This movie illustrates the concept of Wake-Immunity, which is part of the broader concept of Super-Stability.
A Wavewalk S4 motor kayak skiff is going in choppy water, in the ocean. This portable boat is so stable and its driver so much in control that a series of big lateral waves from the wake of a fast motorboat passing nearby at full speed does not present a problem or even a challenge to the S4 driver – It is just a new opportunity to have some wake fun in the sun…
Just a short video shot while driving my S4 around the corner…
Couple observations – This 6 HP outboard is no 10 HP, and this 8″ pitch prop is no 9″ pitch 😀 Driving this little boat in the chop is super easy and fun, whether it’s against the wind, in lateral waves, or in a following sea.
The spray shield that Wavewalk developed years ago for the 500 series is made from a 48″ x 12″ Polycarbonate (PC) sheet. This accessory bends around the front of the W500, and stops spray from getting into the cockpit from the space between the front hull tips, as well as from their sides. Since there isn’t that much difference in design and size between the W500 and W700, this spray shield works for the latter as well, and it allows for driving both motorized kayaks at high speeds in choppy waters.
But the S4 is different – To begin with, the S4’s front deck blocks most of the spray generated at the bow while bumping frontally into waves at high speeds, and let’s not forget that the S4 is faster than the W700 and W500… But the S4’s front deck is less effective for blocking spray generated on the sides of the boat while it hits waves in diagonal. This is by no means a major problem, and the worst outcome can be that a passenger sitting at the front of the cockpit could get a little wet when the boat goes at high speed in choppy water. This little problem can persist even with a W500 Spray Shield attached to the S4 – Since the S4 skiff is 9″ wider than the W500, a 48″ long spray shield bent and attached at the front of its cockpit won’t bend enough to protect both its front and its sides.
To achieve their goal, an S4 owner who wants to outfit their boat with a totally effective spray shield would have to make one from two sheets of 48″ x 12″ Polycarbonate – One sheet in the center, and a 24″ x 12″ extension riveted to each side of that central sheet, forming together a 96″ long sheet.
The DIY designer can cut the Polycarbonate, and reduce the height of the spray shield’s ends, and thus give the final product a cool, professional look that’s higher at the center and tapering down on both ends, namely backward when attached to the kayak’s cockpit (See images below).
Drilling holes in a Polycarbonate sheets is easy, and so is riveting lashing hooks to it. These hooks will serve to attach the spray shield to the deck with a shock cord (bungee), in a way that makes attaching and detaching easy and quick. Other methods can serve as well to attach the spray shield to the S4.
We recommend using Polycarbonate sheets that are 0.1″ thick or slightly thinner, in order to keep the end product lightweight and assure its flexibility.
Polycarbonate (PC) sheets are not expensive, and they can be purchased online.
W500 Spray Shield made from one 48″ x 12″ Polycarbonate sheet
The W500 Spray Shield bends easily without heating
We wanted to show the Wavewalk S4 going in rough water, but since we couldn’t find water that was choppy enough in Key Largo, we made our own chop 😀 Larry drove his commercial fishing boat, the Line Dancer, Orit sat at the stern and shot video with our new Nikon camera equipped with a X83 optical zoom lens (great camera), and I drove an S4 in the boat’s wake.
The Line Dancer’s wake was V shaped, with pronounced “ridges” of waves and turbulence on both sides, and a quieter area in between. When we went in open areas where the tidal current and wind created natural chop, adding the boat’s wake on top generated pretty hectic conditions that were a bit challenging to drive through, mainly because the motor on my S4 was a little 3.5 HP that didn’t allow for much planing and playing. This application calls for a more powerful motor, and a 6 HP outboard would have probably yielded more spectacular action shots. But at least we were able to demonstrate the principle… When we drove in quieter zones, I just surfed the Line Dancer’s wake, and that was easy and fun.
What’s the real-world advantage of the S4’s ability to go through fast currents and chop? “Real World” usually means you have to go from point A to point B, and you’re not just looking for some driving action fun. This can happen when you use the S4 as a tender for a bigger boat, or yacht, or when you drive in fast rivers that are swollen by water from melting snow in spring, or by tidal currents in coastal areas. Jon boats and skiffs don’t excel in such conditions, to say the least, and inflatable dinghies are neither the most comfortable nor the most reliable choice. But the S4 shines in the chop, not just due to its natural, physical, “catamaran” stability, but also because it offers the driver to ride a saddle seat similar to the seat that other high performance vehicles feature, such as personal watercraft (PWC a.k.a. “jet ski”), all-terrain vehicles (ATV), snowmobiles, and dirt bikes.
Wavewalk S4 driven in choppy blue water in the Atlantic ocean close to Key Largo, Florida. It was fun to drive this watercraft that seems to be almost immune to waves, wherever they come from. Hopping on waves and making sharp turns was easy solo and with a passenger on board.
As a skiff, it’s extremely seaworthy, and as a kayak it’s anything but 😀
We towed it behind the mother ship, and it was a pleasure to watch how well it behaved… It can serve as a perfect boat tender for a big boat or a yacht – It’s seaworthy, comfortable, fun to drive and to paddle, can be beached anywhere, and it can carry up to three people on board.
The S4 in this movie is under powered by a 3.5 HP outboard motor – A 6 HP outboard would have worked better in this case, but still, driving this ultralight microskiff in the chop was a lot of fun. Thankfully, the S4 is not a solo skiff, and driving it with a charming passenger on board was even more fun.
We didn’t have to outfit it with a spray shield, as hardly any spray got it.