Tag Archive: headwind

Headwind means frontal wind that blows in an opposite direction the kayak’s direction. Headwind can be hard to overcome, especially if the paddler is not strong, or if they’re tired, and if the kayak they paddle is sluggish and hard to paddle (a.k.a. a ‘barge’ kayak), such as many SOT and hybrid fishing kayaks are.
More info: http://wavewalk.com/blog/2011/04/15/the-barge-a-new-class-of-fishing-kayak/

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:

Review of my W500 kayak, by Kai Roth

I’ve taken many photos from my new W kayak. Herons, turtles, dramatic sky and copious amounts of lake weed. (Ugh, our poor little lake is choked.) Unfortunately, they’re of “snapshot” quality at best. Nothing that stands out as, “Wow, that’s a nice picture!” yet. At high zoom, which I use for the wildlife, the colors get washed out, the depth of field flattens and the images are kinda grainy. But the good news is that I can’t believe how close I was able to get to the herons without spooking them.

It was a bit breezy yesterday afternoon — my first time paddling when it wasn’t dead calm. I was pleased at how easy it was to go both into the wind and cross-wise, and that when I wanted to stay still to take photos, it didn’t drift or spin much.
I’m glad I tied a length of twine to the paddle. It has tried to escape a couple of times when I’ve put it down to take pictures. I’ve gotten ideas from the web site for how to keep it in place but haven’t made/tried any yet. And I think I need to sit higher, like on a cushion or something because I keep scuffing my thumbs on the paddle holder clips that Joe installed.

My neighbor came over and tried the kayak out. I told him, “You’d like this for fishing.” And yeah, he did until he heard the price 🙂

I’m having fun with it. Maybe I’ll even take up fishing.

I’ve written down some notes of my first impressions and will send a proper review in a couple of months. I’ll try to come up with something more creative than “My first season as a complete newbie paddler.” In the mean time, here are a couple of shots of our local herons. Mr Heron standing on one foot on one side of the lake and Mrs Heron fishing on the other.





January 2015, second review of the Wavewalk Kayak

Well, it took 3+ years but I bit the bullet and bought a Wavewalk kayak last summer — and I wished I’d bought one years ago when I first learned about them. In a nutshell… I *LOVE* it!

It’s not a sit-on-top so I’m not always sitting in a puddle. It’s not a sit-inside, so I don’t have to struggle to get up and down as if in a bathtub. And because there’s a center hump to straddle, I’m not sitting in an “L” position so I don’t get “Yak Back.” But it helps to have a cushion to sit on. That seat gets hard.
It’s symmetrical left to right and front to back so it doesn’t matter which direction I face.
It’s ultra stable. It tracks well. It doesn’t drift around too much. And it’s PERFECT for lakes or bays, even many slow-moving rivers.
It draws very little water so it can be used in shallow areas like swamps too.
It can be used sitting or standing, paddling or poling.
The company owners love to see what we’ve done with them. Fishing, duck hunting, wildlife photography, paddling around or sunbathing/stargazing in the middle of the lake.

For a touring kayak, it’s a heavy one. ~60 pounds. I can slide it onto the roof racks of my Subaru by myself but it’s easier with help, just because it’s kinda unwieldy. (Should I point out that I’m a Grandma?)

Now that I’ve got one, it gets the double-thumbs up from me. If you are interested in one too, your local dealer will arrange for a test ride. Bring your wallet cos you’ll want one.

Poconos of PA

24″ red drum on my second outing in my W kayak, by Richard Davis

My second outing, beautiful 24′ red drum, totally awesome experience!
I can not tell you how much I like my kayak. NO back pain, very stable creating a secure feeling, versatility, and the list of positives goes on and on.
I can’t wait to get back in my Wavewalk!!! Thanks



24 inch red drum caught in kayak, Virginia

The more I am in my kayak the more I like it. This past weekend I toured and fished both days, but my most enjoyable time was pulling into the marsh after a good workout against the wind and tide (still no problem making head way) and stretching out for a nap. The tranquility was incredible. My kayak has truly opened new doors for me, it is awesome!


Paddling this kayak against the wind is easy, by Jeff McGovern (video)

The W500 goes into the wind much easier than any kayak or canoe I’ve used in the past. A steady good walking clip can be attained and kept up for as long as it takes to reach your destination.
When heading in there was another kayak I overtook on the way, a [tandem SOT fishing kayak] with two folks paddling. Didn’t start the camera until I was just about past them so I missed getting them on screen. I was up the ramp and to my truck before they made it to the camp. The W500 is very easy into the wind, it’s just a matter of keeping the strokes a little shorter and lower. Progress is easy and you’re not worn out at all.



More kayak fishing adventures and observations from Jeff >

Paddling my W kayak on a windy day

Today I took my kayak to lake Massapoag, for a paddling trip.
This time, I was able to get it inside my midsize SUV almost all the way in (see picture), which made its transportation even easier than attaching it to the car rack.

fishing kayak transported inside SUV

We had 15-20 mph wind, with gusts over 25 mph. Lake Massapoag is about 1 square mile, which means we had white caps. There were no kayaks, canoes or paddle boards on the lake, except a kayak outfitted with an electric trolling motor whose driver did the smart thing and drove close to the bank where houses and trees offered him some protection from the wind. No fishing boats in sight either, naturally, since you can’t cast under such wind.

I launched my kayak at the northern beach, and paddled standing to the other side, taking the short road through the center of the lake. That was pretty easy, considering the wind was blowing generally in my back and my side, and it was so strong that sometimes all I had to do was just stand and steer with my paddle and make sure the waves don’t play a dirty trick on me while I’m taking a free ride.

But then came the second part of the trip – the way back…
I decided to take the same way, through the center of the lake. There was no way I could have done it standing up and paddling against such powerful headwind, of course, so I sat down on the kayak’s saddle, and started paddling against the wind, thinking that if I had a paddle board instead of a W kayak, the only way for me back to the car would have been getting out of the lake and walking…

Paddling was slow and hard, but I got a chance to practice various paddle strokes and paddling styles, including different positions such as riding while leaning forward (more ‘umph’), kneeling with one knee all the way down to the bottom of the hull, canoeing (paddling on one side), Greenland kayaking (sliding the paddle sideways rather than pushing it backward), rotating the torso (traditional kayaking), etc…
It was fun, and the fact I could track effectively saved me both time and energy.
Another important thing worth noting was that being able to switch positions and paddling styles improved the effectiveness of my response to variations in the wind’s direction and force, as well as to the waves that reached 1 ft on several occasions.
I’m not in great shape, so I was thankful for being able to make these changes, since it minimized fatigue and prevented me from getting injured.
This time I remembered to cover the front part of the cockpit with the cockpit cover, so I stayed bone dry, although the waves were breaking on my kayak, and the wind was pushing spray all over it. Only the top of my head and my face got wet from drops of water that flew from my paddle – I should have worn a hat!

After I beached, I attached a strap to the two front handles of my kayak, and dragged it through some grass, so by the time I got to the car, I didn’t even have to wipe the sand from the bottom of the hulls – You live and you learn! 🙂
I just tossed the kayak in, lowered the rear hatch, and used the strap to attach the door handle to a hook at the bottom. It took me less than a minute.
Needless to say that it was easier than attaching the kayak to the car rack.

Here’s more info on one aspect of kayaking in strong wind > – tracking and steering.