Tag Archive: choppy water

Fast moving water, or water with large eddies and waves (‘chop’). Choppy water makes it harder for kayakers to navigate, and people who use sit-in, hybrid or sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks in choppy water get wet, since they’re not protected.

Driving the S4 in rough water in a big boat’s wake (movie)

We wanted to show the Wavewalk S4 going in rough water, but since we couldn’t find water that was choppy enough in Key Largo, we made our own chop 😀
Larry drove his commercial fishing boat, the Line Dancer, Orit sat at the stern and shot video with our new Nikon camera equipped with a X83 optical zoom lens (great camera), and I drove an S4 in the boat’s wake.

The Line Dancer’s wake was V shaped, with pronounced “ridges” of waves and turbulence on both sides, and a quieter area in between.
When we went in open areas where the tidal current and wind created natural chop, adding the boat’s wake on top generated pretty hectic conditions that were a bit challenging to drive through, mainly because the motor on my S4 was a little 3.5 HP that didn’t allow for much planing and playing. This application calls for a more powerful motor, and a 6 HP outboard would have probably yielded more spectacular action shots. But at least we were able to demonstrate the principle…
When we drove in quieter zones, I just surfed the Line Dancer’s wake, and that was easy and fun.

 

 

What’s the real-world advantage of the S4’s ability to go through fast currents and chop?
“Real World” usually means you have to go from point A to point B, and you’re not just looking for some driving action fun. This can happen when you use the S4 as a tender for a bigger boat, or yacht, or when you drive in fast rivers that are swollen by water from melting snow in spring, or by tidal currents in coastal areas.
Jon boats and skiffs don’t excel in such conditions, to say the least, and inflatable dinghies are neither the most comfortable nor the most reliable choice. But the S4 shines in the chop, not just due to its natural, physical, “catamaran” stability, but also because it offers the driver to ride a saddle seat similar to the seat that other high performance vehicles feature, such as personal watercraft (PWC a.k.a. “jet ski”), all-terrain vehicles (ATV), snowmobiles, and dirt bikes.

 

 

Wavewalk S4 in blue water

Wavewalk S4 driven in choppy blue water in the Atlantic ocean close to Key Largo, Florida.
It was fun to drive this watercraft that seems to be almost immune to waves, wherever they come from.
Hopping on waves and making sharp turns was easy solo and with a passenger on board.

As a skiff, it’s extremely seaworthy, and as a kayak it’s anything but 😀

We towed it behind the mother ship, and it was a pleasure to watch how well it behaved… It can serve as a perfect boat tender for a big boat or a yacht – It’s seaworthy, comfortable, fun to drive and to paddle, can be beached anywhere, and it can carry up to three people on board.

The S4 in this movie is under powered by a 3.5 HP outboard motor – A 6 HP outboard would have worked better in this case, but still, driving this ultralight microskiff in the chop was a lot of fun. Thankfully, the S4 is not a solo skiff, and driving it with a charming passenger on board was even more fun.

We didn’t have to outfit it with a spray shield, as hardly any spray got it.

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to Captain Larry Jarboe of Wavewalk Adventures in Key Largo.

Wakes are fun??

Jack, a middle aged owner of a motorized S4 from Texas writes  -“Love to jump the wakes of jet skis and other boats.”
Anyone who owns a Wavewalk would immediately understand what Jack is talking about, and identify with him, but other kayakers, canoeists and people who fish out of Jon boats, dinghies and skiffs would probably raise an eyebrow when they read this sentence –

For people who go in small watercraft and fish from them, a wake is a series of fast moving waves created in the water by the passage of a fast motorboat, and it is a threat. Kayakers hate wakes, and canoeists dread them, because a wake hitting their unstable vessel on its broadside can capsize it.
But even passengers on board bigger and most stable boats, such as dinghies, skiffs and Jon boats, are not big fan of wakes, to say the least, and they would not associate wakes with fun. Although wakes are typically not powerful enough to capsize a good size Jon boat or skiff, a wake suddenly hitting such a boat on its broadside is enough to destabilize passengers who stand in it, or on its deck, if they are unprepared for the sudden sideways tilt induced by the wake. And losing your balance in such a small boat can mean that you’d go overboard, or worse – capsize your boat, frequently as a result of your abrupt change in position causing another another passenger on board to lose their balance, in a chain reaction…

It is easy to destabilize a person standing on the deck of a Jon boat, or a skiff, but it is almost impossible to destabilize a person standing in a Wavewalk S4, with a leg in each hull. Why is that? It’s because a person standing this way in their S4 and momentarily losing their stability would simply drop on the S4’s saddle, to the lower Riding posture, which is the same position in which people driving a personal watercraft (a.k.a. “jet-ski”) drive their fast ride, or by extension, the same position offered by all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and snowmobiles.

All these vehicles, namely Wavewalks, PWC, ATV and snowmobiles are the most stable in their domains, and for their size, and they all offer similar saddle seats and riding postures to their users. There is no coincidence here, since the riding posture they offer is similar to the riding posture on horses and motorcycles, and it is naturally stable, namely that a person riding with a leg on each side of the saddle has the full ability to react intuitively, instantly, and most effectively to any change, and thus balance themselves in the most efficient way.

To put it clearly – a motorcycle is a vehicle with no stability it itself whatsoever. It you try to make a motorcycle stand without a person driving and balancing it, or without a mechanical support such as a metal leg or a wall, it would always fall on its side. But give that motorcycle a driver who rides its saddle, and it could go over the roughest terrain, and at high speed. This is to say that all the stability perceived in a moving motorcycle comes from its driver, and only from them, and it is the result of ability to balance themselves effectively while riding their vehicle’s saddle.

In comparison, a Wavewalk kayak offers the same balancing capability, plus its own stability as a twin-hull boat, namely a catamaran.

Read more about kayak stability »

The following video shot by Captain Larry Jarboe’s on board his Wavewalk S4 demonstrates how little effect a fast motorboat’s wake has on him:

 

So what’s fun about driving a Wavewalk S4 in wakes? The fun is that nothing bad happens, and you get to hop and bounce, and maybe get splashed a little, in a worst case scenario.

Two Wavewalk S4 skiffs motorizing in the ocean and in the mangroves

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

Yesterday, I did a delightful “Wavewalk Wednesday” motorized demo w/ 2 super nice people from Georgia, John and Peni.

Two boats, with two people in each one, each boat had a 3.5 hp outboard, operating through extremely tight creeks and choppy open ocean, and no concern with tipping.

We plunged through the mangrove forest, stopped at the only natural sand beach on the Atlantic in Key Largo, circumnavigated Rattlesnake Key and, both boats ran out of fuel on the way home.

But, I had more on board.

We had a great afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 


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

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »