kayak design

Kayak Design is the process of designing a kayak for a specific application (e.g. Touring kayaks, Fishing kayaks, etc.), and other parameters such as the user’s size, proficiency in paddling, the overall load capacity required from the kayak, speed, stability, etc.
Other kayak design factors are materials (e.g. Polyethylene resin, fiberglass, etc.), manufacturing technology (e.g. rotational molding, thermo forming, cold molding, etc.).

Kayak design is a term also used to refer to the kayak’s form (type), such as sit-in, sit-on-top (SOT), hybrid and twin-hull kayaks.

Where Did Our Kayak Get Its W From?

Some people think the name W Kayak is an abbreviation of Wavewalk kayaks. In a way it’s true, but there is also another source:
It is common for letters of the alphabet to be used to label different types of hull. For example, a V hull is one whose cross section looks like the letter V, and a U hull is one whose cross section looks like the letter U. The latter form is popular in canoe and kayak design. A new type of multihull design features M hulls.

Similarly, if you looked at a cross section of a W boat you would see a form reminding of the letter W, or more precisely a ‘Double U’ since the bottom of each of the W twin hulls is flat, I.E. more shaped like a U than a V.
When looking at the wake the W Kayak leaves behind its twin hulls the W shape can be easily perceived.
In fact, our W logo is shaped in a way that can be seen either as a wake or flat water or the crest of a wave – depending on how you choose to interpret it.


Wavewalk kayaks logo

Northern Kayak Fishing – The New Frontier

Oregon kayak fisherman Photo: Scott Floyd

Kayaking magazines are filled with pictures of kayakers touring glacier lakes and other inhospitably cold locations, as if such images reflected the common reality of paddling, or even what most kayakers aspire to do.

But when it comes to kayak fishing, magazines and websites seldom feature reports from cold places, and this is because kayak fishing is first and foremost a sunshine belt phenomenon. It doesn’t mean that you won’t find kayak fishermen in places like New Jersey, Puget Sound or Cape Cod, but the big numbers aren’t there, and the activity is restricted to the hottest months of the year, roughly between June and September – even if the water is navigable and fishable.

This is because a traditional kayak is basically a boat stripped down to its minimum, and one may argue that a SOT kayak is not even a vessel but more of a styled paddleboard (well, historically that would be correct).

That is to say that fishing from such a platform is not as easy and comfortable as fishing from a bigger boat is, and the little stability offered in combination with the extreme proximity of the cold water and the total exposure to wind and rain make the whole idea of kayak fishing considerably less appealing to the northern fisherman.

It was a Jeff McGovern who had first explained to me that the W kayak would be the perfect solution for northern kayak fishing. Although he’s a Floridian Jeff grew up in the Midwest and goes fishing in Canada every year.

And he was right: Looking back at 2007 we could see that although Florida and Texas were still the biggest states as far as W kayak fishing is concerned, northern states became as important in this aspect – coast to coast.

For those of you who want to read more, here are some northern W kayak fishermen’s stories:

Oregon, Wisconsin (fly fisherman), Massachusetts (Cape Cod), Connecticut, , Minnesota (hunter & fisherman),

2008 W Kayak in Florida

It’s been weeks since I went out paddling.
We saw several snow storms in December with unusually cold weather in between, and January in has been cold as you’d expect it to be in Massachusetts around this time of the year.

Well, at least other people are having fun with their W kayaks, like Sean C from Florida who seems to enjoy his new 2008 model.

Watch out for those alligators Sean!

Sean in his new 2008 kayak

Kayak Design From a Fisherman’s Standpoint

Jeff McGovern is a master kayak fisherman and W kayak fishing trailblazer from Palatka, Florida.

Here is what Jeff recently wrote me:

“In the W kayak I find myself poking the boat into grassy areas since the grass coming up between the hulls will hold it in place. With the slightly additional height the angler is at casting over the grass is easy. Also you don’t catch grass on the back cast as you would in a lower boat.
I’ve fished the same areas out of a SOT and the W the last few months, and there are distinct advantages to both designs at certain times. At a higher tide the W can creep into the grass areas where the SOT would be surrounded by grass making a cast impossible.
Also with moving forward in on the saddle the W becomes a pivot point so a larger fish has a tough time of getting on the wrong side of your efforts. In most other kayaks that concern is addressed with a longer rod to clear both ends of the boat but that is still harder.
As you look toward newer W models I’m wondering if raising the saddle a bit would be nicer for big guys like me.
Those little trashcans I use pushed in the hulls are pretty handy.
One other thing about the W that comes up is the ease of dragging it on the ground. For short beach launches or for areas like the fish camp where I normally launch the W proves almost effortless. Other kayakers have mentioned how simple the W is to handle – I really only have to pick it up once at home to load it and then once more when I get back to put it away. At virtually all my launching spots all I do is pull it off the back of the Ranger and onto the ground. Once I place the rods in the rack I can drag the whole thing to the water and be off. Other kayak fishermen who use SOTs are either waiting for assistance or making multiple trips to the water. Jeff”

BTW, Jeff writes articles on fishing in general and kayak fishing in particular: http://www.wavewalk.com/kayak_fishing_with_Jeff.html

Jeff holding a fish near his W kayak

How Fast Is a W Kayak?

In a nutshell, the speed of this 25″ wide, 124″ long W kayak is comparable to that of 12′-13′ monohull kayaks, depending on their design: Fishing kayaks are normally much wider than other kayaks, and therefore slower.
This figure is the result of many tests we ran over the years, and many paddlers including amateurs, professionals and customers have confirmed it independently.

It’s important to remember that when comparing the speed of two boats you need to be proficient in paddling both of them. For example, it would be plain stupid to ask a canoeist who has never paddled a kayak before to evaluate the speed of a 20′ long racing kayak… Similarly, you don’t expect a sea kayaker to be able to appreciate the speed of a fast canoe if he or she has no canoing experience at all.
Therefore, before you try to check how fast your W kayak can go you have to spend the time necessary to become a proficient W paddler, and that can’t happen in a day since W canoing is somehow different from regular canoing, and W kayaking is very different from regular kayaking.
Expect the expectable: There’s a learning curve in this process, as there is one for any new activity you’re undertaking.

Note that the smaller the boat the harder it’s penalized for extra weight – Don’t overload your W kayak.

In case you want to join a group of experienced sea kayakers on a trip you should know that fast touring kayaks are narrow and usually over 16′ long, which means they are likely to go faster than your 10′ W.

This is a link to a long technical article on this subject: http://www.wavewalk.com/KAYAK_SPEED_ARTICLE.html