Tag Archive: platform

The smallest and greatest skiff

Skiff design, built, main advantages, and noteworthy shortcomings

Skiffs come in different sizes and configurations, and similarly to Jon boats, they are flat bottomed mono-hulls, a feature that reduces draft, which is advantageous for fishing in shallow water.
But this design feature also makes skiffs less seaworthy compared to other boats of similar size.
This is yet another example of specialization that enhances the product’s performance in one application while diminishing its performance in others.
Skiffs’ limited seaworthiness is the reason for their being unpopular as boats for offshore fishing, and opinions about their performance in bays and estuaries are mixed. The skiff design’s limited seaworthiness is one of the reasons why owners of big boats and yachts don’t use small skiffs dubbed microskiff as tenders.
Typically, skiffs’ hulls are molded from fiberglass, mainly because this material is more durable in saltwater than aluminum, which is the most common building material in Jon boats. However, fiberglass doesn’t perform well in terms of impact resistance, and it requires maintenance, while other polymer resins (plastics) such as Polyethylene don’t.
Fiberglass is also heavier than Polyethylene, too heavy to make a small skiff that’s lightweight enough to be transported on top of a vehicle’s roof, namely a portable skiff.
Skiffs are propelled by one or more outboard motors mounted at their stern.

Typical skiff features

Depending on a skiff’s size and level of outfitting, it may feature a center console, a casting platform at its front, and a tall structure at the stern, for a person to use for poling and/or for sighting fish for one or more anglers fishing from the deck.
Skiff are sometimes outfitted with an electric trolling motor, typically mounted at their bow.
The main advantages of a frontal casting platform are that it offers the angler a broader range of casting, be it with bait, lures, flies, or a fishing net, and it puts a bigger distance between them and other fishers working from the middle of the deck.
The main advantage of a center console is that it improves the driver’s comfort and stability, relatively to driving from the stern, and it allows them to drive standing.
Poling is both exhausting and rather ineffective as a mode of propulsion, and therefore increasingly unpopular among anglers who fish the flats and other shallow water. This leaves the poling platform to serve mainly as a watchtower, and possibly as an ornament.
Electric trolling motors are quiet, and they can be controlled remotely, which is one of the reasons that more skiff owners use them these days.

Microskiff – a class of very small small skiffs

Microskiff is a term that refers to compact skiffs, namely of small size, and typically of reduced features as well. The smaller size saves money on gas and maintenance, but the need to transport microskiffs on a trailer still presents a challenge in terms of launching and beaching, as well as storage.
At the lowest end of microskiffs both in terms of size and price, is a group of large size boards, some of which feature backward pointing extensions that provide extra support for the outboard motor’s weight, and some that don’t. These boards usually offer enough stability and load capacity for just one user (I.E. “solo” skiff), and they hardly offer any free board, which pretty much guarantees that this user will get soaked, whether they like it or not.
As far as comfort is concerned, these large size boards marketed as microskiffs or “solo” skiffs seem to be designed with no concern for ergonomics whatsoever, to a point where watching a video featuring such a skiff might give the viewer an uneasy feeling.
In terms of portability and transportation, their small size allows for an unusually strong person to transport one on a pickup truck bed, but car topping such a vessel is beyond reach for anyone who’s not a professional weight lifter.
Most of these board type skiffs are molded from fiberglass or other cold-molded resins, which reduces their impact resistance, durability, and therefore reliability.
The board skiff that’s made from Polyethylene weighs 150 lbs without the motor, which is still too heavy to rival the portability of most fishing kayaks and canoes, and let’s not forget that square-stern canoes can be outfitted with small outboard motors…
Despite their small size, including a beam (width) that’s narrower than the beam of conventional skiffs, board skiffs do not paddle well, a factor that reduces their appeal to anglers who fish skinny water and water where aquatic vegetation abounds.

The Wavewalk S4 – the smallest and greatest skiff

In physical terms, the Wavewalk S4 is smaller and much lighter than any skiff, microskiff, and board skiff, and it its Polyethylene hull makes it more resistant to impact. It is the only skiff that anyone can car top without help from a second person.
The S4 can carry up to three adult fishermen on board, which is comparable to the crew size of good size skiffs, and it enables these anglers to fish at the same time and standing up, which is something that only full fledged medium sized and bigger skiffs may offer.
The S4 is a much seaworthy skiff that can be driven through ocean waves and other choppy waters without problems, both in a solo mode and with a second passenger on board. The patented combination of its twin-hull (catamaran) and saddle seat is extremely stable as well as easy for the users to balance, even more than a personal watercraft (PWC).
In fact, driving an S4 in the ocean and in choppy water is pure fun.
The S4 offers plenty of free board, which is good news for passengers who are looking to stay dry, and it is the only skiff that can serve as a tender for a big boat or a yacht.
The S4 offers its passengers to use the entire internal space of its twin hulls for on board storage, and this makes its storage capacity rival with full fledged and good size skiffs.
Like a full fledged skiff, the S4 can be easily outfitted with a front mounted electric trolling motor.
And unlike any other skiff, including the smallest board-type microskiffs, or kayak skiffs, the S4 works really well as a paddle craft, namely kayak or canoe, to a point that some owners use it as a fishing kayak, without even motorizing it.
Typically, the S4 is used with outboard motors in the 3.5 HP to 6 HP range, but it can be powered by bigger motors.

In sum, the S4 is a craft that’s so advanced in performance and versatility that it deserves a class of its own.

 

 

 

Read more about the Wavewalk® Series 4 (S4) »

 

Review of the Wavewalk S4 as a shrimping boat

By Fin Gold

North Carolina

The stability and closeness to the water make the Wavewalk S4 a perfect shrimping platform.
We go out on our S4 boat, named “The Dub”, with 2 or 3 people. One person in the back to operate the Tohatsu 3.5 hp motor, the shrimper in the front standing up with the cast net, and maybe a shrimp processor/sorter in the middle.
We recently harvested 40 lbs (heads off) of green-tail shrimp in 4 days of outings.

 

 

 

 

 

 


More from Fin »

Extension to Wavewalk S4 casting platform

The S4 is very lightweight (just 98 lbs) for what it offers.
This is not much even in comparison to many fishing kayaks, and it’s very little compared to skiffs. Which is why a fisherman standing on the casting platform at the bow of the S4 causes its stern to come up, and its bow to go down.

This is not that much of an issue for fishers who use their S4 as skiffs (namely motorized), or in tandem with a heavy paddler sitting at the rear, and in a full skiff capacity, namely with both another crew member and a good size outboard motor.
With both a motor and a fishing buddy at the rear, the S4 front casting platform is perfectly level.

For those who fish alone from their S4 without motorizing it, and prefer to cast standing on top of the front platform, here is a simple, easy, and lightweight solution –
Use 3/8″ plywood to extend the front casting platform backward, onto the front part of the cockpit.
This can be done while having the board rest on top of the saddle, or on top of the coaming (spray deflector), as seen in these images:

 

Option 1: Board on top of the saddle and under the coaming (spray deflector)

 

Option 2: Board on top of the saddle and the coaming (spray deflector)

 

 

An angler standing on top of such platform extension will be stable, and the platform level.

Inside the Wavewalk® S4

The Wavewalk® Series 4 incorporates a number of design innovations, including the way its bow is bridged by a structure that can serve as a stand up casting platform.

The S4 bow structure features a pair of molded-in carry handles in its front tip, and four molded-in vertical walls that support the platform on which the angler stands.

This video offers an external view of this bow structure from the top, as well as from below:

But what would we see if we looked inside the bow? –
The following image shows the space that’s inside the bow, between the top ‘ceiling’ and the bottom ‘floor’ – The angle of view is that of a person who’s inside the cockpit, and sticks their head in the entrance to the right hull at the bow –

At the right end of the image, we can perceive the inside of the tip of the bow, with one of the molded-in carry handles.

From there and looking to the left, we can see the four vertical walls that support the top of the stand-up casting platform. When standing next to the boat and looking over the bow, these walls’ top parts look like elongated pits (as seen in the video).
The vertical wall that’s the closest to the cockpit’s front end serves as support to a wooden (MDO) wall that’s not seen here. This wooden wall is the top part of a structural element whose lower part is a front saddle bracket. The wooden wall’s top end is inserted into the coaming (spray deflector), and it is attached to the molded-in wall by means of extra-long aluminum rivets. Thus, the wooden wall adds its own support to the stand-up casting platform.

The top surface of the bow’s standing platform features grooves, and the above image shows these grooves as they would look to someone who was in the front end of the cockpit and peeked inside the right hull at the bow.

Readers who are familiar with the W700 saddle’s round ‘holes’, which are molded-in support columns for the saddle’s top, will recognize this function in the elongated ‘walls’ at the bow of the S4.

More about the S4 »

 

 

Dog platform? I don’t think it’s necessary with the 700…

By Joe Stauder

HBBCO Kayaks

I think Wavewalk hit a home run!
It’s hard to believe Wavewalk could improve on the stability of the 500 series, but you did!
The new 700 series is the perfect size for two adults, & Zena (my dog), in fact my wife Susan would be along with us, but today she is behind the camera. You can see though Zena was moving around (as kids & dogs do) and there was no tipping issues at all.
The fish-ability out of this craft will be unsurpassed especially in bigger rougher water catching larger fish.
I was a little concerned about the weight of this new Wavewalk 700, however it seems to be a very manageable 80 lbs. due to the four carry handles & the slightly wider design.

Pictures from our first trip on the Susquehanna river in our new Sunshine W700 –

angler-and-dog-on-board-kayak

Dog platform? Not for me, thank you…

 

dog-platfrom-no-thanks

This W700 fishing kayak is stable enough for me…

 

is-this-a-fish-down-there

Are those fish down there?

 

ok-I-think-i'm-going-to-check-this-fish

Can I jump in and chase that fish?…

 

Read more about Joe’s fishing trips and rigging tips »

More fishing kayak reviews »