Tag Archive: ergonomics

Ergonomics is the applied science of designing and arranging things that people use in ways that would make these people use them more productively while feeling more comfortable and being safer.
Traditional kayaks such as sit-in, SOT and hybrid kayaks are notoriously hard to paddle and uncomfortable due to their poor ergonomic design, among other things.
W kayaks’ improved ergonomics make it possible for more people to paddle them and fish out of them for longer hours without experiencing pain and discomfort associated with the use of traditional kayaks.

Big and heavy guy drives and fishes sitting side-saddle in the S4

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

Another example that shows how stable and comfortable the S4 is.
This 330 lbs client enjoys driving the S4 in the regular position, then side-saddle with both feet in one of the boat’s hulls.
After that, he fishes the mangroves in this position, facing the side of the boat.





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

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »

Paddling and fishing in Kachemak bay, Alaska

By Pat Irwin

Homer, Alaska

I’m working my way up to a longer trip so the only pics I have right now are random photos around the bay in front of my house. The salmon are running (spawning) right now so my focus is to fill the freezer for winter.

This pic is from a rainy fishing day. The W500 pointing toward Grewingk Glacier and the Harding Ice Field.

BTW, the 500 is helping my MS by allowing me to stay even more fit than if I use my bicycle only. This boat is great!

Grewingk Glacier and the Harding Ice Field viewed from the kayak 1024


More paddling and fishing with Pat in Alaska »


Paddling in Strong Wind

Paddling and Tracking in Strong wind

Tracking is the main problem that paddlers need to overcome when paddling in strong wind.
Wavewalk paddlers usually report excellent performance of their boats under wind, since catamarans tracks well, generally, and also thanks to the fact that it offers multiple means for power-paddling, as well as for counter-affecting the wind.
Since 2004, thousands of people have been paddling Wavewalk kayaks from the 300, 500 and 700 series, and none of these paddlers outfitted their Wavewalk with a rudder – that cumbersome device that has become an integral part of all other types of high-end kayaks used for touring and fishing.

Here are some tips that can improve your Wavewalk kayak’s performance when you’re paddling in strong wind:

1. Paddle only in the Riding Position, which is the optimal posture for power and balancing, and lean a bit forward, with your knees lower than your hips – That would give you extra power.

2. Paddle from the middle of the cockpit, as much as possible –

  • If you paddle from its rear it would raise your W kayak’s bow and expose it to the wind, and the boat will turn away from the wind.
  • If you paddle from the front of the cockpit, the stern will go up, and the kayak will turn into the wind.

3. Lean your W kayak into the wind – That would make it harder for it to affect the course of your W kayak.

4. Apply short J strokes on the side from which the wind is blowing, and more powerful strokes on the lee side (the sheltered side) – That would help you track. You may even hold the paddle not from its middle, so that you can apply longer strokes on the lee side.

6. Any object protruding from the deck is exposed to the wind, and therefore generates additional drag – Detach the spray shield if you have one attached, dismount deck mounted rod holders, and store your fishing rods inside the hulls whenever possible. A milk crate would act as a small sail that’s controlled by the wind, so you’d better avoid using one altogether.

7. Keep paddling in a steady pace and a straight course – This is not about one-time corrections, but about minimizing your effort and getting there. Precision and efficiency are as important as power.

8. IMPORTANT – Remember that you can easily move fore and aft along the Wavewalk’s saddle, and by doing so control the angle in which your W kayak will point relatively to the direction from which the wind blows: Paddling from a forward position will tend to point the kayak’s bow into the wind, and paddling from a backward position will tend to point the bow away from the wind.
By applying small changes to your own location on the saddle, you can minimize the wind’s unwanted effect on your Wavewalk, and keep it tracking with little effort.

Here is an instructional video on this subject:

For me it is the Wavewalk or nothing

By John Sealy

North Carolina

Not long ago I bought a W500. The 500 lived up to its billing. I could get in it with dry feet, I could paddle upright without back pain, and it was more stable than any canoe or kayak I’d ever been in. What a great “platform” for fishing and touring.
The Wavewalk 700 is everything the 500 is, and more.

I took the W700 out last week for my first trip and was amazed at how stable it was. The W700 is such a pleasure to paddle, easy to get into, easy to launch, and so incredibly stable. So I really put it to the test….my wife Kathy wanted to give it a try. Kathy is 60 yoa and hasn’t been on the water in 20 years. See the video of my wife coming to shore and getting out of my W700 for the first time. She’s now picked out a yellow one so it was an expensive test!



I’m 63 yoa and am no lightweight. I now have a kayak I can paddle with confidence. In the W500 or the W700 I can stand up!, move forward or back, lean forward or back, and change leg position.
I simply can’t use other kayaks or canoes due to my lower back issues and my size. For me it is the Wavewalk or nothing.

I’ve got fishing and exploring to do. I look forward to having my wife enjoy the water with me and to have grand children explore and fish with me in the 700 or alongside in their own 500.

See the pictures of me getting into and out of the W700:

Launching the Wavewalk 700


1. Just step in


2. Walk to the middle of the cockpit


3. Sit down comfortably, with nothing pushing against your lower back…


4. Push the kayak in with your paddle, and start paddling


Paddle sitting or standing, it’s easy even for a big guy like me

Beaching the Wavewalk 700


1. Slide backward to the rear end of the cockpit – the bow goes up! Paddle directly to the beach…


2. A few paddle strokes and a push, and the kayak’s bow slides up the bank


3. Get up (it’s easy!), stand up, and wave to your fans…


4. Just walk out of the kayak. Feet always dry!

More from John »

More W700 reviews »

Pedal drive for my fishing kayak?


Wavewalk hasn’t offered a pedal drive with its fishing kayaks because of two reasons, which are that we found neither demand for such accessory among our clients, nor any real advantage in offering such a device to them, regardless of the increased price we would have to charge for it.

Years ago, we published the results of our research on this subject in a 4,000 word Paddle vs Pedal Drive in Fishing Kayaks article, which hasn’t gotten much interest from our clients.

The reason we now publish this new, shorter article on this subject is to make sure that our clients are exposed to all ideas and possibilities, and have a chance to express their views on this subject, as well as their wishes, if any.

Recent developments

Our new 700 series offers to incorporate a pedal drive more easily than the 500 design did. On the other hand, two out of the three pedal driven fishing kayaks manufacturers mentioned in our first article have suffered serious setbacks in recent years, while some of the pro-staffers affiliated with the third manufacturer express themselves with so much zeal that it makes them look like members of a cult, and this is not a good sign, in our opinion. A fourth kayak company recently announced that it was planning to add a pedal drive to its line of SOT fishing kayaks, but a video they released revealed nothing more than a ‘me too’ version of the two existing rotational drives.

Summary of pros and cons

The following tables include some of the main points that we find relevant to this discussion:

1. Functionality

-What can I do?

 Push Pedals & Flaps Drive
Rotational Pedals & Propeller Drive
Backward Thrust
Forward Thrust

Practically speaking, none of the kayak pedal drives on the market can be used without a rudder system, and no pedal kayak fisherman goes on a fishing trip without taking a paddle with them.

2. Mobility

-Where can I go without restrictions?

  Push-Pedals & Flaps Drive
Rotational Pedals & Propeller Drive
Skinny Water
Weeds & Vegetation
Fast Streams
Deep Water

Again, using a kayak outfitted with a pedal drive automatically means that you need to use a rudder system, as well as take a paddle with you, just in case.

3. Ergonomics

-Who can use it?

  Push-Pedals & Flaps Drive
Rotational Pedals & Propeller Drive
Paddle & Ordinary Kayak
Paddle & Wavewalk® Kayak
Young & Physically FitYesYesYesYes
Middle Aged
Balance Disabilities
Sensitive Back

This table refers to typical, several hour long fishing trips, and it does not show the fact that the W700 offers full tandem capabilities standard, at any time.

End of story?

So far, the data presented in this article seems to lead to the conclusion that the reader should stop wasting their time reading it, especially in view of the fact that Wavewalk leads in motorized solutions, which are so practical, fast and ergonomic. But what if we could come up with a better pedal drive? –

 A better pedal drive?

Yes, we can design a pedal drive for the W700 that would be considerably more functional than the existing kayak pedal drives in terms of turning and tracking, and therefore it won’t require the use of a rudder. Such pedal drive would offer some advantages in terms of mobility, although it won’t match paddling, and it would be somehow easier and more comfortable to operate than ordinary pedal drives are, although not as easy as paddling. Such pedal drive would require installing a seat with a backrest, which many of our fans are unlikely to appreciate, and it would limit the usability of the boat for tandem crews. And last but not least, such pedal drive would add an estimated $1,500 to the W700 retail price, a point which cannot be ignored, especially since such sum is enough to equip a W700 with both a powerful gas outboard motor mounted at the stern, and a small, lightweight, front mounted electric trolling motor. Did we mention the fact that the 6 HP Tohatsu outboard can be outfitted with an alternator that would charge the battery of such a trolling motor?…

So, this time we managed to keep our article under 800 words, and we hope it would serve the visitors of our website as food for thought, or at least as entertainment…