kayak paddling

Paddling is the easiest and most effective form of human powered propulsion for small and lightweight craft such as kayaks and canoes. In recent decades, paddling has become more popular than rowing, and dual-blade paddles (‘kayak’ paddles) have become more popular than single-blade (‘canoeing’) paddles.
Paddling offers a way for the kayaker to propel, control and steer their kayak using one, lightweight and easy to use tool, and this multiple functionality is highly appreciated, especially if the kayak lends itself to easy paddling, which most fishing kayaks don’t, unfortunately. Such kayaks are typically mono-hulled, large-size and heavy, and they track poorly, which is why most of them feature a rudder.
Wavewalk kayaks are easier to paddle since their users benefit from increased stability, the ability to optimally engage their legs substantially in both balancing and paddling efforts, and the advantage of rudderless steering and tracking through relocating the kayak’s center of gravity by simply moving its saddle (longitudinal seat).
In addition, W kayaks offer the average user easy stand up paddling in confidence, in real world conditions, which other kayak don’t.
Typically, paddling traditional (mono-hull) kayaks is done with the paddler sitting in the L position, which is non-ergonomic to a point that it has become associated to back pain. In contrast, paddling W kayak is typically done from a Riding posture similar to the powerful and comfortable position in which drivers of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), snowmobiles and jet-skis operate such high-performance vehicles.
W kayaks also offer their users the possibility to apply a broader range of paddle strokes, as well as to use their extra-long paddle for poling in shallow water, such as when launching or beaching, or when going over obstacles.

2008 W Kayak Models

(Added May 08, 2008) –

One of the typical things that happen with a good design is that after people actually begin using it they discover new advantages it offers, and new things it enables.

The 2008 model has already exceeded our initial expectations by offering two new positions:

Side-saddle , and Riding-over

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Original post:

I guess many have asked themselves what made Wavewalk modify our kayak design in the 2008 models.
The answer is a bit long:
First, we wanted to do counter affect the rising cost of shipping, and cutting two inches from the spray deflector’s top resulted in a 10% reduction in the overall nominal volume of the standard package we ship to the customer.
Second, we’ve noticed that some people preferred a more rigid cockpit rim, so we made it broader, thicker and more robust. Now they got what they wanted.
Third, we wanted to help small children (5-6 year old) paddle without having to stand up, and lowering the spray deflector offers just that.
Fourth, we wanted to make it even easier to step into the cockpit and out of it, and that’s really where one can say ‘the best gets better’.
Fifth, we thought that a deep and narrow hull was a perfect place to drag a powerful and energetic fish into while it’s fighting to get free. Lowering the cockpit rim enables the W kayak fisherman to swiftly ‘drag and drop’ the fish out of the water and into a hull with minimal effort, and let the fish calm down a bit before being taken care of – without causing a mess on the deck or worse – in the fisherman’s lap.
Sixth, we realized that although capsize and deep water re-entries are quite rare we’d better offer the paddler a more comfortable way back in, and again – a lower cockpit rim was the solution.
Seventh, a lower spray deflector enables W paddlers to move the paddle faster from side to side whether they’re canoing or kayaking their W.
Eighth, well, we felt we needed to show something new…

To compensate for the 2″ of protection lost we equipped all 2008 models with a preparation for a cockpit cover.
This means that W paddlers can paddle the 2008 models in the surf or in fast rivers as well as in bad weather while being better protected than they were before.

Yoav

kayak cockpit closeup

About the Wavewalk fishing kayak

Note: This is the first review that Jeff had published on his Wavewalk 300, a series that was produced between 2004 and 2010. Read more recent fishing kayak reviews »

By Jeff McGovern

My nickname in the pest control industry is “Gadget” since I am always looking for the latest, greatest thing or making improvements to what is already out there.  My favorite part of the job is speaking to large audiences across the country and I always bring lots of “Show and Tell.”  I am no different when it comes to my passion-fishing.

Long before kayaks hit the fishing world here in Florida, canoes ruled the shallows in many areas.  When I started canoe fishing here in the 80’s, there were a number of folks doing it, but it wasn’t well publicized.  Then we discovered outriggers for canoes and things started to change.  I could stand up in my canoe and see the fish I was stalking.  Plus, I could go into water that was too shallow for a motor or into zones that were designated “no motor zones” like the ones near Kennedy Space Center.  I love my canoe, but I wanted something I could just toss in the back of the truck and go.  So we started shopping for kayaks.

Jeff casting standing in his W fishing kayak

Photo: Jim Green

We looked at sit inside, sit on top, rudder, no rudder, big, small, skinny, HEAVY.  My wife, Kate, is small and wanted something small and light.  I am not small.  I am 6’3″, 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet.  We started with two small sit insides.  I enjoyed fishing from them-even won a fully loaded 13′ sit on top kayak catching a winning flounder during my club’s tournament-but I missed being able to fish standing up.  My quest for a stand up kayak began.  Then one day, surfing the web, I found a video clip of a guy jumping up and down in a kayak.  I knew that I had found my dreamboat-The W.

I am not small. I am 6’3″, 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet.

The W has ruined me for other kayaks.  My wife will tell you that the fleet (did I mention we now have 5 kayaks?) stays on the porch and the W goes fishing every Saturday morning.  I do need to mention that there is a learning curve similar to learning to ride a bike when it comes to handling and fishing the W.  I was discouraged the first couple of outings-but then I got the feel of it.  Now I use it exclusively, even in tournaments.

When other yakkers stay home because of high winds, I’m out paddling around.

Jeff standing up in his fishing kayak

The W allows me to fish virtually all the time.  When other yakkers stay home because of high winds, I’m out paddling around.
In the W, your lower half is protected from the wind and the spray shield keeps water off you as well.   A set of Frog Togs ensures that you stay dry and comfortable all day.  I’ve spent as much as 5 solid hours in the W in cool weather and lots of wind.
Padding is easier and requires less effort than in a regular kayak.  I use a long stroke at a slower pace and have no trouble keeping up with longer kayaks that are using double the amount of short strokes.  The W’s height allows that and helps me.  Also, I “push” the stroke rather than “pull” it.  The high hand and arm push the paddle through the water with the lower hand only pulling enough for guidance.  This allows you to paddle longer because it’s less tiring.

The W also handles waves much better and far drier than other small boats and kayaks.  We have a number of large yachts on the Intercoastal that kick up huge waves.  Other kayaks and small skiffs get spun around or tossed badly.  The W rides it like my CraigCat-up and down without a problem.  Last week I found it also slips up and down over the backs of very large and too curious manatees.  The boat tipped to one side, but remained upright and we both went home with a story of the one that got away.

Fishing is a sport of tactical knowledge and a feel for the area you are fishing.  I own hundreds of rods and reels and have designed a few kayak/canoe rods. I also test new rods and reels for a number of companies before they go onto the general market.  The more you fish, the more specialized your gear gets.  The most important thing is to understand the area you are trying to fish.  I envision the travel patterns the fish use to get from place to place.  I think about where they can ambush a meal with the least effort or how the tidal patterns affect where they rest and feed.  I have to understand how the light hits the water and how I might be exposed or hidden by it.  The W allows me to move into their house and position myself to the best advantage.  I wish I could come up with a way to describe the feel of the W.  Sitting down, it’s like riding.  Standing up-well, until I figure some way to put floats on my size 15 feet and walk on water,
standing up in the W is the next best thing.

I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear. From the riding position, I get more power with my casting and spinning because I can put my whole body into the cast and use my legs.
The solid feel of the boat gives you a great sense of security.
Netting fish is also easier because you can bring the net handle up and across the noodles and just hold in until you net the fish alongside.
This allows you to compose yourself and arrange things to remove the hook without tangling your gear or hurting the fish.  WARNING:  It is very important to fill the handle of your net with spray foam.  This is
so that when manatees and sundry aquatic creatures borrow your net, you can get it back.  I know from personal experience these critters are very inconsiderate and will leave it on the bottom where you can’t find it.
I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear.
It’s a great exploration kayak and there’s a great sense of adventure for the user.

My favorite scouting position in the W is standing up.  I can spot fish and then move in stealth mode with a push pole or paddle blade.
There is a serious advantage to being able to stand and see over grass or oyster beds.  Being able to peak over cover is a big deal.
Sometimes, like when I was working my way along the Ocklawaha River, I was moving through snag (and gator) infested waters with logs, bed pads and deep, dark places you might not want to get into.  The W handled that
type of paddling better than our other craft.  You could stand quick to see ahead, duck and move around things.  It’s a great exploration kayak and there’s a great sense of adventure for the user.  No craft is perfect for all things, but sometimes I have so much fun with the boat, I forget to fish.

 

Copyright © Jeff McGovern, 2007-10

 

Read more about Jeff’s kayak fishing trips and observations »