It’s been a year since we launched the W700 series, the third generation of Wavewalks, and our biggest and costliest project so far. So this may be a good time to look at our thoughts and expectations prior to designing this product, and compare them to reality, as we can perceive it at this point in time.
-How does the actual product compare to the plan?
Although we made no prototype for the W700, we had enough prior knowledge, and that helped us extrapolate, calculate and foresee its actual performance. Our design for the saddle was extremely innovative, but the driving notion for it was ‘build strong’, so we had no doubt that it would work well.
This boat has fulfilled all our requirements and exceeded our expectations with its gliding capability and ease of paddling in both a tandem and solo modes. It does exactly what we expected it to do when motorized, and we expected a lot, including both the driver and passenger standing up, and full offshore capabilities.
We were also relieved to see that although the W700 weighs 20 lbs more than the W500, car-topping it is still very easy.
Stability wise, we knew the W700 would be the world’s most stable kayak, but we wondered how such stability would feel like – Now we know that the W700 feels “Ridiculously Stable”, namely that it defies the user’s senses. In other words, it delivers a stability level that can be experienced only in full size motorboats.
None, so far. In twelve months we received no complaints about this new product, and no one has made any kind of negative comment about it. Ironically, one client, a scientist from British Columbia, Canada, who had been using a W500 for his work prior to getting a W700, commented that the new boat was “too stable”, because when he took a second crew member on board, that person felt so stable that they stood up right away, and without warning…
-New and meaningful developments
The introduction of the Joystick Steering System has made driving the W700 comfortable, easy, and fun, both seated and standing. Solving the ergonomic problems associated with driving also increased the range of travel of the W700, and added a new dimension to it as a sporty leisure watercraft that one drives for fun, and not just to get from point A to point B, or for touring.
Market Performance and Position
Despite being over 50% more expensive than the W500, the W700 outsells the W500 by a wide margin, and it has become Wavewalk’s main product line. In its first year, we sold almost as many W700 units as our business plan for it had projected that we’d sell in the first three years.
Many clients have told us that they had bought their W700 after considering buying a motorboat, e.g. Jon boat, skiff, and in one case a pontoon boat, and they didn’t buy their W700 as a fishing kayak, or even as a motorized kayak. Currently, we ship a motor mount with one out of three W700 units. These facts mean a lot to us.
Thanks to its lower price, the W700 R base model outsells all other 700 models combined, but we think it’s significant that the newly created, expensive W700 Z model that includes ‘Everything, From A To Z’ comes second, although in much more modest numbers.
Looking forward to the second year
Some W700 owners have already started outfitting their boats in innovative ways, and we look forward to more interesting projects, reports, and movies.
-RIB / RHIB
Rigid-Inflatable Boats, namely boats that feature a hull, or part of it that’s rigid, and parts that are made from inflatable tubes or chambers, are popular in a broad variety of boating applications and environments, and our own experience with the W700 shows that we can go further in this direction, and offer additional RIB / RHIB models in the 700 series.
-New type of boat
Years ago, we positioned the W500 as a ‘Super Kayak’, and over time, together with our clients, we have proved that it is indeed a superlative kayak, and the world’s best one-person fishing kayak, according to people who use it.
We think we can do the same with the W700 as a ‘Super Boat’, in the sense that it delivers high performance not just as a kayak and a motorized kayak, but as a small, car-top boat that competes with other small boats and skiffs, as such. This is not a minor challenge, in view of the fact that there are so many different boats out there, but so far it looks like we’re in the right direction.
The list of people who have been involved in conceiving this watercraft and doing R&D with it as initial users is getting longer, and this makes it harder for us to thank each one of them separately. But we know who they are, and they who they are, and we want to use this opportunity of the W700’s first birthday to thank them again.
We look forward to doing more interesting and yes, sometimes crazy stuff, and from now on we’ll try to avoid getting sunburned… 😀