S4 Microskiff Walkaround Video

Things you see onboard the S4 microskiff in this video –
  • 6 HP Tohatsu outboard gas motor with a 20″ Long (L) propeller shaft. No other length would do. This motor is outfitted with a 9″ pitch propeller, for maximum speed. 8″ pitch propellers work too.
  • There is a towel on the bottom of each rear hull tip. Spray that enters the cockpit while the boat bumps into big waves finds its way to the rear, and the towels soak it, so the bottom of the hulls stays dry.
  • A paddle is a necessary item onboard any small boat, especially if you go in shallow water, or launch from a beach.
  • 3 gallons of fuel suffice for 12 hours of this 6 HP Tohatsu motor’s operation at full throttle, and much longer at a lower RPM.
  • The U-jointed tiller extension enables the driver to face forward while driving, instead of sideways, and it offers to drive from the middle of the cockpit instead of driving from its rear, which makes the boat more level and faster.
  • This extra tiller extension added to the U-jointed tiller extension allows the driver to sit or stand more forward, closer to the middle of the boat, and thus further improve its trim and speed.
  • Two 5 lbs anchors would keep the S4 in its place in moving water.
  • The rope is for pulling the S4 microskiff in water that’s too shallow for paddling, or on the beach, and for attaching it.

Very stable platform

Horst Merkle


I went out yesterday, breaking in the outboard, and I got to almost 9 kn on half throttle.
I am very satisfied.
What I like most is that the S4 tracks straight even if I let go of the steering, but it reacts immediately when I pull to either side, and it’s a very stable platform.
I love my S4.

docked Wavewalk S4 microskiff Indiana
during the season the S4 will be attached to this dock


Keeping your microskiff’s cockpit dry

To put this problem in proportion, there is very little water that accumulates at the bottom of the S4 Microskiff’s hulls – It’s extremely rare to have more than a gallon in each hull at the end of a trip in very choppy water and 3 ft waves, and this amount of water affects neither comfort nor stability, or anything going on onboard.
It takes a minute or two to remove this amount of water from the hulls using a manual bilge pump or a portable electric pump, and even a large size towel is enough to absorb it effectively.

Absorbing the Water With a Towel

Typically, S4 Microskiff owners do what other owners of small boats, canoes, and kayaks do at the beginning of the trip, which is to lay an old large-size towel on the bottom of each hull, and let it absorb whatever water gets into the cockpit. It’s a perfect solution, and if you notice that a towel absorbed as much water as it can, you can squeeze the water out of it by holding it outside the cockpit and twisting it – It’s both simple and effective.

Hand Bucket

This simple and effective tool is still popular among boaters, and it works well, especially if you need to throw a lot of water out of the boat in a short time. It’s less effective if you want to dry the bottom of the hulls completely, and it’s tricky to use it while you’re seated on the saddle seat of a Wavewalk S4 microskiff or W720 kayak-skiff, because of the seat’s height.

Bilge Pump

Some people carry onboard a manual bilge pump. This works too, except that in most cases, there isn’t enough water at the bottom of the S4 hulls to prime the bilge pump, and this is where the towel works better, and it can leave the bottom completely dry.
Others use an electric portable pump that works similarly to a manual pump. No problem here too, except that it’s likely that the water on the bottom of the hulls of your S4 isn’t deep enough to prime such pumps, since typically, you need at least 1/8″ of water for this.

Tip: Manual bilge pumps are simpler, and therefore more reliable.

Testing a Portable Electric Bilge Pump

We tested the Trac Portable Pump from Camco, and we liked it at first. The reason we chose it in the first place was that the three D size batteries go inside the pump’s housing, and this avoids possible complications from using an external battery.
We also liked the fact that this pump is taller than some other models, which makes it more comfortable to use when you’re onboard, and it’s fully submersible, so no problem if if falls in the water.
The pump comes with a hose and a clip for it, which is another advantage.
This electric bilge pump’s throughput isn’t impressive, but it’s enough to deal swiftly and effectively with the little water that we’re talking about.

Tip 1: We removed the suction cups from the bottom of this pump, in order to enable priming it in even skinnier water.

Manual vs Electric Bilge Pump

Both cost about the same (about $30) and both work well.
The advantage of the electric pump is that it does the work that your muscles do with the manual pump. It’s not a big thing, but it’s a nicer feeling not to have to work when you’re tired at the end of a long trip, even if it’s just little work.
The advantage of the manual pump is that it’s foolproof, in the sense that you’re not required to remember to replace the batteries, and it’s more likely to be in working order when you’d need it.

Bottom line – Manual is simpler and more reliable, and therefore better.

Should You Take a Bilge Pump or a Hand Bucket Onboard?

The answer is Yes, absolutely and unequivocally, especially if you go in the ocean, or on a swift river. Why? Because stuff happens, and even if you’ve had a hundred totally dry trips before, it doesn’t guarantee that in your next trip you won’t be required to pump out more water than you’re used to, and using an old towel can be too slow and too hard for large amounts of water.

Tip: In boating, ‘Stuff Happens’ is the rule.

Drain Plugs

This discussion would not be complete without mentioning drain plugs, such most medium and large boats feature. These plugs start working only when the boat is moving above a certain speed.

Again, in this case, the small quantities of water that we’re talking about are not worth taking the risk of drilling under the waterline. This is especially true in view of the fact that the S4 and W720 are made from Polyethylene, a polymer resin to which practically nothing sticks well, so that in the long run, drain plugs could develop leaks if not reinstalled or at least re-waterproofed every now and then,.

In sum, in our opinion, installing drain plugs is a solution that’s disproportionate for the purpose of draining the hulls of the S4 microskiff and the W720 kayak-skiff, and it doesn’t fit in the context of maintenance free boat such as these boats are.  Therefore, it may be worth consideration only in very special cases where the boat is expected to get filled with water continuously, such as when you drive your S4 in a storm, but we recommend not to try taking yur S4 or W720 in such circumstances, and stay home whenever the authorities issue a Small Craft Advisory for your area, because Stuff Happens…

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The Microskiff That Paddles Very Well In Shallow Water

A client who received his S4 Microskiff recently wrote us that he still hasn’t decided whether to outfit it with a regular outboard motor or a surface drive, a.k.a. mud motor, but in the meantime he found that the S4 paddles very well.

This client fishes in very shallow water, dubbed “skinny water”, and choosing the right motor for his S4 is important for him, but so is the fact that he can paddle his S4 easily when the water is too shallow to for a motorized boat to go in, even a boat with a very shallow draft, such as a microskiff. This is because whatever the hull drafts doesn’t determine the depth of the water that the boat can go through -Ultimately, it is the depth in which the propeller rotates, which is about 10 inches deeper, in the best case, so we’re looking at about a foot of water in total for the hull and the propeller, unless the boat is outfitted with a surface drive.

Those who don’t fish in skinny water might think that a foot of water is very shallow, but anglers who fish in skinny water sometimes want and need to go in water that’s much shallower, and this requires either a surface drive, or paddling. In extreme cases, it may require getting out of the boat and walking while pulling the boat.

As for poling, let’s leave this inefficient method of human powered propulsion to people who are physically fit and who like to pole their boat as a form of exercise, or as part of a tradition of sight fishing. Practically, most people can’t pole a boat, not even a small one, and carrying a full size poling pole on board such a small craft is problematic, to say the least.

What makes the S4 the easiest microskiff to paddle?

To begin with, most microskiffs are both too wide and too heavy to allow for paddling, even by more than one passenger.
As for the class of ultralight microskiffs that are light enough to be transported on a pickup truck bed, they can be paddled, but not very well, since they are both too wide, too heavy and not comfortable enough to allow for effective and easy paddling. Practically, this means that they can be paddled only over short distances.

The S4 is both the lightest and the narrowest full-fledged microskiff out there, and the only one that features sloping sides for ease of movement of the paddle, and an ergonomic saddle-seat that boosts the paddler’s power and comfort.
The S4 is easy to paddle seated and standing, with dual-blade (“kayak”) paddles or single-blade (“canoe”, “SUP”) paddles. It tracks extremely well thanks to its straight and narrow catamaran hulls, which is why no one has ever outfitted their S4 (or any other Wavewalk) with a rudder.

Interestingly, although the S4 is classified as a motor boat (a multihull boat, to be precise), some S4 owners use it as a paddle craft only, in a kayaking or canoeing mode. And although this practice is rare, in comparison, there are no owners of other ultralight microskiffs who use them only for paddling.

In sum, if you’re looking for the best fishing skiff for shallow water, and the only one that guarantees that you’ll never get stranded, the S4 Microskiff should be your first choice.

More about fishing in shallow water »

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The S4 Microskiff is remarkable

Nelson Newell

New Brunswick, Canada

The S4 Microskiff is remarkable; nice design.
I have canoeing and sea kayaking experience, but no water craft experience with motors.
My property backs on the headwaters of the Petitcodiac River. During summer, it gets quite shallow… a foot of water (give or take) in the main channel. The S4 doesn’t take much draft and this is one reason for my initial interest plus it can handle some degree of rough water.
Went out yesterday for a lake run… anxious to go out on the St John River!

p.s. Instead of an extra fuel container, I bought a fuel tank,… just switch the fuel line over.


S4 microskiff transported on trailer NB Canada

S4 microskiff transported on trailer NB Canada

S4 microskiff transported on trailer NB Canada