This short movie shows Captain Larry Jarboe driving his S4 kayak skiff powered by a 9.8 HP Tohatsu outboard motor with a 6’3″ 260 lbs passenger on board, in a narrow and winding mangrove creek. The total payload carried by his S4 is over 500 lbs. The S4 is perfectly stable and maneuvers easily despite the high speed and heavy load.
Larry is driving seated side-saddle, dinghy style, with both feet in the left hull and facing sideways, and his passenger rides the saddle PWC style, with a foot in each hull, and facing forward.
This is a special multitasking paddle that Captain Larry Jarboe of Wavewalk Adventures Key Largo created following a conversation that we had a few weeks ago. The conversation was about advancing in extremely narrow and low mangrove tunnels. By narrow we mean barely a couple inches wider than the S4, and by low we mean with branches going across the mangrove tunnel at a height that sometimes forces the paddler to lay on their back and push the branch upward in order to allow the kayak to slide forward. This may involve turning around and lifting the branch over the motor too. Paddling is just part of what the paddle has to do, and pushing branches is not less important. In this mode of advancement through a tortuous tunnel of dense vegetation, the ability to grab branches in order to pull the kayak sideways and/or forward is a real necessity. A regular kayak paddle is much too long for this confined space, and a single-blade canoe paddle works only on one side, and since space is so restricted it’s not always easy to switch sides. In fact, sometimes it can be very hard.
Larry’s multitasking paddle is just a little over 4 ft long, and he made it by combining two canoe paddles, and cutting the blades according to these special challenges.
This is Larry’s first prototype, and he’s likely to keep coming up with new versions.
BTW, a trip in the mangrove tunnels is an adventure that’s impossible to forget!
This is a video that shows people driving their S4 skiffs standing, riding the saddle seat, and sitting side-saddle, with and without a passenger on board, on flat water, in the chop, and in the ocean, in 2 ft waves. No problem whatsoever – Just fun, fun, fun!
Stability is non-issue in the S4 – It’s neither a problem in the physical sense, namely how the boat reacts to external forces, or in the ergonomic and psychological sense, namely balancing oneself as a driver or a passenger. Driving is easy and intuitive, with or without a tiller extension, and the boat does what you want it to do, and feels almost like an extension of yourself. Driving standing feels like skiing, except for the fact that you fully control both speed and direction. Unlike standing in a Jon boat or on the flat deck of a common skiff, you stand in the S4 with a foot at the bottom of each hull and the saddle serves you as extra support and balancing enabler. In this sense, it’s more like riding a big personal watercraft, a.k.a. jet-ski, waverunner, etc. A person who had never driven a boat before can drive an S4 standing within a short time on their first trip in it.
Many thanks to Captain Larry Jarboe, who made this possible and so enjoyable 🙂
Starring in this movie are (alphabetically) Dave, Larry, Orit and Yoav.