W500 Kayak Review, By Steve Phillis, Victoria, Australia

Steve Phillis is an avid kayaker and beginning sailor living in Victoria, at the southern part of Australia. Before ordering his W500, Steve explained what got him interested in the W kayak:
-“I am passionate about health and just recently have succumbed to back pain as a result of kayaking.

We’ve decided to publish this partial account from Steve mainly as reminder that ‘stuff happens’ is the rule out there, when you’re on the water, especially if you’re practicing ‘advanced’ applications such as sailing:

I.    -“Received kayak and very impressed. I have also purchased Jim’s sail kit, and I love it also. Works well with wavewalk. I will be taking a friend out tomorrow…”

II.    -“People are curious of my new boat. Hit some high winds today sailing (beginner) and the kayak performed beautifully…”

And a couple days later:
III. -“Today a friend of mine tipped the kayak while sailing. It was difficult to right with mast, stabilizers etc… Will need to talk with Jim. I am aware sailing is not the normal… I purchased the whole kit with outriggers etc. Might have been more the operator since I had no issues. I was surprised that it could tip. Glad I know this now than when I’m sailing by myself. Cheers
Steve Phillis”

Sailing a fishing kayak on a lake in Victoria, Australia
sailing fishing kayak, Victoria, Australia

Later, Steve added:
-“Kayaking from a traditional kayak caused me considerable pain, and at the end of
last year I was out of action for 2 months and spent a lot of money on extensive physiotherapy and even had to take time off from work, not to mention that I could not sit in a car or seat for more than 10 minutes without considerable pain. . Determined to find an alternative, I came across wavewalk and purchased one. Guess what? No back pain. I am wrapped and I have taken up learning to sail using it.
Steve Phillis”

Steve standing in his fishing kayak on a lake in Victoria, Australia
Steve paddling in his fishing kayak on a lake in Victoria, Australia

The reader would benefit from watching this demo video of the sailing kit Steve mentions – The sail it features is big and powerful, and it drives the kayak at high speed.  The outriggers that come with it are relatively small, and this fact demands both better sailing skills and extra cautiousness than one might expect at first sight.
Other sailing fans who sail their W kayaks outfit it with bigger outriggers, such as seen in these reviews of Rafael Franck’s sailing W kayak from Florida, and Brian Vickery’s motor sailing kayak with folding outriggers from California.


Read more fishing kayak reviews that our clients have contributed >

10 Comments

  1. Pete

    Interesting!
    Every system has its performance envelope, and it goes without saying that the operator’s skills are part of the equation.
    I’m also for larger, especially longer stabilizers, in principle.
    Adding outriggers to your kayak doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t tip over, as most fishermen who own kayaks outfitted with outriggers have already learned.
    Outriggers are effective when attached to the middle of the boat, but they lose their effectiveness the closer you attach them to the stern, or the bow. Small size outriggers at the bow or the stern are almost useless.

  2. W kayak

    I’ve sailed the W300 with and without outriggers, and I think even one, large size outrigger attached to the middle section of the kayak is preferable to two small outriggers, especially if they’re attached near the kayak tips.

    A good size outrigger should be at least 2/3 of the kayak’s length, for hydrodynamic reasons, and at least 5.5″ in diameter to provide enough buoyancy.

    The further away from the main hull you attach such a large size outrigger, the more effective it is for balancing in both directions – left and right.

    Outriggers don’t mix well with fishing lines, or with paddling, which is why fishing kayaks feature small outriggers attached near the stern, where they’re less likely to snag fishing lines or interfere with the movement of the paddle. The price the angler pays is the little effectiveness such outriggers have when they’re needed prevent the kayak from overturning.

  3. bart

    my compliments to that fellow who managed to capsize a w yak. must have been hard. and compliments to wave walk for publishing this story

  4. Rox

    Awesome, except for tipping over.

    Add a sail to any type of boat + an inexperienced sailor = Tip Over.

    The wind is a power greater than……………. 🙂

    Take it slow, learn the ropes (or sails)

    Tight lines and Sail/MoPaddle safely.
    Rox

  5. W kayak

    Unbelievably, even very experienced sailors manage to tip over full fledged sailing catamarans that are dozens of feet wide…
    It’s part of the sport, I guess – wanting to reach the limit.
    Sailing accidents are nasty, but at least they’re not not as bad as a skiing, car racing, or motorbiking accidents…

  6. LAboyscout

    Steve, adding jumbo foam noodles on the sides of your kayak would serve as a contingency for such “unexpected” cases. These big noodles can support the kayak when it’s tilting a bit too much on its side, and they keep it afloat in a way that’s more manageable if it’s capsized altogether.

  7. Steve Phillis

    Hi guys, thanks for your advice. Will add the floats to the side. Also will practice tipping the boat back the right way and of course bailing. Thanks for advice regarding technical aspects of recommened size of outriggers. Really enjoyed sailing and I am a beginner. No back pain kayaking using the WW which I am impressed. All up I am very impressed with the WW and look forward to many more adventures. Cheers Steve Phillis

  8. Charles Rablin

    I am wondering, what is the cost of importing one of these to Australia. I dont see an australian agent advertised any where.
    Where would they come from America or New Zealand.

    Charles

  9. W kayak

    Charles,
    Wavewalk has no distributors in Australia, yet, and our Australian clients order factory direct from us.
    W kayaks are made in USA.
    I emailed you some more information,
    Yoav

  10. W kayak

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