Quite a few years ago, back in the mid-1970’s, I was fortunate to work as a mate then captain of a large passenger carrying boat that took people snorkeling on the shallow coral reefs of John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, Florida.
I promoted our business with the phrase “If you can swim, you can snorkel.” Twice a day, we hauled up to 61 passengers a trip on a wooden Harkers Island-built boat to witness the amazing coral reefs and tropical fish that are found right here in the United States.
Today, the State Park concession that I worked from has about 4 multi-passenger snorkel boats that have evolved from that one vessel.
Like snorkeling, there are many marine sports that have sprouted over my lifetime.
Obviously, canoes have been with us for many years. But, who figured out that you could sit on top of a kayak or stand up to paddle a fat surfboard? These are relatively recent innovations that have attracted a huge following.
Then, there are those Wave Runners. When I grew up in the Fifties, we never figured you could have a motorcycle that flew across the water.
All of those sports are fun for those of us who swim but owning all four: a canoe, kayak, paddle board and Wave Runner is expensive, space consuming, and a major maintenance hassle.
What if one vessel did all this, and more?
The Wavewalk catamaran style skiff is the stable and portable boat that literally, does it all. A visit to the company website at wavewalk.com will show you the W500 and W700 solo and tandem twin hull kayaks that are easy on your back because they are straddled like a Wave Runner. Fishermen are especially fond of the Wavewalk design because they are so easy to stand up in order to spot or cast to their prey.
These magic boats can be paddled with kayak or canoe paddles or outfitted for gas outboard or electric trolling motor or both! And, they are lightweight enough to carry on top of your car without a special carrying rack or trailer.
I discovered the Wavewalk design while I was searching the Internet for the perfect kayak to establish a retirement rental business in Key Largo. My first Wavewalk was purchased at retail price. That little W500 was so good that I used it in my commercial fishing business in the Chesapeake region to supply Blue Catfish fillets to Linda’s Cafe in downtown Lexington Park and the Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast in historic Hollywood, Maryland.
At present, in addition to two commercial fishing work boats, I have a fleet of Wavewalk kayaks for weekend Wavewalk Adventures in the State Parks and National Sanctuaries that surround Key Largo.
And, I am fortunate to be the exclusive Wavewalk distributor for all of South Florida. Contact me if you are in the Chesapeake region and I can arrange for you to have your own Wavewalk kayak.
On a nearly daily basis, I motor my green W700 skiff through mangrove creeks or out in the ocean to make my own adventures exploring places that are almost impossible to reach by any other method of marine conveyance. This Wavewalk lifestyle is a most wonderful and unexpected retirement pastime that I am most happy to share.
So, if you are tired of being cold this winter and want an excuse to visit the Florida Keys, you have one (as if you really need an excuse to visit paradise).
A trip to my website at floridafishingkayaks.com. will provide all the info you need to schedule a free Wavewalk Wednesday demo of this vessel. Or, a weekend rental with included guide service might be a way to enjoy a complete kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board package in a boat that “does it all.”
High Performance Portable Boat – Skiff, Paddle Craft
This is Wavewalk’s 4th boat series since 2004, following the 300 (Mark I and II), 500, and 700 series. Like all other Wavewalk® products, this boat is 100% Made in USA.
The S4 delivers the highest performance in the field of small boats and skiffs, even before you’ve reached the water, starting from the fact that at 98 lbs it doesn’t require a trailer for transportation, and it’s easily portable even on rough terrain. Its patented twin-hull design delivers more stability than any small boat out there, including much wider and heavier ones. This allows for driving in fast currents and in choppy water. In addition, being a true catamaran makes this boat track better than other boats. The S4’s extra large cockpit (8′ long x 38″ wide) offers ample room for two anglers or hunters and their gear, or for up to three adult passengers – a total of up to 680 lbs. The S4 features a long saddle seat similar to the saddle of other high performance vehicles, which offers maximal balancing capability as well as full comfort for going in choppy water and for long trips. The S4 features a stand up casting platform at its bow, such as can be found in a typical skiff. The cockpit’s slanted sides allow passengers to paddle with more ease and better control than what canoes and tandem fishing kayaks may offer them. The S4 has an extremely shallow draft, and this fact in combination with its portability, load capacity and high performance as a paddle craft makes it the most practical solution for shallow water fishing.
Personal watercraft (a.k.a. ‘jet-ski’) style 7’6″ long Saddle featuring a series of seven molded-in brackets, and six vertical molded-in reinforcement columns
Integrated Skiff Style Stand-Up Casting Platform at the bow, with anti-skid surface. Read more »
Preparation for a vertical mounting plate for outboard motor or rod rack at the stern
The Cockpit’s Slanted Sides allow passengers to paddle with more ease and comfort than paddling a canoe or a common kayak of such width.
The two Medium Density Overlay (MDO) 0.75″ thick Saddle Brackets, one at each end of the saddle. The one in the front provides additional support for the stand up casting platform, and the rear one serves as extra support for a motor mount.
Built-In Flotation – The S4 saddle is a watertight compartment that offers 180 lbs of positive buoyancy.
Two pairs of integrated, molded-in heavy duty Carry Handles – A pair at the bow, and a pair at the stern.
Average Wall Thickness: 0.150″ (3.8 mm)
White Color – Click images to enlarge
Light Gray Color – Click images to enlarge
Mud Brown Color – Click images to enlarge
Max Total Payload: 680 lbs (308 kg)
Max Number of Passengers: 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children
Internal Space for Dry Storage : 34.7 cubic ft (0.98 cubic meter), namely 260 gallons
Empty: 0.75″ (1.7 cm) With 200 lbs Payload (90.7 kg) : 2.5″ (64 mm) With 400 lbs Payload (181.5 kg): 4.25″ (108 mm) With 600 lbs Payload (272 kg): 6″ (152 mm)
Max Outboard Motor Power: 6 HP
Outboard Motor Compatibility: 20″ Long (L) Propeller Shaft
Hull: Rotationally Molded High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Saddle: Rotationally Molded High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Heavy Duty (HD) Saddle Bracket: Medium Density Overlay (MDO).
Our boats are made from 100% recyclable materials
Country of Origin:
Our kayaks, paddles and accessories are 100% Made in USA
This price includes shipping in the US to land addresses in the contiguous 48 states, with insurance and call before delivery service. This price does include the S4 Motor Mount, whose cost is $94.
S4 Motor Mounting Plate: $94
Takes a couple of minutes to attach: Just insert it into the molded-in stand for transom motor mount, and attach by means of two bolts.
Wavewalk® 9 ft long dual blade (‘Kayak’) paddle: $186
Common dual blade (‘kayak’) paddles are neither long nor sturdy or rigid enough for paddling this paddle craft, pole it in shallow water, and paddle standing.
Wavewalk® 9’8″ extra long dual blade (‘Kayak’) paddle: $220
For very tall people, or people who plan on paddling standing and poling most of the time.
Wavewalk® Detachable Spray Shield: $136
For high speed motorizing in choppy water.
Wavewalk® Joystick Steering System: $255
For easy and fun steering seated and standing.
Best Stability in Small Boats
Initial (Primary) Stability: The S4 is more stable than any kayak, canoe, Jon boat and small skiff, including Wavewalk’s W700. A 200 lbs person standing with both feet in one of the S4 hulls will make it draft barely 1″ lower than it would if that person stood with one foot in each hull – hardly a noticeable difference.
Secondary Stability and Balancing Capability: The unique combination of a saddle seat (such as ATVs, PWC and snowmobiles feature) with high-volume twin hulls enables the passengers to balance themselves easily, intuitively, and more effectively than in any other boat, including kayaks, canoes, Jon boats, dinghies, skiffs, and personal watercraft (PWC / ‘jet-ski’).
The S4 is unrivaled in Stability terms.
Best Boat Ergonomics
The 15″ high saddle featuring in the S4 is similar to the saddle featuring in other high performance land and water vehicles, such as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Personal Watercraft (PWC / ‘jet-ski’), and Snowmobiles, as well as certain Rigid-Inflatable Boats (RIB) designed for high speed motorizing offshore. Passengers riding this saddle can travel for long hours, including in choppy water, without suffering from back pain or fatigue. This is due to the fact that while seated in the Riding position, with a leg on each side of the saddle, the passenger’s legs support them in the most effective way, and no horizontal pressure from a backrest is being applied on their lower back. In addition, the S4 passengers can stand up any time they want, and keep driving and paddling while standing up. They can even lay down with their back on the saddle, and relax. Switching between positions assures that no extreme fatigue or tension would build up in any part of the passenger’s body.
Easy Transportation and Full Portability
The S4 weighs 98 lbs without a motor attached to it. This means that it does not require a trailer for transportation, since it can be car-topped. The S4 can be dragged or carried over rough terrain, and launched practically anywhere, whether it’s a rocky beach, shallow water, and other difficult spots that are not accessible to other boats.
Mobility and Range of Travel
The S4 can go anywhere, thanks to a number of special features – No other boat offers such a combination of shallow draft and total multi-modal propulsion, namely the ability to keep going in an effective paddling and poling mode even if the water is too shallow and/or infested with weeds to allow for motorizing. No other small boat works so well both on flat water and in the chop.
On Board Storage
The space available for dry storage on board the S4 is equivalent to the storage offered by a good size Jon-boat, or a regular skiff.
S4 vs. W700
W700 advantages over the S4: Solo kayaking, solo fishing, tandem kayaking, solo canoeing, tandem canoeing, portability.
S4 advantages over the W700: Motorizing, tandem motorizing, tandem fishing, stability, offshore trips, load capacity.
Shallow water – The S4 drafts less than the W700, and it features a skiff stand up casting platform, but the W700 paddles better, generally.
Offshore – Being more of a boat than the W700, the S4 offers a clear advantage in the chop.
I wonder, how many of you have watched this old video?
I thought I’d re-post it on the occasion of it reaching 50,000 views. This sounds like a lot, but we posted in 9 years ago, in 2007. The boat seen here is the original W300, before the modification we did in 2008. The paddler is me, but I looked much better back then, and I was in better shape too 🙂
Back then I was still focused on the surf-play market… 😮 and good people like Gary Rankel, Jeff McGovern and Rox were trying to explain to me the advantages of the Wavewalk design for fishing 😀
The W300 was 10’4″ long and 25″ wide (this is not a typo). Unbelievably, Jeff and I managed to paddle one of these tiny kayaks in tandem 😀 (Jeff is bigger than me), and an Englishman named Jim McGilvray outfitted his with a 2.5 hp Suzuki outboard (and DIY outriggers).
Time goes by, and we’re not getting any younger, but at least our boats get better 🙂