From Wavewalk 500 kayak to Wavewalk S4 skiff

Dan VanMetre

Texas

I bought an S4 a few months ago and wanted to share what I’ve done with it and how I’m using it.
Couldn’t be happier with the boat.

I upgraded to an S4 skiff after owning an original Wavewalk for many years. I fish the Texas Gulf coast and have loved my new S4. Not only have I spent a lot of time on the water … I have spent a lot of time in the garage and at the hardware store customizing it for what I love to do. I wanted to share some of the ways I have configured my skiff. Thanks Yoav for making this boat!!

 

I know this won’t be for everybody, but I have been completely thrilled with how the S4 has performed with the motor configuration I used. I bought a 15 inch shaft 6 HP motor and ended up raising the transom so that the bottom of the motor’s skeg is only 6 inches below the hulls. I fish very shallow water and can run full speed in basically ankle-deep water. The prop is high enough that it would cut through the hull on a turn so I had to attach a carefully sized piece of polyethene to the motor to prevent the prop from getting to close to the hull. I am getting 13 mph top speed with this set-up.

 

Out-of-the-way spot to carry a full-sized bucket, cast net, and bait box.

 

I put a drain on both sides of the skiff. This has really worked out great. It makes it easy to get the water out of the hulls during clean-up and also gives me peace of mind when I haul it on top of my truck in heavy rain. I screw them in from the top so the bottom hulls remains a smooth surface.

 

I have had a blast customizing the S4 and there is so, so much you can do. Here is where I officially went overboard….I love the up-front storage for life jackets, wading boots, ice chest, etc. But I wanted that stuff to stay up front when I am driving on a plane and bouncing around. I put in some PVC twistable stoppers. A little much, but it works great!

 

The S4 has worked great for sight fishing redfish on the Texas gulf coast. I stand on the front deck and paddle a shallow shoreline. When I see the redfish, I put the oar in the front holder, twist and push the pole to anchor, grab the rod and make a cast. Quick, quiet, and efficient.

 

Chair works great. Less than $10. I attached a piece of PVC to the base so it stays secure and put some ethafoam for support. It can be moved to any hole in the saddle and it even swivels.

 

I installed 2 watertight portals into the saddle. One in front and one in back. I wedged a piece of ethafoam right behind the openings and also in the brackets so items stay within reach and don’t get stuck. I can store a lot of tackle and equipment.

 

 

14 Comments

  1. fish

    Incredible!!…

    Thank you Dan,

    You’ve created a full-featured skiff – I’m really amazed by all this innovation and ingenuity!
    Some of your ideas go beyond what I imagined…
    It looks you had a very good time working on this boat 🙂

    I get a little nervous when I see the propeller blades in this position, but you don’t argue with success, right? 😀

    Yoav

  2. fish

    BTW, have you considered a surface drive? These things work very well in shallow water.
    Here’s a video that shows a W500 with a surface drive: http://wavewalk.com/blog/2018/04/08/wavewalk-500-kayak-with-long-tail-surface-drive-for-shallow-streams-exploration/
    And one showing an S4 with a surface drive: http://wavewalk.com/blog/2017/08/10/test-run-2-of-the-twister-mud-motor-with-anti-ventilation-plate/

  3. Bassman

    Dan,

    That is a very innovative approach to creating a super shallow draft S4 with a short shaft outboard and still keep the head of the motor far enough above the propwash.

    13 mph is what you expect from a 6 hp outboard. Yes, there is a loss of turning radius but when running across shallow flats that is not a priority.

    A Stingray Jr. hydrofoil with its tips trimmed and thru-bolted on the ventilation plate would do the same thing for those of us less less skilled in fabrication.

    Thank You for sharing.

    Larry J.

  4. PackerYaker

    Wow……you win the award for creativity, Dan. Especially love your seat idea.

    And thanks for confirming my long held suspicion that a short shaft motor with its prop not below the hulls can be a good option for fishing in skinny water, as I also do here. If I move up to a 700 or S4 model, I’ll definitely look into something similar. As Larry notes, the loss in turning radius can be compensated for, perhaps, even by paddling at slow speed, and would probably also allow for flush mount rod holders on each of the rear hulls. I’m not nearly as creative as you, but when I get to an age when I may need a motor assist to get where I want to go, I’ll be referring back to your entry.

  5. fish

    Gary,

    You don’t have to wait until you get to an age when you may need a motor assist… Driving these motorized things is fun, and it increases your range of travel by a tenfold.

    Yoav

  6. PackerYaker

    Right Yoav, but I much prefer my shorter and lighter 500 and probably wouldn’t want to motorize that. What would be ideal for me would be to put your 700 2 piece design, along with the S4 transom mount on the shorter 500 body. Build one of those, and I’ll be your first order.

  7. Dan VanMetre

    Thanks for the compliments. I didn’t really look at the surface motor option, but it looks like it would be the ultimate way to get through the shallows. I might be wrong, but I imagine they are a bit heavier than the 55ish pounds of the 6hp, which was the reason I didn’t go to the 9hp. PackerYacker – I really debated about which shaft size motor to buy and when I first bought and installed the 15 inch I put it as low as I could. The prop was fully beneath the hulls and it ran great, just not as shallow. I experimented with a couple of height levels until I got to my current set-up. I even tried a 9 pitch prop, but in rough seas got more cavitation than with the 8 pitch and I didn’t see a speed increase. I still might experiment with some set-up tweaks to see if I can find a little more speed with the 9 pitch.
    When my brother and I had the original wavewalks [500] we set them up with the same motor configuration but with smaller hp motors. Those motors were not big enough to reach the hulls as long as you centered it on the transom. I hadn’t even thought about it being a problem with the S4 and 6hp until I installed it and realized it would indeed hit. Larry, I bought the Stingray Jr. [hydrofoil] thinking that it would be a great solution, but it is too wide to fit between the hulls and actually wasn’t even compatible with the Mercury. As far as turning radius, I haven’t had any issues moving in tight spaces at all. I doesn’t turn on a dime, but as was mentioned grabbing a paddle is how I move around at the docks anyway.
    One of the coolest things about motorizing these boats is that you might launch at the same place as the other kayaks, but you will quickly be fishing or paddling by yourself. – Thanks-Dan

  8. fish

    Thanks Dan,

    Very interesting!

    Indeed, surface drive motors are heavier than regular outboard motors of comparable HP, but they do open opportunities to go in extremely shallow water.
    At Wavewalk, we’ve given up on 15″ short (S) outboard motors, due to various issues, and until further notice, we recommend using only 20″ long (L) outboards with all our models – 500, 700, and S4.
    But after all, what really matters is that you’re satisfied with the way your 15″ outboard works for you.

    Yoav

  9. PackerYaker

    Dan….I sight fish for reds standing on the bottom of my W 500 hulls which is a whole lot better than the guys sitting in their SOTs. That extra foot or so of elevation you get by standing on the S4 deck must make a nice difference. You may not be as high up as many of our flats boats with platforms we have over here, but for way less than 1/10 the cost, it looks like came up with a great compromise.

  10. fish

    Gary,

    Flats boats don’t necessarily feel that great in the chop, but the S4 handles the chop extremely well.

    Yoav

  11. RoxCT

    Wow, someone has been very busy tinkering……

    Congrats on the new S4, and your setup is awesome.

    I was thinking about putting those water tight portals in my W700.
    Now I will after seeing yours.

    Not sure why the prop would cut the hulls if not centered??
    Are the Hulls closer together than the W500 or W700?

    Anyway great set up, enjoy your new ride. 🙂
    Keep the updates coming. 🙂

    Tight lines and MoPaddle Safe all.
    Rox

  12. fish

    Rox,

    I think Dan raised this 15″ motor in order be able to go in extremely skinny water, and this brought the prop blades in close proximity to the hulls.

    BTW, 6 HP 20″ long shaft (L) Tohatsu motors offer an intermediate, semi-tilted position for driving in shallow water.
    It’s not meant to be as efficient as driving with the shaft in the fully vertical position – It’s more for getting the boat from point A to point B.
    I’ve never tried driving with my motor in this position, but I tend to think that the engineers at Tohatsu know what they’re doing.

    Yoav

  13. PackerYaker

    Do you know, Yoav, if that semi tilted motor can be adjusted at different levels of tilt, including straight down, and, if not, how far below the hulls the prop would extend when tilted? It sounds like a 20 inch shaft motor that was versatile enough to tilt in different positions would be ideal for us shallow water addicts.

  14. fish

    Gary,

    There is only one tilted position in the 6 hp Tohatsu. From what I remember, in this position the prop is just a few inches below the lowest point in the hulls.

    Yoav

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