Tag Archive: sit-on-top kayak

Motorized Wavewalk 500 for offshore fishing

By Neo Chino

(YouTube pen name)

South Florida

I get back pain from sitting in other kayaks, but never in this one, even after eight hours offshore. It’s really good for your back.

You sit in it like on the saddle of a jet ski, but sometimes I sit sideways, with two feet in one hull.

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Casting and sitting sideways

South Florida Kayak Fishing Club Dania Beach FL 4-29-2016

My biggest tuna ever

I store my fishing tackle in boxes inside the hulls.

I outfitted my Wavewalk 500 kayak with a 2.5 hp Suzuki outboard motor. I was one of the first guys with a motor in the South Florida Fishing Club. Sometimes I fish almost 3 miles out with my motorized Wavewalk 500, so I had to put adjustable outriggers on it for more stability. Before I added the outriggers I flipped it about 60 yards from the pier, and it was not cool, so I don’t recommend that you drive it offshore and in the currents without stabilizers.

A poor man’s fishing boat 🙂

 

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Fishing standing in two fishing tournaments, and getting results

By Joe Stauder

HBBCO Kayaks

It took a couple of fishing tournaments for me to get into the swing of things. But the last two I finished 2nd & 3rd respectively.

Standing up to fish is almost an unfair advantage compared to the other guys on their sit on top kayaks.

They won’t admit it, but due to their sitting position they just can’t be as accurate when casting, and they sure can’t see their targets like I can, when I am standing in my Wavewalk. Sure once in a while some do stand up for short periods of time (when the water is glass calm), but not all day, like they’re in a bass boat. Like I can!

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16 inch bass in my Wavewalk 500

 

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3rd place in this eastern Pennsylvania fishing tournament on the Susquehanna River.

Here are some pics of Me in my Wavewalk working on a 2nd place finish on Fairview Lake –

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2nd place at the Fairview lake fishing tournament

 

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

Lumbar Spine and Kayak Back Pain

The term ‘Lumbar Support’ appears frequently in discussions about kayak fishing and paddling related back pain. The underlying assumption in those discussions is that the lumbar area of your back (lumbar spine) requires adequate support, and if such support is provided your back pain will disappear, or at least become tolerable.

 

What is the Lumbar Spine?

Here is a short definition we found in a dictionary:

(lumbar)

▸ adjective: of or relating to or near the part of the back between the ribs and the hipbones (“Lumbar vertebrae”)

Lumbar_Spine_Kayak_SittingAs you can see, the lumbar spine consists of rigid vertebrae and more flexible cartilage between them. This part of the spine supports the combined weight of the upper part of the body, including the torso, head and arms, and it is normally supported by the massive structure of the hip bones below.
In other words, in its natural state, there is nothing that pushes, holds, or supports the lumbar spine from any direction except from its top and bottom, and what holds it in this normal position are the muscles around it.

 

How Did the Lumbar Spine Become a Problem for Kayak Fishermen and Paddlers?

The native people of the arctic, who originally created the first kayaks were used to sit down on the floor with their legs stretched forward, and therefore didn’t have any use for additional support for their lumbar spine. This is why native kayaks did not feature a backrest, or any other ‘lumbar support’.
When Westerners began paddling those aboriginal kayaks they noticed they had problems staying upright with their legs stretched forward, in the posture known as the L position. This is because they were not used to sitting in this position in everyday life, and the muscles in their body weren’t adjusted to it. Rather than adjusting the paddler to the kayak, designers and manufacturers decided it would be easier to try and adapt the kayak to the paddler, and introduced a combination of backrest and footrests designed to lock the kayakers in the L position, and prevent their upper body from ‘falling’ backward or sliding forward (‘slouching’).
The kayak paddler, or fisherman is effectively ‘supported’ by three rigid points anchored in the kayak: two footrests and one back rest. By continuously pushing against those three points, the kayak fisherman’s legs provide the power necessary to maintain his body in its place, and in the required posture.

 

How Does the L Posture Affect the Lumbar Spine?

Your legs have the most powerful set of muscles in your body, capable of making you run, jump and kick. When you’re locked in the L position, your legs are constantly pushing against the kayak’s footrests, as well as against your lumbar spine, which is ‘supported’ by the backrest behind it.
This strong, continuous pressure on your lumbar spine comes from an unnatural angle, that is from the backrest behind it. There is no way for you to stop it or relieve it as long as you’re in this position, which is the only one that sit-in and sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks are designed to offer.
Effectively, when you’re paddling such kayak or fishing from it, the only way for you to relieve the pressure is to get out of the kayak, stand up and stretch, walk, etc.

 

How Does it Lead to Pain, and to the ‘Yak Back’ Syndrome?

 

Getting out of the kayak in order to relieve the pressure on your lower back is not a realistic option in most cases, and this is why most kayak fishermen and paddlers keep sitting in their kayaks although they feel a growing discomfort, and eventually pain in their backs.
This pain is known as ‘Yak Back’, and most people who paddle sit-in and SOT kayaks for periods longer than an hour experience it sooner or later, to some extent.
The pain is the result of the abnormal pressure on the cartilage rings, and the contraction of the the muscles in this area as a result of the effort they have to make in order to prevent back (spine) injuries, or at least minimize them.
Try to imagine the fight between the extremely powerful legs pushing your lumbar spine against the backrest behind you, and the much less powerful muscles in your lower back that are trying to protect your spine, and prevent it from being damaged.
Luckily for you, your lower back would soon enough start to ‘scream’ that it’s being hurt, or in other words – you’re going to feel pain. This pain should tell you to stop this unhealthy struggle between your legs and your back, before your back gets seriously injured.
Ignoring the pain at any given moment would result in the aggravation of the problem, that is to more pain, and eventually to a more severe back injury that would take you a longer time to recover from.

 

How much pressure do your legs exert on your lower back (lumbar spine) in the L position?

 

We’ve measured 40 to 60 lbs in adults.
You can try and measure the pressure yourself, using a bathroom scale positioned vertically between your lower back and your kayak backrest: Have someone stand behind you and read the dial for you.
It’s bad news for your lower back, considering the pressure is constant, and you can’t avoid it.
It’s even worse news considering the fact that effectively, this pressure is applied on a few lumbar vertebrae and cartilage discs that are badly positioned to resist it in such angle.
In terms of lbs per square inch, these pressure figures would be impressive, as well as most alarming.

 

Proper Paddling Technique, Cushioned Seats, and the Reality of Back Pain and Injury

 

Kayaking and kayak fishing instructors would tell you to sit straight in order to improve your kayaking technique and perform the required rotational movements of the torso in a more efficient manner. However, you need to remember that the people who initially invented and perfected this technique or paddling styles never used a backrest in their kayaks, because they didn’t need to. Consequently, they didn’t suffer from ‘Yak Back’ – unlike you.
This is to say that perfecting your kayaking technique would not improve your lower back’s situation in any way: You will keep feeling discomfort and pain, and you’ll keep being at risk of back injuries, and even chronic damage.
The obvious reason for this is the fact that your legs will keep pushing your lumbar spine against your kayak’s backrest.

Sit-in and SOT kayak vendors would offer you to ‘upgrade’ to the latest ‘ergonomic’ seat, that’s bound to more more expensive than the last one you bought. They would praise the extra cushioning offered to your hips and lower back, and claim that such seats would get rid of your fatigue, back pain and leg numbness – once and for all.
The reality is quite different: Special kayak seats have been around for decades, and none of them has produced the desired effect of ending the Yak Back, simply because all seats have a backrest by definition, and no amount of cushioning can reduce the total amount of force that your legs use when they push that backrest against your lumbar spine.
On the contrary: The extra soft cushioning may reduce the point pressure on softer tissues in your lower back (E.G. skin), and by that somehow delay the sensation of discomfort and eventually pain in your lumbar spine and in the muscles that support it. In other words, you’ll start feeling the problem when it’s already at a more advanced stage, which is not necessarily a good thing for you, if you think about it from your a health perspective.

 

Higher Seats

In recent years, manufacturers of fishing kayaks have attempted to address the back pain problem by offering bigger and wider kayaks a.k.a. ‘barges‘ outfitted with higher seats. Their rationale was “We’d better allow the user to sit higher, and we’ll compensate them for the lost stability by making their kayak wider and thus stabler”.
But does this approach work?  – Not really, since due to their mono-hull, elliptical form, increasing the width of sit-on-top (SOT) or sit-in kayaks (SIK) has a rather limited effect on itheir stability.  Therefore, their users (especially if they’re heavy people) must compensate for some of the lost stability by working harder with their legs, which in this case of SOTs and SIKs results in them applying more horizontal pressure on their lower back, which leads to discomfort, pain, and in some cases even injuries.

 

What Your Lumbar Spine Requires When Kayak Fishing is Considered

 

Obviously, you need to avoid paddling and fishing in the L position, because it’s not merely uncomfortable, but in fact potentially harmful to your lower back, and sitting in it regularly for prolonged periods of time could lead to back injuries and chronic back pain.
Having said that, what would be the ideal fishing kayak for you? -One that would offer you comfort at all times, and the ability to take care of your sore back.
In fact, such kayak does exist. It’s the patented Wavewalk™ kayak, and by patent we mean a patent for an invention (utility patent), and not just a design patent.
To begin with, W fishing kayaks feature no backrest whatsoever – similarly to all-terrain vehicles (ATV), snowmobiles, off-road motorbikes, and jet-skis. What all of those have in common is the fact that when you ride them it’s your own legs that support your upper body. This is good news for your lumbar spine, since it’s basically a posture equivalent to walking, or running – since no unnatural pressure points are being created.
Second, the saddle type seat that W fishing kayaks feature offers a variety of positions, including standing up, plus the ability to change between any two positions at any given moment. Thus, whatever discomfort felt in your back, or local pressure building up in any part of your body can be effectively relieved as soon as you feel it.
As a result, even paddlers and fishermen suffering from chronic and acute back problems report spending long hours in their W kayaks without feeling discomfort or pain. You can find such testimonials in a number of fishing kayak reviews, where they say that without their W kayak paddling or fishing from kayaks would be impossible for them – because of their back condition.

 

More reading

Article about ending the problem of back pain in kayaks »

Article About Pedal Drives in Fishing Kayaks »

Review of my W500 kayak, by Kai Roth

I’ve taken many photos from my new W kayak. Herons, turtles, dramatic sky and copious amounts of lake weed. (Ugh, our poor little lake is choked.) Unfortunately, they’re of “snapshot” quality at best. Nothing that stands out as, “Wow, that’s a nice picture!” yet. At high zoom, which I use for the wildlife, the colors get washed out, the depth of field flattens and the images are kinda grainy. But the good news is that I can’t believe how close I was able to get to the herons without spooking them.

It was a bit breezy yesterday afternoon — my first time paddling when it wasn’t dead calm. I was pleased at how easy it was to go both into the wind and cross-wise, and that when I wanted to stay still to take photos, it didn’t drift or spin much.
I’m glad I tied a length of twine to the paddle. It has tried to escape a couple of times when I’ve put it down to take pictures. I’ve gotten ideas from the web site for how to keep it in place but haven’t made/tried any yet. And I think I need to sit higher, like on a cushion or something because I keep scuffing my thumbs on the paddle holder clips that Joe installed.

My neighbor came over and tried the kayak out. I told him, “You’d like this for fishing.” And yeah, he did until he heard the price 🙂

I’m having fun with it. Maybe I’ll even take up fishing.

I’ve written down some notes of my first impressions and will send a proper review in a couple of months. I’ll try to come up with something more creative than “My first season as a complete newbie paddler.” In the mean time, here are a couple of shots of our local herons. Mr Heron standing on one foot on one side of the lake and Mrs Heron fishing on the other.

~Kai

Pennsylvania

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Heron-female-PA-lake

January 2015, second review of the Wavewalk Kayak

Well, it took 3+ years but I bit the bullet and bought a Wavewalk kayak last summer — and I wished I’d bought one years ago when I first learned about them. In a nutshell… I *LOVE* it!

It’s not a sit-on-top so I’m not always sitting in a puddle. It’s not a sit-inside, so I don’t have to struggle to get up and down as if in a bathtub. And because there’s a center hump to straddle, I’m not sitting in an “L” position so I don’t get “Yak Back.” But it helps to have a cushion to sit on. That seat gets hard.
It’s symmetrical left to right and front to back so it doesn’t matter which direction I face.
It’s ultra stable. It tracks well. It doesn’t drift around too much. And it’s PERFECT for lakes or bays, even many slow-moving rivers.
It draws very little water so it can be used in shallow areas like swamps too.
It can be used sitting or standing, paddling or poling.
The company owners love to see what we’ve done with them. Fishing, duck hunting, wildlife photography, paddling around or sunbathing/stargazing in the middle of the lake.

For a touring kayak, it’s a heavy one. ~60 pounds. I can slide it onto the roof racks of my Subaru by myself but it’s easier with help, just because it’s kinda unwieldy. (Should I point out that I’m a Grandma?)

Now that I’ve got one, it gets the double-thumbs up from me. If you are interested in one too, your local dealer will arrange for a test ride. Bring your wallet cos you’ll want one.

~Kai
Poconos of PA

My Wavewalk 500, by Steve Lucas

I live in Southeastern Florida, close to the Everglades, and I fish both freshwater and saltwater.
I have been buying and flipping a lot of different boats in my endless search for a car top, light weight, shallow draft, stand up fishing, flats poling, gas motoring, electric motoring, great paddling, straight tracking, comfortable, gear packing, easy launching, rugged fishing boat that I don’t have to worry about scratching gel coat at ramps and Everglades launch sites.
I knew this was a lot to ask from one vessel but I am nothing if not stubborn.
I kept looking and looking and recently got a WaveWalk W500 Kayak. I am not done testing or learning about this boat but I think I may be able to check off the box that says “all of the above”.

First test

I took the W500 over to Chokoloskee for a test paddle I was well pleased with the boat’s paddling, tracking, car topping, comfort and stand up fishing capabilities.
The W500 is not a “barge”. It tracks extremely well and moves quickly through the water. You can put a really powerful stroke on this boat using a long shaft paddle.
There’s a learning curve to paddling a W500. You “ride” this boat as opposed to sitting in it. You can stand up and feel very stable doing so anytime you feel the urge.
This boat is only 29 inches wide. It’s the same width as my [15.5 ft long touring kayak].

I’m nowhere near done messing around or rigging/configging the W.

In my opinion the W 500 is not a kayak, canoe or catamaran. It’s a horse of a different color. I really, really like this boat so far.  It’s also a dream to carry and lift. I just tip it up, walk under it and let it fall on my shoulders.
Weight is relative. All my boats have been near to 100 pounds. Most of the fishing kayaks that they’re selling now are near to 100 pounds, and therefore 60 pounds for me is very lightweight.
So the W 500 lets me stand more easily at about half the weight of the barges.
I’m not fully versed on the W paddling yet but from what I’ve done so far I’m impressed with the tracking and speed.

The storage on the W is huge but it’s a different kind of storage space. You just need to rethink how you stow stuff. I carried my 8 foot stake out pole in the bottom of the hull all day and never stepped on it.
It’s going to be fun to rig this boat because you can get to every area like a canoe.

Laying down to rest on the W saddle when the rods are in rod holders is a no brainer. It’s something you can do in a W500 that you probably would have a hard time doing in any other paddle craft. You can lay down at will, completely horizontal with no problem. There’s no gear or seat to move out of the way – just lay down. I’ll be watching the next meteor shower stretched out under the stars I think.
You can also easily use the W 500 and not get your feet wet at all, or your butt or your legs or your crotch.

When I got back the launch I figured I try dis-embarking without using the ramp. I stood up and got out on the floating dock. I grabbed the boat and dragged it up on the floating dock without any effort at all. Then I took it one step further and dragged the boat onto the marina from the floating dock. It was easy as pie. No bull. Drag over possibilities with a W 500 are numerous.

Another thing you can do in a W 500 is move forward or backward to lift or drop the bow. It lets get up on obstructions or anything else quite easily. You can’t do that in a regular SOT. I can’t wait to plow into some skinny and just move backwards to get off the flat without ski poling.

I was really surprised at how well the W paddled. I was looking at some video I took while heading in to the launch and I noticed that the W has a lot more glide than my [fast 15 ft long kayak]. This is from a dead stop. Watch the bow of the boat when I drop the paddle and pick up the fishing pole.


Note that I’m 230 lbs.

 

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View of the bottom of the hull – small draft

 

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30 inch snook

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More testing

I took the W 500 down to Flamingo to test out paddling seated and standing on the flats. I am really impressed with the way the W paddles. I was going to try poling but it’s so easy to stand and use the paddle that I’ll save that for another trip.

I did some fishing but mostly I wanted to get into some currents and paddle the flats. I really enjoyed the comfort of the W as well. Not being stuck in the L position and being able to stand at will was such a pleasure.

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Speed

I met up with a fishing buddy at Flamingo. We launched early and paddled out to Snake Bight. The skeeters were nowhere to be found and sorry to say so were the fish. We got a couple of hits and jumps from small Snook and Tarpon but nothing boated.
The day wasn’t a total loss because I got to stand and paddle the flats in complete comfort. The W500 is a true flats machine.
It was fun seeing my buddy Pete again and getting out on the water. The weather was very nice early on but we could see the clouds getting fluffy as we were heading back to the marina. I hit three or four storms on the road back to civilization… if you can call it that.

My fishing buddy paddled alongside me in the boat and I thank him for his first hand opinion. I asked him to paddle at a normal pace in his [16 ft long and 27″ wide, fast kayak] to see if I could keep up with him. Of course his kayak is a faster boat but I was able to stay with him. That’s the true test… not racing but paddling normally with a buddy.
I guess the twin hull cat design is the reason the W boat paddles so well although it isn’t even 12 feet long.

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Night fishing

I wound up paddling the W 500 a lot and got to test her in some strong currents and a bit of occasional wind. So far the W has been a dream to fish from and paddle. If any of you ever get a chance to paddle one do yourself a favor and hop in the saddle.

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About Wavewalk’s marketing…

Before I got my W500 I looked at everything I could find on the internet concerning the W500. I waded through tons of [verbal trash] posted by people who had never tried a W500, and I read all the marketing from WaveWalk. The two things that convinced me that the boat was a great flats fishing design were the videos and talking to Yoav.
Some of the videos are over the top but they don’t lie. The W500 can do everything that you “see” for yourself in the videos.

The bottom line is…

I really like the W 500. The comfort factor is a giant plus for me. I have no back, butt or leg pain after a trip in the boat. The ability to stand or even just sitting higher on the water is a huge advantage.

Steve Lucas (I Fishhead)

Florida

More from Steve »