Tag Archive: kayak stabiliy

Rod Ratzlaff’s W500 ‘First Impression’ Kayak Review, Colorado

-“For me, the initial learning curve was pretty short, the “Ride” style felt quite natural, perhaps my years on motorcycles, snowmobiles, bicycles, skibikes, atv’s helped that along. I’ve played around with all the positions, standing up, tandem etc. I’m experimenting with paddling technique, weight shift etc. It’s a different kind of horse… Quick quips: stable, versatile, comfortable…
Speed: 3.5mph cruise, 5.0mph sprint, basically comparable with my 13′ day touring yak.
A guy on your forum called it a “kayakanoe”, pretty accurate.
I’ll send a comprehensive report after I’ve had more familiarization, done some customization, and have taken some photos.”

Rod in his W500 fishing kayak, Lake George, Colorado

-“I discovered your micronautical.com site, very interesting… I especially like the solo sea/touring designs.

Suggestion: Add a loop at the 4 corners inside of the cockpit as leash points. This could be accomplished using the existing j-hook mount(s) used for the cockpit cover rigging.

Rod Ratzlaff
Lake George, CO”

(October 2009) NEW updated and comprehensive review (article) >>

Read more fishing kayak reviews that our clients have contributed >

How Effective Can A Fishing Kayak’s Outriggers Be?

Your fishing kayak’s stability is key to your success and fun in kayak fishing, and the outriggers may help in achieving better stability, but at a price.

By effective we mean how much stability can a pair of outriggers add to your fishing kayak’s initial lateral stability, and what are the drawbacks for using outriggers or that purpose, if any.

First, you need to understand what makes your fishing kayak stable (or unstable), and here is the skinny:

The kayak’s total amount of buoyancy, or roughly its volume is what defines its overall load capacity, or in other words, what weight it can carry without sinking.

All kayaks are symmetrical, which means that every kayak has a longitudinal axis, or center line – It’s the line that divides it in two identical parts: left and right. Each part is buoyant, obviously, and its characteristics are what defines that kayak’s lateral stability. These characteristics are:

1. Buoyancy (roughly the volume of each half), and

2. The distance of that kayak-half’s center of buoyancy from the kayak’s center line.

For this purpose it’s enough to say that the half-kayak’s center of buoyancy is the point at the center of that half-kayak’s mass.  If this definition isn’t clear enough, let’s just say that the center of buoyancy is the point that best represents what that half-kayak can do in terms of keeping that side of the kayak from sinking in the water.

To make a long story short, a kayak’s stability can be simply defined by a number that’s the result of multiplying each half’s buoyancy times the distance of its center of buoyancy from the kayak’s center line.

That number would give us a relative answer as to a kayak’s initial stability: The more buoyancy on each side, and the further apart the kayak sides’ centers of buoyancy are – the stabler it is. It’s something that’s easy to understand intuitively, and reading this article about kayak stability will explain to you what makes the W fishing kayak stabler than the widest fishing kayak out there.

Going back to outriggers, what each outrigger does is two things:

1. Increase the buoyancy of each of that kayak’s halves, and

2. Displace the half-kayak’s center of buoyancy further away from the kayak’s center line.

This is why outriggers can increase your fishing kayak’s stability, and the bigger they are, and the more remote from your kayak’s center line – the stabler you’ll be.

And here are the drawbacks of using outriggers in fishing kayaks:

  1. Extra cost – A good pair of outriggers doesn’t come cheap
  2. Lack of efficiency – In order to properly stabilize your fishing kayak, outriggers would have to be attached to its middle section. This is impossible because doing that would prevent you from both paddling and fishing. This is why outriggers are mounted in the back of fishing kayaks, where they cause less disturbance to paddling and fishing, but at a price of offering no extra stability towards the kayak’s bow, and considerably less stability in the area where you sit, paddle and fish (or stand up, if you’re an over optimistic person…)
  3. Extra weight – With its attachment bars a pair or outriggers can weigh a lot, and that comes on top of your fishing kayak, fishing gear and tackle you need to get tom and from the beach.
  4. Extra complexity – In many case you’d have to attach the outriggers before launching, and detach them after beaching. It can take precious time.
  5. Reduced speed – Outriggers generate quite a bit of resistance, especially since their hull speed is much smaller than the main hull’s speed (I.E. they are much shorter than the kayak itself).  In addition, outriggers create a windage problem, which can be a nasty experience for you when the wind picks up, and for some reason it tends to do it almost every time you go out fishing…
  6. Fishing problems – Outriggers and fishing lines don’t get along very well…

More information: How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?

Bottom line –

Outriggers offer a solution to the stability problem in kayaks, and it’s a solution that comes at a price that you don’t want to pay, in terms of money, weight, complexity, and other problems. This is why you’d better think simple and effective, namely get the alternative that works better, which the patented, super-stable Wavewalk kayak.

Read more about kayak stability »







Fishing Kayak Stability Demo – New Movie

This is a new demo video showing what ‘super stability’ means. We show the footage in X4 slow motion so that the viewer can better appreciate what’s going on:

The movie was shot on the Charles River in Waltham, Massachusetts, by no other than Jeff McGovern, from Florida, who was on a business trip here and came to visit us.

Thanks Jeff!

By the way, I’m the one demonstrating the Wavewalk kayak – I’m 6 ft tall, and I weigh 195 lbs.


Are Kayaks Boats, and Should They Be?

The following text was copied from an article published on a kayak fishing website:

“This next statement is important. Kayaks are not boats. Let me repeat that, kayaks are not boats. There’s a lot of room in a boat so you can move around. Even a very small boat has much more room then the largest kayak…. -Let’s look at the situation. In a kayak you’re pretty much restricted to staying in the seat area. You’re going to be most comfortable here and this is where the stability is. “

(The author of this article is unknown)

Why is this passage interesting? -Because it reflects reality as perceived by all people who fish from SOT and SIK kayaks: Restricted space, limited mobility in the cockpit, clutter and eventually discomfort – although the anonymous writer refers to the seat area as being the ‘most comfortable’ for the kayak fisherman to be in, which makes sense only because there is practically no alternative in SIK and SOT kayaks…

Technically, sit-in (SIK) kayaks are boats: They are small, hollow vessels stripped down to the minimum functionality in terms of load capacity, speed and functionality.

Sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks are not vessels – they are boards, which can be completely filled with foam and contain neither passengers nor cargo. This is why it makes more sense to classify them as ‘not boats’, as the writer did.

W kayaks are boats, with all the characteristics of boats. They even offer enough internal space and stability for the passengers to change their location within the passenger compartment called ‘cockpit’.

The author of that article quoted here was probably unaware of the existence of W kayaks when he/she wrote it.

W kayaks even offer passengers to stand up while propelling the boat, and when fishing from it, and that’s a feature that not all bigger boats can offer.

What SIK, SOT and W kayaks have in common is their small size and light weight that offers their owners the possibility to cartop them and carry them along considerable distances on shore. This small size and light weight are essentially what differs fishing kayaks from fishing canoes, which are usually bigger and heavier – although some of the bigger fishing kayaks are as heavy as canoes, and may require a trailer…