This deep water reentry demo video is long overdue – The footage was contributed a few years ago by Berny Marsden from the UK, who designed and built a DIY wooden stitch-and-glue Wavewalk, with some help from Wavewalk’s design team 🙂 Berny named his DIY Wavewalk “Banana Split”, and his boat’s dimensions and load capacity are comparable to those of the 700 series.
In this video, Berny hops into the cockpit directly, in a straight angle. It’s also possible to get in from a sharper angle, in a position that’s more aligned with the boat, as well as climb in from the rear.
Note that if there is some water in one of the hulls, the extra weight on that side can make reentry easier if you do it from the other, lighter side.
We’ve decided to publish this video for the benefit of our clients who dive and practice spear fishing.
This section provides basic, ‘getting started’ tips and advice on using your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak, and it offers links to other parts of this website that contain in-depth information. It is written in a sequential order of use, as much as possible.
Always wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) when using your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak. Do not wear heavy shoes or rubber boots, waders or any heavy or cumbersome clothes since they might prevent you from getting back into your boat or swimming back to shore in case you fall overboard. Never drink alcohol or take medication that might make you drowsy before and while kayak fishing.
Car Topping and Loading
You don’t need a special kayak rack since the Wavewalk® Kayak fits on top of any car rack.
Have one tip of the boat lean on the car rack and push upward and forward until the boat is on top of the car:
The easiest way to attach your Wavewalk® Kayak to the car rack is with its cockpit facing upward but you can also attach it with the cockpit opening facing sideways when transporting two Wavewalk® kayaks. Use strong straps, bungee cords or rope to secure the kayak to the car rack. Note: All plastic boats are sensitive to the combination of excessive heat and pressure – Make sure your Wavewalk® Kayak doesn’t come in direct contact with exposed metal parts heated by the sun.
The simple way to attach a Wavewalk® kayak to a regular car rack:
fishing kayak attached on top of vehicle
Carrying (Portaging) a W500 – One Person
On your shoulder (see ‘Downloading’) – For short and medium distances. Over your head with your head between the hulls and each hull supported by one of your shoulders and one of your hands – For short, medium an long distances. On your side: Hold the boat on its side with one hand gripping the cockpit rim in one hand supporting the lower hull – For short distances only. Dragging: Attach a rope or a leash to the boat and pull it behind you. This way you can portage for long distances and in difficult terrain. If you don’t drag it over asphalt, concrete or oyster beds the bottom of your Wavewalk® Kayak’s will be only mildly scratched, in a way that will not affect its performance. For short, medium and long distances. Watch video » Wheels: Also, see ‘Transportation’ section of the ‘Outfitting’ page »
Storing Your Fishing and Camping Gear On Board
The Wavewalk® 500 kayak offers you 8.8 cubic feet (66 gallons) of dry and accessible storage space, which is more than any kayak does, including expedition style kayaks. Take the time to think and experiment before you take any definitive action like drilling, cutting or buying new gear. Finding the optimal solution for placing and attaching your fishing gear in your W Fishing Kayak might require more than one fishing trip simply because you have much more storage space inside and outside the boat, and therefore more possibilities to consider, test and evaluate. In general, it is advised to store heavier gear such as fish tank, battery etc. in lower places, and not to fill the cockpit with large size objects that may be attached on top of the hulls’ tips in front or behind it. You may want to read this website’s ‘Outfitting’ section as well as customer stories.
1. Regular: Put the boat halfway in the water and facing forward. Step into the cockpit from behind (no need to step in water) and install yourself on the saddle. You can get the boat to move forward by either placing a foot on the front part of the spray deflector and ‘kick’ and/or by pushing your paddle backward. When the boat is sufficiently in you can pole and paddle forward. Similarly, you can put-in standing.
2. Surf launching: Standing in the water beside your Wavewalk® Kayak and lean over it while holding the two sides of the spray deflector. Then hop inside and start paddling.
This old video shows a 2006 W300 (smaller series, discontinued in 2010) launched in the surf:
3. Launching from a dock: Hold the boat in parallel to the dock and carefully get inside, one leg after another. 4. Seal launching (Warning: only for advanced paddlers): Put the kayak on a rock or a slope facing the water, position yourself in the back of the cockpit only in the Riding position, and slide down to the water while leaning backwards in order to minimize the impact. It’s possible to perform this trick from a dock or from a deck of a bigger boat.
You don’t ride a chopper the way you ride a dirt bike, and canoeing is different from kayaking in a number of ways. in paddling there are some similarities between canoing and W kayaking, and other things that W kayaking shares with regular kayaking. In addition, there are also things that are unique to W kayaking. It is important to keep this in mind before you begin paddling your W Kayak in order to improve both your experience and performance.
Getting started: It is advised to get used to the boat on flat water before venturing to moving water. As a beginner always make sure you are in the Riding (Mounted) position:
Riding, or ‘Mounted’ Position
Your legs are on your sides and deliver optimal stability, power and control
Riding (Mounted) – The Best Position For Learning, Balancing and Controlling Your Wavewalk® Kayak: Beginning W Kayakers should start in the Riding position, that is with their legs and feet on both sides of the saddle in a direct line below their upper body (see picture on the right). Riding is the stablest position and it offers best control over the boat. This is especially true if you don’t have good canoeing experience and you’re not used to balancing a boat with your legs. Your experience with regular kayaks (SIK or SOT) may help you in some ways but it does not guarantee that you’ll learn faster because of the differences between ordinary kayaking and W kayaking. Riding is also very comfortable once you get to used to it.
The Riding or ‘Mounted’ position is particularly stable and effective because all the muscles in your legs from your feet through your ankles, knees and hips can deliver quick, accurate and powerful reactions. Riding is a position that’s comfortable enough to allow horse riders to travel for thousands of miles during many months. In past centuries, a cavalry man would throw javelins, shoot arrows or slash his enemies with his saber – all while being mounted on his horse’s saddle, while a cowboy would use his lasso to catch and control cattle from the same powerful and stable position.
The Riding position: This video shows in slow motion how the paddler maintains his stability while powerfully tilting his Wavewlk® 500 kayak:
Balancing: The right way to balance yourself in your Wavewalk® kayak is to hold the paddle with both hands and use your hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet to respond to the boat’s lateral movement by gently shifting your weight from one leg to the other and keeping your upper body upright and centered. Leaning with your hand on the spray deflector is not practical at all. Also, unlike in ordinary kayaks keeping one of your paddle’s blades in the water is not recommended for balancing your Wavewalk® Kayak since it is better if you get used from the beginning to rely on your lower body to perform this task.
Note: The new W700 car-top boat is so stable that it hardly requites any balancing.
Do not confuse Riding (mounting) with Sitting – In the Sitting position your legs are positioned in front of you – see Figure 2. Sitting is not a recommended position for beginning W kayakers.
Figure 2 The Sitting Position
Your legs are in front of you and therefore deliver less stability, power and control
For more information on the different paddling positions go to the ergonomics section.
Getting used to the Wavewalk® 500 Kayak is personal and can take from a few minutes to several hours. It’s advised not to try to rush things and not to expect to become an expert Wavewalk kayaker after one paddling session – for many people it takes more time. There is a lot you can achieve with a Wavewalk® kayak that you can’t achieve with a regular kayak, and it’s only natural to need some time to learn it.
Positioning Yourself Along the Saddle
You can move forward and backward along the saddle according to your needs and according to circumstances. For example, when paddling against eddies and waves you can sit in the back of the cockpit and by that lift the bow, which will make paddling easier, since you’d be going over the waves instead of through them. For more details visit this website’s surf and ocean section.
You’ll find that poling your W fishing Kayak in shallow water is easy. We recommend that you pole using a long and sturdy paddle such as our Wavewalk® PSP, or a poling pole. The advantage of the long and sturdy Wavewalk® paddle is the fact you can use it for both poling and paddling.
Steering by Leaning Into the Turn
You don’t need a rudder in order to turn sharply in your Wavewalk® Kayak: Turning is very easy if you lean into the turn and paddle on the exterior side. Caution: Since this is an unusual thing in paddling it is advised that you first get used to controlling and balancing the boat before you start leaning it into the turn. It is advised to do it carefully and gradually. Getting used to turning by leaning into the turn is personal and can take anything between a few minutes to several hours. You can lean into the turn in all positions but you can lean more effectively in the Riding, Kneeling and Standing positions, and less in the Sitting position.
By the time you start practicing leaning into the turn you’ll probably know that beginning in the Riding position is best for you.
The ability to lean on one hull and paddle alongside the other hull is also useful when paddling in the surf. For more information visit this website’s surf and ocean section.
Easy, Rudderless Tracking In Strong Wind
How to get the wind to help you track – You can move fore and aft along the saddle, and thus displace your Wavewalk® kayak’s center of gravity (CG). The heavier end will tend to point into the wind, while the lighter end will tend to trail. With occasional, minor adjustments of your position along the saddle, you’ll be able to track perfectly.
This kayak is the only one that offers true stand up paddling and fishing for everyone, in real life conditions, in the sense that you don’t have to be young and fit to do it, and once you get used to it, you won’t need to waste time and energy in continuous balancing efforts. True stand up paddling and fishing also means that in case you lose balance, you can simply, easily, instantaneously and intuitively regain your balance just by dropping to the Riding position on the kayak’s 14″ high saddle. This is critical for both convenience and safety. And needless to say tat rising from the lower position to standing is a breeze. To paddle standing adults need a paddle that’s longer than ordinary kayak or canoe paddles. Our company offers two extra long and rigid stand up paddles that work perfectly for paddling in the lower positions too. Children, teenagers and some people may find it as easy as paddling in lower positions but for most adult paddlers stand up paddling is a skill that can take some time to acquire, like any other skill, including kayaking. It is advised to begin practicing stand up paddling on flat water before venturing in moving water.
You can easily motorize your Wavewalk® kayak by outfitting it with either an electric motor or an outboard gas engine. We offer standard transom mounts for 15″ (short) and 20″ (long) propeller shaft models. We strongly recommend using long (20″) shaft motors rather than short (15″) ones. Motorizing your Wavewalk® kayak would greatly expand your range of travel, and could increase your safety since getting back to shore in bad weather and against a strong current is easier when motorizing than while paddling. Our website features a special section dedicated to motorized fishing kayaks »
Before going on a motorized trip, verify that the wide wooden bolt knobs that secure the motor mount to the boat are safely tightened to the maximum. Failing to tighten the bolt knobs could result in unwanted vibrations and noise. If you feel such unusual vibrations and/or hear unusual noise, stop the motor, turn around, and tighten the bolt knobs to the max. Driving with loose bolt knobs is hazardous, similarly to driving with the motor’s clamp screws loose, and it could result in an accident.
Never operate the motor without the motor’s stop switch (“kill-switch”) attached to your arm.
For motor operation and maintenance please refer to the motor’s owner’s manual.
Scouting and Sight Fishing
Scouting is best done on flat water while paddling in the standing position. Since scouting is usually done at a slow speed without much maneuvering it is advantageous to learn how to paddle on one side of your kayak using a canoeing style J-stroke to keep tracking.
Many anglers are concerned about spooking the fish by making unnecessary noise, such as when they drop their paddle in order to seize a fishing rod and cast a fly or a bait at a fish they’ve just spotted. These anglers usually outfit their W kayak’s cockpit with thick foam along its rim (coaming), which dampens the impact and noise of the paddle when they let it down to rest there, sometimes in a groove they make in the foam.
You can easily drop an anchor is in the space between the hulls’ tips in front or behind the cockpit – according to your fishing needs. You can also make an adjustable anchor trolley system as shown in this website’s ‘outfitting’ section. If you fish in a stream you can use an anchor to slow your drifting downstream or a heavier anchor to keep your kayak in place. Some W anglers use an anchor pulley. For flat shallow water, using a stakeout pole can work better than an anchor.
The Wavewalk® Kayak offers you the ability to cast to longer distances, which presents two advantages: 1. Being able to cover more water from a stationary position before you need to move your kayak 2. Some fish species can sense the presence of your kayak nearby and therefore are better caught from a distance.
You can cast to longer distances with any gear from the powerful riding position. The standing position is also good for casting to longer distances. Casting from the sitting position is less powerful, although it still enables better casting than the traditional kayaking position does in other kayaks.
You will find that netting smaller catch is very easy, and by gripping the fish through the net the hooks can be removed with minimal damage to the fish. As for bigger fish, dropping them in one of the hulls will assure that they don’t slip away and will give you the possibility to deal with them on your own terms.
Reentering Your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak From Deep Water
From the back: To enter your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak from the back you need to position yourself behind it and grab the hulls’ two tips. Hoist yourself upward and start crawling upward and forward with your legs positioned on both sides of the boat. Use your legs to help you balance the boat. Doing it slowly and carefully is better than trying to rush things. After you have going forward enough over the cockpit just let your legs drop into the hulls, and position yourself in the stable Riding position. It is possible to perform this entry without help from other people if you do it slowly and carefully. Obviously, it is easier if someone can help you balance the boat by holding one or both handles in the bow.
From the side: Position yourself on the side of the kayak with one hand holding the spray deflector. Push yourself upward and grab the spray deflector on the other side of the kayak, then quickly move one leg up and on top of the cockpit while your head and shoulders point in the other direction, so your body is in an angle and almost sideways to the kayak. This method requires more agility and fitness than reentry from the back of the kayak. If it doesn’t work and you feel the kayak isn’t stable, slide quickly back into to water, and then try again, or try reentering the cockpit from the back of the kayak. If one hull has water in it, it can serve as a counter-balance, and you should reenter the kayak from the other side.
Demo video contributed by Berny Marsden, from the UK:
Berny designed and built this DIY Wavewalk with some help from us, and he named it “Banana Split” 🙂 . The load capacity and dimensions of this boat are comparable to those of the W700.
Before you go back into the cockpit make sure the paddle is secured, and it’s not in your way. Practicing will improve your deep water entry skills.
Your Wavewalk® Fishing Fishing Kayak offers some exceptional advantages in shallow water, so we’ve dedicated a special section of this website to shallow water fishing
Surf And Ocean
This website has a special section dedicated to surf launching, surf playing, paddling, surfing and beaching in this challenging, fun environment. Please visit our our surf & ocean page.
Normally the interior of the boat stays dry, and if some rain or spray gets in it is drained to the bottom of the hulls where it does not bother you. Similarly to other small boats, when you’re on the water in your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak you can drain it using a small bucket, a hand operated bilge pump or an electric bilge pump. Some W kayakers use a big sponge or a big towel for this matter. When the W Fishing Kayak is on dry land you drain it in no time just by grabbing the handles and overturning it. The water will drain out from the special drainage holes in the top side of the cockpit rim.
When beaching (taking out) you normally don’t have to step in water: When paddling to shore position yourself in the back of the cockpit – This will raise the bow and make it easy for you to advance high enough on dry ground. When stepping out from the boat do it from the front so you don’t have to get your feet wet.
Tandem (Two Adults)
Paddling in Tandem
-Two children weighing less than 100 lb each can hardly be considered a real tandem in terms of the special challenges facing two full size paddlers i.e. adults.
Paddling any kayak in tandem is always a challenge, but paddling a Wavewalk® Kayak in tandem is easier. Before anything, do not attempt to paddle a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak in tandem unless both paddlers are experienced W kayakers. The heavier and more experienced paddler should preferably ride in the back of the cockpit, where he/she can see what the new paddler is doing, instruct him/her and compensate for errors if necessary. Paddling a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak in tandem is not recommended if one of the paddlers weighs over 200 lb, and if the total weight of both paddlers exceeds 350 lb. Do not paddle in tandem in any position other than Riding, which is the stablest, and the one that offers best control. Do not attempt to paddle a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak in tandem at sea or on moving water unless you’ve gained considerable experience in W Kayaking in general, and in tandem W Kayaking in particular.
You and your padding partner can paddle a Wavewalk® Kayak in tandem using either two canoe paddles, one canoe paddle and one kayak paddle, or two kayak paddles -What really matters is your teamwork, ability to understand each other and your individual paddling skills. Note: The W kayak is a small vessel, and like any other vessel it becomes slower and less stable when overloaded. You need to take into consideration these factors when planning any tandem activity with your W Kayak. Most importantly, make sure you’ve read about the weight limitations for this kayak » Also, beaching in tandem is more difficult than solo because you can no longer raise the bow effectively. W kayaking in tandem can be a lot of fun if performed correctly and safely.
Fishing in Tandem
Generally, it is not advised for two people to sit in a small boat and fish together since this is an accident prone situation. This is especially true for young and inexperienced fishermen. It is possible for two people fishing together from the cockpit of a Wavewalk® 500 fishing kayak to have one fisherman face the bow while the other faces the stern. This leaves more room in front of each of them for casting and reeling the fish in, but in any case both fishermen will not be free in their actions and they must be very careful in everything they do, and constantly aware of their partner’s actions. It is possible to paddle this way for short distances but only if the front passenger (I.E. the one facing forward) is paddling. Since the W fishing kayak is totally symmetrical from bow to stern the two passengers can take turns in paddling. For example: while the one at the bow is paddling forward the other that’s facing backward can cast or troll providing he/she does it carefully. Turning inside the cockpit is easier for lightweight passengers, but heavier passengers can learn to do it too after some practicing. It is important to do it in full coordination with the other passenger, and advised to practice in shallow water first.. It is best for people fishing and/or paddling in tandem to do so in the riding position, which is stabler than sitting. It is not advised to stand in this kayak while two people are fishing from it.
Note: Unlike the W500, the new W700 is a full-tandem paddling, fishing and motor boat
Storing the Kayak
The proper way to store this kayak is with its cockpit facing up.
Do not store this kayak with anything heavy resting on top of it, or with anything pulling its hulls apart. It’s best to cover the cockpit with a tarp, in order to prevent rain, snow, animals and insects from getting inside.
Cold weather You can store this kayak outside even in cold weather but you’d need to make sure it doesn’t get filled with water or snow, since freezing water expands and could damage it.
Hot weather You can store this kayak outside in hot weather and direct sunlight, although storing it in the shade is better in the long run.
A Wavewalk® Kayak requires no maintenance, and you can store it outside in cold and hot weather. The W Kayak is rotationally molded from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which is stronger, more durable and more resilient than other materials used in kayaks and canoes. This is why it is unlikely to get damaged, but it also makes it difficult to repair so it is not advised that you try and perform repairs by yourself without first consulting with us.
You will find that your Wavewalk® Fishing Kayak offers many possibilities and is very easy to outfit. For more information please visit this website’s outfitting and rigging page.
Exceptionally tall and/or very heavy people, and/or people with certain physical disabilities can find it more difficult to paddle traditional canoes and kayaks. Similarly, such people might experience some difficulties in W Kayaking that most people won’t experience, or would experience to a lesser extent.
These limitations are true mainly for the 500 series, while the 700 series offers practically anyone to paddle, solo and in tandem
Attaching outriggers to a fishing kayak offers limited benefits in terms of initial (primary) stability, and even less so with secondary stability. Outriggers significantly impede the kayak and make it harder to paddle. Outriggers are also known to limit the kayak’s mobility in shallow water where weeds and grass grow. Outriggers also reduce the kayak’s ‘fishability’ by snagging your lines.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or by email if you need additional information.
We’d welcome your comments and suggestions about the design of this page, and what additional information and links we should include in it.
Why overpower this fishing kayak with a 6 hp outboard motor?
Earlier this year, Kenny One-Shot Tracy outfitted his W500 kayak with side flotation and a 6 hp Tohatsu outboard motor, and showed it going at 13 mph. This was intriguing, and several months later, after we came up with the W570 series for offshore fishing, we wanted to test it with a similar motor. A W kayak weigh 60 lbs and it’s rated for 2-3 hp motors, so it goes without saying that using it with a 6 hp motor means overpowering it, since these motors are rated for moving boats up to 3,000 lbs, that is 50 times heavier. However, testing and experimenting are part of any Research and Development (R&D) process, and we try as much as we can to test our products under various conditions in order to better understand possibilities, problems, and hazards, and inform our clients about them, so they have more options to choose from, and can make better decisions.
Tohatsu America showed interested in this project and cooperated with us through their dealer Steve’s Marine in Rhode Island, and we got the 6 hp Tohatsu motor (20″ shaft) in late October.
Wavewalk 570 beached.
Watch the movie –
Motor weight and handling considerations
Although the 6 hp (20″ long shaft) Tohatsu is a sophisticated outboard motor, it is relatively lightweight for its class. However, at 59 lbs it still weighs twice more than the 2-2.3 hp Honda outboard that we’ve routinely used so far. This additional weight was our first concern, and we wanted to experience what it means for a W kayak angler who uses such a motor. We found the weight difference to be noticeable, but not a major issue – It’s possible to carry such a motor over short distances, whether on its own or mounted on the kayak. Dragging the kayak on a sandy beach was considerably more difficult, but not a big problem over a short distance. Lifting the motor into the car wasn’t too hard either.
Transporting the boat in the car
Click images to enlarge –
The seat next to the driver is still usable
The boat fits inside the SUV with the flotation and spray shield on, and the motor dismounted.
The motor is mounted once the boat is downloaded
The boat on the beach and at the dock
Launching is easy both from the beach and from a dock, and the same is true for beaching.
Click images to enlarge –
W570 with spray shield and cockpit cover.
W570 ready to launch.
Wavewalk 570 beached.
Wavewalk 570 docked.
The motor mount
Kenny reported that his 6 hp Tohatsu outboard had broken a DIY motor mount. Such accidents can be dangerous, so we knew that we had to consider both weight and power. Kenny later reported that his 6 hp motor worked with the TMM 20 motor mount that we had sent him, but we preferred to beef up a TMM 20-15 motor mount with an additional 3/4″ board for its vertical mounting plate, making it 1.5″ thick.
The boat itself
Another concern we had about the 6 hp motor’s weight was how our W570 would take it. The following pictures show that we had no reason to be concerned, as the boat is pretty much level, and the side flotation modules rest several inches above waterline –
Rear view of a docked Wavewalk 570 INF 20-15 outfitted with both a spray shield and cockpit cover, and an extra inflatable flotation module attached between its hulls.
Driving the boat
Driving the boat with the 6 hp Tohatsu / 20″ shaft was easy and convenient. This outboard motor features a 3 position gear system (Forward-Neutral-Reverse) that’s safer than a centrifugal clutch, and makes it easy to start any time. The fact that this motor is water cooled makes it relatively quiet in comparison with the air cooled 2-2.3 hp Honda. Access to the motor’s controls is easy and convenient once you slide backward on the saddle all the way to the back of the cockpit. The inflatable flotation modules stayed above waterline and did not cause splashing.
Load and additional passengers
Although a W kayak can carry heavier loads, we rate these kayaks for a total load of 360 lbs, for both safety and performance reasons. This number includes everything that the boat may carry, from passengers and their personal belongings to fishing gear, an anchor, and last but not least – a motor. With a 60 lbs motor and all the extra accessories that come with the Wavewalk 570, and considering the high speed in which you’re likely to drive, it would be safer to consider the W570 as a one-person motorized kayak, or a solo skiff, if you prefer. This is unless the user is not heavy, and they take a lightweight passenger on board. For example: A driver that weighs less than 200 lbs could take on board a small child weighing 60 lbs, plus some lightweight fishing tackle.
The 6 hp Tohatsu outboard model that we’ve tested features an integral fuel tank that allows it to go for 45 minutes full throttle, but as long as you drive a W570 with it you won’t go over 1/3 throttle since doing so is likely to increase your speed dangerously, unless you’re towing a bigger boat or several kayaks and canoes.
In one occasion, while the boat was going pretty fast, the propeller hit a rock on the bottom of the lake, and got ejected out of the water, as it’s designed to do in such cases. Lowering it back into the water presented no problem. The reinforced TMM 20-15 transom mount didn’t budge, and the inflatable side flotation proved that it’s useful in helping to prevent the boat from rolling (flipping) if it’s tilting strongly as it did following the impact and momentary loss of control that resulted from it. The role that the inflatable flotation played in that accident emphasizes its importance.
Power and speed
A W kayak outfitted with a 2-2.3 hp outboard can go at 8.5 mph, full throttle, while the same kayak outfitted with a 6 hp Tohatsu motor can reach 13 mph at 1/3 throttle, a speed that for most people makes it too much of a challenge to drive safely. This is where we found that a 6 hp motor wasn’t the best fit for the Wavewalk 570. In other words, overpowering the W570 with such a powerful motor can be hazardous and cause accidents if you drive too fast relatively to your boating skills and/or to water conditions, or if you accidentally accelerate abruptly or even just too quickly for you to safely maintain control over the vessel. This lightweight craft is no match for the power and torque of such a big engine, and that makes it too ‘nervous’ compared to when it’s outfitted with a smaller and less powerful motor that tks longer to accelerate.
Why you might want to overpower
Having said that, you might like this overpowered configuration if you’re a risk-loving speed fan who enjoys the feeling of danger. It’s your choice, as long as you’re aware of the safety hazards, and you know that the W570 isn’t rated for motors that are more powerful than 2-3 hp.
A more productive way to make use of such a disproportionally powerful motor could be for towing other boats. For example, if you use the W570 as tender (auxiliary service boat) for a bigger leisure craft such as a sailboat, it could tow the mother ship, if necessary, or tow another tender with several passengers and provisions on board (e.g. an inflatable dinghy). If indeed you’re thinking about such use, make sure the towed craft are properly attached to your W570, and don’t use its handles or eyelets for this purpose. Similarly, if you go on a camping and fishing trip in which several people take part, your W570 on steroids could tow several kayaks and canoes over long distances, and make life easier for the other members of your expedition.
If you’re thinking about driving up fast rivers, such as in springtime, or on fast tidal rivers, more power and torque may be justified, although it’s hard to imagine cases where a 2-3 hp motor would not suffice for your W kayak. Just remember that fast moving rivers are hazardous, and we recommend neither paddling nor motorizing in them.
Another case in which you could be interested to use a 6 hp outboard motor with your W570 is if you already own a larger boat that you propel with such a motor, and you want to alternate between your W570 and that bigger boat. For example, you may prefer to go fishing on your own in the W570, and take the bigger boat when you fish with your family and friends. If you don’t like to purchase a smaller outboard for your W570, you could try using your 6 hp outboard with it, and see how it works for you. If it does, it could save you the additional expense on a small motor. Just remember to be very cautious with the throttle when the motor is mounted on your W570.
All the above said does not imply that we rate the W570 for use with an outboard motor that’s more powerful than 2-3 hp, because we don’t. We think that using a W kayak with motors that are more powerful than 2-3 hp could be hazardous. Again, the purpose of this article is to inform people about what using much stronger motors implies, and warn them about problems and dangers associated with such practice.
Let us define Offshore Fishing as fishing in the ocean or in the Great Lakes, away from shore, beyond the breakers. Such fisheries are characterized by currents and wind that are hard to overcome without adequate propulsion, and therefore hazardous to fishers who venture in them in small, human powered vessels such as canoes and kayaks.
Typically, people who fish offshore from kayaks tend to do it in more protected areas such as bays, or stay within a short distance from shore. While these fisheries are relatively safer in comparison to distant and deeper ocean fishing grounds, they still present considerable challenges to kayak anglers, as well as to those who fish from other small, light, non-motorized craft such as canoes and dinghies.
Offshore kayak anglers know that traveling out there in a human powered vessel doesn’t grant them that they’d be able to go where they want or even get back to shore. For this reason, some anglers venture on long distance fishing trips with a mother ship, I.E. a large size motorboat that carries their kayaks into the ocean, and enables the members of such expeditions to return safely to shore. Typically, the kayaks used for such trips are sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks.
Comfort and safety factors
Those who fish offshore from a kayak can be exposed to wind and waves from the moment they launch. Sitting in the L posture isn’t easy to begin with, but having to deal with the waves’ rocking motion and the constant wetness and makes it even harder, especially for anglers who fish in colder regions, where low water and air temperatures can be a critical factor.
Some kayak anglers outfit their ride with an electric trolling motor, and while this certainly adds an element of safety and increases their range of travel, it still doesn’t offer them the freedom to go on long fishing trips, or overcome fast currents. Outboard gas motors are more suitable for this purpose. However, there are no kayaks out there except Wavewalk’s that can be outfitted and used with this type of powerful and reliable propulsion in a way that makes sense to the user. The problem isn’t just the poor stability of the mono-hull kayak design and the lack of effective means for its users to stabilize it, but also the fact that outboard motors are rather heavy and they work best when they’re attached at the stern, which is too far behind the area in which the kayak’s user is seated – Anglers who try to outfit their sit-on-top, hybrid or sit-in kayaks with an outboard motor soon discover that they can’t easily reach its controls, and they can steer neither safely nor conveniently, even when they use a long and articulated (U-jointed) tiller extension.
Unlike kayaks, small fishing motorboats (e.g. Jon boat, dinghy, small microskiff) are designed for motorizing, and their users can drive them without experiencing the safety and ergonomics problems that occur in motorized kayaks. The users of such small fishing boats sit either facing forward on benches stretching across their deck, or facing sideways on benches located along their sides, or on a raised seat or swivel seat. The problem with those small craft is that they feature flat bottomed hulls that work well on flat water, but offer neither good stability in waves nor much comfort to their users in the constant rocking motion created by the waves. The same is true for the three above mentioned seating solutions – Sitting on a bench is fine as long as you can stand up from time to time and stretch, but it’s uncomfortable when you’re constantly struggling to balance yourself, and you’re prevented from standing up in confidence. As for raised seats, they are great for comfort as long as you can stand up whenever you wish to do so, and as long as you don’t have to balance yourself while sitting in them. However, this is not the case when your boat is being rocked by waves, and in such cases you’d be likely to experience discomfort.
Most small fishing motorboats are not designed for car topping, or are just too hard for one person to car top. Therefore, they require transportation by trailer, which means launching and beaching in boat ramps, with the time loss and aggravation that entail…
For all these reasons, small flat-bottomed motorboats offer limited offshore fishability.
As for ergonomics, the W570 offers its users to travel facing forward while riding a saddle similar in size and shape to the saddles commonly found in personal watercraft (PWC – jet-ski). The riding position is unmatched as far as the power, control, comfort and balancing capabilities it provides, which is why it is so well suited for small, high performance, personal, offshore motorboats. No wonder that other high performance personal motor vehicles such as all terrain vehicles (ATV), dirt bikes, and snowmobiles all feature similar saddles.
The new W570 series
A few weeks have passed since Wavewalk announced its new W570 series of kayaks that are ready for motorized offshore fishing. During this period we’ve obtained substantial input about this new concept from W clients, fans and dealers who fish in different parts of the world. It’s possible to classify their reactions to the W570 series into three categories – negative, mixed and positive. Those who reacted negatively argued that there’s no real need for a spray shield and large-size inflatable flotation tubes, and consequently, these new accessories might reflect poorly on the W product and brand. Those who had mixed reactions said that although personally they don’t see the point in either using or offering these new accessories, there may be a demand for a such a car-top boat among fishers who are looking to fish out of a small motorboat in the ocean or in large size bodies of water such as the Great Lakes, big and fast rivers, and other challenging fisheries. Those who reacted entirely favorably to the new W570 series are mainly people who already fish offshore or in bays and large estuaries, and are familiar with the challenges that anglers face in such fisheries. Incidentally, there’s a higher percentage of motorized W kayak anglers in this third group compared to the general population of W angers.
All three points of view are legitimate and interesting – Those who argue against the new accessories stress that as far as motorizing goes, Wavewalk has already shown in a most convincing way that its W500 series was perfectly suitable for driving while outfitted with an outboard motor at speeds that are similar to and even higher than the typical speed for other small motorized fishing craft such as Jon Boats, motorized square-stern canoes, dinghies and various flat-bottom watercraft classified as small-size microskiff. Therefore, adding large size inflatable tubes and a spray shield to a W kayak is overkill. This argument is correct, obviously, but only so in the context of traditional fisheries where these other small motorboats are commonly used, which are inland, flats, small and medium size lakes, slow moving rivers, and generally speaking, in areas that are not particularly challenging in the sense that anglers who fish in them are unlikely to overcome either powerful and fast currents or waves while launching, driving and beaching their fishing boat. It goes without saying that these relatively protected fisheries correspond to areas where the majority of fishing kayaks and canoes are used, as well as most other small, flat-bottomed boats. This fact puts the new W570 series at the edge of the current market, for better and for worse, in the sense that while the current market for it doesn’t seem to be big today, there could be a substantial yet unfulfilled demand for such innovative, high-performance personal boat, whose offshore performance surpasses that of mono-hull fishing kayaks as well as traditional small motorboats when comfort, stability, ease of transportation, and launching & beaching are taken into consideration.
Keeping the cockpit dry
W kayaks offer several effective means to keep their cockpit dry on offshore fishing trips –
Typically, launching and beaching are the events that produce more spray, and are likely to get some water in if you don’t take any precautionary measure to keep the cockpit dry, which is easy since all W570 models come outfitted with a spray shield that blocks water from getting in from the front. In addition, you can launch while riding the saddle aft of the middle part of the cockpit. Doing so would raise the kayak’s bow and further decrease the likelihood of spray getting into the cockpit. And last but not least, all models from the W570 series feature a preparation for cockpit cover, which allows you to attach a small-size tarp over the front and middle parts of the cockpit, and thus prevent any spray from getting in. Once you’ve passed the surf zone and you’re out in blue water, you can easily detach the cockpit cover within seconds, and store it in one of the hull tips behind you.
These three defensive measures work effectively, and in addition, if any spray got in, dealing with it is very easy – All you need to do is take a couple large-size towels on board and drop them on the bottom of the hulls behind you, near the hull tips. If any spray gets in, it will be drained to the bottom of the hulls, and the water would normally flow backwards, since the kayak’s stern is usually a bit lower than the bow. The towels would soak the water, and if you see that a towel has reached its soaking capacity, all you need to do is grab it and squeeze the water outside the cockpit, which takes just a few seconds. This method is commonly used by canoeists and sit-it kayakers who travel in moving water. If you’re into gadgets, who can replace the towels by an inexpensive hand-activated bilge pump. These pumps are popular among sit-in kayakers, canoeists and other small boat users. Their disadvantage over towels is that they become effective only in case a considerable amount of water has accumulated at the bottom of a hull, which isn’t likely to happen. Another simple and effective accessory that kayak, canoe and small boat anglers use for bailing water out of their craft is a small-size bilge bucket. While this accessory is highly effective for this purpose, it’s not as easy to use as towels and bilge pumps are.
When observing fishing kayak design developments in recent years, it’s impossible to miss two main trends that seem to have gone out of control: The first is an increase in size and weight, and the second is over accessorizing.
These days, the typical high-end SOT fishing kayak is a barge that weighs around 100 lbs, and requires a trailer for transportation, which is enough to defeat the purpose of kayak fishing even before you hit the water and find out that paddling such barges to a noticeable distance is either hard or impossible… One company recently launched a tandem fishing kayak that weighs 185 lbs in the basic version, and 230 lbs when fully accessorized. And if you think this weight includes a powerful outboard motor, you’re wrong – We’re still talking about a human powered boat, (although not a paddle craft) that’s too wide for paddling… At such weight, a crew of two strong anglers couldn’t car top this kayak, and they’ll even have a hard time loading it on top of the trailer that’s offered with it. The thing looks like it came out of a shipyard rather than a kayak factory… Good luck with moving that object out there, on the water!
The new SOT and hybrid fishing kayaks’ decks are so overcrowded and over accessorized that some of them severely limit the user’s range of motion in fishing, and they restrict even their legroom. Some of those fishing kayaks look bizarre, or comic, with such a plethora of useless objects (e.g. leaning bar), semi-useless objects (e.g. cup holder) and overly complex ‘systems’ (e.g. double-cover storage hatch) crowding their decks and getting in the way of their users’ arms and fishing lines.
And since this article is about innovation, we feel obliged to mention the new, award winning electric fishing kayak that features a motor installed in its middle. Its propeller shaft comes out of the water between the angler’s legs, with the propeller appearing at a couple inches distance from their crotch. Good luck with that too!
New products from Wavewalk
Wavewalk launched three new products in 2014: High-buoyancy Inflatable detachable flotation modules, a detachable, transparent Spray Shield, and a dual use Transom Motor Mount. These accessories strengthen our advantage in high performance motorized kayak fishing, which is significantly different from traditional motorized kayak fishing involving outfitting SOT kayaks with weak and unreliable electric trolling motors for short distance, flat water trips. A W500 outfitted with proper flotation and a powerful outboard gas engine offers a solution to the problems of strong tidal currents, wind, and the need to travel long distances in moving water, including offshore.
1. Inflatable detachable flotation modules
This new accessory transforms the W kayak into a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), an increasingly popular high-performance class of watercraft used in a variety of motorized boating applications ranging from tendering bigger boats to high speed travel, diving, fishing, and rescue operations.
The new inflatable float provides twice as much buoyancy as the large size Polyethylene foam modules we offered so far. Thus, it improves the motorized W kayak’s performance in terms of both capsize prevention and recovery.
A W500 can be outfitted with either one or two pairs of such floats. In the two-pair configuration it isn’t suitable for fishing, and you need to stop somewhere and relocate the front pair – either by reattaching them at the rear, or just storing them in the kayak’s hull tips behind you.
Another great feature these floats have is that you don’t need a pump to inflate them.
2. Detachable transparent spray shield
This accessory works to prevent spray from getting into the cockpit of the W500 while motorizing at high speed in choppy water, or in waves. The reason it’s detachable is that you may want to have it out of your way when you fish – Casting and landing fish from this kayak’s front is not only easy, but it also has some advantages, so you may want to quickly detach this spray shield and store it (flat) in one of the hull tips behind you. Reattaching it is easy, and takes less than a minute.
3. Dual use transom motor mount
Outboard gas motors and electric trolling motors come in two basic configurations – Long propeller shaft (20″ and above), and short propeller shaft (15″). This can be a problem in case you have a long-shaft outboard motor and a short shaft electric motor, or vice versa, and you want to use them in different conditions. For example – travel fast to a distant fishing area using the powerful outboard, and once you get there troll slowly and quietly using the electric motor. You may also want to use the outboard motor when you fish offshore, and the electric trolling motor when you fish inland, in smaller bodies of water, or in no-motor zones. Either way, you’re fully covered now and in the future with the new TMM 20-15 Transom Motor Mount. This new motor mount is not only more versatile – it also weighs less than the old mounts.
Click the images to enlarge –
Note that a W500 kayak outfitted with high-performance inflatable flotation and a powerful outboard motor still weighs less than some of the mammoth ‘barge’ fishing kayaks out there that feature no motor at all.
In sum, while Wavewalk keeps expanding the performance envelope of its already superior products and solutions, other fishing kayak manufacturers still have nothing interesting or sensible to offer, but they seem to put more effort into it in recent years.