Wavewalk® Standard Inflatable, Detachable Flotation Modules
When motorized, our Wavewalk® 500 kayak and Wavewalk® 700 car-top boat are heavier, and they go at high speed. This may require adding high capacity, multi-purpose flotation, which is what Wavewalk’s inflatable detachable flotation modules offer.
When attached to the kayak’s sides, the inflatable flotation tubes can make it less easy to paddle, which is why these accessories are mainly a solution for motorizing and not for paddling long distances, unless you attach them under the kayak’s saddle, where they won’t interfere with the movement of your paddle.
Wavewalk 700 outfitted with a pair of standard inflatable flotation tubes
Wavewalk’s multi-purpose, detachable, inflatable flotation tube (folded). Note the two inflation valves, and the carabiners on both ends, for easy and quick attachment.
Tech Specs – stated for 1 inflatable flotation tube:
Dimensions: Length: 60″ (152 cm) Diameter: 6.5″ (16.5 cm) –Note: Fits exactly between the eyelets on the kayak’s sides in the XL and INF configurations. -Note: Each side of the Wavewalk TM kayak can fit up to 2 inflatable flotation modules (Maximum 4 modules for the kayak’s sides).
Weight: Each module weighs 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg)
Volume: The volume of a single inflatable module is 2,000 cubic inches (8.65 gallon / 32.5 liter). The volume of a pair is 4,000 cubic inches.
Material: PVC Color: Black
Thickness: 30 MIL (0.03″) or 0.763 mm (Heavy Duty)
Air valves: Each module is outfitted with 2 air valves – A 1″ wide easy-filling valve, and a small valve for quick pressure-release. –Note: The wide air filling valve eliminates the need for an air pump. –Note: Do not fill the flotation module completely – Always leave some room for the air inside to expand as the sun warms it. If you see the surface is too stretched, release some air through the small valve.
Attachment: Each module is outfitted with 2 heavy-duty rope eyes, and ships with 2 anodized aluminum carabiners
Repair: Each pair of inflatable flotation modules ships with a PVC repair kit
Country of Origin: Made in USA
Price: This accessory is sold in pairs. Each pair sells for $230.
Shipping: When ordered together with a W kayak, these accessories ship with no additional cost. When ordered separately, S&H is $30 to addresses in the continental US, and $40 for shipping to addresses in Canada and Alaska.
Inflatable flotation tubes – usage and advantages
Trimming at high speed: When the inflatable flotation tubes are attached on both sides on the kayak’s stern, the added buoyancy there helps in keeping the kayak level when motorizing at high speed, both in the front-back and left-right directions.
Outriggers (Stabilizers): When attached on the kayak’s sides, the flotation modules act as outriggers, namely increase its lateral stability. This is particularly useful in the motorized or sailing modes.
Capsize prevention: When attached to the kayak’s sides, the inflatable flotation modules help prevent it from flipping in case of an accident.
Recovery (flotation): In case an accident happened, the flotation helps the kayak stay afloat.
Recovery (flipping back): In case the kayak is overturned or laying in its side, the inflatable flotation tube can help the user flip the kayak back.
Personal flotation: When detached from the kayak, an inflatable tube can serve as personal flotation.
Are you looking for a stable kayak for photography? You may already know what to look for, but you may also wonder what questions to ask and what issues you should be aware of. This article will attempt to encompass and summarize the main aspects of kayak photography that you may want to consider when you’re looking to choose a kayak for this demanding application.
Ergonomic and stability considerations
Many kayakers shoot scenic photos out of their kayaks as part of their fishing trip or paddling excursion, but not too many wildlife photographers like to shoot from kayaks, because these small, unstable, wet and uncomfortable craft don’t inspire their confidence, and it’s hard to get excited about spending long hours in one of them – Photographers who specialize in wildlife photography, mainly bird photography, spend countless hours outdoors, paddling, motorizing, and just waiting in place, patiently, and they have or should have special requirements from a kayak – The photographer needs to be comfortable in their kayak, and not suffer from the typical physiological issues these basic vessels are associated with, which are lower back pain (a symptom know as ‘yak back’), leg numbness, leg cramps, and in extreme cases even sciatica. In order to avoid suffering from these problems, the photographer should avoid being seated in the L position, which is the traditional kayaking position at the root of these problems. Sitting in positions that are similar engenders similar ergonomic problems as well as others that range from increased instability to bad circulation in the legs. Wetness is yet another problem associated with sit-in, sit-on-top (SOT), and hybrid kayaks (hybrid canoe-kayak), since they don’t offer sufficient protection to their passengers, and most SOT kayaks even let water get on their decks and passenger sitting area through vertical tubes ironically dubbed ‘scupper holes’…
Currently, W kayaks are the only ones that offer their passengers to sit in the comfortable and stable Riding position – high, free of back pain, and dry.
It is imperative for wildlife kayak photographers to be able to stand up at will, with no need for particular efforts in getting up, standing, balancing and sitting down. Standing up must be possible anytime and anywhere, regardless of wind, eddies, etc. , and this is true even if the photographer is middle aged or elderly and not particularly athletic. Standing up in your kayak is important as means for you to relax, stretch and overcome fatigue, as it’s important for scouting and shooting photos above the grass and vegetation. This obvious, common-sense requirement rules out all kayaks for this matter, except ones from the Wavewalk’s 500 series.
Practically speaking, there is no way or reason to dissociate the user experience in ergonomic terms from their experience of comfort based on the kayak’s stability, or lack thereof. A kayak that’s insufficiently stable, as most kayaks are, is by definition and practice uncomfortable and not suitable for photography, and no sensible wildlife photographer should consider using it.
This video demonstrates the W500 kayak’s unrivaled stability. Note how simple, easy and intuitive it is to get up and stand in it, sit down instantly, regain balance while standing and riding the saddle, and all while the cockpit and kayaker in it stay dry:
Range of motion
Ergonomics isn’t just about comfort, which traditional kayaks offer too little of. It’s also about the user’s range of motion – Imagine yourself seated in a traditional sit-in or SOT kayak, holding your precious camera in both hands, trying to follow with the lens a bird flying above you… Chances are you’d lose balance and overturn your kayak, or stop trying to shoot that bird simply because your kayak isn’t stable enough, and your ability to balance it is limited by the fact that you’re sitting in the L position, with your legs stretched forward. In contrast, the Wavewalk 500 offers you a much higher degree of stability, a better way to stabilize yourself while riding its saddle, and consequently a full range of motion, as you can turn sideways and backward, as well as raise your glance upward and look over your shoulder with no fear of losing balance.
Mobility- a kayak that takes you where you want to go
Mobility is is yet another key factor in using a kayak for photography – It’s not just about launching and beaching in difficult spots, but also about paddling (and poling) in shallow water as well as in areas where paddling can be obstructed by vegetation and obstacles such as rocks and fallen trees. In this sense, you need a kayak that offers you an easy way to go where other kayaks prevent you from going, including over rocks and fallen tree trunks, and the only kayak that does that is the W500, as demonstrated in these videos:
1. This video features the W500 –
2. This older video features an early version of the now discontinued W300 model, which was smaller and less stable than the current W500 series –
Practically, you may not need to travel through such difficult waters, but you need to be aware of the fact that unlike the W500, traditional kayaks of all types offer limited mobility, which could restrict you.
Storing your photographic gear on board your kayak
Photographers need ample storage space for their photographic equipment, which includes cameras, tripods and lenses, which must be kept dry. This is a problem when all kayaks are concerned, except the W500. This unique kayak offer several times more storage space than any other kayak may offer, and its storage space is internal, meaning that it’s dry and protected from unwanted moisture, such as eddies spraying water on a SOT kayak’s deck, or waves splashing inside a sit-in kayak (SIK). A W500 loaded with 200 lbs offers 13 inches of free board – several times more than any other kayak does. Moreover, since the W500 does not feature hatches for storage but rather single, big, continuous space in the cockpit and hull tips, the photographer using this kayak enjoys unrestrained access to their gear, which isn’t the case for gear stored in kayak hatches. The W500’s storage space offers you to customize it through the use of containers of various size and shape, according to your specific needs. Some W500 models feature a preparation for a cockpit cover, which offers additional protection without presenting any of the inconveniences that spray skirts create.
Transporting and carrying your kayak
Kayaks need to be car topped, and they also need to be carried to the water and back from it to your vehicle. If you’re serious about wildlife photography, chances are that getting from your vehicle to the water could involve going over a significant distance, and often in difficult terrain. Both car topping and carrying (a.k.a. portaging) preclude the use of typical sit-in, SOT and hybrid fishing kayaks that are designed to offer more stability through sheer size: Such extra-wide kayaks are too heavy to be practical – Some of them weigh 80 lbs, and others up to 120 lbs, and since your photographic equipment can be heavy too (how much does your tripod weigh?…) you’d be effectively prevented from taking trips to places you could easily reach with a W500, which weighs only 60 lbs, and can be loaded with gear and simply pulled by a leash, like a sled, even in difficult terrain. If you don’t like the idea of dragging your W kayak on the ground, outfitting it with a single transportation wheel or a pair of such wheels is a breeze.
The W500 weighs 60 lbs
The following video shows how simple and easy it is to load a W500 kayak on top of a car:
Propelling your kayak
Paddling your kayak while looking for a subject worth photographing is fun if it’s done on flat water, or over relatively short distances, but when it comes to long trips and long distances, especially in moving water, motorizing your kayak is an idea that’s worth your consideration. This article is not the right place to discuss all aspects involved in motorizing your kayak for photography, but it’s worth mentioning that while electric motors are silent and offer the advantage of stealth, gas outboard motors are a better solution for covering long distances in moving water, and you can enjoy stealth when you need it by reverting to your paddle. In any case, using a kayak equipped with a pedal drive is the least productive idea because doing so wouldn’t necessarily increase your range of travel, using such kayaks in shallow water where aquatic vegetation is abundant is impractical since those kayaks draft more, and their moving flaps and propellers get entangled in weeds. Too bad that such shallow water and vegetation-rich environments are great for photographing aquatic wildlife…
Kayaks from the W500 series are offered in three standard colors – Yellow, green (teal), and sand (tan, caramel). The green and sand colors blend well with aquatic environments that are popular with wildlife photographers. These colors are also good as base for camo colors and patterns. Camouflaging a kayak is very easy if you use spray paint for outdoor plastics such as Krylon Fusion.
Few people use outriggers for kayak fishing, and these accessories are even less popular among people who use kayaks for wildlife photography. In both applications, outriggers impede you, restrict your range of travel, and tend to be problematic in shallow, vegetation-rich water.
In sum, Kayak photography and kayak fishing have many things in common, and it’s possible to infer what could work for photography from reading what works for fishing, as well as from watching videos on this subject. You are welcome to visit this website, read customer reviews and articles, and watch videos contributed by clients and produced by us.
Please feel free to call or email us with any question you have about photographing from a kayak. We look forward to your questions and comments.
An outrigger is defined as a framework supporting a float extended outboard from the side of a boat for increasing stability. In kayaks, outriggers usually come in a pair mounted at the rear, so as to interfere as little as possible with the kayaker’s paddling and fishing activities.
Why are fishing kayaks required to be so stable?
A fishing kayak is required to be stabler than other kayaks for a number of reasons –
The first reason is because the kayak’s operator is often busy fishing, which means they cannot pay much attention to balancing their kayak as they scout for fish, operate their fishing gear, and handle a fish they just caught.
The second reason is that people who paddle sit-in, SOT or hybrid kayaks do it while being seated in the L position, with their legs stretched in front of them in a way that prevents them from being effective for balancing. This is the reason why the paddle is the principal means such paddlers have for stabilizing these kayaks, and this means that it’s easier for them to keep their balance while they’re holding their paddle and preferably using it for paddling.
The third reason is that people who pedal a kayak find it even harder to balance it, as their legs activate the pedal drive from the kayak’s center line, with their feet l moving high over the deck. In this awkward position the legs are prevented from contributing even the little help in balancing that they could have contributed in a paddling mode. This makes the notion of a hands free pedal fishing kayak part of the realm of fantasy (a.k.a. hype).
The fourth reason is that some people who believe sit-in and SOT manufacturers’ hype try to fish standing in or on their kayak, only to find out that in reality they don’t feel stable enough, and balancing their kayak comes at a price of a continuous effort, both in physical and mental terms, i.e. micro-adjustments and focus.
The fifth reason is that some people have balancing problems resulting from a deficient sense of balance, a neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS), artificial knees or hips, or simply because of old age or just because they’re big and tall.
The sixth reason why people look to outfit their fishing kayak with outriggers is because when they outfit it with a powerful motor the higher speed increases the chance of accidents, which calls for improved stability.
How do outriggers work to increase a kayak’s stability?
An outrigger’s float is a buoyant object who’s much lighter than water. As such, an outrigger can resist downward pressure that’s pushing it into the water. Being attached at a considerable distance from the kayak’s longitudinal center line gives the outrigger’s float a mechanical advantage over whatever that pushes the kayak’s main hull downward on the same side, such as the kayaker’s own weight. This mechanical advantage enhances the outrigger’s effectiveness in stability terms. I other words, the bigger the outrigger’s floats are and the further away they’re attached from the kayak’s center line, the stabler that kayak is likely to be. In contrast, small outriggers that are attached close to the kayak’s hull, or outriggers that are part of the kayak’s hull and are deployed sideways by a lever system have a small effect on the kayak’s overall stability.
How effective are outriggers in terms of increased stability?
Small outriggers offer some initial (primary) stability, so they can have a psychological effect of diminishing the paddler’s fears and boosting their confidence. But when push comes to shove, that is in case of an accident or even a common case of lost balance, small outriggers offer too little secondary stability to prevent the kayak from seriously tilting, which is enough to dump its passengers overboard. This is especially true if the kayaker happens to be standing up or elderly, big and tall, suffering from balance disabilities etc. – In other words, people who have a better reason to use outriggers in the first place are also more likely to lose balance and fall overboard because the outriggers they use are not big and buoyant enough. This is to say that between using small outriggers and using none, the latter option has some advantages…
Folding outriggers that are integrated into the rear end of the kayak’s hull and deployed outward by means of a lever have the same effect as small outriggers. Such kayak offers little stability when its folding outriggers are not deployed outward, and when its outriggers are in the open position the overall stability it offers is comparable to the overall stability offered by a regular wide SOT kayak with no outriggers. This means that if you have no intention of fishing standing on the deck of a big regular fishing kayak, you shouldn’t even consider a kayak that features outriggers that are integrated into its main hull, even if the manufacturer of such kayaks is seen stating in a promotional video that their product offers (quote): “the buoyancy equivalence of an 8 ft wide boat” (end quote)… BTW, the beauty of such a statement is that because it’s so obviously and ridiculously false, it probably fails to mislead anyone.
Light rigs – Outriggers built from thin, small-diameter aluminum tubes might bend or snap when exposed to strong pressure. This is especially true if the floats are big and located at a big distance from the kayak itself. Outriggers made from thin steel rods can bend, and outriggers made from thin wooden beams can break. Outriggers poorly attached to the kayak could get torn out of their place in case of an accident.
Can outriggers create problems in paddling and fishing?
Indeed they do, and these problems are worth consideration:
1. Extra drag
Typical outriggers are several times shorter than the kayak’s hull itself. This means that as the kayak moves, the outriggers move at speeds that are many times higher than their own hull speed (Froude number). This generates a disproportionately large amount of Residual resistance (Rr) as well as extra Frictional resistance (Fr), and the kayaker feels their combined effect as extra drag on the kayak, which makes it slower and much harder to paddle. But this is not the end of the drag story, since the outriggers also generate their own wakes, which interact with the wake generated by the kayak’s main hull in a manner that increases turbulence and works to further increase drag. This additional unwanted effect is especially strong in outriggers that are mounted close to the kayak’s hull. And if this wasn’t enough, outriggers also increase the kayak’s exposure to the wind, and this tends to reduce the kayak’s directional stability. In other words, it’s almost impossible to paddle a kayak outfitted with outriggers if you don’t outfit it with a rudder as well. But since rudders reduce the kayak’s speed by 10% in average, it’s possible to say that a kayak outfitted with outriggers is not one you’d like to paddle simply because paddling it would prove to be to hard for you, unless you’re out for a short trip on flat water.
2. Extra weight – problems with transporting and carrying
Let’s face it – fishing kayaks are the heaviest kayaks out there. Many fishing kayaks weigh over 70 lbs, and the most barge-like of them weigh up to 120 lbs. Such size already makes it impossible for many anglers to car top their kayak, and forces them to transport it on a trailer, which clearly defies the purpose of kayak fishing in yet another way. A pair of outriggers can weigh over 20 lbs, which transforms even a kayak of reasonable weight into a barge in terms of transportation and carrying it to the beach and from it back you one’s vehicle.
3. Mobility problems
Kayaks equipped with outriggers simply don’t move as well as other kayaks do. This is true for shallow water with obstacles, seaweed or grass, for rocky beaches (‘rock gardens’), and for moving water where the outriggers make the kayak harder to steer and control.
4. Fishing problems
When you fish out of any boat including a kayak, you strive to get out of your way any object that could interfere with your fishing lines, whether when you cast, reel in a fish or land it. Outriggers are large size and intricate structures that are located close to the kayak, and as such present a constant threat to your lines – In fact, people who fish out of kayaks with outriggers are always careful to cast as far as possible from their kayak’s rear end, and since most kayaks already present typical restrictions on anglers, any additional limitations are not welcome, by definition.
What is the best type of outriggers for my fishing kayak?
Ideally, you’d want your kayak outriggers to be as long as possible, so they generate as little drag as possible when the kayak moves in the water. After all, you want to go places, which is why you got a kayak in the first place. You also want the outriggers to be as big as possible so they have more buoyancy, and thus work better to provide the required additional lateral stability. As far as you’re concerned, outriggers are mission critical! You want the outriggers to be attached to the middle section of the kayak, so they work to provide stability on its sides and not just in its rear, where you don’t necessarily need it – As they say: Location, location, location! You want the outriggers to be as small as possible, so they don’t weigh too much. Kayaks are supposed to be lightweight, remember? You want the outriggers to be attached to the kayak’s rear end, at a good distance from you, so they won’t interfere with your fishing activities… After all, fishing is what got you to buy the kayak in the first place, right?
Bottom line:There’s no such thing as ideal outriggers, which is why you need to carefully weigh the whole idea before you go forward with it.
Are outriggers even necessary with a W500 kayak?
We recommend outriggers for a W kayak being sailed, and by this we mean real sailing with a large size, powerful upwind rig (i.e. not merely a ‘kayak sail’). This is because of the considerable destabilizing lateral forces produced while sailing such a big rig in strong wind, and because we think that most recreational sailors lack the experience and skills needed to sail a W kayak under such circumstances. Furthermore, we recommend that such outriggers be sturdy and of large size so they may provide enough support to compensate for the sailor’s lack of agility, experience, etc…
Otherwise, people who suffer from a severe balance deficiency that prevents them from sensing the kayak or reacting effectively (e.g. multiple sclerosis) should consider the benefit of adding a pair of outriggers to their W kayak.
Anglers who want to stand on top of a poling platform stretching over the cockpit of their W kayak may gain stability by adding outriggers to their setup, but they would gain more stability, convenience and safety by standing inside the cockpit, on the bottom of the kayak’s twin hulls, with their feet located below waterline – like all other stand up W kayak anglers do. The W design works better than anything else as far as stability is concerned.
When it comes to motorizing (i.e. outfitting the kayak with a powerful outboard motor), outriggers might complicate steering because of the high speed involved, meaning that an outrigger hitting a wave at 8 mph would affect both the kayak’s directional stability and its lateral stability (balance). This in itself is an unwanted effect that could have safety implications. As for outriggers that stay out of the water, their effect is limited to begin with, since they are rather ineffective for adding initial (primary) stability, and by the time they come in contact with the water and start preventing the kayak from further tilting (i.e. provide secondary stability), the kayaker may have already lost their balance and gone overboard. Attaching large size flotation modules to the kayak’s sides seems to be a preferable solution.
Outriggers are impractical for paddling a W kayak in tandem, because the presence of the outrigger near the stern would restrict the motion of the rear paddler’s paddle.
Everything is going great. I haven’t tried my W kayak with the motor on yet, but last weekend I already installed outriggers that have 60 lbs of flotation next to the motor mount. Looking forward to a full test run next weekend. Will send pictures and a report. The fish pictures are from my last Sunday gulf trip. I caught them from a friend’s 18’center console about 18 miles from our launch point