Testing the Wavewalk S4


This boat is unbelievable.
It delivers everything that we planned (and said) it would, plus a little extra in the fact that it’s really nice to paddle. The slanted sides of the cockpit in combination with the higher saddle makes it easy to move the paddle, both in the seated and standing positions. This “kayak” moves even with a 6 HP Tohatsu outboard motor that weighs 60 lbs mounted on it.



It’s pretty much an idiot-proof boat.
The guy demonstrating it in this video is me (56 y/o, 6 ft, 214 lbs), and I can stand in one hull, paddle in this position, and even turn around and face the opposite direction without stepping out of the hull.

The stand-up casting platform feels good to stand on, but since the boat is so lightweight, we recommend using this platform with another passenger sitting in the back of the cockpit, driving or paddling.
Launching and beaching this craft is incredibly easy, thanks to its shallow draft.

The S4 does more than bridging the gap between kayaks and small boats – It surpasses most small boats in terms of performance. Try jumping in a Jon boat, or driving it standing up, and you’ll understand this concept through swimming.


24 thoughts on “Testing the Wavewalk S4”

  1. Pyt Rotary says:

    Great design, great performance. My order is in.
    Time to have some fun with my kids this summer.
    Thank you Yoav for such nice toy.

  2. Thanks Pyt!

    The kids have grown, and they need more room πŸ™‚


  3. If they’re smart, inshore kayak anglers plan their trips around the tides and wind, making sure to ride the tidal currents to and from desired fishing locations, while, at the same time, using the wind as their friend, especially on return trips. With the S4, it should now be possible to speed to previously unreachable fishing locations, paddle silently around fishy looking structure for a few hours, and then decide how much of the return trip should be devoted to a good fitness workout, or a restful speedy ride. Talk about versatility!

  4. Gary,

    This is a “utilitarian” approach, namely one in which the boat or kayak are mere means to get closer to where fish are presumed to be present, and may hopefully be caught…
    But what about the “hedonistic” angle? – Driving this skiff is so much fun!


  5. Well now, that is one impressive test ride. πŸ™‚

    I really liked how it handled, even as you paddled in the as many positions you could get into.

    Would love to see how it handles in rough waters, which I’m sure will be the next test.

    Congrats a the S4 design, it looks like the W500 has two big Brothers now, the W700 and the S4.

    Tight Lines and MoPaddle Safe all.

  6. that’s was congrats On the S4 design…………. πŸ™‚

  7. Thanks Rox,

    Two big brothers for the W500! πŸ˜€

    Yes, the next videos should be shot in the salt, preferably in moving water.
    I’m trying to think how to demonstrate “crazy stable”…


  8. How about 2 or 3 big dudes in the S4, all jumping up and down, as a “crazy stable” demo?? Or, maybe, 1 or 2 dudes leaning way, way over 1 side??

  9. Tom Kilgore says:

    Great demo of the new boat.
    Do you have any data on top speed with that motor? And if the 6hp is recommended?
    Different pitch props on the motor might make significant differences.

  10. Thanks Tom,

    I’ve watched YouTube videos that show lightweight aluminum dinghies outfitted with 6 HP outboards driven at 18 mph.
    While driving the S4 I sensed that I could drive at full throttle, and I think the S4 could achieve a similar speed and maybe a little more.
    I can only assume that a better driver than mediocre me could drive at higher speeds if they used a more powerful motor.
    Kenny Tracy drove his little W500 at 13 mph, and he should be able to drive an S4 at twice this speed, and so should other capable drivers with a taste for speed.

    This said, we’re not exactly targeting the market for speed boats, and practically speaking the 6 HP Tohatsu is a perfect fit for the S4.
    It’s important to remember that the S4 is a car-top, namely a portable boat, and at 60 lbs the 6 HP outboard can still be considered to be a portable motor, which can’t be said about bigger motors.


  11. Tom Kilgore says:

    Yes, I don’t desire to go extremely fast. I was just looking for some benchmark to let me know what hp I could use on the S4.

    As I age I would rather use as small a motor as possible. Maybe a 3.5 horse, which is maybe 20 pounds lighter than the 6 horse. The S4 seems more like a displacement hull craft, and might need a 6hp or more. And prop pitch plays a large role in performance.

    A long time back, I fought a battle with selecting a prop for a 20 foot catamaran boat with a single outboard, which proved to be a real challenge. Cavitation was a big problem. The boat was a semi-displacement hull (for lack of a better term). It would plane but it was tricky getting over the cavitation problem to get it on plane. We finally got the right prop, and got the best performance out of the motor and hull combination.

    It will take some time to test the boat so that you can suggest motors and props. I look forward to your findings.

  12. Tom,

    Every year, I find it harder to carry the 6 HP outboard by myself, and I can definitely relate to what you describe. 20 lbs is a lot for something you have to carry by hand.

    From a hydrodynamic standpoint, the Wavewalk is a catamaran that features two displacement hulls, and since these hulls feature a flat bottom, the Wavewalk can plane easily.
    Since all Wavewalk models are so lightweight, and generate so little resistance, you’d go fast enough (min. 12 mph) with a 3.5 HP motor, whether you drive a W700 or an S4 with it.

    The propeller on my 6 HP Tohatsu is the standard one that the company offers with these motors. I didn’t search beyond this since I never experienced a problem of either speed or cavitation.

    Cavitation is typically a problem that occurs in big ships’ propellers, and in propellers that revolve at a very high RPM. Neither of these conditions are applicable to a motorized Wavewalk.

    Ventilation is another problem, and it consists of loss of power due to the fact that the propeller rotates too close to the surface and sucks in air bubbles. People who use a 15″ short (S) outboard motor with their Wavewalk inevitably experience a ventilation problem, and this is the reason why we warn against using such motors, and we recommend using only 20″ long (L) outboard motors.

    This website features several articles dedicated to these subjects, including one written by Captain Larry Jarboe, who tested several outboard motors of different propeller shaft length and power, as well as several motor mounts: https://wavewalk.com/blog/2017/01/30/testing-15-short-s-shaft-outboard-motor-performance-with-wavewalk-kayaks-and-boats/


  13. Tom Kilgore says:

    Thanks Yoav,
    Yep, Ventilation vs cavitation. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about those terms. I’m thinking one of the 3.5 hp motors would be the ticket for the S4.

    One of the things that interests me about the S4 is something that I have a problem with in the W500. That is the area around my feet. I always feel like I need more room around my feet for various reasons. Looks like the S4 will solve that problem for me.

    Is there any chance you can take an overhead picture, as well as other views with all three models side by side for comparison. That’s something I always wanted to see. How each compares as far as width, cockpit size, foot room, etc. etc.

  14. Tom,

    The W500 hulls are 8″ wide, and the S4’s hulls are 13″ wide.
    It makes a big difference.
    Another thing that I found to be nice with the S4 is the fact that it’s saddle is 3/4″ higher.

    Standing in one hull and wearing size 11.5 sneakers, I was able to turn around myself and face the opposite direction.
    See demo here (min. 0:30): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbHe2yu3nvU

    We still have a lot of work to do with this new product, and we need to get better organized with proper marketing materials for the two other products.
    I think the best would be to produce a set of images directly from the CAD files for the W500, W700 and S4, in order to prevent distortions related to the angle of photography of such large size real-world objects.


  15. Hey, Yoav……..I have to agree with Tom about having a picture showing the top view of the 3 models side by side, and, also, to have that immediately followed by a comprehensive table listing all relevant specs of each, with each spec listed in both metric and non-metric terms. Then when anyone not familiar with the Wavewalk first enters wavewwalk.com, he/she can quickly see and compare the 3 products available. Specific info on each model can then follow. Anyhow, that’s my 2 cents worth.

  16. Thanks Gary,

    Indeed, we have a lot of work to do πŸ™‚


  17. I think you’ve got some great helpers in the house. BTW, and not to nitpick, but your home page descriptions of the 3 models seems to suggest that only the 500 and 700 are fishing kayaks.

  18. Things are a bit complicated indeed…
    We’re thinking about positioning the S4 mainly as a trailer-free skiff (I.E. a high-end boat) that offers extra mobility and versatility through the ability to paddle it easily.
    The alternative would be to position it as a tandem fishing kayak that can be motorized and serve as a seaworthy motorboat that you can drive at high speed…
    It’s two sides of the same coin.


  19. Tom,

    The 3.5 hp long shaft Tohatsu based outboard motor should be a most portable and planing power source for the super portable and stable S4 motor yak.

    My own combo will be with a 5 hp Tohatsu/Nissan 2 stroke motor but I dread carrying that fine running beast to the rinse barrel. So, I will be doing some comparison tests with the 3.5’s and post on the blog.

    As soon as my S4 order arrives…

    Larry J.

  20. Larry,

    Wouldn’t a simple hand operated crane enable you to lift the 5 HP outboard onto your dock?


  21. Apologies to anyone who expected to watch new S4 videos – The temperature here is 46 F, and it’s rainy and windy.
    If the weather is good where you are, enjoy it to the full, and think of us… πŸ™‚


  22. Yoav,

    My docks are poured concrete. Mounting a hand operated crane will require a lot of drilling through concrete and pouring more in. With that kind of investment of time, an electric winch operated davit capable of hoisting a diesel engine might be a better multiple solution for not much more effort.

    For the time being, I’ll look for a set of flushing clamps for a Tohatsu/Nissan that screw on to a garden hose.

    Larry J.

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