Tag Archive: windage

Windage means a wind related problem. Windage occurs when people paddle kayaks that do not track well in strong wind.
People who paddle Wavewalk kayaks do not have windage problems.
More on windage and paddling in strong wind

Catching kokanee with the new downrigger, by Chris Henderson

Finally had an opportunity go fishing and try out the new downrigger. It worked great! I was trolling in-between 19 and 30 feet and picked up this nice kokanee. Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon and they taste absolutely wonderful!

It is early in the season, but the limit on these fish is 5.

Because of the design of the Wavewalk I am able to deploy the downrigger forward (rather than to the side) like most kayaks. I also have a great perspective being able to watch the pole controlling both the action that give the lure, and watching for fish.

I trolled from 9:30am until 3 pm in 15+ mph wind with 20 mile per hour gusts according to a friends weather app on their phone. Still was not overly taxing for most of the time.
I was easily able to maintain my trolling speed moving against the wind and trolling with the wind at my back gave me time to rest.

Great day, great Kayak!


More kayak rigging, fishing and hunting with Chris >

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What makes the Wavewalk 500 faster and easier to paddle than other fishing kayaks?

Before getting their Wavewalk kayak, many of our clients had tested or owned common fishing kayaks, and they weren’t too happy with the way these kayaks performed with regards to several basic requirements which are essential to paddling. In contrast, the same people find the Wavewalk 500 very easy to paddle and handle.
This article explains some of the technical differences between the W500 and all other fishing kayaks, and how these differences work to the advantage of W kayakers.

What makes common fishing kayaks special as a class of kayaks?

If you walked into a store that sells all kinds of paddle craft (e.g. canoes, touring kayaks, sea kayaks, recreational kayaks) and you looked at at the fishing kayak models side by side with the other kayaks, you’d notice that fishing kayaks look chubbier. In other words, they are wider than the other types of kayaks, and some of them are almost as wide as the big canoes displayed in the store.
The main reason for this is that fishing kayaks are required to be more stable than other kayaks, and the only way to make a mono-hull kayak stabler is by widening its hull.
This gain in stability comes at a price, and you as a paddler pays it by having to paddle harder since your kayak is slower and tracks poorly – It zigzags and responds better to the wind that deflects it from its intended course than to your efforts to go straight forward.
For this reason, fishing kayaks have a bad reputation among kayakers, who call them barges, and rightfully so.

What makes the common fishing kayak design so problematic?

Poor tracking – To begin with, a wide kayak hull compels the low-seated paddler to move their paddle more horizontally than vertically. This drives the paddle blade in a curved trajectory rather than an efficient straight trajectory in parallel to the kayak’s direction on travel. As a result, each paddle stroke changes the kayak’s direction in a way that’s easily noticeable, and the paddler must correct it with a paddle stroke on the kayak’s opposite side, which in its turn would deflect the kayak to the other direction… Such alternation between left and right is known as zigzagging, and it’s a most inefficient way to go forward because it increases the actual length of your route, and on top of this, changing course in itself requires acceleration, which is lossy in energy terms, especially when it’s done repeatedly with every paddle stroke.

Poor tracking under wind – This is a special case in which the wind works to deflect the fishing kayak from its course, and since these kayaks neither paddle nor handle well, they become particularly hard to paddle, to a point where getting back to shore may no longer be guaranteed… This difficulty in tracking is why practically every high-end fishing kayak is outfitted with a rudder, which can help the paddler track, but further slows them down – Using a rudder slows the kayak by 10% in average.

Low speed – A boat’s speed is closely associated with its hull’s length – The longer the faster. It’s also associate with its hull’s width – the narrower the faster.
In hydrodynamic design terms, a hull whose Length to Beam (length to width) ratio is below 6:1 is considered to be slow, and a hull whose L/B ratio is over 20:1 is considered as optimal for speed. Typically, recreational boats’ hulls have a L/B ratio somewhere between the two.
To better understand this, let’s check a few examples –

  1. a typical sea kayak (fast touring kayak) can be 18 ft long and 24 inches wide. Its L/B ratio of 9:1 makes it fairly quick.
  2. a large size fishing kayak that’s 14 ft long and 30 inches wide has a 5.6:1 L/B ratio, which is rather slow.
  3. a fishing kayak that’s 12 ft long and 36 inches wide has a 4:1 L/B ratio, which is extremely slow and pretty much impossible to paddle to a long distance.
  4. a fishing kayak with a 12 ft long and 41 inch wide hull has a 3.5:1 L/B ratio, which makes it really hard for a one person crew to paddle to any distance, and –
  5. a fishing kayak that’s only 10 ft long and 38.5 inches wide has a 3.1:1 L/B ratio, which could make paddling a stack of plywood easier, if you wanted to try paddling either of these floating objects.

In other words, the chubbiest among fishing kayaks are unfit for paddling, unless your plan is to fish in ponds or in small, protected lakes.

How does the Wavewalk 500 compare?

Unlike mono-hull kayaks, the W invention offers a totally different way to make the kayak stabler without making it excessively wide. This offers advantages in speed and tracking as well –

L/B and speed – In comparison, the W500 is 11.4 ft long, and each of his twin hulls is 8 inches wide. This 17:1 L/B ratio for one hull and 8.5:1 ratio for the two hulls joined together is far better in speed terms than the fastest fishing kayak hull out there. In real life terms, this design allows the W500 to be as fast as a 13 ft touring kayak, which is a narrower and faster design than fishing kayaks of similar size and even bigger size.  More info on kayak design for speed >

Easy tracking – The W500 is just 29 inches wide, which makes it the world’s narrowest twin hull (a.k.a. catamaran). It also allows the paddler to paddle it from a higher position. The combination of these two attributes makes it easy for the paddler to apply vertical strokes and have the paddle blade travel efficiently in parallel to the kayak’s direction of travel, instead of moving in a curved trajectory. This in itself improves the W kayak’s tracking, but the fact that the paddler rides the saddle in a position that’s more powerful and ergonomic than the L kayaking position offered by other kayaks adds another dimension of efficiency and power to the paddler’s ability to handle their kayak and make it go where the  want.
Catamarans have a longer wetted length (WL) than mono-hull kayaks of similar size, and this feature makes them track better. In this sense, the W kayak is a catamaran, and indeed it tracks better than any other kayak out there, including sea kayaks that are much longer. In fact, no paddler ever found it necessary to outfit their W kayak with a rudder.

Great tracking under wind – One the the W kayak’s unique features is its long saddle that offers the paddler a simple and easy way to relocate for and aft in the cockpit. By doing so, the paddler can instantly change the kayak’s center of gravity (CG), and with it the way the kayak reacts to strong wind. In other words, the W kayak enables the paddler to use the power of the wind to help them direct the kayak, I.E. to stay on track. This simple, unique and most effective steering method is explained in an instructional article entitled W kayaking in strong wind >

Other considerations – Ergonomics and bio mechanics

Since all mono-hull kayaks offer variations on one paddling position known as the L position, these considerations are not useful for understanding differences between mono-hull fishing kayaks and other types mono-hull kayaks, such as recreational kayak, touring kayaks, etc.
In contrast, W kayaks offer several paddling positions, including the Riding position, which is both more powerful and more comfortable than the L position. This offers yet another advantage to the W kayaker, in the sense that they don’t suffer from back pain and leg numbness that are typically associated with traditional kayaking, and for this reason they don’t have to struggle with premature fatigue and discomfort, and thus dispose of more energy to keep paddling even in adverse weather and water conditions.
This is why the W kayak is favored by paddlers and anglers who suffer from disabilities, are middle aged or elderly, non-athletic, and by those who don’t benefit from a high level of physical fitness.
Indeed, W kayakers can often be seen out there on a river or a lake in poor weather conditions that drive other kayakers back to their homes, or discourage them from going on water to begin with.

Wavewalk W500 trial, a dawnbreakers story, by Jeff Holden

I ran this article in the local fishing paper.

I was considering upgrading my kayak so started cruising the internet. I saw an interesting catamaran kayak called a W500. I made contact with the distributor in the Waikato [upper North Island of New Zealand] to see if I could have a look at one. I got a reply back that they have a rep in St Arnaud [NZ Southern Island] and would CC him in on the e-mail. Murray, Wavewalk’s rep, then made contact and told me he was heading out of the country for a couple of weeks and could let me have a W500 while he was away. Next morning, true to his word, Murray arrived with an impressive looking machine.
I had a 4.2m long [14′] sit-in fishing kayak [from a local brand], and the W500 is 3.45m long [11’4″]. My other kayak was a bit wider and heavier than the W500, and it could take a slightly heavier load. The paddle I used with it was 2.2m long [7.2′] and the W500 paddle is 275m long [9′], this is because you sit higher out of the water and can also stand up and paddle.

My first trip out with the W500 was to Cable Bay. No major plans just get used to it. I found it easy to paddle and was able to change position while paddling moving my feet forward, stretching my legs out, and back tucking them in behind me. The seat was firm and as I didn’t want to get off and stayed out for 8 hours I had a sore butt. Foam rubber seat on next trip. There were a few kahawai [local saltwater fish] about so I tried standing and casting. A bit wobbly at first but after a few goes felt comfortable doing it. Would be great up the lakes you trout fishos. I managed to land half a dozen snapper and 7 gurnard and a couple of kahawai.
The end of the trip came and I headed for shore. Tail wind and following sea. My sit-in kayak had a rudder and was pretty easy to control unless you get side on with a following sea and then it can be interesting… The W500 has no rudder but you don’t need one. It tracks beautifully and if you get side on to a wave you just lean into it and carry on, very stable.
When I got out of the sit-in kayak at the end of a long trip I have to walk around a bit to loosen up my ankles and knees as I have arthritis in both and sitting for long periods with legs stuck in the same position causes a bit of pain. When I pulled on to the beach in the W500 I just stood up and stepped out, no pain. . Felt like I could go out again.
Next trick was loading up. I had to lift my sit-in kayak over my head and onto the roof rack, not excessively hard unless the wind is blowing then it gets interesting… The W500 I lined up with the rear of my station wagon, lifted the front up and rested it on the back end of the car. I walked to the back of the yak and lifted it up and slid it all the way on with hardly any effort at all.
Over all for the day I would rate the W500 as 8 out of 10 with a more comfy seat it would have been 9.
The speed of the W500 I would have rated about 85% of the 4.2 m sit-in kayak though it was hard to judge as I used a longer slower paddle stroke. At first I wasn’t comfortable standing up and paddling but have tried a few more times since then and I got better.
An issue I had had with a sit-in kayak was getting the anchor stuck. I lost a few anchors as the get lodge in the rock occasionally and you can’t put a hell of a lot of effort into retrieving them without tipping out. You normally end up cutting them loose unless someone else is around. With the W500 you can put the anchor rope between the hulls, brace your feet and heave till your heart’s content without fear of tipping out. Brilliant! I used the same anchor that I use on the catch and I did find that when the wind comes up the anchor did not hold so I have gone to a heavier anchor. I was using a 750gm anchor [1.5 lbs] with 2m of chain [6.5′].
Fish finder – The sit-in kayak had a brilliant hidey hole complete with cover for a fish finder and a scupper hole for the transducer. Excellent idea. There is no specific area for one on the W500 so I have set up a nail box on its side with my old Lowrance X4, and battery mounted together and secured in place. I have them held on the seat at the front with a bungee and with a safety rope in case of upending. I have mounted the transducer on the end of a board.
At the end of my trial period I found that I had fallen in love with the W500 and I now have one of my own in the garage. I put my sit-in kayak for sale.
The W500 comfort and stability were the biggest sellers for me. I enjoy not having sore ankles and knees at the end of the day. Oh and I have slept on it a few times as well with no concerns about falling overboard.
The other selling point is storage. I have bought some long narrow bins and everything on board goes in them. One for bait one for fishing tackle one for food. There is room for up to four good sized kingies, if you get lucky.

Jeff-the-water-walkerJeff Holden a.k.a Jeff the wave walker
Committee Member of the Nelson Dawnbreakers Fishing Club (NDBFC)
Nelson, New Zealand Southern Island


Resting in my W500

Pictures of fish caught – Click images to enlarge

Scenic pictures – Click images to enlarge

More offshore fishing from Jeff in New Zealand »

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Paddling this kayak against the wind is easy, by Jeff McGovern (video)

The W500 goes into the wind much easier than any kayak or canoe I’ve used in the past. A steady good walking clip can be attained and kept up for as long as it takes to reach your destination.
When heading in there was another kayak I overtook on the way, a [tandem SOT fishing kayak] with two folks paddling. Didn’t start the camera until I was just about past them so I missed getting them on screen. I was up the ramp and to my truck before they made it to the camp. The W500 is very easy into the wind, it’s just a matter of keeping the strokes a little shorter and lower. Progress is easy and you’re not worn out at all.



More kayak fishing adventures and observations from Jeff >

The W kayak cut an impressive wake and didn’t even notice the chop, by Rich Brown, WA

Our W kayak’s new home – Lake Limerick, WA

I first became interested in a W kayak when I saw some amazing videos of owners doing amazing feats in it. Then I read about the other benefits… walk in, sit down, stand up, turn around, lay down… any position you want. I even saw one guy paddling while standing on the saddle!

I decided this W500 kayak would be perfect for me. I looked at the dealer list on wavewalk.com (excellent site) and found the closest one was Oregon Fishing Kayaks in Hood River, Oregon. Living on a Lake and somewhat away from things, I am used to driving an hour or so to get some of the things I need, but the drive to Hood River was about three hours. I called Perry Platt the proprietor of Oregon Fishing Kayaks. He is a very friendly guy. With the help of Perry giving directions on the phone, I was ready to go to get my W500.

If you have never taken the trip down the Columbia River Gorge along I-84 from Portland, it is worth the trip. My wife and I decided to make a day of it. The scenery is gorgeous; with lush greenery and rocky crags on one side, and the mighty Columbia on the other. If you have never seen the Columbia River, it is so wide it looks more like a bay. The wind always blows there, and today the wind was blowing against the river current, dotting the river with small chop and whitecaps (more on that wind later).

Well, because a trucker hit a dog on I-5 (I swear to God, that was the explanation) traffic was backed-up for miles, so we arrived very late at the demo site. I think Perry thought we were a no show. We called him and he arrived very quickly. Perry, is even a nicer guy in person than he is on the phone. He had two W500s loaded on his nifty double-decker hand cart with bicycle wheels and easily wheeled them across the parking lot to the demo area.

Now, more on that wind; Waterfront Park in Hood River is a favorite place for kite surfers and wind surfers. When I looked out at the river, there were probably 25 – 30 surfers out there, cutting tracks with their boards and holding on for dear life to their kites in 15-20 mph wind. Perry took us to a “protected” area where a small jetty protected us the worst winds and where the wind surfers launch their boards. We looked completely out of place and got some funny looks from the crowd. Perry took the sturdy W500s off his cart and we dragged them down to the water. He gave us some instruction and threw the life jackets in the kayaks. Just like in the videos I had seen on the websites, we stepped in from the back, sat down, scooted forward, and we were off.

Now, in this “protected” area the chop was still about 8 inches and the winds 8 – 12 mph. I sat in the riding position in the center of the boat. The chop and the wind were doing their part in rocking the W500, but I did a little rocking myself. I couldn’t tip this kayak over if I tried. Ok, great conditions to demo a new kayak. I paddled against the wind to get back to the launch site. The W500 cut an impressive wake and didn’t even notice the chop. We loaded the W500 back on that nifty double–decker cart and pushed back to Perry’s shop.The demo ride sold me. We loaded a W kayak on the little trailer I had hooked up to my trusty Ford van. It fit the W like it was built for it. We strapped it down, (paid Perry) and off we went for Lake Limerick, WA. If you want a Wavewalk kayak in the Northwest (and why wouldn’t you?) call Perry at Oregon Fishing Kayaks.

-Rich Brown

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