Rod Ratzlaff’s W500 ‘First Impression’ Kayak Review, Colorado

-“For me, the initial learning curve was pretty short, the “Ride” style felt quite natural, perhaps my years on motorcycles, snowmobiles, bicycles, skibikes, atv’s helped that along. I’ve played around with all the positions, standing up, tandem etc. I’m experimenting with paddling technique, weight shift etc. It’s a different kind of horse… Quick quips: stable, versatile, comfortable…
Speed: 3.5mph cruise, 5.0mph sprint, basically comparable with my 13′ day touring yak.
A guy on your forum called it a “kayakanoe”, pretty accurate.
I’ll send a comprehensive report after I’ve had more familiarization, done some customization, and have taken some photos.”

Rod in his W500 fishing kayak, Lake George, Colorado

-“I discovered your site, very interesting… I especially like the solo sea/touring designs.

Suggestion: Add a loop at the 4 corners inside of the cockpit as leash points. This could be accomplished using the existing j-hook mount(s) used for the cockpit cover rigging.

Rod Ratzlaff
Lake George, CO”

(October 2009) NEW updated and comprehensive review (article) >>

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6 thoughts on “Rod Ratzlaff’s W500 ‘First Impression’ Kayak Review, Colorado”

  1. Nice to see some western folks in the boats. With your lack of oyster beds there the bottom of that W should be real smooth and clean for a long time. You’ll find that standing position a blast for creeks, all the things you missed seeing sitting down in other craft will now show itself. I’ll be interested in your cold weather rigging as you get it set up. Looking forward to your pictures.

  2. Thanks Rod,
    Your initial comparison of the 11’4″ long W500 speed to that of a 13′ long touring kayak is pretty flattering.
    Take your time to learn the boat and fine-tune your paddling technique – I’d be interested to know what your speed comparison is once you’ve become a seasoned W paddler 🙂

  3. That’s not bad at all, since touring kayaks are faster than fishing kayaks.

  4. Congrats on your New W500. 🙂

    Wait till you get your first tow from a fish, It’s such a blast.

    Take your time, and really get the feel of your W, and you’ll be
    doing things and going places, no other yak can go. 🙂

    Tight Lines all.

  5. I’ve had my w500 out now only 4 times and I agree once you get your technique down it’s FAST, easily as fast as a 13′ kayak (if your in the aggressive mounted position)… and the leaning into a turn works really well, especially if your seated near the stern. I have gotten used to a milder cruising stroke in the seated position that allows me to paddle for literally hours with no problems or back pain (holding the paddle closer towards the center and letting the paddle and gravity do some of the work).

    Last night I took it out into some choppier, high traffic areas and got ALOT of inquiries from some sea-kayakers who were very impressed with a boat you can stand up in.

    Feels really weird, but good, that I am probably the only person in Seattle with one of these great little vessels now, but I feel that won’t be for a whole lot longer with all the questions I’m asked.

    Lately I’m scheming of ways to modify it, and am thinking of a crazy mural to paint on the sides, like it didn’t get enough attention already!

  6. Hi John,

    You’re definitely not the only person in the Seattle area who owns a W kayak 🙂 but you’re the only W kayaker from this city who’s communicating with us on a regular basis, and that’s great!


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