Tag Archive: stabilizers

Wavewalk® RHIB

Wavewalk no longer offers this configuration as shown here.
Since we now offer 12 ft long (7.25″ diameter) detachable inflatable flotation tubes as part of the W700 RIB , we offer only boats with one pair of regular size tubes (5 ft long / 6.5″ diameter) or one pair of the XL tubes (12 ft long / 7.25″ diameter).
We left this page and the RHIB configuration here in order to show yet another configuration that’s possible.

 

Wavewalk® RHIB – Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat

Before we go any further, the answer to your question is: -“Yes! This boat is great for fishing, for one or two anglers, once you detach the front pair of inflatable tubes, or both pairs, which takes less an a minute.”
In other words, the RHIB is simply a Wavewalk® 700 Z model that features an additional pair of inflatable tubes attached in the front.
And now that things are a bit clearer, let’s watch this video –
Tip: For best quality set your YouTube viewer to 1080 p HD

Why two pairs of inflatable tubes?

Good question! In this video, the front inflatable tubes touch the water on rare occasions, and when they do, they don’t seem to do much. This is because their purpose is to serve as secondary flotation, in addition to the saddle and the rear inflatable tubes.
In extreme cases, if the boat tilts very strongly on its side, these extra tubes could help prevent it from flipping. They can also help when the boat goes in bigger waves, since they add buoyancy to the bow, which allows the boat to go over the wave instead of through it. This can help prevent spray from getting into the boat, and make the ride less bumpy.
Extra flotation on both sides of the bow can be useful in other cases, such as when the boat is used for work or rescue, when divers climb on board from the water, and when heavy crab traps are hauled in.

What if I don’t want to use these extra inflatable tubes?

Each tube is attached to the boat with two carabiners, and it takes just seconds to detach it. It can be easily stored in the boat while still inflated, and both inflating and deflating it takes seconds, thanks to a user-friendly, wide (1.25″ diameter) inflation valve that saves you the need for a pump.

And what about that transparent spray shield?

The spray shield is attached to the boat with a bungee cord and two hooks. It takes a few seconds to attach or detach it, and once it’s not attached it’s just a flat, lightweight, flexible sheet of plastic that hardly takes any space, and can be easily stored inside one of the boat’s hulls.

What’s a RHIB?

RHIB is the acronym for Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, also known as RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat).
These motorboats are designed for extra stability and speed, and they come in various sizes. The smaller ones are motorized dinghies that can take a small number of passengers through rough water.
RHIB are very popular, and used in a wide range of applications, such as rescue, offshore work, tending bigger boats, diving, etc.
Anglers prefer not to fish out of inflatable boats because of the fishing hooks… but this is not an issue with Wavewalk’s RHIB, since its inflatable tubes can be removed instantly.

What’s special about the Wavewalk® RHIB?

Compared to rigid-inflatable dinghies of its size the Wavewalk® is –

  1. More stable: It features a catamaran hull, and a saddle that makes it easier for the driver and passenger/s to balance themselves.
  2. Easier to car-top: Its rigid hull weighs just 80 lbs, and it’s 12’10” (391 cm) long, which makes it easy to lean on the vehicle’s roof before sliding the boat upward.
  3. More versatile: Without the front pair of inflatable tubes it’s a Wavewalk® 700 Z model, which is a great fishing boat for one or two anglers. Without inflatable tubes it’s a nifty motorboat that paddles well, and without the motor it’s hands down the world’s best fishing and touring kayak.
  4. Faster: Videos of this RHIB and other W700 configurations show the unique Wavewalk ‘signature’ in the water – Practically no wake in the front, and a very slender wake at the stern. In this sense, this wake reminds a torpedo moving in the water, and not a boat, especially not a RHIB. Being typically wide and designed to plane, RHIBs leave a huge wake behind them, a sign of the great amount of power used to propel them.
  5. More comfortable: Some luxury small RHIBs feature forward facing seats or benches, and their driver can steer by means of a steering wheel or a joystick. But most small RHIBs offer just basic amenities, and their driver sits on their side, or on the side of the motor, next to the tiller, or on a bench in front of it. All these locations are sub-optimal in ergonomic terms and as far as driving is concerned, since they demand from the driver to face sideways, or drive with their arm stretched backward. Food for thought – Does any other vehicle require from its driver to sit in any of these awkward postures?… In contrast, Wavewalk’s RHIB offers its driver to ride a comfortable saddle and face forward, as they would in a personal watercraft (PWC) a.k.a.  jet-ski, an all terrain vehicle (ATV), or a snowmobile, which are vehicles designed for high performance in both tough conditions and at high speeds. Wavewalk’s RHIB is steered with a supersized joystick that’s intuitive to use and works perfectly when the driver sits or stands, without any adaptation required. This plug-in joystick and steering system require no installation, and it takes a few seconds to attach or detach it. The driver or the W-RHIB can start the motor in the most comfortable position, namely while facing backward, and once the motor is running, they can easily and swiftly turn around and face forward, as demonstrated in the video.

 

Outriggers

this product has been discontinued

Wavewalk® Sailing Outriggers

These outriggers fit the W500 and W700 series, as well as canoes, and many common kayaks.
Wavewalk® Sailing Outriggers provide more stability than most outriggers, thanks to the combination of larger size floats and longer arms (crossbar).
Other advantages are their light weight (10 lbs total), ease of installation, and their versatility, as their inflatable floats can also be attached directly to the boat’s main hull, without any intermediary rigid structure.

Sailing Outriggers Product Info

Dimensions:
  • Width (side to side):  6′ (180 cm)
  • Outriggers’ Length (front to back): 5’4″  (162 cm)
  • Total Weight: 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
  • Volume: 2 x 8.65 gallons  (2 x 32 liter)
  • Positive Buoyancy: 2 x 70 lbs  (2 x 32 kg)

Materials: 

  • Structure: 3/4″ anodized aluminum bars
  • Inflatable Tubes: 30 MIL HD PVC
Made in USA
Wavewalk Outriggers 1024

Wavewalk® XL Outriggers

Price: $455.

Shipping: $90. in the continental US (48 states), $100 to addresses in Canada and Alaska.

this product has been discontinued

Installation

  • The crossbar can be easily attached to a W500, W700 and any canoe that features a gunwale. Drilling is required. The crossbar can be attached to some kayaks too, and if this is not possible, straps can do the job. The crossbar features wing bolts – no tools required when attaching / detaching during regular operation.
  • Each outrigger is quickly and easily attached to the crossbar by means of one eye bolt. No tools required.
  • The tubes can be easily inflated / deflated via a large-size mouth valve. No pump required. The inflatable tubes are attached to the aluminum bars with carabiners, for quick and easy attach / detach.

Why use outriggers?

OUTRIGGERS Main USAGE and POSITION

Outriggers main role is to provide secondary stability, namely help in preventing the boat from capsizing. If you’re counting on a pair outriggers as stabilizers, namely to provide primary stability when the boat is level (I.E. not tilting sideways), you’re probably not using them correctly, or not using the right boat, or both.

When outriggers touch the water, they generate drag that slows down the boat.  Therefore, if possible, the outriggers should be mounted high enough, in a way that prevents them from touching the water unless the boat tilts sideways dangerously, so much that the user and passengers could lose balance and the boat itself capsize.

How high above the water should you mount the outriggers?

The height depends on factors such as your skill level as a boater, the size of your sailing rig, and how reasonably confident you feel about being able to handle the situation before the outrigger touches the water and starts supporting the boat.

Outriggers for fishing kayaks and canoes?

If you fish out of a canoe or a kayak, the last thing you want is outriggers, because sooner than later they’ll snag your lines and provide great opportunities for the fish you hooked to get away.
On top of this, most outriggers out there are too small and feature arms (crossbar) that are too short. These outriggers offer some initial (primary) stability, namely an impression of being stable, but they are not effective in supporting your weight in case the canoe or kayak tilts strongly on its side. In other words, the secondary stability these outriggers offer is insufficient in more difficult situations, and that’s when they’re mostly needed.
Another reason why canoe and kayak outriggers are not particularly effective is that they’re attached to the boat’s rear section, and therefore add stability mostly in that area, while having very little effect the middle section of the boat, and no effect all as far as stuff that happens in its front section. And as everyone knows, stuff happens…

For these reasons, we do not recommend using outriggers for fishing kayaks and canoes.

Outriggers for paddling?

Outriggers may add stability, but they also generate quite a bit of drag, and if you need to paddle over long distances you may find that the added outriggers make you too tired to enjoy your trip.

What about outriggers for motorized kayaks and canoes?

Not a great idea, unless the outriggers you use offer a sufficient amount of buoyancy, and most of them don’t. Again, thinking you’re stable isn’t the equivalent of being stable in real-world terms, namely as soon as you lose balance and the outrigger has to support your weight.
If you want to motorize your canoe or kayak, get a pair of big outriggers. This is especially true if you use a powerful outboard gas motor, as those are not as forgiving as weak electric trolling motors can be.

Outriggers for sailing

Yes!
Practically speaking, if you want to sail a canoe or a kayak, you must  compensate for these boats’ deficient stability (and compensate for their other deficiencies by other means*).
Sailing a canoe or a kayak with a rig featuring a good size sail (say over 35 square feet) exposes you to sudden gusts, and to capsizing, and that’s where outriggers are a must-have.
But not all outriggers were created equal, and the bigger the outriggers the better stability they deliver. And when it comes to stability, there’s no such thing as “too stable”. If you want to put the odds on your side (you do!), you should get large-size outriggers.

Boats from the Wavewalk® 500 and 700 series are more stable than any canoe or kayak out there, which is one of the reasons why you can motorize them more effectively, but sailing is different: If you’re planning to use a good size sail with your W, you should consider outfitting it with outriggers, and attach them as closely as possible to the mast, namely in the front section of the boat, where they would be more effective.

 

Canoes and kayaks track poorly, which is why they require a leeboard to reduce downwind drift, and a rudder to allow for tacking and tracking when they’re sailed. Wavewalk® kayaks and boats track very well, which is why you may sail them without a leeboard and a rudder, but only up to a certain point determined by your sailing skills, sail size, and wind power.

this product has been discontinued


 

More info on outriggers

How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?

How Effective Can A Fishing Kayak’s Outriggers Be?

Super Stability

DESIGN FOR INCREASED KAYAK STABILITY –

WHY AND HOW

 

CONTENT
  1. What is Stability?
  2. How to Maximize Stability
  3. The Importance of Lateral Stability
  4. Primary (Initial) and Secondary Stability
  5. Tunnel Hulls
  6. Outriggers
  7. Conclusion

 

The purpose of this article is to elucidate the general principles of kayak stability, and to explain what enabled us create the world’s most stable kayak for fishing and paddling, based on the invention described in US utility patent number 6871608 entitled ‘Twin Hull Personal Watercraft’.

Before going further, we recommend that you watch these two short demo movies:

1. Boat-like, absolute stability offered by the new W700 series:


2. For years, the W500 was the world’s most stable kayak, until the W700 showed up:

WHAT IS STABILITY?

Stability is defined as resistance to change, deterioration, or displacement, and it is synonym to reliability and dependability. In naval terms it means the ability of a watercraft to maintain equilibrium or resume its original, upright position after tilting as a result of the action of waves, wind, or passengers.

This article discusses lateral stability and not directional stability namely tracking, which is discussed in other articles on this website.

WHY IS LATERAL STABILITY SO IMPORTANT?

Lateral stability is a key factor in kayaking and kayak fishing since it enables prevention of accidents as well as increases the well being of kayakers and kayak fishermen.

This article explains the basic terms used in kayak design in the context of stability, and how the patented W kayak offers a degree of lateral stability previously thought to be unattainable in kayaks.

Before going further the author of this article would like to stress that in his opinion the idea of relying on the kayaker’s skills in performing the ‘Eskimo Roll’ as a primary resource in safety terms has largely failed since the overwhelming majority of people who paddle kayaks in recent decades has ignored it, and increasingly so. The reason for this is that rolling is basically a method of recovery and not a means of
prevention. This explains why most manufacturers and kayakers apply common sense and prefer to prevent accidents rather than focus on unreliable recovery techniques.

PRIMARY (INITIAL) AND SECONDARY STABILITY

Primary (Initial) stability refers to what the kayak feels like when used in flat water – Does the kayak convey a basic sense of ease and confidence as far as its stability goes?

Secondary stability refers to how easy it is to stabilize and control the kayak once it’s already heeled, or generally speaking in adverse conditions where it is either constantly and/or suddenly being tilted on its side – either because of an external force or because of something the kayaker did.

Both primary and secondary stability are important but while primary stability relates mainly to how the kayak passengers feels, secondary stability is what mostly affects their safety and performance in paddling and fishing.

Any further discussion about these terms would be futile without determining who’s inside the boat, since in most cases the passenger weighs several times more than the kayak itself, and he/she is the key factor that affects the way the boat reacts to destabilizing forces, whether external or internal.

Flat water racing kayaks can be as 18″ or 19″ narrow, while some fishing kayaks have a beam that’s over 40″.  The first are designed for use by highly skilled and relatively small kayakers that can’t stabilize such kayaks without keeping their paddle in the water, while the latter are required to offer good stability mostly to bigger and less skilled paddlers that occasionally happen to be fighting big and strong fish, and often stand up in their kayak when paddling and fishing if they happen to be using W fishing kayaks.

Therefore,primary stability has much to do with comfort and secondary stability is what helps you from getting your kayak overturned in real life conditions, whether you’re surfing with it in five foot waves or fighting a big and powerful fish.

 

HOW TO MAXIMIZE KAYAK STABILITY?

1. What works best

The most effective method is applied in the patented W kayaks, and it consists of minimizing the destabilizing effect of the kayaker’s weight on the kayak in traditional (monohull) kayaks, and making use of this weight and other attributes in W kayaks.  In order for this method to be effective this weight needs to be applied as low as possible, preferably much lower than the waterline, that is below the surface.

In traditional, monohull, sit-in kayaks the designer who wants to apply this method would try to lower the kayaker’s center of gravity (CG) by designing a deeper hull and placing the kayaker’s lowest parts as closely as possible to the bottom of the kayak.

In this case the designer’s efforts will be limited by the fact that traditional kayaks must have a shallow draft or else they won’t offer sufficient free board, and by the modern kayaker’s need for a padded seat, which places him/her at about a couple of inches distance higher than the hull’s lowest point.

This approach is mostly passive and regards the kayaker as a load having certain physical properties such as height, width and weight.

Applying this method of stabilization in sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks, which have gained roughly one third of the kayak market today is not possible because the SOT kayaker must sit several inches above waterline in order to enable water to drain down from the deck through the scupper holes, and try to prevent the deck from being often flooded by water coming from below through those holes.

The W kayak is not restricted with issues of free board and draft, and it enables the kayaker to apply his own weight directly to the lowest point of each hull through his feet, especially in the standing or riding positions (see user manual) where the legs carry most of the weight.  This stabilizing method works less effectively in the sitting position, which is also less effective ergonomically and biomechanically – similarly to the traditional sitting position in kayaks.

This approach in W kayaks takes into account the kayaker’s physical attributes such as size and weight, as well as his/her physiological attributes namely his/her natural propensity and obvious capability to balance himself/herself through the use of the legs, feet etc.

One Simple Question You Must Ask Yourself:

For a clearer understanding of this point we recommend that the readers ask themselves the following question:  -“Would I consider sitting in the traditional, L kayaking position when surfing, riding a horse, riding a snowmobile, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), a jet ski etc.?

The answer would be “Never!“, naturally, and this is because all these sporting activities require active and efficient balancing, which is best achieved through the use of our legs, and for this purpose the L kayaking position is worthless.

How kayaks stability is improved by hard chines

Figure 1

This above image shows a frontal view of a W500 Kayak and its 4″ (10 cm) draft when loaded with a 200 lb (90 kg) passenger. The red arrows show where the kayakers apply their weight, with their feet positioned and acting at the lowest point in each hull’s bottom – in this case it’s  case 4 inches below waterline.

 

2. The traditional approach: A larger kayak, XL, XXL etc.

The most common solution for increasing kayak stability is widening its beam, although the wider the kayak the less efficient it is for paddling. Those extra wide fishing kayaks are practically impossible to paddle to any reasonable distance.

Improving initial lateral stability is achieved by placing maximum buoyancy as far as possible from the kayak’s longitudinal axis.  In monohull kayaks (both regular and ‘tunnel’ hulled), this is achieved through a wider beam, but even the widest monohull kayak still has most of its buoyancy placed along its longitudinal axis – as shown in Figure 2, where this buoyancy is wasted as far as contribution to stability is concerned:

Figure 2 compared lateral stability in two fishing kayaks

1. Monohull           2. W500 Twinhull

Figure 2

This figure shows a monohull kayak (left) and a new, W500 kayak (right) of identical length and width – Both kayaks are viewed from the bottom. The vertical, interrupted lines represent the center line of each of the two kayak forms.

The white colored areas represent those buoyant parts in the kayak that are sufficiently distant from its longitudinal axis to effectively contribute to its stability.

Although the monohull kayak on the left is wide for its length, the white areas in it still make just a small part of its overall volume.  In contrast, the white areas in the W kayak on the right represent 100% of its total volume, and they are several times bigger than the white areas in the traditional kayak.

In sum, all monohull kayak designs (SIK, SOT and Tunnel hull) use just a small part of their buoyancy for effective stabilization, while the W design makes use of all its buoyancy for this purpose.

This is how the Wavewalk™ kayak is capable of offering its unrivaled initial stability and some of its legendary secondary stability.

 

3. Hard Chines – A Partial, Limited Assistance

Another common solution for increasing lateral stability is through minimizing the kayak’s propensity for rolling and overturning by increasing resistance to rotary motion: This can be achieved by giving the kayak a form that generates resistance from the water through the need to displace water when the kayak is tilting on its way to roll. This method is useful mainly in dealing with primary stability.

Figure 3:   Comparison Of Three Kayaks’ Cross Sections

Comparison of chines in 3 fishing kayak models

A                                                                      B                                                              C

Kayak A (Left): The bottom part of this traditional kayak’s cross section is round, and such a kayak would be called ’round bottom’ (think of a virtual wheel, or a barrel). Such kayak offers practically no resistance to rotary motion, and therefore is particularly unstable.

Kayak B (Middle): The bottom part of this traditional kayak’s cross section is angular, and such a kayak would be described as having ‘hard chines’. The chine is the nautical term for the line where the side and bottom of the hull intersect. Such
kayak would have to displace some water when in lateral rotary motion and thus offer more resistance than kayak A, and therefore would be more stable than kayak A.

Kayak C is a W Kayak (Right): The bottom part of this kayak must displace big quantities of water when heeling (tilting) and forced into rotary motion, and thus it offers maximal resistance to rotary forces.

 

TUNNEL HULLS

A tunnel hull is a name given to a monohull with usually one ‘tunnel’ going along its longitudinal axis – from bow to stern. The tunnel is submerged, including its ‘ceiling’ (top side). Tunnel hulls have been in use since the late part of the 1870s, and the concept has already been implemented and tested in various canoe and kayak designs over the years.

Figure 4: Cross Sections of Regular and Tunnel Monohulls

Stability: tunnel hull vs. regular monohull

Regular Mono Hull                     Tunnel Mono Hull

Tunnel hull kayaks are not stabler than other monohull kayak hulls (I.E. common SIK and SOT) of similar size and proportions, as will be explained here.

A tunnel hull kayak is another form of monohull (I.E. single hull) kayak – It is not a multihull kayak (see figure 2), so unlike a multihull, the tunnel hull does not distribute more buoyancy on its external sides than a regular monohull does (see figure 2). In other words, most of the tunneled hull’s buoyancy is wasted when it comes to using it to increase lateral stability, which is also the problem in other monohull designs (E.G. SIK and SOT).

It’s easy to see that with its sides considerably less buoyant than the sides of a multihull kayak a tunnel hull kayak cannot possibly be as stable.

Primary (Initial) and Secondary Stability

1. Primary (Initial) Stability:

If the monohull kayak’s tunnel is made deep and wide enough, and its vertical sides have the right form (see example in figure 4) they can act as additional ‘hard chines’ and thus add some initial resistance to rotational motion. This is far from being comparable to such effect in a catamaran kayak because the tunnel’s sides are shorter than the boat’s overall length while in a catamaran kayak (E.G. W kayak) the hulls’ length is equal to the boat’s overall length.

In stability terms it means that when going on flat water, certain tunnel hulled kayaks could feel more stable than comparable common monohull kayaks, that is offer a little more primary (initial) stability than a traditional SIK or SOT design. However, this potential advantage is likely not to be perceptible since it would be offset by the tunnel hull’s deficiency in buoyancy.

2. Secondary Stability:

A tunnel hull kayak may not provide additional stability for significant weight displacement of its passengers, and it wouldn’t be useful in moving water, waves and other adverse conditions: The secondary stability of a tunnel hull kayak does not exceed that of a regular monohull kayak of the same size and proportions, I.E. it’s considerably less stable than a multihull kayak.

 

Ergonomics as a stability factor in small boats

In a tunnel hull kayak the paddler or fisherman sits with their legs stretched forward and the trunk only a few inches higher than the ankles. This position hardly differs from the notoriously non ergonomic L kayaking position, and therefore hardly offers any  improvement as far as the ability to use the legs for balancing, control and power generation while it still forces the passenger to rely on a back rest for support, consequently causing fatigue and discomfort, which are additional dis-balancing factors.

 

 What can a tunnel really do to make a kayak better?

Incorporating a tunnel in a monohull design can be an effective means to improve tracking,  as the tunnel enables water to flow in a straight line (I.E. not deflected or ‘curved’) along the hull, in parallel to the direction of the boat. This can be helpful in very wide monohull canoes and kayaks (E.G.fishing kayaks) that track poorly. However, similarly to a rudder, the tunnel has a negative effect on speed.

In motorized boats the tunnel can help the hull plane but this is irrelevant in low speed boats, especially human powered ones such as canoes and kayaks, which are the slowest.

‘What if’ – a quick reality check

Introducing a tunnel in a monohull kayak places the passengers higher than in a regular monohull kayak without having them benefit either from significant increase in stability or significant improvement in their paddling or fishing position.

If the tunnel hull kayak design offered any real advantage in terms of stability it would enable producing narrower (I.E. faster) yet stabler monohull canoes and kayaks.  Since in reality the tunnel does not produce such effect the various tunnel hull canoes, kayaks and hybrids are among the widest kayak designs on the market.

 

CONCLUSION

In comparison, the W kayak design offers both increased initial and secondary stability as well as improved ergonomics resulting in Hyper Stability: The ability to perform things that are impossible with any other
form of kayak, and an overall better user experience than that offered by any other kayak, including the widest and most stable ones, and kayak outfitted with outriggers. Such Hyper Stability is currently achieved with a hull that’s only 29″ wide, which is the width of some touring kayaks.

 

Appendix A

Food For Thought About Truth In Advertising

Well, it’s more of a snack really, but the following anecdote may shed some light on this subject from a different angle – that of ‘marketing hype’:

The tunnel hull design for small, paddle powered watercraft has gained some new life in recent years with one company that promotes it quite energetically.
We found that company’s website describing the tunnel hull as being ‘extraordinarily stable for a single hull boat’, while the same website claims that another small watercraft that company offers ‘incorporates a V hull design to provide stability…’
It doesn’t take a boat designer to realize intuitively that a kayak hull whose cross section is shaped like a deep V is in fact unstable, and the only reason one would incorporate such a form into a hull design is to try and improve its tracking capability.

Appendix B

More Food For Thought About Truth In Advertising

About Add-On Kayak Outriggers and Integrated Outriggers

Advertisers often cross the line between fact and fiction, and sometimes they cross the line between true and false. For example, the owner of a company who makes a fishing kayak that features outriggers that fold-in at its rear has claimed on a promotional video that his product (quote) : “…offers the equivalence in stability of an eight foot wide boat”  (I.E. it’s as stable as a goo-size bass boat…)
Such claim is so blatantly disconnected from reality that anyone can easily understand that it’s false. But generally, crafty marketing hype is everywhere, and too many people fall for it, and then fall out of their kayak.

What is the effect of small outriggers attached to the kayak’s stern?

Generally, small outriggers offer some initial stability but too little secondary stability. This means they give the kayak user some sense of security on flat water and when the kayak is not tilting on its side, but this sense of security is misleading, since a small outrigger is not sufficiently buoyant to support the heavy weight applied on it when the kayak is tilted on its side, and therefore such outrigger may not prevent an accident.

Practically speaking, as soon as the kayak user seriously loses balance, for example in case they’re attempting to stand up, or if the kayak is hit by a motorboat’s wake, they cannot rely on extra lateral stability that’s enough to prevent their kayak from tilting further. This problem is particularly acute in SOT kayaks, since their user is already seated or attempting to stand on a deck that’s several inches above waterline, and therefore they’re insecure and less stable to begin with.

The folding outriggers in that fallacious promotional video are integrated with the hull itself, and therefore offer less stability than outriggers added on the kayak’s sides.

Why is that? –

The reason for the poor performance offered by outriggers integrated with the hull’s rear end (stern) is that the buoyancy they add on the sides of the stern is in fact taken away from the stern itself:  When the outriggers are deployed sideways the stern splits in two, and its two halves are repositioned outwardly, so the kayak no longer features a proper stern that may support the user’s weight when they lean backward.

This means the user benefits from no additional support whatsoever when they lean forward (hours 10 to 2), or sideways (hours 8 to 10 and 2 to 4), or if they lean backward (hours 5 to 7).  The only gain in (initial) stability is in case the user happens to lean in the angles in which the outriggers are deployed (hours 4 to 5 and 7 to 8).

Bottom line: The gain in initial stability when the outriggers are deployed is in a range of angles that add up to about 1/4 of the total circle (just about 4 hours out of 12) around the kayak user. This almost insignificant advantage is offset by the fact that it is impractical to paddle that kayak when its outriggers are deployed, since the amount of drag they add is considerable, and the main hull in this position loses most of the hydrodynamic advantage offered by its initial length (I.E. hull speed). The combination of these two negative factors is critical to the kayak’s speed, or lack thereof. It is probably the slowest and most difficult fishing kayak to paddle, and this is no small feat in a category of kayaks generally known as ‘barges’…
Interestingly, since the little stability added to this kayak also makes it so hard to paddle, anglers are effectively prevented from using it for sight fishing and fly fishing in case they intend to cover any significant distance.

About the “Leaning Bar” … –

Some SOT fishing kayaks, including the one discussed in the previous paragraph feature a tall vertical metal frame dubbed “leaning bar” or “lean bar”. It is supposed to provide some support for the angler who attempts to fish standing up.
Practically, such vertical metal frame adds leverage to the angler’s weight if they lean on it or grab it, which can cause the kayak tilt further in case the angler loses balance and the kayak is tilting sideways.

Again, the only fishing kayak that really offers fishermen to stand up and fish with 100% confidence and safety is the Wavewalk™, as demonstrated in the movies on this page »

 

Additional articles on the subject of kayak stability:

What Makes The W Kayak The Stablest Fishing Kayak?

How Effective Can Fishing Kayaks’ Outriggers Be?

Super stable motorized kayak project, by Kenny “One-Shot” Tracy

Just a few more pics of my work in progress –

One-Shot

Maryland

Motorized kayak flotation project – front view

More from Kenny “One-Shot” Tracy >

A stable kayak for photography

wildlife photographer in stable kayak looking through telescopic lens 120

Photographing wildlife from a kayak

Are you looking for a stable kayak for photography?
You may already know what to look for, but you may also wonder what questions to ask and what issues you should be aware of. This article will attempt to encompass and summarize the main aspects of kayak photography that you may want to consider when you’re looking to choose a kayak for this demanding application.

Ergonomic and stability considerations

Many kayakers shoot scenic photos out of their kayaks as part of their fishing trip or paddling excursion, but not too many wildlife photographers like to shoot from kayaks, because these small, unstable, wet and uncomfortable craft don’t inspire their confidence, and it’s hard to get excited about spending long hours in one of them –
Photographers who specialize in wildlife photography, mainly bird photography, spend countless hours outdoors, paddling, motorizing, and just waiting in place, patiently, and they have or should have special requirements from a kayak –
The photographer needs to be comfortable in their kayak, and not suffer from the typical physiological issues these basic vessels are associated with, which are lower back pain (a symptom know as ‘yak back’), leg numbness, leg cramps, and in extreme cases even sciatica.  In order to avoid suffering from these problems, the photographer should avoid being  seated in the L position, which is the traditional kayaking position at the root of these problems. Sitting in positions that are similar engenders similar ergonomic problems as well as others that range from increased instability to bad circulation in the legs.
Wetness is yet another problem associated with sit-in, sit-on-top (SOT), and hybrid kayaks (hybrid canoe-kayak), since they don’t offer sufficient protection to their passengers, and most SOT kayaks even let water get on their decks and passenger sitting area through vertical tubes ironically dubbed ‘scupper holes’…

Currently, W kayaks are the only ones that offer their passengers to sit in the comfortable and stable Riding position – high, free of back pain, and dry.

Standing up

It is imperative for wildlife kayak photographers to be able to stand up at will, with no need for particular efforts in getting up, standing, balancing and sitting down.
Standing up must be possible anytime and anywhere, regardless of wind, eddies, etc. , and this is true even if the photographer is middle aged or elderly and not particularly athletic. Standing up in your kayak is important as means for you to relax, stretch  and overcome fatigue, as it’s important for scouting and shooting photos above the grass and vegetation. This obvious, common-sense requirement rules out all kayaks for this matter, except ones from the Wavewalk’s 500 series.

Practically speaking, there is no way or reason to dissociate the user experience in ergonomic terms from their experience of comfort based on the kayak’s stability, or lack thereof. A kayak that’s insufficiently stable, as most kayaks are, is by definition and practice uncomfortable and not suitable for photography, and no sensible wildlife photographer should consider using it.

This video demonstrates the W500 kayak’s unrivaled stability. Note how simple, easy and intuitive it is to get up and stand in it, sit down instantly, regain balance while standing and riding the saddle, and all while the cockpit and kayaker in it stay dry:

Range of motion

Ergonomics isn’t just about comfort, which traditional kayaks offer too little of. It’s also about the user’s range of motion – Imagine yourself seated in a traditional sit-in or SOT kayak, holding your precious camera in both hands, trying to follow with the lens a bird flying above you… Chances are you’d lose balance and overturn your kayak, or stop trying to shoot that bird simply because your kayak isn’t stable enough, and your ability to balance it is limited by the fact that you’re sitting in the L position, with your legs stretched forward. In contrast, the Wavewalk 500 offers you a much higher degree of stability, a better way to stabilize yourself while riding its saddle, and consequently a full range of motion, as you can turn sideways and backward, as well as raise your glance upward and look over your shoulder with no fear of losing balance.

Mobility- a kayak that takes you where you want to go

Mobility is is yet another key factor in using a kayak for photography – It’s not just about launching and beaching in difficult spots, but also about paddling (and poling) in shallow water as well as in areas where paddling can be obstructed by vegetation and obstacles such as rocks and fallen trees.  In this sense, you need a kayak that offers you an easy way to go where other kayaks prevent you from going, including over rocks and fallen tree trunks, and the only kayak that does that is the W500, as demonstrated in these videos:

1. This video features the W500 –

2. This older video features an early version of the now discontinued W300 model, which was smaller and less stable than the current W500 series –

Practically, you may not need to travel through such difficult waters, but you need to be aware of the fact that unlike the W500, traditional kayaks of all types offer limited mobility, which could restrict you.

Storing your photographic gear on board your kayak

Photographers need ample storage space for their photographic equipment, which includes cameras, tripods and lenses, which must be kept dry. This is a problem when all kayaks are concerned, except the W500. This unique kayak offer several times more storage space than any other kayak may offer, and its storage space is internal, meaning that it’s dry and protected from unwanted moisture, such as eddies spraying water on a SOT kayak’s deck, or waves splashing inside a sit-in kayak (SIK). A W500 loaded with 200 lbs offers 13 inches of free board – several times more than any other kayak does. Moreover, since the W500 does not feature hatches for storage but rather single, big, continuous space in the cockpit and hull tips, the photographer using this kayak enjoys unrestrained access to their gear, which isn’t the case for gear stored in kayak hatches. The W500’s storage space offers you to customize it through the use of containers of various size and shape, according to your specific needs. Some W500 models feature a preparation for a cockpit cover, which offers additional protection without presenting any of the inconveniences that spray skirts create.

Transporting and carrying your kayak

Kayaks need to be car topped, and they also need to be carried to the water and back from it to your vehicle. If you’re serious about wildlife photography, chances are that getting from your vehicle to the water could involve going over a significant distance, and often in difficult terrain. Both car topping and carrying (a.k.a. portaging) preclude the use of typical sit-in, SOT and hybrid fishing kayaks that are designed to offer more stability through sheer size: Such extra-wide kayaks are too heavy to be practical – Some of them weigh 80 lbs, and others up to 120 lbs, and since your photographic equipment can be heavy too (how much does your tripod weigh?…) you’d be effectively prevented from taking trips to places you could easily reach with a W500, which weighs only 60 lbs, and can be loaded with gear and simply pulled by a leash, like a sled, even in difficult terrain. If you don’t like the idea of dragging your W kayak on the ground, outfitting it with a single transportation wheel or a pair of such wheels is a breeze.

The W500 weighs 60 lbs

The following video shows how simple and easy it is to load a W500 kayak on top of a car:

Propelling your kayak

Paddling your kayak while looking for a subject worth photographing is fun if it’s done on flat water, or over relatively short distances, but when it comes to long trips and long distances, especially in moving water, motorizing your kayak is an idea that’s worth your consideration.  This article is not the right place to discuss all aspects involved in motorizing your kayak for photography, but it’s worth mentioning that while electric motors are silent and offer the advantage of stealth, gas outboard motors are a better solution for covering long distances in moving water, and you can enjoy stealth when you need it by reverting to your paddle.  In any case, using a kayak equipped with a pedal drive is the least productive idea because doing so wouldn’t necessarily increase your range of travel,  using such kayaks in shallow water where aquatic vegetation is abundant is impractical since those kayaks draft more, and their moving flaps and propellers get entangled in weeds. Too bad that such shallow water and vegetation-rich environments are great for photographing aquatic wildlife…

Camouflage

Kayaks from the W500 series are offered in three standard colors – Yellow, green (teal), and sand (tan, caramel). The green and sand colors blend well with aquatic environments that are popular with wildlife photographers. These colors are also good as base for camo colors and patterns. Camouflaging a kayak is very easy if you use spray paint for outdoor plastics such as Krylon Fusion.

Outriggers (Stabilizers)

Few people use outriggers for kayak fishing, and these accessories are even less popular among people who use kayaks for wildlife photography. In both applications, outriggers impede you, restrict your range of travel, and tend to be problematic in shallow, vegetation-rich water.

In sum, Kayak photography and kayak fishing have many things in common, and it’s possible to infer what could work for photography from reading what works for fishing, as well as from watching videos on this subject. You are welcome to visit this website, read customer reviews and articles, and watch videos contributed by clients and produced by us.

Please feel free to call or email us with any question you have about photographing from a kayak.  We look forward to your questions and comments.