W500 Kayak Review by Tim Kerr – Kayaker, New York

Tim Kerr is a kayaker, and member of a kayaking club in Buffalo, New York. He came to West Newton, Massachusetts, tested the W500, and ordered one right away. Here is his review:

Buffalo, New York. June 29, 2009
The Wavewalk W500 has allowed me to return to the water!

Paddling paddling his kayak standing up

After suffering from sciatica that developed after using my single hull kayak earlier this year, I searched for a more comfortable boat. Not only did I find the Wavewalk, I was immediately taken with its unique design that allows people like me with degenerative disk disease (I’m fifty-one) to lay back and rest, sit up straight or even stand and stretch out.

Tim l;aying down to rest on his W500 kayak
Kayaking is not for everyone but the Wavewalk opens the door for so many people that may have tried the sport and then gave it up because it just plain hurts their back. I’ve got a crushed disk that hates it when I stick my legs forward and then try to paddle as in a single hulled boat. The “saddle” combined with the twin hulls in the Wavewalk is a great invention.

Tim kayaking with urban background
I took the boat into the inner harbor in Buffalo. I didn’t try to lift it myself, I’ve got to be careful about such things. I brought along two extra items, a little waterproof pad to sit on, and a camera box on a leash. Attached are some pictures taken on my second day out. I spent the entire morning in the boat without back pain. The next day I was fine–no sciatica.

Tim paddling his W500 in a canal
PS, I drove nine hundred miles in two days to try this boat, to be sure it was right. I’m glad I bought it. I’m “back” in the water again…

Tim Kerr

Getting out of kayak without getting wet

Tim beaching and getting out the W way: From the front, and without getting his feet wet

Added June 27, 2009:

-“Crossed the Niagara River last week. Was I the first in a Wavewalk? Paddling is going well. Going out to Lake Erie to play in some waves for the first time today…. Getting used to carrying it on the car and made a shelf in my garage for winter storage.”

Update from August 2009: Tim’s first movie W kayaking on Lake Erie, Pennsylvania

November 2009: Watch Tim’s Kayak Reentry Movie From Niagara River, NY


Read more fishing kayak reviews that our clients have contributed >

9 Comments

  1. Pete

    Anyone that’s fishing from a kayak, or just paddling one should read this review.
    Like others of its kind, it gives hope by showing there’s a real solution to a problem that affects hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who are just asking to paddle a small craft without suffering from back discomfort, pain and injuries.
    Pete

  2. April Leder

    There is a huge body of evidence that shows how harmful traditional kayaking can be, and I’m not talking about anything extreme like whitewater.
    Just sitting in the L position combined with the torsional movements is a pain – literally.
    April

  3. Jeff McGovern

    Hey Tim,
    You nailed it on the head about the back concern. I had similar issues to work through early last year and the W boats were my therapy. The riding position plus being able to stand for readjustments and the option to move around so well makes the W a boat for almost anyone to use. You’ve made a great choice of boats and added years to the time you’ll be able to enjoy the water.

  4. admin

    Tim seems to understand quite a bit about such pains, and therapy –
    When he was here I had an acute case of pain in my shoulder (from too much computer work), and Tim thought it could be the result of pinched nerve in my neck, because of a slightly displaced vertebra. He suggested stretching, and after I did that for less than a day the pain was completely gone. I’m very grateful to him 🙂

    Yoav

  5. Roxanne

    SWEET!!! So Glad you found this wonderful Yak.
    That’s a great review, shows just how great the W really is.
    I know too well how pain can ruin a trip.

    I spent way too much money buying other yaks (4 total), trying to find one I can get in and out of.
    Then I found the W300, which I own 2 now, and my New W500 I picked up just a few months ago.

    The WaveWalk yaks had put me back on the water, fishing like a fool! 🙂

    Tight Lines
    Rox

  6. Marco

    Back problems and the benefits of the w saddle is a topic that keeps coming back on this website. I find it unbelievable that no other paddling website or forum mentions either. It seems like some people chose to ignore reality just because it doesn’t coincide with business interests of most kayak manufacturers, who happen to be advertisers 😉
    Marco

  7. Gary Tom

    I am a physical therapist. I am very happy to hear about a kayak that you can sit on vs L-sit, stand up in without tipping over, or even lay down on to manage your back pain. I would get this one vs other single hull yaks or even the yak with the spreadable rear pontoons.

  8. admin

    Hi Gary,

    I’m glad this widespread and painful subject gets the attention of professionals like yourself.
    I hope you’ll find this blog interesting as well:
    http://painless-kayak-fishing.blogspot.com/

    Yoav

  9. Johnnyrat

    I also have back pain and just received my w-500 and have to say its the most comfortable boat I’ve ever rowed. I had an unfortunate encounter with a bad chiropractor and have issues with L5 and sciatica now, and had tried SOT kayaks with bad results… but the w kayak is entirely a different story after only one outting!

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