I thought that I would share with you my recent wavewalk motorization. For more than a year, I have been thinking about, researching and reading all I can find on kayak motorization. The wavewalk blog and website were certainly most helpful.
A short time ago, Gary Rankel wrote to a online kayak magazine around his experience with his Wavewalk and included a couple pictures of him and I fishing. When he copied me with the link to the story, I also looked briefly at the magazine and noticed an advertisement for the skimmer trolling motor. It looked interesting enough to follow up…..and led to my getting one late last week. So, here is the rest of the story.
I received the newer, larger skimmer motor, 24lb thrust. It came nicely packaged and took little time to initially install. The main features of this motor is that it is lightweight (under 10lb.), has a control mechanism for steering that attaches to the shaft and then extends up to where ever you are seating and operates by simply moving it forward or backward to turn right or left.
In addition, there is a tilting mechanism that is again attached to the shaft and operates by pulling on it to allow for the motor to be raised for times when paddling is desired. Finally, it is turned on via a on/off switch which is on a wiring harness so that is more than long enough for most any situation.
I initially installed the skimmer on a Wavewalk 20″ motor mount which I placed about 4″ from the rear of the cockpit allowing room for my two fishing rod holders. Unfortunately, I found that the motor was not quite low enough for my liking, and that the tilting mechanism did not interface properly with the Wavewalk. So I made by own motor mount (see picture) which lowered the skimmer by 4-5″, much like the Wavewalk motor mount for 15″ shaft motors. This worked great.
I then attached a small cross piece of Trex decking to the rear of the Wavewalk, placed a small clamp/clip on it, moved the attachment clamp on the shaft of the skimmer from the top to closer to the bottom, and then ran the bungee type chord back up to where one would be sitting. This also worked great.
Finally I hooked it up to a 35amp AGM marine battery which weighs under 25 lbs, and off I went.
As the skimmer is but one speed, I estimated that in calm water my speed was at least 4mph, and when I encountered a stiff wind plus strong tidal current, you know the kind that you really do not enjoy paddling in, the skimmer still made respectable headway, maybe around 2mph. I found the steering mechanism acceptable, but may wish to add a support for it beyond what was supplied to better interface it with the “W” kayak.
I temporarily placed the battery behind me on the seat, and then tried moving it around to the front of the cockpit. I found that my “W” felt a bit tippy with the battery on the seat, not like I was really going to tip, but not like its usual feeling of total stability. So, more experimentation is in order for battery placement.
I do think that overall the skimmer is a good alternative for “W” kayak motorization. It is lightweight, easy to install, and with some “w” specific simple modifications, it works great. I do wish that the motor was variable speed or at least multi-speed, but I always want everything!
Hope you find this useful.