Tag Archive: kayak market

New products launched in 2014

When observing fishing kayak design developments in recent years, it’s impossible to miss two main trends that seem to have gone out of control: The first is an increase in size and weight, and the second is over accessorizing.

These days, the typical high-end SOT fishing kayak is a barge that weighs around 100 lbs, and requires a trailer for transportation, which is enough to defeat the purpose of kayak fishing even before you hit the water and find out that paddling such barges to a noticeable distance is either hard or impossible…
One company recently launched a tandem fishing kayak that weighs 185 lbs in the basic version, and 230 lbs when fully accessorized. And if you think this weight includes a powerful outboard motor, you’re wrong – We’re still talking about a human powered boat, (although not a paddle craft) that’s too wide for paddling… At such weight, a crew of two strong anglers couldn’t car top this kayak, and they’ll even have a hard time loading it on top of the trailer that’s offered with it.
The thing looks like it came out of a shipyard rather than a kayak factory… Good luck with moving that object out there, on the water!

The new SOT and hybrid fishing kayaks’ decks are so overcrowded and over accessorized that some of them severely limit the user’s range of motion in fishing, and they restrict even their legroom. Some of those fishing kayaks look bizarre, or comic, with such a plethora of useless objects (e.g. leaning bar), semi-useless objects (e.g. cup holder) and overly complex ‘systems’ (e.g. double-cover storage hatch) crowding their decks and getting in the way of their users’ arms and fishing lines.

And since this article is about innovation, we feel obliged to mention the new, award winning electric fishing kayak that features a motor installed in its middle. Its propeller shaft comes out of the water between the angler’s legs, with the propeller appearing at a couple inches distance from their crotch. Good luck with that too!

 

New products from Wavewalk

Wavewalk launched three new products in 2014: High-buoyancy Inflatable detachable flotation modules, a detachable, transparent Spray Shield, and a dual use Transom Motor Mount.
These accessories strengthen our advantage in high performance motorized kayak fishing, which is significantly different from traditional motorized kayak fishing involving outfitting SOT kayaks with weak and unreliable electric trolling motors for short distance, flat water trips.  A W500 outfitted with proper flotation and a powerful outboard gas engine offers a solution to the problems of strong tidal currents, wind, and the need to travel long distances in moving water, including offshore.

 

1. Inflatable detachable flotation modules

This new accessory transforms the W kayak into a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), an increasingly popular high-performance class of watercraft used in a variety of motorized boating applications ranging from tendering bigger boats to high speed travel, diving, fishing, and rescue operations.

The new inflatable float provides twice as much buoyancy as the large size Polyethylene foam modules we offered so far. Thus, it improves the motorized W kayak’s performance in terms of both capsize prevention and recovery.

A W500 can be outfitted with either one or two pairs of such floats. In the two-pair configuration it isn’t suitable for fishing, and you need to stop somewhere and relocate the front pair – either by reattaching them at the rear, or just storing them in the kayak’s hull tips behind you.

Another great feature these floats have is that you don’t need a pump to inflate them.

inflatable-side-flotation-modules-motorized-kayak-640

 

2. Detachable transparent spray shield

This accessory works to prevent spray from getting into the cockpit of the W500 while motorizing at high speed in choppy water, or in waves.
The reason it’s detachable is that you may want to have it out of your way when you fish – Casting and landing fish from this kayak’s front is not only easy, but it also has some advantages, so you may want to quickly detach this spray shield and store it (flat) in one of the hull tips behind you.  Reattaching it is easy, and takes less than a minute.

spray-shield-for-motorized-kayak-side-view-600

 

3. Dual use transom motor mount

Outboard gas motors and electric trolling motors come in two basic configurations – Long propeller shaft (20″ and above), and short propeller shaft (15″).
This can be a problem in case you have a long-shaft outboard motor and a short shaft electric motor, or vice versa, and you want to use them in different conditions. For example – travel fast to a distant fishing area using the powerful outboard, and once you get there troll slowly and quietly using the electric motor.
You may also want to use the outboard motor when you fish offshore, and the electric trolling motor when you fish inland, in smaller bodies of water, or in no-motor zones.
Either way, you’re fully covered now and in the future with the new TMM 20-15 Transom Motor Mount.
This new motor mount is not only more versatile – it also weighs less than the old mounts.

Click the images to enlarge –

 

 

Note that a W500 kayak outfitted with high-performance inflatable flotation and a powerful outboard motor still weighs less than some of the mammoth ‘barge’ fishing kayaks out there that feature no motor at all.

In sum, while Wavewalk keeps expanding the performance envelope of its already superior products and solutions, other fishing kayak manufacturers still have nothing interesting or sensible to offer, but they seem to put more effort into it in recent years.

Article on Tackle Trade World magazine (TTW)

Tackle Trade World (TTW) is a magazine published in the UK, and it is one of the world’s leading sources of information on fishing tackle and equipment, including boats and kayaks.
In its July 2014 issue, TTW magazine published a spotlight section on boats and kayaks worldwide, in which it included a short review of the Wavewalk kayak (page 41), and this article contributed by Wavewalk (page 39):

 

Wavewalk, Inc. Yoav Rosen, president

VIEW ON THE GLOBAL FISHING BOAT/KAYAK MARKET

The fishing kayak market has matured. In the past decade most US kayak companies and brands, big and small, changed ownership, some of them more than once. Some of the biggest kayak companies were either sold, or decided to de-emphasise their kayak and canoe business.
Many companies and brands were consolidated, and this process is still going on in the current marketplace.
The barriers for entry in this market are lower than ever. This prompts entrepreneurs and plastics manufacturers to create their own kayaks and enter what is becoming an increasingly crowded market. Companies that were active in other kayak niche markets that got hit by socio-economic factors are trying their luck in the fishing market as well.
Big retailers in the fishing and boating market now offer their own fishing kayak brands, which further increases competition and keeps driving retail prices down.
The United States is still by far the biggest market for fishing kayaks and related products, worldwide. Wavewalk has been serving this market for a decade now, and it’s still under the same ownership, which is rather uncommon.
Pricewise, fishing kayaks are becoming cheaper, a trend driven by Chinese exports. Years ago American manufacturers looked to outsource their production to China, but these days Chinese kayak manufacturers actively seek to increase their market share in the US.
In the high end of the market, manufacturers seek to distinguish themselves by making their kayaks bigger, and by accessorising them more. The result is a plethora of fishing kayaks that are hardly distinguishable from each other, and feature decks that are crowded with accessories to a point where their functionality (aka fishability) is considerably reduced. These large kayaks are promoted as offering sufficient stability for their user to fish standing on them, but few clients seem to believe it, and they are mostly young, lightweight, and physically fit, unlike the typical angler out there.
The Wavewalk is still the only kayak offering practically anyone to fish standing in full confidence, including anglers who are elderly, heavy, big or disabled.
Wavewalk’s strongest markets are the USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea. Our fastest market penetration is in colder regions, where other types of kayaks offer their users too little protection from the elements, and their poor stability is perceived as a risk factor. We recently recruited our first dealer in the UK, which we hope will also be an exciting market for us due to its large amount of saltwater fishing.

TOP-SWING PRODUCTS? Wavewalk’s top-selling product is still the W500 F2 fishing kayak model, and the biggest increase is in selling motor mounts for outboard gasoline engines. In general we have a healthy selling range.

“De emphasizing”, eh?…

“Watercraft sales compared unfavorably to the same period last year due to a continuing de-emphasis on low-margin product lines and lower sales in Europe.”

This sentence appeared on a recent report to investors issued by the outdoors company that ruled the market for fishing kayaks until recently. This company is publicly traded on the NYSE, and it never lacked the resources to acquire the kayak brands it wanted, push its products through a massive network of distribution channels, use extensive bundling with products from its other product lines, finance huge advertising campaigns, and leverage its well known brand names ad nauseam.
In the market for fishing kayaks, they went as far as financing a TV series starring a fisherman backed by a paid crew who sailed with a mother ship dozens of miles into the pacific ocean, and loved being filmed chasing marlin from his SOT [brand name]. That company paid this kayak fishing ‘superstar’ it created to go on tours nationwide, praising and promoting its favorite SOT fishing kayak brand.
This kayak (and canoe) brand has always been aggressively protective of “their” markets in the US and overseas, and their ads stated that they were “leaders in design and innovation”… (no kidding).  They even launched some SOT fishing kayak models equipped with integrated electric motors, and touted them as some kind of technological breakthrough (I should have put a smiley here too, but let’s try to stay serious, shall we?…).
After the crisis of 2009, they closed some US factories that produced kayaks for them, and once they even tried to advertise kayaks made for them in (you’d never guess!) – Australia (you didn’t guess, right?) and imported to the US as some kind of prestigious “foreign kayak” (should the reader laugh or cry at this point?).

So now they’re “de emphasising” on their kayak and canoe “low-margin product line”, and it looks like this may be good news for their investors as well as for their competitors.

It shows that these days, being the 800 pound gorilla in your market and benefiting from very deep pockets and prestigious brand names doesn’t cut it anymore, if your products are lame, I.E. the same as all other SOT and sit-in kayaks out there.
Kayak fishing pseudo celebrities may travel from coast to coast praising your products, but if your fishing kayak isn’t different from any other SOT or sit-in kayak brand out there that sells for less than half your price, you’ll have to “de emphasize” sooner or later – Even hooking a marlin won’t keep your kayak moving  😀

Happy and successful de emphasizing!

Articles

This page features links to over a hundred articles published on our website since 2004. Generally, the newest articles feature at the top of each section, and the oldest ones at the bottom. Some of these oldest articles can be a bit outdated.

You can also search our entire website by using keywords in its ‘Search’ widgets. If you don’t find the information that you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

DIRECTORY SECTIONS

CHOOSING A KAYAK | STABILITY | MOTORIZING | FISHING | PADDLING | ERGONOMICS | DESIGN | OUTFITTING

Choosing a kayak

  1. Fishing Kayak Reviews
  2. SOT kayak stability, or lack thereof
  3. A decade later – Review of the Wavewalk 500 (W500) kayak
  4. Wavewalk S4 review by its own designer
  5. Happy Birthday W700!
  6. Pedal drive for my fishing kayak?
  7. Review of my Wavewalk 700
  8. Why I became a Wavewalk kayak owner By Michael Chesloff
  9. A Fair-Weather Fishing Kayak…
  10. How to Save Money When Buying a Fishing Kayak
  11. Are SOT Kayaks Safe For Offshore Fishing?
  12. How to Choose a Fishing Kayak That’s Best For You
  13. What Color and Form for My Fishing Kayak?
  14.  

Stability

  1. Fishing Kayak Stability
  2. SOT kayak stability, or lack thereof
  3. Outriggers
  4. Boat stability in a kayak
  5. A stable kayak for photography
  6. How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?
  7. Do Not Overload Your Fishing Kayak
  8. How Effective Can Fishing Kayaks’ Outriggers Be?
  9. What Makes The Wavewalk 500 The Stablest Fishing Kayak
  10. Kayak Fishing Standing – And What If? (Stuff Happens)
  11. Stability in Fishing Kayaks – Problems and Solutions

Motorizing

  1. Motorizing Your Kayak – Why, How, What Etc…
  2. Microskiff
  3. Seaworthy portable microskiff
  4. The perfect boat tender: Wavewalk S4 in a dinghy role By Captain Larry Jarboe
  5. Full size spray shield for motorized Wavewalk S4
  6. Boat for waterfront property
  7. The world’s fastest motor kayak
  8. 10 good reasons to motorize your kayak
  9. Portable boats
  10. The smallest and greatest skiff
  11. Developments in Motorized Kayaks
  12. Wakes are fun?
  13. How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor?
  14. Jon Boat Stability vs. Wavewalk® S4
  15. Testing 15″ short (S) shaft outboard motor performance with Wavewalk kayaks and boats By Captain Larry Jarboe
  16. How to measure an outboard motor’s propeller shaft length?
  17. Choosing an outboard motor for your Wavewalk® 700 skiff
  18. Outboard motor propeller shaft length for Wavewalk® fishing kayaks and boats
  19. Kayaks and Boats, Kayak vs. Boat
  20. Keeping the cockpit of your Wavewalk dry at sea
  21. Flats boat or bass boat, or something else?
  22. Steering motorized fishing kayaks and small boats
  23. A better two-person fishing boat
  24. Your boat trailer, the abominable fishing-time guzzler
  25. Motorize your fishing kayak?
  26. Thrust in Electric Trolling Motors for Fishing Kayak

Fishing

  1. Bass fishing in Ontario By Boyd Smith
  2. Fishing offshore – the next frontier
  3. More is less in your fishing kayak’s cockpit – Too much stuff and too little fishability
  4. Smarter electric motors and Lithium-Ion batteries – A winning combination for kayak fishing By Gary Thorberg
  5. Ocean Kayak Fishing
  6. Kayak fishing with disabilities
  7. Storage: How Much Gear Can You Store Inside a Wavewalk 500 Fishing Kayak?
  8. A Brief History Of Kayak Fishing – Past, Present, and Foreseeable Future
  9. About Kayak Fishing In Tandem…
  10. More About Dangers To Kayakers and Kayak Anglers in Warm, Fresh Water
  11. Kayak Fishing As An Extreme Sport
  12. Too Much Storage In A Fishing Kayak…
  13. More Storage Than Any Other Kayak: The W500
  14. Stand Up Kayak Fishing and Paddling – For Real
  15. Fishability – How Fishable Are Kayaks?
  16. Lures for Bass Kayak Fishing By Roxanne Davis
  17. Saltwater Fishing Gear Maintenance By Jeff McGovern
  18. Kayak Fishing With Children
  19. The Wavewalk Kayak Combat Position For Fighting a Big Fish
  20. Fishing Standing in a Kayak
  21. Kayak Fishing in Shallow Water
  22. Common Kayak Fishing Myths, Tales and Hype
  23. What To Carry On Board Your Fishing Kayak By Jeff McGovern
  24. Southern Kayak Fishermen’s Complaints
  25. Clamp Mounted Side Mount For Fishing Kayak Electric Trolling Motor

Paddling

  1. Paddling in Strong Wind
  2. KAYAK TOURING
  3. Paddling 340 Miles in a W500 Kayak By Clint Harlan
  4. Wavewalk kayak tracking a plus in strong tidal current By Art Myjak
  5. What makes the Wavewalk 500 faster and easier to paddle than other fishing kayaks?
  6. How to Keep Your W500 Fishing Kayak Cockpit Dry
  7. About Rudders and Fishing Kayaks
  8. Paddling and Kayak Fishing in Cold Water and Weather
  9. Headwind and Side Wind – Paddling in Strong Wind Without a Rudder
  10. Getting Trapped Inside a Kayak
  11. Are Sea Kayaks Seaworthy?

Ergonomics

  1. Ergonomics and Biomechanics in Kayaks
  2. What Is kayak Back Pain, And What Does It Mean For You?
  3. Resting in Your Fishing Kayak – Don’t Fall Asleep!
  4. Lumbar Spine and Kayak Back Pain: Facts
  5. Kayak Fishing Safety: Is It safe To Paddle An Uncomfortable Kayak And Fish From It?
  6. Stretching in Your Kayak to Relieve Fatigue and Pain, and Improve Circulation
  7. Kayaking Back Pains and Leg Numbness
  8. Range of Motion and Protection From the Fish – Kayak Comparison By Jeff McGovern
  9. Casting From A W Fishing Kayak Compared To Casting From Sit-In and SOT Fishing Kayaks By Jeff McGovern
  10. Whether paddling or fishing in your kayak, try to stay dry
  11. Kayak Fishing From the Mounted (Riding) Position
  12. The Yak Back – What Your Fishing Kayak Shouldn’t Do To You
  13. Common Kayak Injuries

Design

  1. Personal Catamaran
  2. The secrets of the SOT kayak’s underside
  3. About fishing kayak design, innovation, upgrades, accessories, etc.
  4. The Hybrid Fishing Kayak – Facts, Hype and Plain Nonsense
  5. THE BARGE – A NEW CLASS OF FISHING KAYAKS
  6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Aesthetics and Performance in Fishing Kayak Design
  7. Paddle vs. Pedal Drive in Fishing Kayaks
  8. Back Pain, Good Posture and Kayak Fishing
  9. Kayak Side Flotation- How it Works and Why Use it
  10. Kayak Hydrodynamics, Hydrostatics and Biomechanics As Speed Factors
  11. The Evolution of the Kayak
  12. Versatility: From Specialized Kayaks to Broad Range, High Performance Kayaks
  13. Mobility: The New Dimension in Kayak Design

Outfitting

  1. Full size spray shield for motorized Wavewalk S4
  2. Watertight riveting in kayaks and boats
  3. Aluminum rivets in fishing kayaks and boats
  4. Whatever floats your boat – flotation for fishing kayaks
  5. Dog on board
  6. Some Practical Advice About Rigging Your Fishing Kayak
  7. Rigging Your Wavewalk Kayak With a Milk Crate – Is it Necessary?
  8. How to Avoid and Repair Scratches in Your Kayak
  9. Wheels For Fishing Kayak Transportation
  10. Detachable Flotation For Fishing Kayak

Wavewalk Demo Movies

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Aesthetics and Performance in Fishing Kayak Design

What is beautiful?

According to the dictionary, we perceive something as being beautiful if it is attractive to us (e.g. a beautiful woman) or pleasant (e.g. a beautiful day), or pleasant to look at (e.g. a beautiful dress), or if it’s done or made very well (e.g. a beautiful goal in the second half), or with a lot of skill (e.g. a beautiful roast).
Beauty can be associated directly with sensory pleasure, or with indirect, social value related to monetary value, or prestige (e.g. a beautiful diamond), or with both.
In case of a product such as a kayak, the beauty we see in it is a measure of how much we appreciate its performance in terms of what’s important to us, subjectively, whether as something we’ve already experienced with this kayak, or something we believe we would experience, if we used it.

In this sense, the saying ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’ is perfectly true.

What’s important?

What’s important in a product varies according to what different people are interested in. For example, if you’re into kayak racing, you’d be interested in kayaks that are as fast as possible, and very fast kayaks would seem beautiful to you, but if you’re into kayak fishing, you’d be interested a number of things, including stability, comfort, storage, etc. offered to you by that kayak. In other words, for a kayak angler, the beauty of a kayaks depends first and foremost on its fishability, which is a composite measure of a fishing kayak’s performance.

For example, if you’re into kayak fishing, and you saw a kayak that’s very fast but also very unstable, it would seem useless to you, and therefore unattractive.
Most anglers fish from motorboats and not from kayaks, mainly because they perceive kayaks as being too unstable and too uncomfortable for fishing.  Therefore, for the majority of anglers, a fishing kayak is just a too small, too uncomfortable and therefore unpractical and consequently ugly fishing boat.

Beauty and love

The more satisfied a kayak angler is with the performance of their fishing kayak, the more they see beauty in it, and in fact, some kayak anglers get to love their kayak, following the good experience they’ve had with it, and the good time they anticipate having with it in the future.

False beauty

Anyone who’s interested in fishing kayaks can see that the common fishing kayak is essentially just a chubbier, more accessorized, and sometimes fancier version of its ancestor the recreational kayak.

The common fishing kayak is very wide because of the desperate need to increase its stability, even at the cost of sacrificing both speed and tracking capability, and most importantly – taking away the pleasure of paddling from the person who paddles it. This is what kayak anglers refer to as ‘a barge to paddle’, and the reason why some touring and sea kayakers still won’t consider fishing kayaks as kayaks at all…

Too much is too little

The multitude of accessories is sometimes required to compensate for a fishing kayak’s deficient functionality. The perfect example is the rudder that most fishing kayaks are equipped with, and most kayak anglers hate, but they have to use it simply because without it their kayak wouldn’t go straight, due to its poor tracking capability. Another good example are the hatches – an uncomfortable, often dysfunctional solution to the critical problem of storage, or lack thereof…

In this context, it is easy to see why manufacturers who offer pedal driven kayaks are more successful in the market for fishing kayaks than in any other kayak market: Common fishing kayaks are so hard and unpleasant to paddle that a hyped, ill conceived solution is seen by some as better than nothing, at least until they realize they’re not necessarily better off pedaling…

When fancy becomes ridiculous

A product that is essentially lacking in performance, and therefore not  attractive enough, is a problem for its manufacturer, and they would attempt to increase its attractiveness by whatever means they have, even if such means present no advantage at all to the client. The typical example for this in fishing kayaks is increasing the amount of foam in the kayak’s seat, which cannot really solve the basic problem of the passenger pushing their lower back against the backrest with all the power their legs have. But extra foam may look more ‘ergonomic’ to some people, and if it’s promoted as being ergonomic, some people could get convinced to buy the kayak – until they realize that’s not what they had bargained for, and get tired of this game, go back to fishing from a motorboat, or switch to a W kayak.

Another common example of overdoing things is the form of the fishing kayaks themselves: Some kayaks feature very elaborate hulls, or decks, or both, as if the extra detail could improve anything as far as stability, speed and comfort are concerned. To the unprofessional or inexperienced viewer, such extra details could seem like an indicator that the kayak is more ‘advanced’, but the truth is that overdoing things can only diminish actual performance, by definition. In other words, nothing beats simple effectiveness in design.

Simple is beautiful

This is the simple truth in design, and it’s even more true in fishing kayaks, which are judged by their performance: A fishing kayak is a technical product that needs to deliver results in terms of what the angler can achieve with it, and how they feel while doing so, as well as after the fishing trip is over.

If a kayak allows you to launch or beach in a spot that another kayak doesn’t, it performs better, and therefore it’s more beautiful. If a kayak allows you to stay inside it for long hours, while no other kayak allows you to do that without inflicting discomfort and pain on you, that kayak performs better, and you’re going to like it more, and therefore see more beauty in it.

These examples come to show that it’s not the amount of time invested in designing or manufacturing a product that appeals to our sense of beauty, but it’s the real life performance of that product, and our own experience with it.  When we realize that in order to get a certain level of performance, the product needed to be made in a certain way, we appreciate the way it was done. And if the result was achieved by simple means, we tend to appreciate it even more.

Once people realize the advantage for themselves in a certain design, form, or feature, they see the beauty in it, and sometime even develop a warm feeling for it, a feeling called love.

Beauty and marketing

Being a technical product, the way to judge and evaluate a fishing kayak is by doing a feature by feature comparison, and preferably by validating the results of such comparison in a live test.

There is no fishing kayak, fishing kayak design, or concept that rivals the W kayak in any of the important requirements from a fishing kayak, which are Stability, Comfort, Ease of Paddling, Passenger Room, Storage Space, Versatility, Tracking, Handling, Mobility, and dollar for dollar Value. Value is not a technical feature, but in this case we’ve included it in the list because it represents certain technical attributes of W kayaks that reduce their cost of purchase and ownership, compared to other kayaks.

Years ago, Wavewalk’s competitors used to criticize its product by raising doubts about its actual performance, such as speed, comfort, tracking under wind, etc.  These doubts were based solely on imagination, and had no basis in anyone’s real life experience, and over the years,  as the evidence presented by Wavewalk improved, and more of its customers contributed positive reviews, this type of critic has subsided.

However, some competitors still say, occasionally, that W kayaks are ‘ugly’, and when such comments are made on online discussion forums, they are intended to create some kind of negative ‘peer pressure’ on kayak anglers who are interested in the W kayak. The problem with such tactic is that if a general and broad argument such as ‘ugly’ is brought forward without any substantial, technical evidence to back it, it sounds hollow, and basically meaningless. But if the ‘ugly’ argument is backed by a specific, technical argument, the reader could go and check its validity on Wavewalk’s website, through the demo movies, technical articles, and customer reviews, and they could then see for themselves that it’s a moot argument.

The challenge that Wavewalk is facing is to convince thousands of anglers who fish from kayaks that W kayaks are better, and worth switching to. We also need to convince millions of anglers who fish from motorboats that they need to give kayak fishing a second thought, and that fishing kayaks are not necessarily ugly, if they can provide a higher level of fishability that’s comparable to what these anglers are used to get in fishing boats, as W kayaks have proved they could.

In sum, the W kayak holds the key to making more people see the beauty in kayak fishing.

Read more about motorizing your fishing kayak >>