kayak outfitting

Outfitting kayaks is making them more suitable for a particular application, or use. For example, rigging (outfitting) a kayak for fishing typically involves adding rod holders, paddle holders and fishing electronics to it.
Outfitting a kayak can be a one-time project, or an ongoing process that evolves as the kayak owner’s learns more and discovers new and better ways to improve they kayak’s performance, as well as better suit their personal needs and liking.
Kayaks an be outfitted with special seats, motors, outriggers (stabilizers), fish finders, downriggers, anchor trolleys, sails, and more…

More kayak outfitting and rigging information »

My Wavewalk 700

By Joanne Campbell

Massachusetts

Just wanted to let you know a few people have asked where to get the Wavewalk, so I hope you get some orders!
Having a great time with it, and I have mastered maneuvering it!

This is the custom cover I ordered for my Wavewalk 700. It is easy to flip the water off the cover since it is a very sturdy “Sunbrella” fabric.
I unsnap it only halfway when going out, and tuck it down on one side. It is working out great, and
keeping things dry and void of debris.

 

Wavewalk 700 Test Ride 2017

By Rox Davis

 

Got my W700 and got to making some adjustments.
Kept the motor mount it came with for now, but will be making a new one soon.
It was a fun day at Rainbow Res in Ct. Motor ran like a top, I even caught some Bass.
Love how the W700 handled and felt going thru the choppy water.
And just like the W500 which is a very stable kayak, the W700 is more of a solid ride.
All in all I love it and can’t wait to finish some changes and two of us get out there fishing.

Thanks Wavewalk for another fine water craft

Life is good.

 

 


Read more about Rox Davis and her bass fishing adventures »

Back to fish

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

The summer weather and water temperature have turned to perfect in Key Largo.

The water temperature is in the mid-Eighties and the wind has stopped blowing. Though it is August, the air temperature is only in the low Nineties. My wife and I have taken this time to explore the near shore reefs and out of the way places in our “backyard” in Garden Cove.

Garden Cove is located in the heart of John Pennekamp State Park and is directly adjacent to the Dagny Johnson Botanical Hammock State Park. We can visit both these parks from our Wavewalk stable twin hull kayaks every day without waiting at the highway entrance gate or paying the entrance fees. We can also harvest fish and lobster under Florida and Federal regulations but spearfishing is definitely prohibited. Thus, we have a fully stocked pantry of fresh seafood only a mile or two from our house beside the only commercial docks on the Atlantic side of North Key Largo.

This is the perfect place to operate a fishing and eco-tour business featuring safe and portable vessels that require minimal effort to paddle or operate a motor from. And, when business is slow, I can use these same vessels to harvest fish and lobster commercially in accordance with my State and Federal commercial fishing permits.

The Wavewalk S4 is the perfect kayak to motorize and use to fish or find new spots inshore or offshore. Almost every day, I find more areas to fish that most people overlook in their quest to go faster and further offshore.

It must be nice to be able to afford five or six hundred dollars a day of fuel expenses to try to catch a fish. But, I prefer to save my money.

A dollar’s worth of fuel runs my S4 all day. Or, we can take out a couple more S4’s with electric trolling motors and spend maybe twenty five cents more on our electric bill.

Yesterday, I invested a couple hours to catch some fish from our backyard pantry to eat next week.

The proof is in the pic.

 

 


Larry offers guided fishing and diving trips in the Key Largo and the areas that surround it »

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »

Lobster fishing trip with my Wavewalk S4x2 double skiff catamaran

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

Yesterday was the day after lobster season opened. I wanted to see if anyone had raided my secret spot so I assembled an S4x2 for my wife and her friend.

We separated the combo for traveling through a narrow creek. My wife really enjoyed the silence of the 12 volt Minnkota electric trolling motor as she plowed ahead of us.

As you can see, no one has found my lobster hole as it is virtually inaccessible by any other vessel than a Wavewalk skiff.

I took two lobsters for the ladies’ dinner. No reason to be greedy. The rest will stay in my inventory.

 

 

 


 

Larry offers guided fishing and diving trips in the Key Largo and the areas that surround it »

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »

How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor?

Updated December 20th, 2017

The purpose of this article to answer a frequently asked question (FAQ) from prospecting clients, which is “What outboard motor should I choose for my S4 skiff?”

The answer is that the outboard motor and propeller you should choose for your S4 depend mainly on two factors, which are –

Power

  1. How much power you need: How fast you want to go, in what kind of water, and how many passengers you’ll have on board
  2. How important to you is the motor’s weight.

There is a trade-off between power and weight, namely that the more powerful the motor, the heavier it is, and the harder it is to carry it.

In any case, the motor should be a 20″ log shaft (L) model, and not a 15″ short shaft (S).

Recommended reading: How to measure an outboard motor’s propeller shaft length? »

Propeller Pitch

Another important trade-off that you should be aware of is related to propellers: High pitch propellers are designed to deliver more speed and less torque (thrust, push force), and they work best with lightweight boats such as the S4, while low pitch propellers are designed to move bigger and heavier boats at lower speeds, but they should not be used with lightweight boats such as the S4, since they might make the motor run at a too-high RPM.

Outboard motors manufacturers’ websites say that (quote) “UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EVER USE A PROP WHICH WILL ALLOW YOUR OUTBOARD TO OPERATE ABOVE THE OUTBOARD’S RECOMMENDED MAXIMUM RPMs“. This means that you should avoid using propellers designed for use with very heavy boats, namely propellers in the low-pitch range.

Note that 20″ long (L) propeller shaft motors typically ship with propellers that are not necessarily optimal for very lightweight boats such as the S4. For example, the 6 HP 20” long (L) outboard from Tohatsu often comes with a medium range 8 pitch propeller, which is fine, but mounted on the S4, such a motor could drive the S4 12% faster if outfitted with a 9 pitch propeller.

Propeller pitch information is available on outboard manufacturers’ websites.

Since the S4 is a very lightweight boat, you should preferably outfit the outboard motor for it with the highest pitch propeller available for it.

Diameter – Don’t try to use a propeller from a small outboard with a bigger outboard, or vice versa.

 

SMALL OUTBOARDS

 

For the S4, small size means a highly portable but under-powered outboard motor.

2 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this class weigh around 30 lbs, which makes them fully portable even for a user who’s not very strong. A 2 HP motor can propel an S4 skiff with one person on board at speeds up 8 mph, even in choppy water. This speed would decrease as the boat is required to carry more passengers on board. S4 owners who tested such motors with their S4 skiff reported that the boat felt under powered, which means that they felt like going faster, but the motor lacked the power required for this. For this reason 2 HP motors are not popular with S4 users. Another reason for their lack of popularity is the fact that being air cooled makes these small motors noisier than bigger, water cooled motors.

Propeller pitch –
The Honda 2.3 HP comes with a 4.75 pitch propeller

 

MEDIUM SIZE OUTBOARDS

 

For the S4, a medium size outboard motor means powerful enough but still portable. Motors in this 3.5 HP to 6 HP range are the ones we recommend for most users.

3.5 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this range weigh around 40 lbs, which makes them still portable, but less so than 2 HP motors. A 3.5 HP motor can propel an S4 skiff with one person on board at speeds up to 11 mph, even in choppy water, and it can propel the boat at 8 mph with three passengers on board in moving water. This size motor is popular among S4 and W700 users, as it offers a good trade-off between power and weight for people who must lift the motor or carry it by hand over long distances.
These motors are also less expensive than bigger ones.

Propeller pitch –
For their 3.5 HP motor, Tohatsu recommends either the 7 pitch (Plastic) or 6 pitch (aluminum) propellers, for lightweight boats such as the S4 (under 500 lbs). We say get the 7 pitch propeller, unless you think that you need the more durable aluminum propeller.

 

6 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this range weigh around 60 lbs, which makes them portable only over short distances, and not for everyone.
A 6 HP motor can propel an S4 skiff with one person on board at 17 mph, and it can propel the boat at 12 mph with three passengers on board.
6 HP is the second most popular motor size among S4 users.

Propeller pitch
For their 6 HP outboard used with lightweight boats up to 500 lbs (such as the S4), Tohatsu recommends their 9 pitch propeller. The 8 pitch propeller would work too, especially if you intend to have the boat fully loaded, so that it would weigh over 500 lbs in total.

 

BIG OUTBOARDS

 

8 HP to 10 HP outboard motors are too heavy to be carried by hand, and they may be too powerful for inexperienced drivers to use safely. However, some of them come with electric start instead on manual start, which is a nice feature. They also come with an alternator that can serve to power small electric devices on board.

8 HP outboards

Outboard motors in this class weigh between 65 and 80 lbs. At such weight, these motors can no longer be considered as portable, and the main reason to use them is the fact that are offered with electric ignition, which eliminates the need to start them by pulling a cord. People who like driving at high speed may prefer these motors to less powerful ones. The S4 outfitted with an 8 HP motor performs well in choppy water, but it could feel over powered for an inexperienced driver, which should avoid using such motors with their S4. Heavy users may benefit from driving with a U-jointed tiller extension, in order to move some weight forward from the stern towards the middle of the boat.

Note that these bigger motors don’t come with an integrated fuel tank, but this isn’t necessarily a problem, since external fuel tanks can fit inside the S4’s hulls.

9.8 HP and 9.9 HP outboards

We tested the S4 with a 9.8 HP Tohatsu and a 9.9 HP Yamaha outboard, and it worked well. Practically, this class of heavier and more powerful motors offers no advantage over smaller motors unless you’re a speed fan, and you’re also capable of driving small boats safely at such speeds. To those who want to take the risk of overpowering their S4 with such big motors, we recommend reinforcing the mounting plate.

We recommend that inexperienced drivers avoid using high power motors with their S4. Instead, they should pick a motor within the 3.5 HP to 6 HP range.

 

OUTBOARD MOTOR BRANDS

 

After years of testing motors and getting input from our clients, we can recommend all Japanese brands, namely Honda, Suzuky, Tohatsu and Yamaha. Mercury is a Tohatsu brand, and the small, portable motors offered by Evinrude are made by Tohatsu. Motors from all these brands are good, and your decision about which motor to use with your S4 should be based on factors such as price, weight, features, availability, warranty, etc.

 

KICKER MOTORS

 

A kicker motor is a name given to any outboard gas motor used on a big boat for trolling, or as a spare motor, and for positioning and driving sailboats over short distances when sailing them is not possible. Being used on bigger boats, kickers often feature a 20″ long (L) shaft, which is the right size for the S4, but the propellers used with them are typically low-pitch models that are not optimal for lightweight boats such as the S4.
If you buy a kicker, check its propeller, and if it’s not a model with the highest pitch that the manufacturer recommends for lightweight boats, replace it with such a propeller.

 

MUD MOTORS

 

Mud motors feature a surface drive, and they offer a huge advantage to people who want to drive in very shallow water, mud, water with many underwater obstacles, and water with plenty of vegetation.

6.5 HP mud motors

Mud motors are bulkier and heavier than regular outboard motors. A 6.5 HP mud motor weighs around 80 lbs, and it’s not portable. The reasons you’d want to use such a motor instead of a regular outboard of similar power are if you need to go in very shallow water (skinny water) and mud, and if you fish or hunt in water with plenty of vegetation and underwater obstacles. The S4 performs very well with a such a mud motor. We do not recommend using less powerful mud motors because typically, these motors require more power than regular outboard motors do.

 

ELECTRIC OUTBOARDS

Electric outboard motors

Typically, electric trolling motors are not powerful, and they are designed to propel heavier boats than the S4 (e.g. bass boat, skiff, Jon boat) at a very low speed, namely trolling speed. This type of application requires high thrust (small pitch) propellers, and it’s also the reason why trolling motors are rated in thrust units (lbs) and not in horsepower (HP or KW) – When you buy such a motor, your primary interest is how big (heavy) a boat it can move, and not at what speed.

Some electric trolling motors are described by their manufacturers as “outboard motors”, namely comparable in performance to small outboard gas engines. If you’re interested in such electric motors, we recommend comparing apples to apples namely power units to power units, and not power to thrust, which is meaningless. Remember the laws of physics, and apply the formulae for Kilowatts to Horsepower conversion, which are:

  • 1 KW = 1.34 HP
  • 1 HP = 0.745 KW

No amount of words can overcome this reality.

Electric motors are discussed in the Electric Trolling Motor or Outboard Gas Engine section of this article »