Reviewing the fishing kayaks’ review

We just found that Massachusetts-based On The Water Magazine (OTW) recently published a broad review of fishing kayaks, and this is what they said about the W500:

Wavewalk Kayaks

Massachusetts-based Wavewalk Kayaks were designed for painless paddling, allowing anglers to stretch out and even stand up, thanks to a double-hull, catamaran-style design. Wavewalk’s unconventional design is remarkably stable and offers plenty of storage. Several levels of customization allow an angler to choose the number of rod holders and best-suited types of rigging.”

Fair enough, considering the fact that unlike some of our competitors, we don’t advertise in OTW magazine, and considering this magazine’s competitors (in which we don’t advertise either) altogether fail to mention our products, let alone talk about the advantages they offer 😀

OTW tells its readers we’re based in Massachusetts, which is nice, and they use the word design three times, which is nice too, except that US patent number 6871608 named “Twin Hull Personal Watercraft” we hold is a utility patent for a full-fledged invention, and not a mere design patent. But that’s just technical and legal stuff, although the magazine tells its readers that one of our competitors “revolutionized” the sport of kayak fishing back in 1997. But unlike us, those revolutionaries seem to deserve a special mention, because they advertise in the magazine 😉

It their W500 review, OTWs editors cover the main points of painless paddling, stand-up, stability and generous storage, but they say similar things in different words about nearly every other fishing kayak they review, without establishing much of a qualitative or quantitative distinction between them. For example, they tell their readers that a sit-on-top kayak “boasts enough stability to allow stand-up fishing”, which may be true if you’re an athletic, young and lightweight dude who happens to fish on a mirror-flat pond, but not if you’re an average guy fishing in real world conditions, in which case your only choice is the W500, realistically speaking.
Do OTW’s editors believe that anglers who are neither young, lightweight or athletic, who wish to fish in normal water and weather conditions, should fish only from big motorized boats? That may be the case, since many people are not fully aware of the solutions Wavewalk offers.

As for storage (or lack thereof) – a problem as big as anglers’ need to take with them various gear and tackle on board, a quantitative or qualitative argument telling the reader that the W500 in fact solves this problem completely would have been appropriate, although not exactly politically correct towards other kayak manufacturers who advertise on the magazine.
We find that OTW missed an important point by not mentioning the unique motorizing options offered only by the W500. The magazine’s editors are entitled to believe that kayak fishing is a sport meant only for young and athletic dudes who don’t care about getting wet, and for whom human-powered propulsion works over long distances. However, the fact of the matter is that many kayak anglers are no longer young or physically fit for paddling or pedaling long distances, and these people need to go places without the hassle of owning and operating a full size motorboat and the trailer that comes with it. Furthermore, we know anglers who own large size motorboats who won’t fish with them on weekends because they hate wasting time waiting at crowded boat ramps. We take it for granted that OTW magazine is aware of this problem.

What’s a revolutionary fishing kayak?

A motorized Wavewalk kayak offers a perfect solution for a growing number of anglers who for good reasons abhor sit-on-top and other conventional fishing kayaks, and want to enjoy the freedom to travel long distances while being dry, stable and comfortable.
A motorized W kayak not only offers its users a combination of the advantages found in other fishing kayaks and small motorboats – it surpasses both these categories of watercraft, which makes it revolutionary in the true and full sense of the word.

In sum, in their fishing kayak review, On The Water magazine did a fairly decent job compared to other fishing magazines out there, who completely fail to inform their readers about things that matter to their readers.
We understand the constraints that all magazine publishers face these days within a business model based mainly on advertising revenues, and we only wish some magazine editors showed more interest in real innovations for real-life anglers who fish in real-world conditions.

9 thoughts on “Reviewing the fishing kayaks’ review”

  1. Yoav-
    I read the entire Buyer’s Guide and the description of the kayaks are remarkably similar. So similar in fact, you could probably switch the captions around and not even the manufacturers would notice the difference! But of course, the same is true of the kayaks themselves.

    Wavewalk’s revolutionary design offers so many advantages I think it is often difficult for a reader to hold the entire “picture” in their head; “What makes it so stable?”, “Where does all my stuff go?”, “How can it take an outboard motor?”, “Where do my feet go?”, “How come my back won’t hurt?”, etc., etc. etc.

    I have to assume that magazines (on-line and print) are keenly aware of the Wavewalk and yet they never actually make the effort to test the product. As you say, they must have their reasons.

    Of course, the fact that they don’t/won’t put us to the test is the reason that buyers should! People should go to a kayak store and experience car-topping, getting in and out and paddling around for a few hours in one of these clones. Try standing up and sitting down. Try paddling in the wind and see how it tracks. It is a very efficient process because for the most part, if you try one then you’ve tried them all! Then do the same with a Wavewalk. It’s a better way to make a decision, especially one you will have to live with for years to come.

  2. Thanks Michael,

    After I finished editing this article, as I pressed the ‘Publish’ button, I expected you and others to be somehow critical of such articles, which are unlikely to make Wavewalk and its products more popular among magazine editors 😉
    I appreciate your tolerance of Wavewalk’s unconventional approach to marketing and PR 😀

    We have to accept that the W isn’t just the best of breed in its market, but its altogether something different that enables what we call ‘Kayak Fishing As It Should Be’, in contrast with the rather unpleasant experience most anglers have when they fish, or try to fish out of other kayaks, an experience commonly referred to as ‘Kayak Fishing’.
    This means that our blog, The Fishing Kayak Blog, is not merely a manufacturer’s means of communicating with clients and distributors, but it’s also an online publication that reports and promotes everything related to Kayak Fishing As it Should Be.
    In other words, we’re here to reform and advance kayak fishing.

    Yoav

  3. Yoav-
    You are quite right about my initial reaction to the tone of your article. But after I read it a couple of times I relented. Especially when I considered that you have been in business for 9 years and the industry continues, essentially, to ignore the product. I’ll leave it to others to speculate about their motives. In any event, one would think that these publications would be anxious to inform their readers about a product that makes such grand claims. Alas, when it comes to kayaks, they just don’t want to rock the boat!

  4. Michael,

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying ‘Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery’ –
    Although our competitors are legally prevented from copying our designs due to the fact that we hold a patent for this invention, they have certainly been imitating us in a more ‘spiritual’ way 😀 –
    Years ago, we were the first to tell anglers they should be able to paddle and fish while standing up in their (W) kayak.
    When we started saying that, all other manufacturers scoffed and claimed this wasn’t necessary, only to change their mind in recent years, and claim that all the kayaks they offer are stable enough to provide the much needed stand-up paddling and fishing quality, which in fact is a false claim from a real-world perspective, but what matters here are not the material facts, but the spirit! 😉
    Similarly, when we told people they shouldn’t suffer form back pain while kayaking, other manufacturers ignored to notion that using their kayaks produces back pain and other types of severe discomfort, only to change their claims gradually, and offer various ‘ergonomic’ seats, which don’t change much in reality, but at least the spirit (delusion/hype) is there 😀
    We’ve bumped into instances of other kayak manufacturers offering clients to motorize their kayaks, which is yet another example of ‘verbal imitation’ of a successful, real-life concept Wavewalk’s clients enjoy, while others can merely play various mental and verbal games, and pretend they have something real there.

    All this is to say that the kayak ‘industry’ is far from ignoring our product, judging from the broad and continuous ‘spiritual’ and verbal imitation going on.

    The kayak and fishing media don’t really ignore us – They simply know we stopped advertising in magazines years ago, which is why they have nothing to gain from us.

  5. Yoav-

    You and I are in the Wavewalk business but most readers of this blog are not. At this point I think it would be very instructive for the Wavewalk owners to chime in with their views and feelings about the kayak industry.

  6. Twenty years ago this kind of public discussion and critic would have been impossible. The internet gave everyone a voice, including small manufacturers.
    Your article and discussion are entertaining, and you may actually be doing a favor to some of those fishing magazines who are willing to learn.
    –H.

  7. @Hasdrubal,
    Since 2009 recession began all the fishing and boating publications who survived have been on a survival mode, and all they care about is survival. The big problem is getting advertisers to advertise their products on your magazine and not on somebody else’s. Objectivity and high reporting standards don’t necessarily help you in that…
    FW

  8. Hey, come on, you guys don’t expect a fishing magazine’s editor to declare that one boat, or yak are above the rest of the pack, do you? That editor would be shooting the magazine’s publisher in the foot, or worse, in their wallet, and could very well find themselves holding a cardboard box while being escorted to the levator…
    Paul

  9. You’re probably right, but we believe that the truth has a special value, and the truth shall prevail 🙂
    Yoav

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