John Hunter’s Review of His W500 Fishing Kayak – Seattle, Washington

I have back pain and  and have to say my w-500 is the most comfortable boat I’ve ever paddled. 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 I could see the w kayak is entirely a different story after only one outing!

fishing kayak, Seattle, Washington

After I’ve had my w500 out for only 4 times and I could see that once you get your technique down it’s FAST, easily as fast as a 13′ kayak (if you’re in the aggressive mounted position)… and the leaning into a turn works really well, especially if you’re 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 a lot of inquiries from some sea-kayakers who were very impressed with a boat you can stand up in.

fishing kayak, Seattle, Washington

I am loving my w-500… After I’d been out about 6 times, took it out with a 230lb friend… I am an intermediate paddler and my friend had minor experience. After several failed attempts to paddle together I had him try it solo. He had a good sense of humor, and I’m not deterred!  🙂 Good times indeed!

fishing kayak, Seattle, Washington

I am very comfortable paddling it by myself now and spend 1/3 of the time paddling it standing, and get tons of inquiries. I’m getting questions from Salmon fishers and sailboats (mostly because I row near a fishing/sailing boat moorage now).

I did not try my W500 first before I ordered it, I simply did TONS of research and asked many people I know who are experienced. I am one of the very satisfied customers who’s incredibly happy with his decision, it was not hasty.
I was asked last night by some kayaker where he could try a w-kayak… i said “right here, right now… pull up to that dock and I’ll let you give her a spin”

fishing kayak, Seattle, Washington

The last 3 times I’ve been out on my w-500 was to lurk outside the fish ladder and watch the salmon return to spawn, kind of fun watching 24″ fish jumping all around you, oh but I have a better view than everyone else! 😀

I have still yet to try my w-500 for fishing, but will soon once I find a few good nearby spots, and will be sure to take more pics.

Thanks again and happy paddling!


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10 thoughts on “John Hunter’s Review of His W500 Fishing Kayak – Seattle, Washington”

  1. Hi John,

    Tandem is not a simple thing when it comes to very small boats like kayaks.
    The optimal way to do it is the following:
    1. One paddler should be good enough to compensate for the novice’s errors. That is to say that one member of the team needs to be a proficient W kayaker, and one that has already taken a passenger on board (E.G. a child). This paddler should paddle from the stern, and act as ‘skipper’.
    2. The second passenger should paddle the kayak solo before venturing into tandem paddling. This is the best way to minimize possible mistakes, and over-reacting to changes. This paddler in the front should preferably have a paddle, not just because it would help the ‘skipper’, but also because it helps in stabilizing.
    3. When paddling, the front paddler needs to paddle in a slow, paced, left-right motion, while the back paddler’s paddle follows the movement of the front paddle in parallel, with small adjustments (power, J strokes and more). Both paddlers should focus on staying calm and not over-reacting to balance problems, I.E. stay cool – especially big guys…
    After some time it’s getting easier, and eventually not much of a problem.
    It’s also important not to overload the boat, and not to expect to same performance level as in solo paddling – Every small vehicle is sensitive to changes in load, whether it’s a motorbike or a paddle craft.


  2. You seem to be having a great time with your new W500. The more you use it the more it will keep calling you to the water. The boat is very habit forming. It’s always nice to paddle up to folks standing and strike up a conversation. Welcome to a whole new world of comfortable pain free kayaking.

  3. Great job letting the on lookers take it for a spin.

    Like Adim said, you both need to understand how the W works,
    then the tandem yaking won’t be so hard.

    I have not yet tried it, but since I own a few (5 now),
    2 W300’s, and 3 W500’s, everyone gets their own to Paddle 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear more, once you are more comfy, you snap us some pictures! 🙂

    Tight Lines All

  4. With that fine craft of yours you’ll be able to catch salmon pretty easily!

  5. John and Jason are my best friends. Great review John. From a physics stand point, this boat is probably the most stable out there. I”m sure it has it’s pro’s and cons compared to a single hull boat, but from what I’ve seen you need it for, it’s all PRO’s for you. It might be in its own class of boat, but I guess Kayak will fit for now. Good job on letting someone interested try it bro. I will take you up on that offer one day soon as well. Anyways, Great review John!


  6. …I”m sure it has it’s pro’s and cons compared to a single hull boat,—

    hey zip,
    what cons??
    100% pros compared to siks, and only pros compared to a sot, except maybe one con because sots are self bailing


  7. Zip is right, and the W is a new class of boat, without any doubt. Wavewalk calls it a kayak for marketing reasons, and that’s understandable. Since nowadays the word kayak can mean anything from a paddle board (sot) and even pedal driven paddle board to all kinds of small and pedal paddle crafts with one or two outriggers – why not?
    If people call it a kayak, then be it – a kayak, or “super kayak”?

  8. SWEET Pictures!!! Nice job getting out and I can’t wait to see your First fishing report!! 🙂

    Tight Lines and Safe Paddling All. 🙂

  9. John, would you be willing to let others take it for a quick spin or see it in person at least?

    WaveWalk: I assume that you don’t have a retailer out here in Seattle?

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