Wavewalk in the rowing world

By Ken Dollhopf


Rowing shells are among the fastest human powered boats, and there are some two hundred US colleges that have rowing teams.
When racing, a large men’s 8 rowing shell can go about 13.8 mph. This is Olympians. Normal club rowing is about 11.5 mph.

I have a company called Leribe that is focused on the US rowing market. We sell racing boats and systems for racing events. We offer boats for this market. The Wavewalks serve two specific needs:

Coaching launch: The S4 model coupled with an 8 HP outboard motor is perfect for this application, which requires a boat that produces a minimal wake. The S4 is being used as a coaches launch for training and also an officials “chase boat” for regatta racing. There was a lot of experimenting with motors in a number of water conditions but we have settled on the need for an 8hp motor.

Regatta Start: During racing there are usually 6 platforms that are anchored at the start and a person on these hold and adjust the racing boats prior to the start. The Wavewalk 500 R is a great option for these. Each regatta needs 6-8 of these boats.
The 500R’s are being used as stationary platforms for racing. An unconventional use undoubtedly. The key item here is that a person sits in each boat and then for each race the crew that is assigned the lane backs into the 500R and the person uses the split between the pontoons to align the bows of each boat to the starting line. As each racing boat may be a different length there is an official that uses radios and will tell each of the 6 500Rs to move their boat in or out until perfect alignment is achieved. Then the race may begin. This is repeated for each race on between 3 and 10 minute centers.
It is a unique use of the W500 R but it’s working.

Inside the trailer

The S4 on the left is the coaching launch

Picking up the Wavewalks at the factory


  1. fish

    Thanks Ken,

    Using the S4 as a coaching launch makes perfect sense since catamarans fit this job better than mono-hulls due to the smaller wake they produce, and the S4 is the lightest catamaran that can travel at such speeds without any problem, with a crew of one, two, and even three passengers.
    But the use you found for the W500 beats imagination – Using this little catamaran to hold a huge rowing shell in place is pure genius 🙂


  2. Bassman


    You certainly have found a most unique niche for both the Wavewalk S4 and W500 series.

    Last night, I met some Amish men who were using a W700 to bow fish for invasive snakehead fish in the Potomac River watershed. They, too, use human propulsion. Per their Elders’ mandate, outboard motors are verboten on their boats.

    The forward man shoots while the stern man paddles and steers. When they want to switch duties, they trade paddle and bow. Rather than try to switch seats, each man simply turns around. The identical bow/stern configuration certainly works well for 2 Amish bow fishing in a W700.

    I’d post pics but that, too, is verboten when my Amish friends are boating.

    So many different strokes for these remarkable boats!

    Larry J.

  3. fish


    Glad to see that the Wavewalk is an invention that your Amish friends are willing to accept and use.
    I think it’s meaningful.


  4. RoxCT

    How cool is that!

    S4 for the for the coaching launch, and the W500’s holding the racing boats in place prior the start,

    Tight lines and MoPaddle Safe all.

  5. fish

    I am amazed too.
    Wavewalk kayaks / boats are used in an extremely wide range of applications, from competition and recreational rowing to inspection and maintenance of canals, harbors, and bridges 🙂


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