Kayak crab fisherman from SF Bay reviews his Wavewalk, by Edwin Warner

I am an amateur fisherman and an ex UC Berkeley rower. I am a big guy (6’5″-260lbs) who wanted a versatile boat that I can fish and paddle my girls around.
-I owned two sit in kayaks. Both were uncomfortable and neither of them suited my needs. I do mostly beach launch crab fishing and my two-man [brand name] kayak weighed 100lbs and had a huge open cockpit that was subject to swamping. My other boat was an inherited [brand name sit in kayak] that has left me upside down so many times I am ashamed to say.

Well I have had the Wavewalk kayak out 5 times so far…what a boat. Wow impressed.

-I am amazed at how easy it is to move at a good cruising clip.
-The sitting/kneeling paddling position really affords a strong stroke with very little effort which doesn’t really help with the “workout” aspect of it 😉
-I have been averaging just over 6km/hr over a 7.5km distance in flat water with no real wind to speak of. While not blazing fast the effort required to do that would allow me to paddle all day. -Changing your position fore/aft really changes the behavior of the boat! I’ve found that for cruising neutral balance really speeds things up.
-Beach launching is a piece of cake as well as you just step in and weight forward until you float, then move back accordingly. Getting down to the beach isn’t hard either as I can just shoulder it and carry my paddle, necessitating only one trip. I like that.
-Mounting the boat to my roof racks is super easy and feels very secure. 75mph on the freeway, no noticeable noise or bouncing is noticed on just regular Yakima bars. That’s rad
Ok just to reiterate I really like the boat and will have no problem selling it to lake/river enthusiasts.

But now the bad-
-Definitely a learning curve, being so high out of the water magnifies the lateral motion experienced in your ears, even though this boat is probably rolling less than a monohull. Comfort was achieved immediately on second shot out.

-The noodles. Yes I get that they are inexpensive, easily replaced, and very functional. Again in my opinion not an elegant solution for a very cool, technical boat. And since what I do is crabbing, when attached on the sides the noodles get in the way, crab pots get caught in them so I should attach the noodles under the saddle, between the hulls. Now for fishermen the foam noodles actually could be a selling point as you could array your different lures very easily by simply embedding them and hanging the leaders over the side, but for me they get in the way.

This boat is amazing and one of my favorite things about it is its versatility. You literally can do just about anything with this boat. It gets so many creative juices flowing for me! As a designer/fabricator it’s really exciting and inspiring, though I realize I have to dial it back and just get some boats sold… 🙂
Thanks so much for making this boat and giving the opportunity you have. I intend to make the most of it. Also I have been grabbing a photo here and there so far. Looking for a good one to put up on the web page.
Cheers
Edwin

 

Wavewalk-fishing-kayak-SF-Bay-CA

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6 Comments

  1. fish kayak

    Thanks Edwin,

    Awesome review! I’m glad you waited a few times before sending it to me because big guys like yourself usually have a hard time with small boats such as kayaks, especially at the beach and offshore. This is to say that the learning curve you experienced had to do with the fact that the W kayak was a totally new type of boat for you, and it’s also related to your being a tall and heavy user.
    But is is well that ends well 🙂
    The polyethylene foam noodles we use for our flotation modules don’t look great, and there’s no doubt about it. But they do the job better than anything else, and it’s possible to hide them by attaching them under the saddle, between the hulls, so they become almost invisible.
    The photos you shot are great! I hope you’ll send us more 🙂

    Yoav

  2. Pete

    I enjoyed reading this review. It’s interesting to hear from someone who uses their w kayak in a different way.
    I think that flotation is an issue with many boats and kayaks, probably because some people think it’s redundant. There’s always a shortage of room for passengers and cargo inside a small boat, and attaching flotation on the sides as it’s done in rigid-inflatable boats (RIB) makes the boat look more bulky, which is why this design is popular mainly with law enforcement and rescue organizations that don’t care much about aesthetics
    Typically, kayakers don’t like to fill their kayaks’ hulls with inflatable bladders or big foam blocks, but I’ve seen yak anglers who fish out of SOTs stuff foam noodles inside the hulls because they know that water can get in, and that SOTs are sinkable too (in contrast to what some people still believe…)
    I agree that attaching foam noodles between the w500 hulls is a good compromise because it doesn’t take from the storage inside the kayak, and it doesn’t blur the lines of the boat, so it still looks good.
    I wonder if people didn’t know that flotation modules were made out of foam noodles they would still have a problem… but it’s the fact that this popular product is manufactured in such huge numbers that also makes it cheaper than other solutions that aren’t necessarily better, and personally, I’m thankful for that.
    Pete

  3. Hasdrubal

    I’m not strong enough to carry my w kayak on my shoulder, so I carry it on a leash.. I drag it on the ground– Hasdrubal

  4. Michael Chesloff

    Hello Edwin-

    Sorry for the repetition, but Yoav and Pete have it right about the noodles. Attaching them to the underside of the saddle with bungee cords with the ends connected to front and rear pad eyes puts them out of sight and out of the way. There is really no way they can interfere with your traps and lines because they are well above the water when mounted this way.

    They don’t affect transport either.I have driven my W500 more than 1,000 miles on the interstate with 4 noodles mounted this way. No issues whatsoever.

    Also, in a real emergency they could be detached and used as personal flotation. Of course this would never be necessary because all kayakers always wear their PFDs! 🙂

  5. sea coyote

    nice pictures!

  6. fish kayak

    Following this discussion on kayak flotation I wrote this article http://wavewalk.com/blog/2014/01/21/whatever-floats-your-boat-flotation-for-fishing-kayaks/

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