The Tobin Wavebreak is a bargain-priced two-person inflatable kayak that’s sold at big box stores and on Amazon. It comes with several key accessories, too: a backpack for storage, two paddles with aluminum shafts and plastic blades, a hand pump, and a repair kit for making simple patches. Before you rush out to score a steal of a deal on one of the cheapest kayaks on the market, let’s address the question, what is a Wavebreak kayak, to determine if it’s right for you.
Manufactured by Tobin Sports, the Wavebreak is an inflatable two-person kayak meant for casual use on calm, sheltered waters. The most important Tobin Wavebreak kayak instructions you can receive is to be modest with your expectations: this is an entry-level inflatable kayak that prioritizes a cheap price over seaworthiness—a critical factor to bear in mind when considering your safety on the water. However, when used in the right environment and with proper safety gear, the Tobin Wavebreak kayak can be a fun option to discover paddling.
Essentially, the Tobin Wavebreak is a slimmed-down rubber raft that’s meant to be paddled using kayak paddles. It is lightweight and packs up to fit in a car trunk and store in a closet, and offers excellent stability on the water for a wide variety of users. The tandem design means you can paddle it with a friend, though the Tobin Sports Wavebreak kayak can also be used solo. This Tobin Wavebreak kayak review describes how its design features influence handling on the water, key safety considerations, tips for setup and how this inflatable kayak compares to competitors.
Tobin Sports Wavebreak performance
Tobin Wavebreak Specs
Length: 10’1” / 308 cm
Width: 33.9” / 86 cm
Weight: 37 lbs / 16.7 kg
Capacity: 440 lbs / 200 kg
MSRP: $219 USD
On the water
The Tobin Wavebreak’s greatest attribute on the water is its rock-solid stability. A 34-inch width makes it pretty difficult to tip it over, creating a comfortable platform for floating around in calm water. The 10-foot length makes for a very maneuverable kayak at the expense of speed. Don’t expect to win any races in the Tobin Wavebreak: not only is it a relatively short kayak, which hinders glide, the spud-shaped inflatable hull barges through the water and gets pushed around by the wind. Fins attached to the hull of the kayak help you move forward, but it’s a good exercise in teamwork to keep it going in a straight line while paddling with a partner.
The inflatable hull is quite buoyant, allowing for a maximum capacity of 440 pounds—considerably greater than similarly shaped hard-shell recreational kayaks. Outfitting is basic: the Tobin Wavebreak features an adjustable seat but lacks foot rests, which makes it less efficient to paddle. Overall, the performance of the Tobin Wavebreak is adequate for occasional use, but if you’re looking for an inflatable kayak for more serious use, you are better off investing in a longer and sleeker model.
Market & demographics
The Tobin Wavebreak inflatable kayak is designed for people who want a cheap kayak for occasional use. Though stable and easy to enter and exit, the Tobin Wavebreak is slow and cumbersome to paddle and hard to handle in windy conditions. The inflatable design makes it extremely buoyant, but it’s not meant for use outside of sheltered coastlines. Look elsewhere if you want a kayak to help develop your paddling skills in more challenging conditions. Some Tobin Kayak Wavebreak reviews allude to the boat’s suitability for paddling in easy rapids, but we recommend you stick to smooth-flowing rivers or invest in a more serious inflatable kayak for whitewater use.
Is Tobin kayak a good brand?
Google “is Tobin kayak a good brand?” and read between the lines to get the full story on this discount-priced kayak. The top hits are options to buy a Tobin Wavebreak inflatable kayak. Costco, Walmart and Amazon come up high on Google. It is telling that you won’t find a website representing the Tobin Sports brand. It’s also difficult to find any mention of design specifications or performance. Clearly, Tobin Sports is a brand meant for those looking for a cheap kayak for recreational use, with little attention to detail and overall low performance. However, if you’re simply looking for a basic kayak for floating around at the cottage or beach, the Tobin Wavebreak two-person kayak is perfectly adequate.
About the Tobin Wavebreak
Built like a rubber raft with twin air tubes and a flat, inflatable floor, the Tobin Wavebreak kayak is supremely stable. Though it’s comfortable for beginner kayakers, this design is meant to facilitate inflation rather than performance. Inflatable kayaks tend to respond quickly to paddle strokes due to their inherent buoyancy; at the same time, don’t expect the Tobin Wavebreak to paddle in a straight line particularly well as the hull tends to flex as it moves through the water. A pair of removable fins on the hull help tracking, but the design is always prone to getting blown around by the wind, so be wary of venturing any distance offshore. As with any kayak, consider signing up for a beginner class for safety and paddling tips to use your Tobin Sports Wavebreak. Instructions usually focus on getting in and out of the boat as well as specific strokes to help you maneuver the kayak.
Your first step in getting on the water is to review the Tobin Wavebreak manual to learn how to inflate and set up your kayak. This inflatable kayak comes packed in a convenient backpack, as well as an Air Hammer hand pump for inflating. Make sure you have enough space to complete the inflation process. Consider using an electric or battery-powered compressor to save time—just make sure not to overinflate your kayak. Keep in mind that your kayak may lose air pressure if you’re paddling in cold water, so be prepared to adjust the level of inflation when required. Getting the right pressure is a matter of feel, with underinflation causing noticeable drag on the water. With practice, you should be able to set up the Tobin Wavebreak kayak in under 15 minutes.
Material & construction
The Tobin Wavebreak is constructed of heavy-duty PVC, a rubber-like material that bounces off of impacts and resists punctures from dog claws and tears from sharp rocks. The hull is made up of large air tubes on each side and smaller tubes in the floor area, which create greater stiffness. Of course, it’s important to protect all inflatable kayaks from sharp fishing hooks and knives. Equally important is storing your kayak out of direct sunlight to maintain its color and durability.
Buying a used Tobin Sports Wavebreak
Thrifty shoppers can save a few bucks by buying a Tobin Sports Wavebreak used kayak. There are plenty of used Tobin Wavebreak kayaks available on buy-and-sell platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Kijiji. But it’s important to be an informed shopper and inspect the kayak carefully before making a deal. Do your research and know what you’re buying—and try to insist on a test paddle before you commit to making a purchase. Check out this article for more information about used kayak shopping.
Start by examining the kayak closely for missing parts or obvious damage. It goes without saying to check for leaks in an inflatable kayak like the Tobin Wavebreak. Inspect the valve area and make sure that the boat holds air. You should also take a close look at the cockpit area to ensure the seats are both functional. Ask the seller about any modifications and inspect how these changes have influenced the fit and performance of the kayak, especially in terms of entering and exiting the boat.
A used kayak’s overall condition is written all over its surface. Watch for obvious fading, an indicator of prolonged sun exposure. Extended outdoor storage can degrade the boat’s PVC construction.
Some sellers may “sweeten the deal” with accessories like PFDs (life jackets) or paddles; it’s critical to ensure that these accessories fit properly. In the end, you may score a great deal on a used Tobin Wavebreak, but the fact is this boat’s suggested retail price is already an excellent bargain for entry-level paddlers.
Tobin Wavebreak accessories & outfitting
The Tobin Wavebreak two-person kayak comes just about ready to paddle—all you need to add are PFDs, a 50-foot heaving (rescue) line, a whistle or air horn, and a bailing device to complete your safety kit. The Tobin Sports Wavebreak kayak bag is durable and provides convenient storage. The included paddles are tough, though heavy when compared to more advanced and expensive models. Paddle holders on the side of the kayak are handy if you just want to drift or take photographs while out on the water. The package comes with a pair of removable fins to assist with tracking (moving straight on the water) as well as a hand pump for inflation. All the outfitting is basic and reflective of a value price. Some reviewers indicate that the Tobin Wavebreak seats don’t offer enough back support to allow the paddler to maintain an upright posture.
It can be difficult to track down Tobin Wavebreak kayak replacement parts. The company does not maintain its own website, so if you lose a fin or break a seat buckle your best bet may be modifying a spare part from another kayak brand. Lack of service after the sale is a distinct shortcoming of the Tobin Wavebreak.
The Tobin Wavebreak kayak does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Depending on where you purchase your kayak, you may benefit from a short warranty period from the retailer.
How the Wavebreak compares
The Tobin Wavebreak is one of the cheapest two-person inflatable kayaks on the market. Here’s how it compares to other options.
Tobin Wavebreak vs Intex Explorer K2
The Intex Explorer K2 is another budget-priced, entry-level two-person inflatable kayak meant for recreational paddling. It boasts similar specs to the Tobin Wavebreak, with a 10-foot length and width of 36 inches. The maximum capacity is slightly lower at 400 pounds. Handling is similar, with good maneuverability on twisty rivers. Both of these models should only be used close to shore on sheltered water. Some users may prefer the overall comfort of the inflatable seat of the Intex Explorer K2 compared to the more basic seat on the Tobin Wavebreak. Read our full review of the Intex Explorer K2.
Tobin Wavebreak vs Advanced Elements Island Voyage
The Advanced Elements Island Voyage is another two-person inflatable kayak for casual beginner paddlers in sheltered water conditions, as well as easy whitewater. It offers somewhat better overall performance than the Tobin Wavebreak, with a higher price. The 11-foot Advanced Elements Island Voyage two-person kayak has somewhat better glide and similar stability characteristics to the Tobin Wavebreak. You’ll find the cockpit is designed for greater ergonomics and comfort—hallmarks of a higher-quality kayak. The Advanced Elements Island Voyage is also noticeably lighter than the Tobin Wavebreak, tipping the scales at only 31 pounds.
Where to buy
It’s easy to shop in-store or online for the Tobin Wavebreak. Costco wholesalers stock this boat at select locations in the United States and Canada. Searching Tobin Wavebreak Amazon reveals plenty of options for online shoppers, too.
Pros & cons
- The Tobin Wavebreak is one of the cheapest two-person inflatable kayaks on the market, and it comes equipped with two paddles and a pump
- Offers the versatility of being able to paddle solo or with a partner, up to a maximum capacity of 440 pounds
- The inflatable design is easy to pump up and deflate and stores conveniently in the included backpack for transportation and long-term storage
- On the water, the Tobin Wavebreak’s greatest attributes are its stability and buoyancy, making it perfect for first-time paddlers. Just bear in mind the open deck leaves paddlers exposed to the elements. This entry-level kayak should only be used in sheltered water conditions
- The Tobin Wavebreak is slow and difficult to paddle in a straight line
- The high side tubes make for a less ergonomic paddling experience
- Extremely susceptible to being blown around in strong winds and should only be used in calm conditions
- Outfitting is basic and minimal, and a lack of footrests in the cockpit contribute to an overall lack of efficiency on the water
- Does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty
- Replacement parts are hard to find
Inflatable recreational kayak reviews
- Inflatable Recreational Kayak Review: Intex Challenger K1
- Inflatable Kayak Review: Sevylor Colorado
- Inflatable Recreational Kayak Review: Intex Challenger K2
- Inflatable Recreational Kayak Review: Intex Explorer K2
- Inflatable Kayak Review: Sea Eagle 370
- Inflatable Recreational Kayak Review: Innova Thaya
- Inflatable Kayak Review: Advanced Elements Airfusion Elite
- Inflatable Kayak Review: Hobie Mirage i9S
Feature photo: Tobin Sports // Costco