I find that the W700 is far too easy to stand up in 😀
The W700 is great. It easily carries 2 people, even two 200 lb guys. It is for this purpose I bought it, and when I am paddling with another person, we would carry it by the straps. It is very stable. I was not kidding when I said it is too easy to stand up in. It is perfect for taking people out even when they are a little nervous about the water.
My friend David Hernandez took another fisherman on board this Wavewalk 700. He was driving the boat standing up, and after a flawless turn he came back, and that’s when the other guy decided to stand up and keep fishing standing. This boat is so stable that none of them experienced any problem.
What makes it possible for you in the real world, and why SHOULD it matter to you?
This article examines what makes stand up fishing so important, and why an increasing number of kayak fishermen are disappointed by kayak designs that fail to deliver adequate stability, comfort and safety. These anglers end up standing and fishing in a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak, often despite potentially problematic factors such as their body size, old age, and even certain disabilities.
Kayak fishing for Albacore standing in a Wavewalk S4
Click images to enlarge
Three big guys fishing standing in the new Wavewalk S4 –
Before going further, please watch this video that shows what we call ‘boat stability’:
The above video shows that the stability offered by the W700 is comparable to the stability offered by boats such as Jon-boats and dinghies, namely that although the W700 paddles better than any fishing kayak or canoe out there, it is no longer a kayak when stability is concerned – It is a boat. This is why this article about kayak fishing standing is mainly about the super-stable Wavewalk® 500 kayaks in comparison to other fishing kayaks out there.
People all around the world have been fishing from small boats for millennia. Interestingly, many native fishermen like to stand up in their boats when they propel them and fish from them. After all, what could be more natural? If possible, standing is both a powerful and comfortable position for a person making a continuous physical effort. It is good for our blood circulation, less strenuous on our back and it enables us to make a good use of our legs, which happen to have the most powerful set of muscles in our body. It is worth noting that wade fishermen, people who fish from shore and people who fish from bigger boats also like to fish standing, if not all the time at least for a great part of the time. Standing makes is easy to cast a line or throw a net, and certainly makes it easier to scout for fish and better stops to fish in. When the native people of the arctic circle developed their kayaks the L position was natural to them and they were not particularly concerned with comfort but rather with stealth, as their kayaks were designed mainly as hunting boats enabling the hunter to get close to its prey without getting noticed. However, when these people went fishing or whaling they usually preferred to use Umiaks – a type of big, wide and stable multi-passenger seaworthy canoe that offered them the possibility to stand up.
Casting a fishing or a shrimping net standing in a boat requires more stability than angling does. Read the article »
2. What about stand up fishing from sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks?
Stand up kayak fishing sounds like an oxymoron since most people find it difficult enough to sit it inside or on top of a kayak, especially when it involves fishing. Some fishing kayak manufactures advertise that their most stable models may enable a person to stand in or on top and cast but there is no real proof to support such claims. At best, those very wide SOT kayaks may enable a child or a very small and lightweight adult to stand on but certainly not with enough confidence to enable casting and landing fish. No traditional SIK or SOT kayak manufacturer ever claimed they offer a kayak that may enable a person to paddle standing… The reality with regards to traditional SIK and more recent SOT kayaks is that these small and lightweight crafts offer good mobility at a low price and for a low cost of maintenance, but at a price of diminished comfort and the inability to do anything standing up.
3. Why is standing in your fishing kayak important?
Besides the fact that standing up improves your chances of catching fish there’s a more important fact related to it: Your ability to stand up goes directly to your comfort and well being, and to your overall fishing experience. After all, catching fish is fun but not as much when it comes at a price of unnecessary fatigue, serious physical discomfort and even pain resulting from being limited to a single, uncomfortable sitting position, without being able to do anything to change positions and relieve pressure on your lower back. When fishing comfort is key to both success and fun, and neither leg numbness nor back pain may contribute to either although you’re most likely to experience at least one of them after sitting for a while in the traditional kayaking position. And don’t let yourself develop hopes in ‘improved kayak seats’…- Adding some cushioning and changing the shape of the seat can’t change the basic physiological facts: You’re stuck in a sitting position to which you’re not used, and your legs are pushing you backwards and creating a pressure point in your lower back. Even today, most fishing boats are big and stable enough to enable their passengers to stand up while fishing. So why shouldn’t you stand up in your small, inexpensive and portable fishing kayak? The patented Wavewalk® 500 twinhull Fishing Kayak offers you to do that, as well as many other things without giving up any of the regular fishing kayak advantages. In fact, when it comes to the known advantages of fishing kayaks over bigger fishing boats the Wavewalk® 500 Kayak offers you some real, additional advantages such as better protection against wind, spray and waves, better mobility when it comes to ease of launching and take-out, better handling of the surf, better tracking, more dry storage space, and overall a much higher level of seaworthiness. Kayak fishing may be a sport, but since you’re doing it for fun you may as well have fun doing it. Kayak fishing is a good idea if indeed it’s done properly, that is without reducing your fishing experience. The W Kayak can unleash the full potential of kayak fishing and upgrade it to what it’s really meant to be: a challenging, full sport activity that you can practice without constantly thinking of the comfort that bigger fishing boats have to offer.
The Wavewalk™ kayak is the only kayak that was developed for high performance stand up paddling and stand up fishing in moving water, and it’s the only kayak that fits both these extreme applications in terms of safety and comfort. Here are the facts we recommend you know about stand up padding and fishing from kayaks and other small craft –
4. Demo movies
These two demo movies are extreme, but they show what stability you actually need to get from your kayak when you’re out there in the real world, where stuff happens is the rule, and not a rare exception:
BTW, the new Wavewalk® 700 is more stable than the W500, and the stability is offers is comparable to the stability that one experiences in a Jon boat. We call it ‘Boat Stability’.
5. Are other kayaks safe enough for stand up fishing and paddling?
Since many things can and will cause you to lose balance if you choose to stand up in or on top of a kayak, you must be able to react effectively and regain balance even in adverse conditions, and our W-kayak enables you that while no other kayak does. Our patented twinhull Wavewalk® kayak is the only kayak that offers each of your legs to stand in a hull of its own, and it is the only kayak created especially for stand up paddling and stand up fishing. Sooner or later you will lose balance (stuff happens – you can be sure about that!), and for such cases you need to have a ‘Plan B’, which would be to fall down on something that’s high enough to stop your fall as well as support you. You don’t want to fall all the way down on your kayak’s deck since it will cause you to fall overboard. You definitely don’t want to slip either, and therefore your feet must be secure where you stand. Our Wavewalk® 500 twinhull kayak is the only kayak featuring a 14″ high saddle that you can fall down on at will, swiftly, and when you choose. The W-saddle has a hull on each side, and you ride it with each of your legs supported by its own hull, and your feet planted at the bottom, several inches below waterline. Being positioned that low is what makes your feet really effective for stabilization and control. For these reasons you’ll never be truly confident or comfortable standing on top of any sit-on-top (SOT) kayak, even if staged pictures and movies may show you people standing on their SOT kayaks and fishing. You must remember that neither sit-in nor SOT kayaks were invented for stand up paddling or fishing in the first place. Some people are capable of pedaling a unicycle while juggling oranges, and others can hop between wooden logs floating on a river. Does it mean you can do it? Would you even like to try? -What’s the point in taking the risk of falling overboard anytime you go fishing? -Would you feel confident standing up on an unstable platform?
6. What about very wide SOT kayaks?
SOT kayaks with very wide hulls track poorly and are hard to paddle, and they may be stabler than narrow ones, but definitely not stable enough when it comes to paddling and fishing in confidence. This is because most of a SOT kayak’s buoyancy (that’s what actually supports your weight) is distributed along its hull’s center line, where it is useless for effective stabilization. If you want a kayak that’s stable you need to design it with all its buoyancy on its sides – exactly as it is in the Wavewalk® 500 twinhull kayak. In fact, the W-kayak has no buoyancy wasted along its center line since 100% of its buoyancy is located on its two sides – as far as possible from the center line.
7. And what about SOT kayaks with outriggers? (stabilizers)
The use of outriggers, whether as add-ons or integrated into the hull can improve your kayak’s stability, but not enough for stand up paddling and fishing in full confidence, which is what you really need. This is because kayak outriggers are located in the back part of your kayak’s hull, and therefore may support extra weight and pressure only if you apply them towards the back. Such outriggers are nothing more than a gimmick if you’re applying your weight forward and sideways, and you can be certain that when you’re standing up you’ll have to do that often. Remember: stuff happens in real life, and water is always wet, and sometimes it can be cold, and deep. Between attached and integrated outriggers the latter offer reduced stability because of the fact that their center of buoyancy isn’t located as far away from the kayak’s center line, where it would offer more support. It’s simply a bad idea when stability is concerned, and traditional outriggers offer a better support. Furthermore, integrated outriggers coming out of the main hull form a Y shaped hull which is probably the most ineffective form ever created when it comes to paddling, or any other form of propulsion. In other words don’t count on such design for paddling.
8. Differences between kayaks for stand up paddling and stand up fishing
Both need to be extremely stable, but there are differences in requirements. A stand up paddling kayak is required to be narrow as possible, since it makes it easier to move the paddle efficiently and ergonomically, as it is in regular (seated) paddling. A kayak that’s too wide would under perform in stand up paddling, as it would in seated paddling. A stand up fishing kayak needs to be even more stable than a stand up paddling one because the paddle may help you balance yourself, while a fishing rod would be ineffective for this purpose. This is where the location of the kayak’s buoyancy becomes critical, as does the location of your legs and feet. The Wavewalk® 500 is only 29″ wide, and yet, due to its revolutionary design that was granted a US utility patent, it is the stablest fishing kayak out there. This means that once you’ve learned to properly operate the W-kayak, you’ll benefit from its unique features, while other kayaks simply don’t have such a broad performance envelope to begin with, and would never offer you anything that even comes close. Again, we recommend the you watch our demo movies for a start, and judge for yourself.
9. What happens when you catch a fish standing up in a kayak?
After casting for some time you’ll probably hook up a fish. If that fish doesn’t manage to make you lose your balance and fall overboard you’d need to land it in or on top of your kayak… and then what? If getting up from the seated position and going back down to it is hard to begin with, how does it feel when you have sit down while holding a fishing rod in one hand or both hands, and there’s a good size fish dangling at the end of your line? Obviously, this doesn’t make much sense, and it’s another example that shows how important it is to have something to fall back on easily and intuitively (a ‘Plan B’), which in this case means (again) safely and comfortably. This is where the W-saddle comes into action: It’s 14″ high, and it’s waiting for you to sit down and drop the fish in one of the hulls, where it has nowhere to go, and won’t cause you any problem. In comparison, other fishing kayaks feature a seat that’s as low as possible – practically at deck level, and nowhere to park the struggling fish except in your lap…
If you’re interested in learning more about kayak design for better stability, we recommend the following article ». Never judge a kayak by stand up pictures or movies shot under regular conditions – It may look nice and cool but it’s meaningless for you since it doesn’t show performance in ‘what if’ conditions. Many things can and will destabilize you, including fish, wind, eddies, waves, wind and your own, inevitable moments of inattention. What you need to be able to judge is the ‘what if’ performance, and our demo movies will prove to you that no other kayak compares to our Wavewalk® 500 twinhull kayak.
This article would be incomplete without providing more information about what people who fish standing in their Wavewalk® 500 kayak have to say about their real-life experience with it. Our website offers over 200 Wavewalk Fishing Kayak reviews contributed by such people, including full name and state, and in most cases pictures too.
11. Stand up Wavewalk® 500 fishing kayak pictures, and what they could mean for you
Pictures of young, lightweight and athletic fishermen standing in their kayak look nice, but they don’t necessarily mean that you can do it too, and feel confident and safe while you fish. More about the stability in fishing kayaks »
Bob Smaldone – Standing carefree in full stability and confidence in his Wavewalk® 500, at 70
Jeff McGovern – Stand up with no balancing act in the Wavewalk® 500, even if you’re 6’3″ tall, 245 lbs heavy, and middle aged
The Sellards – Multiple passengers can stand in the Wavewalk® 500 kayak too
Bill Davenport – 6’3″ tall, sixty something, and with an artificial knee – Standing and fly fishing in saltwater in his camouflaged Wavewalk® 500
Ken Short – 70 y/o – Any fisherman should be able to stand up in their kayak
Stand up paddling is an essential part of kayak fishing standing
Rox Davis standing in her Wavewalk® 500 – You should be standing on the bottom of the kayak’s hulls, below waterline, and not on top of its deck
Gary Thorberg is a big guy whose passion is fly fishing standing in his Wavewalk® 500 kayak. His favorite species are musky, carp and bass
Norm Craig – Being elderly, heavy and suffering from a bad back isn’t a problem when you fish out of a Wavewalk® 500
Standing up is an essential part of fly fishing
6’3″ 250 lbs John Fabina fishing standing out of his Wavewalk® 500 – Big and tall anglers need to be able to cast freely, and enjoy the same range of motion and stability they are used to when fishing from big boats
Jeff McGovern standing in his Wavewalk® 500 and retrieving a fishing lure stuck up a tree Standing up in a kayak means having the capability to focus on things that are important to you, and not having to pay attention to keeping your balance
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.
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…
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.
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.