290 pound guy paddling around with no problem (and dry), by Ernie Balch

I bought a W500 and have been very happy with it so far.
We have a couple large power boats, several kayaks and some canoes, so I have a good basis to compare the W 500 with other boats.
Now you can show a 290 pound guy paddling around with no problem.
Not wet footing is nice – I really like he fact that I can step in and out of the kayak while at a dock, something that is impossible with my other fishing kayaks and relatively difficult with my various canoes.

Paddling position:
I have been experimenting with paddling from different positions trying for optimum efficiency. I noticed that with my weight sitting back on the kayak causes a noisy wake to form behind the W500. Some of my kayaks leave a wake and others (the faster ones) barely disturb the water at all. I have read your kayak speed article and believe you have a good summary of variables involved in optimum hull design.

Saddle bracket:
Michael of NY fishing Kayaks recommended that I make a pair of brackets before my 290 lbs causes damage to the W500.
We have a graphics and sign business so making the bracket was quite easy.
I have taken your bracket photo with rulers as a reference for cutting the MDO. Thank you for providing it. We use lots of Roseburg MDO in the sign business and all we do is a quick scuff with sandpaper and tack cloth then prime and paint as normal. We have never experienced any adhesion problems and have used everything from water borne, to oil based and even epoxy primers.

Ernie Balch
Malta, New York

Here are some pictures from a kayaking trip in a scenic waterway near Saratoga Lake, NY

Click images to enlarge

Photography: Diane Balch

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6 thoughts on “290 pound guy paddling around with no problem (and dry), by Ernie Balch”

  1. Thanks Ernie,

    Sanding and priming may be easy for a pro like yourself, but the average weekend DIY person would rather spray on their saddle bracket some Krylon Fusion out of a can 😉

    I’m glad to hear you enjoy your new W kayak, and I hope that soon you’ll start paddling it standing up 😉


  2. You don’t see too many reviews of the W500 out there, but I found this one that seems to have been posted by Ernie (?) in a site called “yakangler”

    We have 3 canoes and this makes the 4th and best kayak we purchased. We have a [brand name] 12 and an [brand name] 160 and go fishing in creeks and lakes about 3 times a week. The [brand name] causes my legs and feet to fall asleep after an hour or so, the seat in the [brand name] is wonderful but it paddles like a barge. I found the WaveWalk and was impressed with the innovative technology. It is faster than my other kayaks and I sit up higher and can move my legs around to different positions. Since I weigh 290 lbs I find it impossible to stand in my other kayaks but was able to stand easily in the WaveWalk. Getting in and out of the kayak is very easy rather than a challenge.
    Pros: speed, stability and easy to get in and out of , able to sit and stand up high for fishing.
    Cons: Have to purchase 9′ long paddle
    Overall rating 4.2/5
    Speed 4/5
    Stability 5/5
    Durability 5/5
    Features 3/5
    Value 4/5

    You can find this review on the yakangler website.


  3. Thanks Phil, this is interesting.
    I edited out the competitors products’ names. It’s our policy not to mention other kayaks or kayak companies by their name.

  4. Features means cup holders, foam in your seat’s backrest, storage hatches that are said not to leak… and other minutia that’s supposed to make your trip a little less annoying, and compensate you for the pain you feel in your back, the numbness in your legs, and your butt being wet.
    Strangely, W kayaks don’t feature any of these things, so we don’t score very high on ‘Features’ 😀

    I don’t trust any kayak review (or any product review) that does not provide basic information that identifies its author, such as their first name and last name, state, and pictures (if possible).


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