it, but I use caution and avoid sharp objects. I probably would not try to land a shark in it, but it works very well for flounder and redfish. Hose it down, spray 303 on it (and the valves) and I can see no wear or tear from saltwater use. You do get curious looks from other fishermen and "did you buy it at Walmart" cracks. I just keep catching fish while they are spending a lot of money and trying to start their outboards
I did order a Sunny seat which has a higher backrest. The salesman was most helpful. The Sunny seat is far more supportive and fits in the Solar just fine.
If you use caution and don't ram broken bottles or nails and such, I highly recommend the Innova Solar. it rolls up so small and weighs so little that you literally have a small boat to take along wherever you might go. Exceptionally well made for a bargain price, very stable when you get used to it, most comfortable, and will fish ocean bays and reasonable waves with confidence. Get a small folding anchor and it will stay in place even in strong winds. I am delighted with the Innova Solar. Compared with many other high end inflatable yaks, it is a bargain and far better built than the low end inflatable yaks so widely advertised on the net and elsewhere. If you are looking for a most portable and stable little yak from which to fish, the Solar would be very hard to beat. I strongly recommend it. I will purchase another Solar if and when this one every wears out.