Tag Archive: Wavewalk fishing kayak review

Review of a Wavewalk kayak that an angler wrote out of their own experience.
Wavewalk’s website features over 200 kayak reviews of Wavewalk 500, Wavewalk 700, or Wavewalk S4. that anglers contributed.

First fishing trip in my S4

fish on the bottom of the hull of a Wavewalk S4 motor kayak - Hawaii

By Terry Wilkison

Hawaii

Was able to go fishing today. Left the house at 4 and was out in the water before first light. I made my way from the west side of the island out to a point that I’m very familiar with and a good first fishing run as I’m getting my routine together and used to the new setup. On top of a new boat I’m changing my fishing style from trolling to catching and using live bait. We get large mackerel scad locally called “opelu” which I have never fished for before so it was all new to me.

I installed a Garmin 64cv and boy I’m glad I did. Not only was it great for marking bait I could see the depth of my damishi used to catch them.

Garmin fish finder in a motorized fishing kayak Wavewalk S4 - Hawaii

I was able to get 4 of them which isn’t bad for my first try (figuring out what colors and hook size). They are large bait, nearly a foot and fight hard while having a fragile mouth…. I bridled up the first one and 5 minutes later I noticed he was running along the surface which I thought odd, all of the sudden the water exploded and I saw the flash of a big ono (similar to king mackerel) my reel started screaming and the drag froze on the run….. ugh!!! That got my heart going. I had 2 more bite offs (using wire) and caught the cuda fly lining a piece of opelu that got sliced in half, there were 3 cuda taking turns with it. Right when he picked it up 3 mahi swam right by, if id just had waited a minute! The water clarity was about 80 feet so I could see straight below the boat for the action.

Also had a humpback come by and check out the S4, he gave me quite a show with a couple large tail slaps before making his way up the coast.

It was a choppy confused sea today. There was a large north and a northwest ground swell of medium period that rolled by like hills, the south wind started driving a 1 to 2 foot chop on top directly opposing that made it snotty. I didn’t win any speed records but cruised along at a leisurely 6 knots and riding it comfortably on the saddle seat. The boat did terrific, and the stability and safety I felt with it were great.
Catching bait, fighting fish, messing with the fishfinder and re tying cut off lines, I never had to worry about stability. Looking forward to next weekend! Getting my go pro mounted this week is a high priority!

First run

Wavewalk S4 motor kayak with 5 HP outboard, Hawaii

By Terry Wilkison

Hawaii

Got to go out today finally! I headed over to Kaneohe bay to run out to the sandbar a 2 mile trip and brought my beach chair along. The tide was running high so the sand wasn’t dry and I didn’t get to beach and break out my chair for a nap so I enjoyed taking a nice long walk across the bar enjoying watching the smaller fish, turtles and such that frequent the area. The S4 did very well, a lifelong boater I am impressed at both the function and obvious time spent to design a craft of such function at this size. The winds were 25 knots and while it looks calm in the pictures that is only because it was about 8 inches deep and the sandbar is quite large which knocks down the chop. Outside the bay were large breakers and inside for the trip across it was a short period 1 to 2 foot chop, the boat did just fine. I really enjoyed how I could run way up in the shallows with no concern and just how easy the boat made the trip. While the big boats could make it there quicker by the time they carefully anchored at the drop and they had to jump in chest deep I was already in the better spot! I have purchased a Garmin fishfinder and will work on my fishing set up tomorrow. Going to take it fishing on Monday! Hopefully I’ll get some beginners luck!

Mounted a 5 HP Nissan (Tohatsu) 2 stroke outboard motor on it, for a start

I’ve attached some pictures of my last 10.5 bullfrog tender.
Rotomolded sponsons. It turned me on to microskiffs before they got trendy. Slightly over powered 🙂 with a 40 hp before port n polish, carb and tuning work. I never GPS’d it because I had to keep one hand on the tiller and the other on the rail! Numbers told me it was somewhere in the 30s, it always overreved, i had a 13 inch prop but it could have spun a 17 or 19 with ease i think. It  was about 10 years old and had to retire it from service as the aluminum hull and rivets finally gave way to crevice corrosion and she would take on water. The weight and torque of the 40 hp Johnson probably didn’t help!

First fishing trip in my S4 »

New kayak fishing book by Gary Rankel

new kayak fishing book

Gary Rankel has just published a guide to kayak fishing in the heart of Florida’s Nature Coast:  “Finding the Treasures of the Trails – Kayak Fishing Citrus County” (https://squareup.com/store/buendia-press).

The tragic deterioration of water quality and associated sport fisheries throughout much of Florida has prompted a mini migration of anglers to the Nature Coast looking to paddle their kayaks in the relatively pristine lakes, rivers and inshore area.  Ditto for central Florida’s burgeoning “boomer” demographic seeking something more adventurous.

The book’s how-to section provides a comprehensive review of all things kayak fishing, including a few tips, tricks and techniques you may not have seen before.  The where-to-paddle-and-fish section contains 27 color maps depicting launch sites, fishing routes and hotspots for targeting redfish, snook and seatrout in and around the Crystal, Homosassa, Chassahowitzka and Withlacoochee Rivers bordering the Gulf of Mexico, as well as largemouth bass and other freshwater species in the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes.

Anglers who’ve paddled around the marsh a time or two and think they know it all, as well as newbies to the sport, no matter where they dip their paddles, should find the book educational and enjoyable.  So should manatee watchers, scallop snorkelers and other tourists to the Nature Coast looking to broaden their overall outdoor recreation experience.

Gary’s new book may be ordered online at https://squareup.com/store/buendia-press.

Gary’s website: Nature Coast Kayak Fishers

Big lake, small boat, big fish

fisherman standing in his motor kayak and holding a big fish he caught from a motor kayak in a big lake

By Pyt Rotary

Ontario, Canada

I own a Wavewalk S4  kayak motorized with an electric Minnkota of 80Lb thrust 24V, and a Yamaha 2.5Hp 4 stroke gas outboard. I fish and have fun with it almost every week.
I use it mostly for fishing and trolling in big lakes – lake Ontario, lake Erie, Georgian Bay and lake Simcoe.
Sometimes I fish with it in rivers and swamps.

big fish caught from a motor kayak in a big lake in Canada

This year for me was the best fishing year in my entire life, and that is because I own the S4 coupled with the gas motor. I had a Honda 2.3Hp, nice and light but too weak and not great for trolling on big lakes because it has a centrifugal clutch. I sold that and I got a Honda 4Hp 4 stroke, great motor but too heavy (30+kg). Sold that one and got a Yamaha 2.5Hp / 4 stroke, great motor, has Drive and Neutral but some time I need more power. Next motor I will buy will be a Tohatsu 3.5Hp. This one should be the best option for me:
1) weight under 20kg
2) best trolling speed in idle mode on drive
3) give me more torque when I need to go 10 miles inside Ontario/Erie lake.

2018 was the year when I got my best fishing experience, lots of fish caught (salmon, walleye, pike, trout). I do fish mostly by trolling andjigging. I never got so many fish, and that is because now I can access and cover a lot more water fast and cheap.

Next year I will buy the new Tohatsu and I will experiment with a Scotty downrigger. The downrigger will even put more fish in my boat than ever.

Due the nature of S4 I can launch whenever I want.
Really funny to see boats in the morning in queue waiting in line and me just bypassing going on sandy beach  and launching. Also I have numerous places where I have access but no boats can go.
I do car port my S4 in a Dodge Caravan 2004 (the short version) by sliding the S4 inside my mini-van.

Tight lines and have a great fishing year in 2019.
All the best from Canada, Ontario.

More fishing with Pyt

A decade later – Review of the Wavewalk 500 (W500) kayak, by its designer

Wavewalk 500 kayak (W500)

Why am I writing this review of the Wavewalk 500?

This kayak has been around for close to a decade, and our website features over 200 Wavewalk 500 reviews that our clients have contributed over the years. But I thought that since in the past few years we’ve introduced the bigger W700 and S4, there may be a need for a more comprehensive and professional review that would tell the full story of this kayak, especially in comparison to our new models.

I designed the Wavewalk 500 in 2008. Creating a cast aluminum rotational mold of this size and complexity takes a long time, so we rolled out the first production units of this kayak in 2009.
Despite its small size, the W500 was the world’s most stable kayak for years, and it held this title till 2015, when the bigger W700 came out. A couple of years later, the W700 lost its title to the Wavewalk S4, which is currently the world’s most stable kayak, and is likely to maintain this title as long as Wavewalk doesn’t come out with an even bigger model, which is unlikely to happen. Simply, there is no kayak form that can produce more stability than that of our patented combination of a twin hull and a riding saddle.
The Wavewalk 500 is still the world’s smallest twin-hull (catamaran) in production, and the most stable for its size, and at 60 lbs, it is also the world’s lightest production catamaran.
Despite its small size and light weight, this kayak can carry on board two adult passengers that aren’t particularly heavy – The average man in the US weighs 200 lbs, and the average woman weighs 160 lbs. Their aggregated weight of 360 lbs is exactly the maximum payload we recommend for the W500. The W500 offers limited tandem capabilities, but when it comes to small size passengers such as kids, its capacity is pretty amazing –

Wavewalk 500 kayak with 4 passengers on board- One adult and three children

4 children in a Wavewalk 500 kayak

The W500’s 1:6 Weight to Payload ratio (60 lbs /360 lbs) is remarkable, and only the Wavewalk 700 and Wavewalk S4 offer slightly better ratios of 1: 6.25 and 1:6.5, respectively.

The Wavewalk 500 was also the first kayak to offer full standing capability and zero back pain paddling to practically everyone, including big and tall guys, elderly people, and people with various disabilities, ranging from fibromyalgia and sciatica to Multiple Sclerosis (MS), dislocated vertebrae, and spinal fusion. This is a unique ergonomic advantage that the W500 offers to people who otherwise would have been prevented from paddling, and it’s one of the things that has made it such a special boat.

The W500 pioneered an era in kayak fishing, and to this day, only the biggest SOT and sit-in fishing kayaks that are much longer, nearly 50% wider, and twice heavier than this little, patented twin-hull kayak, can offer a level of stability that comes close to the stability that it provides.

The W500 was much better than the proof-of-concept Wavewalk 300 (2004-2010), without being heavier, so it naturally replaced the W300. I like the idea that after the W700 and S4 came out, the W500 still has its diehard fans.

Changes over time

Over the years, we offered the W500 in a number of configurations that included various types of deck mounted and flush mounted rod holders, flotation devices, anchors, bungees, motor mounts, spray shield, etc., but in recent years we offer it ‘as is’. Nothing beats Simple.

When it came out, the W500 did not feature a saddle bracket, and we left if to the owners to decide whether they wanted us to install this structural accessory in their kayak, or not. In hindsight, that was a mistake on our part, since some people who should have outfitted their W500 with a bracket chose not to do so, and sometimes damaged it. The damage was easy to fix, but still, these incidents could and should have been prevented. In 2013, we decided to offer the W500 with an integrated saddle bracket as a standard feature – Choice is not always a good thing, apparently, and we have learned that lesson.
We also started shipping this kayak in a custom cardboard box, in order to better protect it during transit.

Developments

Years before the Wavewalk 500 came out, anglers already outfitted their kayaks with small, weak, electric trolling motors, Several W300 owners did so too, and one of them, Jim McGivray, in the UK, outfitted his W300 with a 2.5 HP Suzuki outboard gas engine. But Jim’s project turned out to be a little premature, since the W300 was still not the right platform for motorizing with powerful gas engines. It was the W500 who became the first full fledged motor kayak, namely a kayak outfitted with a powerful motor, whose driver can drive it in comfort and confidence in rough water, including in the ocean.

The W500 powered by a powerful outboard gas motor made electric kayaks look like supermarket’s motorized shopping carts. It still does, but when compared to an S4 powered by a 10 HP outboard, even the W500 looks almost like a toy.

Sungin Kim, in South Korea, was the first to drive a W500 powered by an outboard gas motor. It was a 2 HP air-cooled Honda, and ironically, he didn’t like his motorized ride very much, at first, since it was so fast. Later, Sungjin got used to it, and went on many fishing trips in the ocean, solo and in tandem.

Interestingly, around 2010, Captain Gary Thorberg experimented with mounting outboard motors on the side of his W500, but the advantages of transom motor mounts made them become the de-facto standard.

We tested the Wavewalk 500 with a 6 HP motor, and we came to the conclusion that with that much horsepower, it was overpowered. Currently we recommend not to exceed 4 HP with this little kayak.

In 2018, Keith Sylvester was the first to outfit a W500 with a surface drive (a.k.a Mud Motor). Keith’s ride looks good, with no apparent problems. He proved that even the smallest Wavewalk is stable enough to work with such a special and demanding motor, in shallow streams and ponds.

The W500 opened the era of full fledged motor kayaks, and it is currently the world’s third best motor kayak, with number two being the W700, and the S4 being the world’s best and fastest motor kayak, with a top speed of 17 mph, sustained. This record was achieved by Captain Larry Jarboe, of Key Largo.
Oddly, we can’t think of a motor kayak that would fit in the fourth place, not because our competitors haven’t tried to come up with such a product, but because so far they have been unsuccessful. Simply, monohull kayaks don’t work well with powerful motors, and if you modify their form to make them work better, they no longer fit the kayak designation, which all Wavewalk’s kayaks do. Even large-size SOT kayaks that feature an outrigger don’t look good with a motor.
The only class of small watercraft that’s comparable to the three Wavewalk motor kayaks are motorboats dubbed micro skiff (microskiff).

The storage revolution

Ten years after the Wavewalk 500 entered the kayak fishing market, it still offers much more on board storage space than its biggest competitors, whose overcrowded decks and tiny, hardly accessible hatches keep frustrating and disappointing anglers. Indeed, when it comes to fishing kayak design, storage is an unfinished, gloomy story, and a problem solved only by Wavewalk’s kayaks.

How much fishing and camoing gear can be stored in a W500 kayak

Before – How much gear can be stored in a W500 kayak?

After – All this fishing and camping gear got inside the W500

Paddling the Wavewalk 500

Paddling any ordinary kayak is not easy, as soon the paddler faces wind or currents. The challenge is tracking, namely to keep going in the direction that leads you to your destination, and not where the elements drive you. Ordinary, mono-hull (SOT and sit-in) kayaks track poorly, which is why high-end models feature complicated rudders. This is true for both fishing and touring kayaks, but not for the Wavewalk 500, since being a catamaran, it tracks better naturally, and it also offers effective means for the paddler to control its course just by moving forward or backward on the saddle, thus relocating the boat’s Center of Gravity (CG), as explained in this article about paddling and tracking in strong wind »

Indeed, many Wavewalk 500 paddlers who paddle it in strong wind and currents are unaware of the fact that it is missing a rudder, simply because they don’t need such an accessory. No paddler ever put a rudder on their W500, and the only W500 owners to use such accessory are those who sail it.

The W500 vs the W700

The W700 is better than the W500 – It’s faster, more stable, roomier, and it can carry a much bigger payload, or more people on board. It also works better with powerful outboard motors, and it comes with an integrated flotation compartment instead of detachable flotation modules.
The W700 is better for paddling, fishing, and driving, so why do some people prefer the W500? The answer is simple – It’s because the W500 weighs 20 lbs less than the W700, and it costs less too. Not everyone needs a fast and roomy kayak.

After the W700 came out, and the concept of the saddle serving as a watertight compartment (flotation) proved itself, we played with the idea of applying this concept to the W500. But doing so would have added 10 lbs to the W500’s total weight, and we thought that at 70 lbs, and costing significantly more than its classic version, a modified W500 would not be attractive enough compared to the W700 that weighs 80 lbs.

Reach and versatility

Some W500 owners have been using it for nearly a decade, and they’re not planning to switch to anything else (except maybe the W700, or S4). Such is Gary Rankel, a retired biologist and fisheries consultant, who wrote a book about kayak fishing, and one of the best client reviews of the Wavewalk 500. Gary also suffers from back problems, and the fact that he can spend up to eight hours in his W500, fishing, without getting out of it, is amazing to me. BTW, Gary is not the only Wavewalk user who spends such long hours in their kayak, uninterruptedly, which is to say that the saddle seat indeed delivers a back pain free experience.

People use their W500 kayaks on flat water and in the ocean. Touring and fishing are the two most popular applications for the W500. Other, less common but interesting applications are photography, diving, bow fishing, treasure hunting, sailing, rowing, and servicing big boats (boat tender). They also use it for other outdoor activities as well, from ice fishing in Sweden to duck hunting in various regions of the US.

Geographically, the W500 has users and fans worldwide, including the following countries and regions – Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia (countrywide), New Zealand, UAE, Canada (countrywide), the US (nationwide, including Alaska), various parts of the Caribbeans, Panama, Paraguay, The UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and Greece.

So this is the story of this little kayak, the W500, as I see after ten years. If you ask me if I would have designed it differently today, knowing that its end weight is required not to exceed 60 lbs, I’d say that I don’t think it’s possible.

 

Yoav