Car-topped Wavewalk S4 portable catamaran skiff

The term Transportation is commonly used to describe carrying the kayak over a long distance, with a motor vehicle, while Carrying usually means moving the kayak (or portable boat) manually, over a short distance, typically from the owner’s vehicle to the water, and back.

Transporting a kayak can be done on top of a vehicle (cartop), inside it, on a special platform (for pickup trucks), or on top of a trailer.
Carrying a kayak can be done by hand (Portaging) or with a lightweight wheel cart (Dolley).

Kayaks are lightweight, and considered cartop boats. This is generally true, except for a small number of humongous kayaks (typically pedal driven fishing kayaks) that weigh over 120 lbs. The Wavewalk S4 kayak weighs 98 lbs, and it can be easily car topped.

Portable boats

Except for a few ultralight portable boats, boats are heavy, and cannot be car topped. Size and weight, namely same factors that prevent boat owners from transporting them on top of their vehicles, also prevent them from carrying them.
The S4, Wavewalk’s biggest and heaviest kayak-skiff, weighs 98 lbs as is, without the transom motor mounting plate attached to it, and it weighs a few pounds more when it is outfitted with such an accessory.
A portable 6 HP 4-Cycle outboard motor weighs up to 60 lbs, and mounting it on the S4 is quick and easy.
The Wavewalk S4 is a cartop boat, and you can transport it on top of your vehicle, even if it’s an SUV, a minivan, or a van, while transporting the motor inside the vehicle.
You can leave the motor attached to the S4 if you use a T-extension that hooks into a trailer hitch.

This movie shows how one person cart tops an S4 boat in 30 seconds:

The ability to cartop a boat frees its owner from the need to park a boat trailer on their driveway, and from launching and beaching in special places, namely designated boat ramps. You can launch, carry and beach your S4 practically anywhere:

This photo gallery shows how S4 kayak-skiff owners transport in on top of their vehicle, and inside it –

Using a T-extension

If you outfit your SUV, minivan or pickup truck with a T-extension, you can transport your S4 with the motor attached to it. However, you’d need to attach the T-extension to the vehicle’s trailer hitch before your trip, and remove at the end of the trip.

Transporting on a trailer

The Wavewalk S4 is a seaworthy boat that allows you to fish in the ocean, and since it is lighter and narrower than any fishing boat, it fits any kayak trailer, boat trailer, and utility trailer.
Transporting the S4 on a trailer can make loading and attaching it easier than if you cartop it. But the main advantage of a trailer over car-topping is that you can leave the motor attached to your S4.
The big disadvantage of transportation by trailer is that it limits you to launching and beaching at boat ramps.
A trailer also takes the space of a vehicle in your garage, or on your driveway, and it requires registration.


Different modes of transportation come with different advantages and disadvantages, and owners of the Wavewalk S4 can switch between them according to their needs and possibilities. For example, if boat ramps in your area are overcrowded, you’d better cartop your S4, or transport it inside your vehicle, if possible. However, if you’re going on a camping trip, and both your roof rack and the inside of your vehicle are packed with gear, you may want to transport your S4 on a trailer.

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