Kayaks and ultra lightweight boats such as the S4 are molded from Polyethylene (PE), which is a relatively soft but very strong material. In order to reduce both weight and cost, the walls of these small craft are made thin, which presents a challenge as far as permanently attaching objects to them. Such object can be carry handles, rod holders, seats, etc. Screws don’t work in such cases due to the thinness of the walls, and bolts don’t work if there is no access to the other side of the wall, in order to apply the nut in its place on the tip of the bolt.
The typical solution, which works in most cases, is to use special rivets that were developed for soft walls. These rivets split into three arms that fold back into the surface of the other side of the wall, and they are the standard rivets used in kayaks and small craft.
See article on watertight riveting »
But these rivets are relatively small, and sometimes they’re not enough. In such cases, Toggle Bolts provide a sturdy and easy to apply solution – Toggle Bolts were initially developed for hollow gypsum drywall. Gypsum boards are thick, but gypsum is a very soft, brittle and weak material, too weak to resist pull from screws. The problem of softness and lack of access to the other side of the wall required an ingenious solution, and toggle bolts are without any doubt a most ingenious invention.
A toggle bolt is a two-piece, steel fastener. Its two parts are a bolt and a spring-loaded pair of steel wings that fit on it –
You just drill a hole in the wall in the diameter indicated by the toggle bolt manufacturer, and push the bolt in with its wings folded. After the wings are forced all the way through the hole, they will open up by the action of the spring. Rotating the bolt will cause the wings to get drawn back towards the bolt’s head, and against the wall. Once the wings are pressed tightly against the other side of the wall, they will provide enough support to the equipment that you want to attach to the boat’s wall.
Waterproofing the hole in your boat or kayak can be done by using a generous amount of Goop, which is a watertight adhesive that adheres sufficiently well to Polyethylene walls, enough for such a light duty application. This said, we recommend not to drill holes below waterline, or even close to it. Any hole in the boat should be only drilled only at a safe location.
By Ken and Jane Hobson
This is Ken and Jane from Ibiza. We just wanted to give you some feedback and say how much we are enjoying our Wavewalk 700.
Ken made modifications to the roof rack – putting wood centres to keep the Wavewalk stable on top of the car. We use a normal kayak loader on the back window with a foam tube to ease the loading procedure. So all we do is lift one end up at the back and then simply slide it into position – easy!
After the delivery to Ibiza, Spain, we used the kayak a few times in the sea. But this year we have moved to France where there are some fabulous lakes where we can paddle without crowds or waves or gators – just ducks for company.
It is great. Thank you for your help sending the Wavewalk to Ibiza.
Long time no talk, I’m still in the same place, and I still love the Wavewalk. Wanted to send you my latest shenanigans. Lake Tahoe West shore- East shore- West shore, 21 miles 5.5 hours (w photo/hydration breaks) @ 6000’ elevation. Rubicon bay to Cave Rock to Rubicon bay. Here are some photos,
Click images to enlarge –More Wavewalk kayak adventures with Edwin »
Read more about Kayak Touring »
We launched the S4 in 2017, so why did I write this article only now?
This is an important question, and I can think of two answers to it –
Since I started designing kayaks and boats, I have focused on functionality and performance, and aesthetics came after these primary considerations.
I have always thought that the way people perceive the beauty and appeal of a product stems first and foremost from the advantages it offers to them in terms of usage.
Compared to the first three series that Wavewalk produced, the S4 was a departure from this strict practical approach, as it incorporated a pointy bow that was not an absolute necessity in structural or usefulness terms. I designed it in order to make this boat more appealing, visually, namely more “sexy”.
When I designed the S4, I felt totally confident in its performance, however, I felt much less sure about the attractiveness of this design, which leads me to the second answer:
Technically speaking, the S4 is a continuation of the W700 and the previous generations of Wavewalk kayaks, all based on our patented invention, but visually, it was totally different, and unlike any other kayak, boat or microskiff out there.
Our clients and dealers have been enthusiastic about the S4 starting day one, but I felt that we could claim that it’s beautiful only after many people would express their appreciation of its looks, regardless of any technical merit it has, and based purely on aesthetics. This is a high hurdle to pass, and five years later, after talking to countless clients and reading countless emails and reviews, we can say that the S4 is a very attractive boat – the kind of boat that makes people stare at it in appreciation, and engage in conversations with its driver and passengers.
What makes the S4 microskiff look great?
It’s hard to summarize so many inputs that people have provided over the years, but nevertheless, I’ll try here –
The most obvious is the fact that the S4 is a bold and unusual design. It looks like no other boat out there, big or small. It is special in every way, but that in itself would have not been enough to make it look great without the other attributes that people perceive at first sight, namely those associated with performance: The S4 looks both fast and stable, as well as comfortable, and this first impression associates it with fun. More specifically, its catamaran hulls produce a reassuring effect of stability, its pointy bow signals that it’s built for speed, and its large size saddle seat evokes high performance jet-skis.
In addition, the S4 benefits from the following pleasant as well as intriguing visual attributes:
Simple, streamlined forms and surfaces – There are no accessories of any kind attached to any part of the S4.
A slender stern – Unlike other microskiffs and small motorboats that feature a wide and bulky stern, the two rear hull tips of the S4 are pointy, which makes them look more hydrodynamic.
Aggressive “in your face” bow – Together with the pointy nose, the front molded-in handles and other structural elements are reminding of the head of a big predatory fish, more specifically a shark or a ray, and the molded-in brackets of the saddle seat vaguely remind of the anatomy of a big and powerful fish. It’s almost as if the S4 radiates vital energy.
The slanted sides of the cockpit make it look smaller than its actual large size, and together with its narrow front end, they enhance the boat’s overall sporty look.
Viewed from above, the S4 sides are straight and parallel, a feature that can be observed in large racing catamaran motorboats. This creates an energetic, “no-nonsense” effect that’s not commonly found in small watercraft.
In sum, people love the S4 for its looks too, and looks matter.