When two adults and a kid get into a small motorized aquatic vehicle, and drive it around at speeds exceeding 10 mph, their watercraft must be a boat. It can be a rigid or inflatable dinghy, a wide square-stern canoe, or a Wavewalk 700, but since it is used for boating, for this matter it is boat, and it makes sense to call it this way. Similarly, when two adult large size fishermen drive standing and fish standing in a small motorized aquatic vehicle, for them it is a fishing boat, even if from a technical-legal standpoint it belongs to a class of vessels labeled ‘Kayak’, as is the case with the Wavewalk 700, thanks to its slender dimensions.
Indeed, at Wavewalk we are thankful for this official classification, because it makes life easier for us, as manufacturers. Besides, this boat also happens to work as a super kayak in paddling terms, which makes things perfect for us. For people who use it for boating or fishing, the fact that it’s a super “kayak” adds to its functionality as a boat, by making it extremely lightweight, fully portable, and super mobile – beyond motorizing.
Versatility can be a great thing, and being able to paddle your boat effectively in case its outboard motor can no longer serve you for whatever reason, be it shallow water, rocks, or a technical problem, contributes a lot to your experience – It adds fun and functionality, confidence, and safety.
After this somehow lengthy explanation, we hope it’s clearer why Wavewalk offers its products in two lines – Kayaks and Boats. The main point here is what comes first for the user, and how they perceive the product. A boat comes ready for an outboard engine, and a kayak may feature an electric trolling motor, or a small outboard, but overall, it’s basically a paddle craft.
At this point, Wavewalk offers three W500 models and one W700 model in its Kayak product line, and four W700 models in its Boat product line.
The W700 R model, which we offer as a kayak alongside the three W500 models in this product line, comes with no accessories, while all four W700 models offered as boats ship together with a Spray Shield and a TMM 700 HD motor mount.
The bottom line is that Wavewalk classifies and offers its products according to the way people intend to use them.
After fishing from a Wavewalk 500 for six years I can say it is a fantastic toy. What I do now to rest after 1-2 hours of trolling is to lay back, and I thought that a back rest/support could add to my comfort.
I looked at different seats, including canoe seats, and found this detachable kayak seat for $50. Very comfortable and portable.
I am not a paddle fan I use the trolling motor around 90% of the time. Instant electric torque is pure adrenaline.
The new generation of batteries (Lithium) are not accessible yet but soon / few years – Lots of fun to ride!
I have now:
* 70Lb Minnkota (24V)
* 101Lb thrust Minnkota (36V)
* 2Hp Honda 4 stroke
I choose the motor depending on the water I fish in.
There is no such flexibility in a boat.
The W500 & W700 bridge the gap between kayaks and boats. Good choice in having 2 categories: kayak and boat.
Still planning to get my combat W700 in next spring. I need both sizes.
The Wavewalk® 700 Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) is multipurpose portable boat that offers high performance in harsh environments ranging from whitewater to blue water.
The 700 RIB can carry a payload of up to 580 lbs, including passengers, gear, and motor.
The 700 RIB’s watertight Saddle offers 180 lbs of positive buoyancy, and each of its XL 27.5 gallon inflatable flotation tubes offers 200 lbs of positive buoyancy – a total of 580 lbs of positive buoyancy.
The 700 RIB features a W700 Heavy Duty motor mount, a Spray Shield, a Joystick Steering System, and a pair of 12 ft long and 7.25″ diameter inflatable flotation tubes. All these components can be attached and detached within seconds, and without using tools.
Boat: 80 lbs
Accessories: 17 lbs
Total: 97 lbs
31″ without inflatable tubes
45.5″ total with tubes attached
12’10” (391 cm)
Up to 6 HP
Search and rescue operations.
Tender and lifeboat for big boats and yachts.
Diving and underwater fishing.
Net fishing, crabbing.
Transporting and Installing The Inflatable Tubes
Transporting the full-length inflatable tubes is very easy – When partially deflated, they fit perfectly in the hulls of the W700.
Each inflatable tube is attached to the boat by 4 carabiners: One at each end, and two in the middle. Inflating is easy through the wide-diameter mouth valve. No need to use a pump, and it takes just a couple of minutes.
When you paddle your Wavewalk in waves without covering the front end of its cockpit, some spray may get inside, especially if you paddle through big surf. The water is drained to the bottom of the hulls, and it flows backwards to the rear part of the hull tips. Altogether, this is rather insignificant.
When you drive a motorized Wavewalk in the ocean for a long time, at high speed and through waves, your boat generates more spray, and breaking waves can result in more water getting into the cockpit. A Spray Shield works to minimize intake from the front, but not from the sides. Some water may accumulate on the bottom of the hulls, at the rear end of the boat. A few gallons of water would be unnoticed, but having effective means to remove any amount of water at any time is highly recommended, simply because stuff happens, and you’d better be well prepared for any case.
Comparing different solutions
1. One-way valves
Many motorboats and sailing boats feature one-way valves at the rear end of their hulls. When the boat moves in the water at high speed, the low pressure behind its stern causes the valve to open, and pulls out the water that accumulated at the bottom of the hull, namely the bilge.
A hull outfitted with such a valve is called ‘self bailing’.
Needless to say that SOT kayaks described by their manufacturers as “self bailing” are not, and the misuse of this term is misleading.
After much consideration, we decided not to outfit the hulls of the Wavewalk with such valves, for two reasons, which are:
Unlike big motorboats, a Wavewalk can be dragged on the ground and over rocks, and this might damage the valves.
One-way valves can get jammed, and since the Wavewalk often goes in shallow water that’s mixed with sand and mud, and where vegetation can be abundant, the possibility of such malfunction cannot be disregarded.
2. Electric bilge pump
Battery recharged on board –
Some small outboard gas motors (e.g. Tohatsu, starting at 4 HP) offer the option to add an alternator (electric current generator) and an AC to DC converter. Thus, the motor continuously produces an electric current that can charge a battery that would power an electric bilge pump and/or an electric trolling motor.
This solution sounds perfect – just press or turn an electric switch, and bail the water out. And if you get an automatic pump, you don’t even have to remember to activate it.
But a closer look at the details of this solution revels some problems:
Cost – The combined cost of an alternator and converter is around $450. The cost of a battery and an electric bilge pump would bring the total cost of this solution to over $500. It may not be a prohibitive price, but it’s still a considerable sum in the context of a Wavewalk boat.
Vulnerability – Keeping a battery and electric pump somewhere in your Wavewalk may not be enough, and you’d need to secure both, so that in case of an accident they would remain inside the cockpit and be fully operational when needed the most. This could prove to be somehow hard to achieve.
Battery not rechargeable on board-
An electric bilge pump powered by a battery that isn’t being continuously charged makes sense, because unlike propelling the boat, pumping a few gallons of water out of its hulls require little power.
The downside of this simple solution is having to remember to charge the battery before each motorized trip offshore, and the possibility that in case of an accident the system could stop working.
3. Hand bucket
Simply a square bucket with a handle (or without one) that fits into a Wavewalk hull, and used as a bilge bucket.
It works, but only in case there is a lot of water in the hull, namely that the water is deep enough, and the user faces the water. But such a scenario is extremely unlikely, and in a typical case only a small quantity of water may accumulate at the bottom of the rear end of the hulls, that is far behind the driver.
This said, it wouldn’t hurt to have a bucket on board, as an addition to the solution that we recommend, which is:
4. Hand pump
A 36″ long, lightweight hand pump costs $29 at Lowe’s.
It allows to pump water from the rear end of the hulls while the user sits facing forward. This is a major advantage, ergonomically speaking, and in simple terms of convenience.
The pump provides a sturdy, simple, and easy to operate solution that you can count on. The piston is lubricated by the water itself, and this makes pumping easy. Capacity wise, four strokes bail out one gallon, and since it’s hard to imagine having to bail out more than a few gallons at a time, the effort required is almost negligible.
The pump features a simple filter at its end, and this prevents it from getting jammed.
If there is a perfect solution, we think this is it.
This is the story of my trip across Buzzards Bay, to the Elizabeth Islands, a chain of small islands between Martha’s Vineyard and the mainland.
Before the actual trip…
My first trip was ‘preliminary’ to the actual one, because it was cut short due to time constraints – I arrived to the boat ramp in Gooseberry island at the Horseneck Beach Reservation, found the parking lot full, and headed back on the causeway.
I parked a quarter of a mile down the road, next to a rocky beach, a.k.a. a ‘Rock Garden’. It was early in the afternoon, and by the time I launched, filled the gas tank, and tested the boat (and myself), I realized that since I’m a novice seaman, I’d have to drive slowly, namely at less than 5 mph, which would have made the trip longer than I had planned. That meant that I might have gotten back home too late, which is a no-no.
What’s left from that preliminary, or shall we call it ‘Test’ trip are the panoramic view of the parking lot and the beach, and the still images from the end of the trip, where I’m seen dragging the boat on the beach, and up the ramp, back to the parking lot.
Joao, a local resident, shot these nice photos – Thanks Joao! 🙂
The actual trip
I came back the next day to the same parking lot, before noon. I wore blue shorts and and a blue shirt that’s identical to the one I wore the previous day – It’s called ‘Movie Continuity’ 😀
Speaking of continuity, the weather was identical in both days – sunny and beautiful. That wasn’t due just to luck, since I had planned this trip a week in advance.
Launching in that rock garden was a piece of cake.
To start the motor, I dropped the anchor about 100 yards from shore, turned around in the cockpit so I faced the motor, added fuel to the gas tank (I did it standing up, using a long spout), and I started the motor in full comfort, like I would on a big boat.
I turned around, which is easy to do in the W700, raised the anchor, grabbed the joystick, pushed in the choke, put the motor in forward gear, set the RPM, and headed to the islands.
I drove at a leisurely pace, giving myself time to enjoy the ride and shoot video.
I had two cameras on board – a Sony 400 with a telescopic x63 optical zoom lens, and a Sony Xperia watertight smartphone with a 4K Ultra-HD camera, mounted on a selfie stick. I used both cameras, and it turned out that the 400 performed well, while the Xperia didn’t produce good results, mainly because I failed to operate it properly 🙁
At about 6 miles from shore, Penikese island was closer, but I decided to go a little further, and land on Cuttyhunk island, which is 7 miles from where I launched. It just looked better the trough the telescopic lens of my camera…
I approached Cuttyhunk island, scouted for a good landing spot, and beached without a problem. I didn’t even have to step in water 🙂
As I was making my first steps on that beautiful beach, enjoying the pristine nature and solitude, my cellphone rang… It was my mother in-law, who was concerned about me 😀 That conversation added a comic touch to the situation…
I refilled the gas tank, and checked how much water got into the boat. I had a towel tucked in each rear hull tip, and both towels were almost dry, which is to say that hardly any spray got in. This is due to fact that I drove slowly and didn’t give the waves a chance to splash into the cockpit.
The first half of the trip back to the mainland was a not that pleasant – The wind had picked up, and the boat was getting hit by waves from 7 o’clock, which made it harder to drive. The joystick offered me the perfect means to drive responsively and with precision, as I needed to, given that the W700 is such a small boat. Comfort wise, it was perfect.
Under these conditions, driving while facing sideways and gripping the tiller directly would have been hard, and even driving while facing forward with an articulated (U-jointed) tiller extension would have been somehow uncomfortable.
The motor didn’t sound like it appreciated the continuous abrupt alternations between acceleration and deceleration, as each passing wave projected the boat forward and then dumped it behind…
It turned out that this 6 HP Tohatsu motor isn’t just quiet and easy to operate – it’s also reliable.
The second part of the trip back was easier.
As I approached the shore and recognized the area from which I had launched, I allowed myself to drive faster, and even standing up, which felt great.
Spray getting into the boat was no longer a matter for any concern as this stage, of course.
Beaching in the rock garden was a piece of cake, but I have to admit that due to the shallowness of the water I wasn’t able to drive the boat high enough to step on dry land, this time.
Dragging the boat up the beach and back to the car wasn’t easy… After a few steps I stopped, and I used a little manual pump that I had with me to get water out of the hulls. I also took the towels out and squeezed water out of them. Altogether, I removed a couple of gallons of water from the boat, which made it easier to pull it up to the parking lot.
Other than getting my face and knees sunburned, I feel no physical impact whatsoever. No muscle tension in my legs, not even the slightest sign of back pain, and no pain in my left wrist and forearm, which could have happened had I used the articulated tiller extension in such a long drive.
The 6 HP Tohatsu outboard features an alternator, which means that it could feed the battery powering a small electric bilge bump, and thus turn spray into a non-issue. Some smaller Tohatsu outboards feature an alternator as well.
Anyways, a long manual bilge pump such as many kayakers use would do equally well, I guess.