Tag Archive: draining

Draining a kayak means moving out water from its hull, or deck. Draining can be done while the kayak floats on the water, or when it’s back on land.

User Manual

Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak User Manual

This section provides basic, ‘getting started’ tips and advice on using your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak, and it offers links to other parts of this website that contain in-depth information. It is written in a sequential order of use, as much as possible.

CONTENT

Safety  |  Car ToppingAttaching  |  Carrying (Portaging)  |  Storing Gear on Board  |  Entering and Launching  |  Paddling  |  Poling  |  Steering  |  Tracking Standing  |  Motorizing  |  Scouting  |  Stealth  |  Dog on Board  |  Anchoring  |  Casting  |  Net  |  Entering From Deep Water  |  Shallow Water  |  Surf and Ocean  |  Draining  |  Beaching  |  Tandem  |  Storing the Kayak  |  Maintenance and Repair  |  Scratches Outfitting and Rigging | Limitations  |  Outriggers

 

Safety First

Always wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) when using your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak.
Do not wear heavy shoes or rubber boots, waders or any heavy or cumbersome clothes since they might prevent you from getting back into your boat or swimming back to shore in case you fall overboard.
Never drink alcohol or take medication that might make you drowsy before and while kayak fishing.

 

Car Topping and Loading

You don’t need a special kayak rack since the Wavewalk® Kayak fits on top of any car rack.

Have one tip of the boat lean on the car rack and push upward and forward until the boat is on top of the car:


How to transport this kayak inside a vehicle »

 

 

How to car top a Wavewalk® 700 on a midsize SUV »

 

Attaching a W Kayak to Your Vehicle

The easiest way to attach your Wavewalk® Kayak to the car rack is with its cockpit facing upward but you can also attach it with the cockpit opening facing sideways when transporting two Wavewalk® kayaks.
Use strong straps, bungee cords or rope to secure the kayak to the car rack.
Note: All plastic boats are sensitive to the combination of excessive heat and pressure – Make sure your Wavewalk® Kayak doesn’t come in direct contact with exposed metal parts heated by the sun.

The simple way to attach a Wavewalk® kayak to a regular car rack:

fishing kayak attached on top of vehicle

fishing kayak attached on top of vehicle

 

Carrying (Portaging) – One Person

On your shoulder (see ‘Downloading’) – For short and medium distances.
Over your head with your head between the hulls and each hull supported by one of your shoulders and one of your hands – For short, medium an long distances.
On your side: Hold the boat on its side with one hand gripping the cockpit rim in one hand supporting the lower hull – For short distances only.
Dragging:  Attach a rope or a leash to the boat and pull it behind you.  This way you can portage for long distances and in difficult terrain.  If you don’t drag it over asphalt, concrete or oyster beds the bottom of your Wavewalk® Kayak’s will be only mildly scratched, in a way that will not affect its performance.  For short, medium and long distances.  Watch video »
Wheels:
Also, see ‘Transportation’ section of the ‘Outfitting’ page »

 

Storing Your Fishing and Camping Gear On Board

The Wavewalk® 500 kayak offers you 8.8 cubic feet (66 gallons) of dry and accessible storage space, which is more than any kayak does, including expedition style kayaks.
Take the time to think and experiment before you take any definitive action like drilling, cutting or buying new gear. Finding the optimal solution for placing and attaching your fishing gear in your W Fishing Kayak might require more than one fishing trip simply because you have much more storage space inside and outside the boat, and therefore more possibilities to consider, test and evaluate.
In general, it is advised to store heavier gear such as fish tank, battery etc. in lower places, and not to fill the cockpit with large size objects that may be attached on top of the hulls’ tips in front or behind it.
You may want to read this website’s ‘Outfitting’ section as well as customer stories.

More reading: How much gear can you store inside the W500 kayak? »

 

Entering and Launching

1.   Regular:  Put the boat halfway in the water and facing forward.  Step into the cockpit from behind (no need to step in water) and install yourself on the saddle.   You can get the boat  to move forward by either placing a foot on the front part of the spray deflector and ‘kick’ and/or by pushing your paddle backward.
When the boat is sufficiently in you can pole and paddle forward.
Similarly, you can put-in standing.

2.   Surf launching: Standing in the water beside your Wavewalk® Kayak and lean over it while holding the two sides of the spray deflector.   Then hop inside and start paddling.

This old video shows a 2006 W300 (smaller series, discontinued in 2010) launched in the surf:

3.   Launching from a dock:   Hold the boat in parallel to the dock and carefully get inside, one leg after another.
4.   Seal launching (Warning: only for advanced paddlers):   Put the kayak on a rock or a slope facing the water, position yourself in the back of the cockpit only in the Riding position, and slide down to the water while leaning backwards in order to minimize the impact.  It’s possible to perform this trick from a dock or from a deck of a bigger boat.

Read more about how to seal launch your fishing kayak »

 

 

Paddling

You don’t ride a chopper the way you ride a dirt bike, and canoeing is different from kayaking in a number of ways.  in paddling there are some similarities between canoing and W kayaking, and other things that W kayaking shares with regular kayaking.  In addition, there are also things that are unique to W kayaking.
It is important to keep this in mind before you begin paddling your W Kayak in order to improve both your experience and performance.

Getting started:  It is advised to get used to the boat on flat water before venturing to moving water. As a beginner always make sure you are in the Riding (Mounted) position:

Figure 1W Kayaking -Riding Position

Riding, or ‘Mounted’ Position

Your legs are on your sides and deliver optimal stability, power and control

Riding (Mounted) – The Best Position For Learning, Balancing and Controlling Your Wavewalk® Kayak:
Beginning W Kayakers should start in the Riding position, that is with their legs and feet on both sides of the saddle in a direct line below their upper body (see picture on the right).
Riding is the stablest position and it offers best control over the boat.
This is especially true if you don’t have good canoeing experience and you’re not used to balancing a boat with your legs.
Your experience with regular kayaks (SIK or SOT) may help you in some ways but it does not guarantee that you’ll learn faster because of the differences between ordinary kayaking and W kayaking.
Riding is also very comfortable once you get to used to it.

The Riding or ‘Mounted’ position is particularly stable and effective because all the muscles in your legs from your feet through your ankles, knees and hips can deliver quick, accurate and powerful reactions.
Riding is a position that’s comfortable enough to allow horse riders to travel for thousands of miles during many months.
In past centuries, a cavalry man would throw javelins, shoot arrows or slash his enemies with his saber – all while being mounted on his horse’s saddle, while a cowboy would use his lasso to catch and control cattle from the same powerful and stable position.

The Riding position: This video shows in slow motion how the paddler maintains his stability while powerfully tilting his Wavewlk® 500 kayak:

 

 

Balancing: The right way to balance yourself in your Wavewalk® kayak is to hold the paddle with both hands and use your hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet to respond to the boat’s lateral movement by gently shifting your weight from one leg to the other and keeping your upper body upright and centered.
Leaning with your hand on the spray deflector is not practical at all.
Also, unlike in ordinary kayaks keeping one of your paddle’s blades in the water is not recommended for balancing your Wavewalk® Kayak since it is better if you get used from the beginning to rely on your lower body to perform this task.

Note: The new W700 car-top boat is so stable that it hardly requites any balancing.

Do not confuse Riding (mounting) with Sitting – In the Sitting position your legs are positioned in front of you – see Figure 2.  Sitting is not a recommended position for beginning W kayakers.

W Kayaking -Sitting Position - regularFigure 2   The Sitting Position

Your legs are in front of you and therefore deliver less stability, power and control

 

For more information on the different paddling positions go to the ergonomics section.

Getting used to the Wavewalk® 500 Kayak is personal and can take from a few minutes to several hours. It’s advised not to try to rush things and not to expect to become an expert Wavewalk kayaker after one paddling session – for many people it takes more time. There is a lot you can achieve with a Wavewalk® kayak that you can’t achieve with a regular kayak, and it’s only natural to need some time to learn it.

Positioning Yourself Along the Saddle

You can move forward and backward along the saddle according to your needs and according to circumstances.
For example, when paddling against eddies and waves you can sit in the back of the cockpit and by that lift the bow, which will make paddling easier, since you’d be going over the waves instead of through them.
For more details visit this website’s surf and ocean section.

Poling

You’ll find that poling your W fishing Kayak in shallow water is easy. We recommend that you pole using a long and sturdy paddle such as our Wavewalk® PSP, or a poling pole.  The advantage of the long and sturdy Wavewalk® paddle is the fact you can use it for both poling and paddling.

Steering by Leaning Into the Turn

You don’t need a rudder in order to turn sharply in your Wavewalk® Kayak:  Turning is very easy if you lean into the turn and paddle on the exterior side.
Caution: Since this is an unusual thing in paddling it is advised that you first get used to controlling and balancing the boat before you start leaning it into the turn.  It is advised to do it carefully and gradually.
Getting used to turning by leaning into the turn is personal and can take anything between a few minutes to several hours.
You can lean into the turn in all positions but you can lean more effectively in the Riding, Kneeling and Standing positions, and less in the Sitting position.

By the time you start practicing leaning into the turn you’ll probably know that beginning in the Riding position is best for you.

The ability to lean on one hull and paddle alongside the other hull is also useful when paddling in the surf.  For more information visit this website’s surf and ocean section.

Easy, Rudderless Tracking In Strong Wind

How to get the wind to help you track –
You can move fore and aft along the saddle, and thus displace your Wavewalk® kayak’s center of gravity (CG).
The heavier end will tend to point into the wind, while the lighter end will tend to trail.
With occasional, minor adjustments of your position along the saddle, you’ll be able to track perfectly.

See full article about tracking in strong wind »
The article features an online instructional movie.

Stand Up Paddling (SUP) and Fishing

This kayak is the only one that offers true stand up paddling and fishing for everyone, in real life conditions, in the sense that you don’t have to be young and fit to do it, and once you get used to it, you won’t need to waste time and energy in continuous balancing efforts. True stand up paddling and fishing also means that in case you lose balance, you can simply, easily, instantaneously and intuitively regain your balance just by dropping to the Riding position on the kayak’s 14″ high saddle. This is critical for both convenience and safety.
And needless to say tat rising from the lower position to standing is a breeze.
To paddle standing adults need a paddle that’s longer than ordinary kayak or canoe paddles.
Our company offers two extra long and rigid stand up paddles that work perfectly for paddling in the lower positions too.
Children, teenagers and some people may find it as easy as paddling in lower positions but for most adult paddlers stand up paddling is a skill that can take some time to acquire, like any other skill, including kayaking.
It is advised to begin practicing stand up paddling on flat water before venturing in moving water.

To learn more about stand up paddling visit this website’s Stand up kayak paddling and fishing section.

Motorizing

You can easily motorize your Wavewalk® kayak by outfitting it with either an electric motor or an outboard gas engine. We offer standard transom mounts for 15″ (short) and 20″ (long) propeller shaft models. We strongly recommend using long (20″) shaft motors rather than short (15″) ones.
Motorizing your Wavewalk® kayak would greatly expand your range of travel, and could increase your safety since getting back to shore in bad weather and against a strong current is easier when motorizing than while paddling.
Our website features a special section dedicated to motorized fishing kayaks »

Important:

Before going on a motorized trip, verify that the wide wooden bolt knobs that secure the motor mount to the boat are safely tightened to the maximum. Failing to tighten the bolt knobs could result in unwanted vibrations and noise. If you feel such unusual vibrations and/or hear unusual noise, stop the motor, turn around, and tighten the bolt knobs to the max.
Driving with loose bolt knobs is hazardous, similarly to driving with the motor’s clamp screws loose, and it could result in an accident.

Never operate the motor without the motor’s stop switch (“kill-switch”) attached to your arm.

For motor operation and maintenance please refer to the motor’s owner’s manual.

Scouting and Sight Fishing

Scouting is best done on flat water while paddling in the standing position.
Since scouting is usually done at a slow speed without much maneuvering it is advantageous to learn how to paddle on one side of your kayak using a canoeing style J-stroke to keep tracking.

Stealth

Many anglers are concerned about spooking the fish by making unnecessary noise, such as when they drop their paddle in order to seize a fishing rod and cast a fly or a bait at a fish they’ve just spotted. These anglers usually outfit their W kayak’s cockpit with thick foam along its rim (coaming), which dampens the impact and noise of the paddle when they let it down to rest there, sometimes in a groove they make in the foam.

Dog on Board

Most dogs like to go on paddling, fishing, photography or hunting trips on board the Wavewalk® 500 kayak.
To learn more about outfitting your Wavewalk® kayak with an appropriate solution to accommodate your dog »

Anchoring

You can easily drop an anchor is in the space between the hulls’ tips in front or behind the cockpit – according to your fishing needs.
You can also make an adjustable anchor trolley system as shown in this website’s ‘outfitting’ section.
If you fish in a stream you can use an anchor to slow your drifting downstream or a heavier anchor to keep your kayak in place. Some W anglers use an anchor pulley.
For flat shallow water, using a stakeout pole can work better than an anchor.

Casting

The Wavewalk® Kayak offers you the ability to cast to longer distances, which presents two advantages:
1.   Being able to cover more water from a stationary position before you need to move your kayak
2.   Some fish species can sense the presence of your kayak nearby and therefore are better caught from a distance.

For more information visit our website’s Shallow Water Fishing section

You can cast to longer distances with any gear from the powerful riding position.
The standing position is also good for casting to longer distances.
Casting from the sitting position is less powerful, although it still enables better casting than the traditional kayaking position does in other kayaks.

Net

You will find that netting smaller catch is very easy, and by gripping the fish through the net the hooks can be removed with minimal damage to the fish.
As for bigger fish, dropping them in one of the hulls will assure that they don’t slip away and will give you the possibility to deal with them on your own terms.

Reentering Your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak From Deep Water

From the back:
To enter your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak from the back you need to position yourself behind it and grab the hulls’ two tips. Hoist yourself upward and start crawling upward and forward with your legs positioned on both sides of the boat.
Use your legs to help you balance the boat. Doing it slowly and carefully is better than trying to rush things.
After you have going forward enough over the cockpit just let your legs drop into the hulls, and position yourself in the stable Riding position.
It is possible to perform this entry without help from other people if you do it slowly and carefully. Obviously, it is easier if someone can help you balance the boat by holding one or both handles in the bow.

From the side:
Position yourself on the side of the kayak with one hand holding the spray deflector. Push yourself upward and grab the spray deflector on the other side of the kayak, then quickly move one leg up and on top of the cockpit while your head and shoulders point in the other direction, so your body is in an angle and almost sideways to the kayak.
This method requires more agility and fitness than reentry from the back of the kayak.
If it doesn’t work and you feel the kayak isn’t stable, slide quickly back into to water, and then try again, or try reentering the cockpit from the back of the kayak.
If one hull has water in it, it can serve as a counter-balance, and you should reenter the kayak from the other side.

Demo video contributed by Berny Marsden, from the UK:

Berny designed and built this DIY Wavewalk with some help from us, and he named it “Banana Split” 🙂 . The load capacity and dimensions of this boat are comparable to those of the W700.

Before you go back into the cockpit make sure the paddle is secured, and it’s not in your way.
Practicing will improve your deep water entry skills.

Related info: How to use detachable flotation to right a capsized Wavewalk® kayak »

Shallow Water

Your Wavewalk® Fishing Fishing Kayak offers some exceptional advantages in shallow water, so we’ve dedicated a special section of this website to shallow water fishing

Surf And Ocean

This website has a special section dedicated to surf launching, surf playing, paddling, surfing and beaching in this challenging, fun environment. Please visit our our surf & ocean page.

Draining

Normally the interior of the boat stays dry, and if some rain or spray gets in it is drained to the bottom of the hulls where it does not bother you.
Similarly to other small boats, when you’re on the water in your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak you can drain it using a small bucket, a hand operated bilge pump or an electric bilge pump.  Some W kayakers use a big sponge or a big towel for this matter.
When the W Fishing Kayak is on dry land you drain it in no time just by grabbing the handles and overturning it. The water will drain out from the special drainage holes in the top side of the cockpit rim.

Beaching

When beaching (taking out) you normally don’t have to step in water:  When paddling to shore position yourself in the back of the cockpit – This will raise the bow and make it easy for you to advance high enough on dry ground.  When stepping out from the boat do it from the front so you don’t have to get your feet wet.

Tandem (Two Adults)

 

  • Paddling in Tandem

-Two children weighing less than 100 lb each can hardly be considered a real tandem in terms of the special challenges facing two full size paddlers i.e. adults.

Paddling any kayak in tandem is always a challenge, but paddling a Wavewalk® Kayak in tandem is easier.
Before anything, do not attempt to paddle a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak in tandem unless both paddlers are experienced W kayakers.  The heavier and more experienced paddler should preferably ride in the back of the cockpit, where he/she can see what the new paddler is doing, instruct him/her and compensate for errors if necessary.
Paddling a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak in tandem is not recommended if one of the paddlers weighs over 200 lb, and if the total weight of both paddlers exceeds 350 lb.
Do not paddle in tandem in any position other than Riding, which is the stablest, and the one that offers best control.
Do not attempt to paddle a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak in tandem at sea or on moving water unless you’ve gained considerable experience in W Kayaking in general, and in tandem W Kayaking in particular.

You and your padding partner can paddle a Wavewalk® Kayak in tandem using either two canoe paddles, one canoe paddle and one kayak paddle, or two kayak paddles -What really matters is your teamwork, ability to understand each other and your individual paddling skills.
Note:  The W kayak is a small vessel, and like any other vessel it becomes slower and less stable when overloaded. You need to take into consideration these factors when planning any tandem activity with your W Kayak.
Most importantly, make sure you’ve read about the weight limitations for this kayak »
Also, beaching in tandem is more difficult than solo because you can no longer raise the bow effectively.
W kayaking in tandem can be a lot of fun if performed correctly and safely.

  • Fishing in Tandem

Generally, it is not advised for two people to sit in a small boat and fish together since this is an accident prone situation.  This is especially true for young and inexperienced fishermen.
It is possible for two people fishing together from the cockpit of a Wavewalk® 500 fishing kayak to have one fisherman face the bow while the other faces the stern.  This leaves more room in front of each of them for casting and reeling the fish in, but in any case both fishermen will not be free in their actions and they must be very careful in everything they do, and constantly aware of their partner’s actions.
It is possible to paddle this way for short distances but only if the front passenger (I.E. the one facing forward) is paddling.  Since the W fishing kayak is totally symmetrical from bow to stern the two passengers can take turns in paddling.  For example: while the one at the bow is paddling forward the other that’s facing backward can cast or troll providing he/she does it carefully.
Turning inside the cockpit is easier for lightweight passengers, but heavier passengers can learn to do it too after some practicing.  It is important to do it in full coordination with the other passenger, and advised to practice in shallow water first..
It is best for people fishing and/or paddling in tandem to do so in the riding position, which is stabler than sitting.
It is not advised to stand in this kayak while two people are fishing from it.

Note: Unlike the W500, the new W700 is a full-tandem paddling, fishing and motor boat

Storing the Kayak

The proper way to store this kayak is with its cockpit facing up.

Do not store this kayak with anything heavy resting on top of it, or with anything pulling its hulls apart.
It’s best to cover the cockpit with a tarp, in order to prevent rain, snow, animals and insects from getting inside.

Cold weather
You can store this kayak outside even in cold weather but you’d need to make sure it doesn’t get filled with water or snow, since freezing water expands and could damage it.

Hot weather
You can store this kayak outside in hot weather and direct sunlight, although storing it in the shade is better in the long run.

Indoors
Our website’s Outfitting Section offers examples showing how you can store your Wavewalk® kayak indoors »

Maintenance and Repair

A Wavewalk® Kayak requires no maintenance, and you can store it outside in cold and hot weather.
The W Kayak is rotationally molded from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which is stronger, more durable and more resilient than other materials used in kayaks and canoes.  This is why it is unlikely to get damaged, but it also makes it difficult to repair so it is not advised that you try and perform repairs by yourself without first consulting with us.

 

Scratches

Scratches on the bottom of your kayak occur naturally, and they’re quite meaningless in terms of performance. You can simply ignore them, or read this article that offers technical advice on how to take care of scratches »

 

Outfitting and Rigging

You will find that your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak offers many possibilities and is very easy to outfit.  For more information please visit this website’s outfitting and rigging page.

 

Limitations

Exceptionally tall and/or very heavy people, and/or people with certain physical disabilities can find it more difficult to paddle traditional canoes and kayaks.
Similarly, such people might experience some difficulties in W Kayaking that most people won’t experience, or would experience to a lesser extent.

These limitations are true mainly for the 500 series, while the 700 series offers practically anyone to paddle, solo and in tandem

 

Outriggers

Attaching outriggers to a fishing kayak offers limited benefits in terms of initial (primary) stability, and even less so with secondary stability.
Outriggers significantly impede the kayak and make it harder to paddle.
Outriggers are also known to limit the kayak’s mobility in shallow water where weeds and grass grow.
Outriggers also reduce the kayak’s ‘fishability’ by snagging your lines.

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or by email if you need additional information.

We’d welcome your comments and suggestions about the design of this page, and what additional information and links we should include in it.

Tel:   774 315-6009
Click to email us »

 

The secrets of the SOT kayak’s underside

Have you ever seen a picture of the underside of a sit-on-top (SOT) kayak? –
It’s unique, and the bottom of no other vessel looks like it.

Below is a figure showing what a typical SOT kayak looks like when it’s turned over:

underside-of-typical-sot-fishing-kayak

Understanding the design of SOT kayaks’ underside

The ‘scupper’ holes

The most striking feature in a SOT kayak’s hull are the holes in it:
All SOT kayaks feature vertical holes connecting their deck to the water below. Kayak manufacturers call them ‘Scupper Holes’ and claim they were introduced into the SOT design as means to drain water from the kayak’s deck, similarly to what scuppers do in normal boats.
The truth is different –
To begin with, these vertical holes were introduced into the SOT kayak design not as means to drain their deck but for a totally different reason: They support the deck from crashing down as the user sits on top of it –
Kayaks’ hulls have thin plastic walls, and SOT kayaks’ hulls have a general form of an empty and flattish eggshell that’s not very strong, which is why its top side (let’s call it the ‘roof’) requires reinforcement.
The way to support the roof of a large structure is by means of vertical columns, and that’s essentially what scupper holes are: vertical, molded-in plastic tubes that act as supporting columns for the kayak’s deck.
This explains why scupper holes are rather dysfunctional as drainage holes – They were not designed as such in the first place.
So next time you paddle a SOT kayak and you notice water splashing through the scupper holes onto the deck as a result of the kayak moving in the water (that’s what kayaks are supposed to do), you’ll know why the manufacturer just had to put these holes there, and why the sensible solution of letting water drain from the kayak’s deck to its sides didn’t get adopted…

The hydrodynamics of scupper holes

Any detail in a vessel’s hull that can generate a noticeable change in the regular flow of the water is unwanted since it increases drag (resistance) and makes it harder to move the vessel. In other words, it slows the vessel down.
Therefore, a hull that features multiple drag generating elements such as scupper holes is very slow, and in kayaking terms it’s hard to paddle or pedal it forward at an acceptable speed without the kayaker making an unusual effort.
Call it a barge and you’d be spot on.

Channels / tunnels

The second striking element that SOT kayak feature on their underside are channels sometime called tunnels. These are the long and narrow grooves stretching along the hull’s middle section.

Why are they there? –

Water cannot be compressed, and it doesn’t like to be forced into narrow and long structures such as these. When it does, it generates friction (Frictional Resistance – FR) and turbulence, and thereby even more drag making the kayak even harder to move, I.E. much slower.
Kayak designers know these facts, or at least they’re supposed to be aware of them, so why do they add such channels to their kayaks’ underside? –
The typical answer you’d hear at a kayak dealership is that channels add to the kayak’s tracking capability. This should be a good thing because SOT kayaks or at least those designed to serve anglers track exceptionally poorly, which is why nearly all of them come equipped with a rudder (yet another undesirable element). But if a kayak features a rudder, it doesn’t need such channels molded into its underside…
So this common explanation is false, and it masks reality –
If indeed channels are there to improve tracking, why does only the middle section of SOT (and ‘hybrid’) kayaks feature them? It would make sense to make such channels longer, so they produce a more noticeable tracking effect, wouldn’t it?
Well, the reality is that such channels are essentially yet another means to reinforce the SOT kayak’s hull, which is why they coincide with scupper holes –
Knowing that the lower end of scupper tube generates considerable drag as it comes in contact with water, the kayak designer may attempt to position it higher, that is at the top side of a narrow tunnel, such as can be observed in the above image.
It doesn’t really work, simply because the kayak sinks lower in the water as soon as it is loaded with a passenger, and if that passenger happens to be an angler, the load is heavier since it includes fishing gear as well.

Other underside elements that slow down the SOT kayak

If you thought that kayak designers and manufacturers would stop at scuppers and channels, you were wrong. In fact, in the race between kayak manufacturers to overdo each other by introducing details and accessories in increasing numbers, many SOT kayaks today feature additional elements that generate extra drag, and further slow you down –
Those include fins, keels and skegs, and pedal driven kayaks feature flapping fins or propellers.
The additional effort required to propel SOT or hybrid kayaks that feature such elements is significantly greater than the effort required to propel simple sit-in kayaks of similar proportions, and it’s much greater than the effort required to propel a W kayak.

Clearly, as SOT kayaks become bigger, wider, heavier, over accessorized and dysfunctional through clutter, we are witnessing the end of a design cycle that began sometime in the end of the 1960s, when people started outfitting paddle boards with seats and footrests and called them sit-on-top kayaks…

The Hybrid Fishing Kayak – Facts, Hype and Plain Nonsense

Hybrid Kayak Defined

The term ‘Hybrid Kayak’ is an abbreviation of ‘Hybrid Canoe-Kayak’. It’s a type of small, typically human powered watercraft that takes from the kayak in the sense that its passengers sit in it with their legs stretched forward, and use dual blade (i.e. ‘kayak’) paddles for propulsion.
The hybrid’s canoe genes are harder to track, although it’s possible to argue that a hybrid kayak is nothing more than a small, flat canoe.
However, all hybrid kayaks are very wide, and designed to provide more stability than narrower, traditional kayaks offer. It’s likely to assume that those who design and manufacture hybrid kayaks view the canoe as a watercraft that’s stabler than common kayaks are, and the reference to canoes is therefore an implicit reference to stability.

The Hybrid Kayak – A Canoe With No Free Board

One thing that hybrid kayaks don’t have is the high free board that’s characteristic to canoes. This means that hybrid kayaks offer less protection to their passengers, be it from wind, spray or waves, and water can easily get inside their hull, even from small eddies hitting the sides of the boat.
Hybrid kayaks don’t feature scupper holes in their hulls, which means that whatever water gets inside stays inside, and will get your gear as well as yourself wet. Eventually, your hybrid kayak could become too heavy to paddle, unless you pump or scoop the water out of it.
Anyone paddling a hybrid kayak in less than perfect water conditions should be prepared to deal with a drainage problem, and for this reason it’s almost impossible to see pictures or watch videos of people paddling hybrid kayaks or fishing from them unless they’re doing it on perfectly still water.

In other words, the hybrid performs poorly in moving water as well as when the wind is blowing. It’s essentially a fair weather, flat water boat.

Paddling A Hybrid Kayak

Typically, hybrid kayaks are 32 to 42 inches wide, which makes them less comfortable for paddling than traditional, narrower kayaks. This is because the extra width limits the paddle’s range of motion , and the paddler is forced to move their paddle more horizontally.
Being very wide relatively to their length (i.e. low Length to Beam ratio – L/B) makes hybrid kayaks track poorly, much like other broad sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks.
Being typically big and heavy, the hybrid kayak is what is commonly referred to as a ‘barge’.
Hybrid kayaks track so poorly that it’s hard to paddle them, and for this reason a hybrid kayak typically comes equipped with a rudder, designed to correct its tendency to zigzag.
You will seldom find a hybrid kayak used for paddling, unless this paddling effort is done as part of a fishing trip, and preferably a short one that doesn’t require much paddling. In other words, hybrid kayaks are not suitable for paddling over long distances, including camping trips.

Inevitably, like all kayaks featuring a wide hull, hybrid kayaks lack hydrodynamic features that contribute to speed, a fact that makes them notoriously slow to paddle.

Hybrid Kayak Design Features

Hybrid kayak manufacturers seem to like carving one or more long and wide ‘tunnels’ on the bottom of their kayaks’ hulls. These ‘tunnels’ are sometime big enough to allow for calling the hull a ‘tunnel hull’, but since these tunnels ‘ceiling’ (top) is always submerged, they don’t make the hull qualify as a catamaran, or twin hull. This technical fact doesn’t prevent some vendors from claiming their hybrid kayaks feature a ‘catamaran hull’, and whether such claim is made with the intention to mislead customers, or simply based on ignorance , it is a falsehood.
A tunnel hull forces some of the water to flow straight, in parallel to the boat’s direction of motion, so it is known to improve tracking. However, and contrarily to what some hybrid kayak manufacturers advertize, a tunnel hull does not increase the boat’s stability in a meaningful way, simply because it doesn’t change the fact that most of the boat’s buoyancy remains distributed along its center line, where it can’t do much to prevent the boat from tilting when it’s off balance. This is because a hybrid kayak featuring a tunnel hull is still just a mono hull kayak, and not a twin hull ( a.k.a ‘catamaran’) kayak.

Next time you see and ad claiming that a hybrid kayak features a catamaran hull, just ask yourself if it features two distinct hulls attached to each other (i.e. twin hull), or a single hull (mono hull) with a tunnel carved on its bottom (tunnel hull).

Stability In Hybrid Kayaks

The quest for better stability is the hybrid kayak’s reason for being. It’s the only thing that justifies the existence of this relatively new type of boat, and the market where kayak stability is appreciated the most is fishing, since a fishing kayak is required to be as stable as possible, and the more stable it is, the better.
However, the additional stability offered by hybrid kayaks stems just from their being wider, and it’s not necessarily enough. In other words, the hybrid concept is more stable than the Touring kayak concept, but it’s not necessarily stable enough for fishing in real world conditions, which include fishing standing in full confidence and reasonable safety, and fishing in moving water. Sales of hybrid kayaks are often promoted through images and staged movies showing someone fishing while standing in them. Such visuals can be misleading, since standing in a kayak always means that sooner or later the person standing will lose balance for some reason, and since there isn’t enough buoyancy on the hybrid kayak’s sides, that person will fall overboard and in many cases flip the kayak. Falling overboard is the only possible reaction, since falling inside the hybrid kayak is impossible, as it is in any other kayak, except W kayaks, which are equipped with a high saddle on which the passenger can easily fall and regain their balance instantly and intuitively, and since W kayaks offer several times more buoyancy on their sides – away from the center line of their twin hull, and since the passenger standing in a W kayak have each of their feet positioned lower, at the bottom of each hull.
A tunnel hull adds a little resistance to rolling (lateral motion), but when push comes to shove, a hybrid kayak is not much stabler than a similarly broad, flat bottomed sit-in kayak. It may be more stable than a wide sit-on-top kayak just because the passenger of a SOT kayak is seated or standing on top of a deck that’s several inches above waterline, which puts their center of gravity (CG) very high without offering any means to compensate for the lost stability.

Next time to see a picture or a movie of someone fishing standing in a hybrid kayak, ask yourself a simple question: -“Does it make sense?”. Your answer is likely to be something like “This is nonsense”, and if this is the case, you’d be right.

‘Ergonomic’ – A Misused and Abused Adjective

It is an established fact that being seated in a kayak hurts your back. Practically all sit-in and SOT kayak manufacturers try to address this problem by offering seats padded with extra foam (a.k.a. ‘ergonomic’ seats). Such seats can’t do do much to solve the problem, since it originates in the L position, and the combined effect of footrests and backrest, with your own legs continuously pushing your lower back against the latter, while getting leverage from the first.
The L position is a back killer, and not the material from which the seat is made, but hybrid kayak manufacturers often outfit their product with a canvas seat resembling a beach seat, and claim it is more ‘ergonomic’ than a conventional kayak seat made from foam.
A canvas seat can’t do much to solve the back pain felt by the passenger paddling a hybrid kayak, because the passenger has to push with their legs against something in order to maintain their own balance, as well as their kayak’s balance – whether the are paddling or fishing.
The fact that such canvas seat is slightly higher than the typical kayak seat, is used by hybrid kayak manufacturers to claim that it’s less hard on the passenger’s back than the typical kayak seat is. However, such claim is not necessarily anchored in reality, since a canvas seat can elevate the kayaker’s center of gravity (CG), without offering means to compensate them for the stability lost by the extra height. Therefore, passengers of hybrid kayaks need to push stronger with their feet against the footrests, and inevitably, with their back against the seat. Pushing harder while sitting higher leads to back pain and other problems that are similar to those that other kayakers experience in regular sit-in and SOT kayaks.
The bottom line is that you can’t create better ergonomic solutions to a problem without having the means enabling you to adopt a truly different approach to it, and if a different approach is not physically possible, the new solution offered may seem different, but it won’t be better.

Motorizing Hybrid Kayaks

The hybrid kayak is a barge. Period. However, since it’s stabler than narrower mono-hull kayak designs, some people use it for fishing, and among these anglers there are some who outfit their hybrid yak with electric trolling motors. This is not a bad idea in itself, except that it makes the already heavy and cumbersome kayak heavier and more cumbersome, to a point where car topping it is no more possible, and transporting it to the launching beach becomes very is hard. This effectively turns the motorized hybrid fishing kayak into a small, slow motorboat that offers far less comfort and protection than a dinghy or a small skiff, and being a small boat, it demands transportation on a trailer, and launching from a boat ramp. In other words, it loses the comparative advantage that kayaks have compared to bigger boats, which is their light weight, relative ease of transportation, and more places to launch from.

If you happen to drive a motorized hybrid kayak too fast, or through waves and even just eddies, you’ll get sprayed from the bow and the sides, and water would get inside your kayak’s cockpit.

More about motorized fishing kayaks >>

Pedal Driven Hybrid Kayaks

Pedal drives for kayak propulsion are hyped as much as hybrid kayaks are, if not more. Without getting into details, pedal drives for kayaks are not the panacea, and they exacerbate the basic ergonomic problems that are typical too all kayaks paddled in the L position. There are basically two types of pedal drives for kayaks: one featuring push pedals and flapping ‘wings’, and the other featuring rotating pedals and a rotational propeller. All we can say here is that the latter is not as bad as the first, and these complex technical issues are discussed in depth in another article, dedicated entirely to the subject of pedal driven kayaks.

The Hybrid Fishing Kayak – Bottom Line

Hybrid fishing kayaks are suitable for fishing trips that are short in distance, and of short duration, on flat water, in fair weather, and when no wind is blowing. They are suitable neither for stand up paddling nor for stand up fishing.

Typically, hybrid kayaks are used in ponds and small lakes, or on slow moving rivers. The hybrid fishing kayak is a barge to paddle, and although it is possible to outfit it a trolling motor, doing so results in some non-negligible problems.

The hybrid fishing kayak offers no solution to the yack back problem that’s typical to other kayaks in which passengers are not properly seated, i.e. must paddle and fish with their legs stretched in front of them, in the infamous L position.

How to Keep Your W500 Fishing Kayak Cockpit Dry

Typically, very little water can get inside your Wavewalk TM 500 cockpit, because the kayak offers a high freeboard – more than any kayak does. This is true even when you’re launching in the surf, because you can lift the bow by sitting in the back of the cockpit, and thus go over the incoming waves, instead of through them, like you’d have to do with all other kayaks.

1. How to Prevent Water From Getting Inside the Kayak Cockpit

All Wavewalk TM 500 models except the R model feature a preparation for a cockpit cover system comprising a long bungee, 2 Nylon eyelets, and 12 lashing hooks attached around the spray deflector.

lashing hook and bungee for fishing kayak cockpit cover

Attaching the cockpit cover to the cockpit’s spray deflector is quick and easy, and you do it by lifting the bungee, tucking the cover between the bungee and the spray deflector, and securing it between the bungee and the lashing hooks, this way:

Fishing kayak cockpit cover

Any plastic sheet, tarp, or waterproof fabric can serve you as a cockpit cover, and you don’t have to cut or sew it in any particular shape (unless you feel like it…)

You can use the cockpit to cover any part of the cockpit: Whether it’s just the front, or all the area between you and the hull tips,  or just one side of the cockpit, or the entire cockpit, including yourself. It all depends on the size of your cockpit cover, and what you need the cover to do for you. You can even use two, separate covers for covering different parts of the cockpit.

Here is an example how you can use a simple, low cost 3′ x 8′ tarp as a cover for your W500 cockpit:

How to attach tarp cockpit cover the your fishing kayakFishing kayak cockpit fully covered with tarp cover

Here’s a real life account of a large size cockpit cover used to protect a W kayak bass angler during a rainstorm in Connecticut:

Prtecting yourself in fishing kayak during rainstorm

Outside View of Weatherproof Fishing Kayak

Dry fishing kayak in rainstorm

Inside weatherproof fishing kayak during rainstorm

Read the entire report on Rox’ bass kayak fishing trip, in which she got caught in a rainstorm, and managed to keep perfectly dry in the cockpit of her W500 >>

And this is the initial design, by a W300 fly kayak angler  from Oregon, which inspired us to develop the universal preparation for cockpit cover:

Cockpit cover for fishing kayak, protecting fly angler from snow and cold

A cockpit cover can add to your personal protection from the elements, even in cold weather, wind, snow, and hail.

This picture shows a car topped W500 in Ohio – Note how the owner covered its cockpit with a tarp:

fishing kayak with cockpit cover, on top on car, Ohio

2. What If a Little Water Gets In?

Like everything that has to do with the W500 kayak, it’s easy:

First, you don’t have to care too much about a little water getting inside, because unlike sit-in kayaks, all water that may get inside is automatically drained to the bottom of the hulls, where it doesn’t bother you. This is true for drops falling from your paddle, rain, spray, etc.  The 14 inch high W kayak saddle stays dry, and since this is where you sit,  so do you.

Keeping the bottom of the hulls perfectly dry is easy too, if you simply put a big sponge at the bottom of each hull. The sponge will absorb the water by itself, since the water will eventually reach it due to the kayak’s natural movement. By the end of the trip, or anytime during the trip,  you’d just have to  squeeze the water out of the sponges, and that’s it.

3. What If a Lot of Water Gets Inside Your W Kayak Cockpit?

Again, since the water is drained automatically to the bottom of the kayak hulls, and you sit on the 14 inch high saddle, or ride it, water in the bottom of the hulls doesn’t necessarily bother you, even if there’s several gallons of it down there.  This is true even in cold water and weather, if you’re wearing rubber booties.

In any case, getting rid of this water is simple: Just scoop it out with a hand bucket, also called a bilge bucket. Making one from a 1 gallon plastic bottle with a handle is cheap and easy, and such DIY bilge buckets are perfect for the job.

If you feel like being more sophisticated, just use an inexpensive, plastic, hand activated bilge pump,  the same as sea-kayakers, canoeists, and other small boat passengers use for the same purpose:

Fishing kayak bilge pump

4. Getting Rid of Water on Land

You may want to get rid of water that’s in your W kayak’s cockpit when you’re on dry land. Again, nothing could be easier: You just overturn the boat, and the water will get drained out through the special drainage holes at the top of the spray deflector. Normally, this is the kayak’s highest point, but when it is upside down, the holes are at its lowest point, which makes the water come out in no time, and from all parts of the kayak hulls.

5. Safety – Why Are SOT Kayaks Hazardous?

Simply, because if your kayak hull is leaking, you want be able to detect the problem immediately, in real time, since any delay might be critical. Therefore, closed hulls, such as sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks feature, present a potential hazard, because water can leak inside them without you having any way to notice it, until it’s too late. This is one of the downsides of the so-called ‘self bailing’ (paddle board) SOT kayak hull. Worst of all – those SOT hulls are rarely fully watertight, because of various reasons – The first being the basic design flaw putting their parting line too low above the water, combined with the weakness in the scupper holes area. The second reason being the fact that once the SOT kayak is molded, it has numerous big and small holes drilled in its hull for hatches, rod holders, seat etc., and such holes are extremely difficult to waterproof in the long run, and can easily leak, since the  SOT kayak deck is too low above waterline, and is often washed by waves, or immersed in case the SOT kayak is overturned in the water.

SOT kayak anglers are required to drain their kayak hulls through special drain plugs installed in them, preferably after each trip, and sometimes even during the trip, if they can find a place to beach. Read more »

In comparison to SOT kayaks, the W kayak’s parting line is 6 to 12 inches higher above the water surface, the kayak features neither scupper holes nor hatches, and its deck is much higher too, and the cockpit part of it is protected by a spray deflector. Since it sold its first Wavewalk TM kayak, back in 2004, Wavewalk has received no complaints about water leaking into a W kayak hull.



DIY Bilge Hand Bucket for Your Fishing Kayak

Sometimes you might need to drain water from the bottom of your fishing kayak, for example if a big wave breaks right on top of it, or if you capsized it and it overturned.

Whitewater canoeists and kayakers as well as touring kayakers use either bilge buckets or bilge pumps for this purpose.

This DIY hand bilge bucket is easy to make, lightweight, and above all – effective.

hand bilge bucket for fishing kayak

You can use any 1 gallon plastic bottle (E.G. milk bottle, water bottle) to make such a bucket – Just cut the bottom and secure the cap so it won’t fall, and you’re all set.

This square, 1 gallon standard size fits the width of the W kayak hulls perfectly, which makes such a bucket more efficient.

Naturally, you should attach the bucket to your kayak, so that you can find it when you need it…