Got to go out today finally! I headed over to Kaneohe bay to run out to the sandbar a 2 mile trip and brought my beach chair along. The tide was running high so the sand wasn’t dry and I didn’t get to beach and break out my chair for a nap so I enjoyed taking a nice long walk across the bar enjoying watching the smaller fish, turtles and such that frequent the area. The S4 did very well, a lifelong boater I am impressed at both the function and obvious time spent to design a craft of such function at this size. The winds were 25 knots and while it looks calm in the pictures that is only because it was about 8 inches deep and the sandbar is quite large which knocks down the chop. Outside the bay were large breakers and inside for the trip across it was a short period 1 to 2 foot chop, the boat did just fine. I really enjoyed how I could run way up in the shallows with no concern and just how easy the boat made the trip. While the big boats could make it there quicker by the time they carefully anchored at the drop and they had to jump in chest deep I was already in the better spot! I have purchased a Garmin fishfinder and will work on my fishing set up tomorrow. Going to take it fishing on Monday! Hopefully I’ll get some beginners luck!
I’ve attached some pictures of my last 10.5 bullfrog tender. Rotomolded sponsons. It turned me on to microskiffs before they got trendy. Slightly over powered 🙂 with a 40 hp before port n polish, carb and tuning work. I never GPS’d it because I had to keep one hand on the tiller and the other on the rail! Numbers told me it was somewhere in the 30s, it always overreved, i had a 13 inch prop but it could have spun a 17 or 19 with ease i think. It was about 10 years old and had to retire it from service as the aluminum hull and rivets finally gave way to crevice corrosion and she would take on water. The weight and torque of the 40 hp Johnson probably didn’t help!
A boat is deemed seaworthy if it is built and outfitted for a voyage at sea. By extension, when small boats are concerned, going on big lakes requires a seaworthy boat as well. A portable boat can be easily carried or moved, especially because of being lighter and smaller than other boats. Skiffs are flat bottomed boats designed for fishing flat water. Micro skiffs (microskiff) are smaller skiffs designed to do the same. These boats draft less than other boats that are made for fishing in deep water, and offshore. When used on flat water, skiffs and micro skiffs are relatively stable for their size, but they don’t excel when seaworthiness is concerned. Some skiffs and microskiffs can handle waves better than others, due to a somehow different form of their hulls called Shallow V Hull that feels less stable on flat water. But going with these boats through choppy water, let alone rough water, is uncomfortable at best, as typically, the passengers feel unstable, and get tossed around. This is to say that as a general rule, boats that are made primarily for going on flat water are not among the most seaworthy.
Portable microskiffs are smaller than the typical microskiff, and as such they are less seaworthy. In order for a boat to be portable, it must be small and lightweight enough to be car-topped, and carried to the beach either by dragging it on the ground, or with a lightweight wheel cart. Typically, microskiffs that offer these advantages are not full fledged boats – They are boards with little or no free board, whose decks get washed by water and spray even when they go in mild chop. The only full-fledged portable microskiffs are the Wavewalk 700 and Wavewalk S4 that offer sufficient free board to offer reasonable protection to their passengers and gear, as well as sufficient stability and balancing capabilities when going in rough water.
Microskiffs that are portable and seaworthy
Despite their similar catamaran design that’s based on Wavewalk’s patented invention, the W700 and S4 are two different micro skiffs in terms of performance and capabilities.
The Wavewalk 700
The W700 can be described as a hybrid kayak-microskiff. It is extremely stable even in comparison to the biggest ordinary fishing kayaks, and it paddles very well with a crew of one or two, and up to three medium size paddlers. It can be driven with an outboard motor of up to 4.5 HP, at speeds over 10 mph. The W700 offers stand up paddling and fishing to up to two anglers, and its on board storage capacity is greater than the storage offered by any sit-in or SOT kayak. The W700’s light weight (80 lbs) makes it easy to carry over long distances and rough terrain, including rocks and deep sand. The W700 also works perfectly well as a canoe, namely with single-blade paddles.
The Wavewalk S4
The S4 is more stable and more seaworthy than the W700, its load capacity (payload) is greater, and it has more room for passengers and gear. On top of this, the S4 can be driven with much bigger and more powerful motors, at sustained speeds of 17 mph (with a 10 HP outboard). The S4 weighs 20 lbs more than the W700, and it is likely to be outfitted with a more powerful, and therefore heavier motor, it is less easy to carry over rough terrain and deep sand. This said, the S4 is a car-top boat that one guy can handle without a problem. The S4 also works well in a paddling mode, with both kayak and canoe paddles.
And if you liked the feeling of driving an S4 in the open sea, in waves, here is a video that will show you what it feels like to drive this unique microskiff at high speed in tight and winding mangrove tunnels –
The performance of the S4 is in rough water is most impressive, even compared to inflatable dinghies that are designed primarily for going in rough seas. The S4 easily handles waves of up to 4 ft, while its driver and passengers ride its saddle in comfort and confidence stemming from the fact that they can balance themselves easily and intuitively, in the most effective way, being supported by their own legs and a large size hull on each side. The saddle in Wavewalk’s micro skiffs is of similar size and dimensions as the saddle featuring in large-size models of personal watercraft (PWC), often referred to as jet-skis. Similarly to jet skis, the driver of an S4 can drive it standing up, even in choppy water.
The video below shows a Wavewalk S4 user downloading it from his SUV, dragging it over a rocky beach, and launching it in a “rock garden” –
Similarly to micro skiffs skiffs, the S4 features a front deck that an angler can stand on and cast, although probably not in the presence of waves.
The S4 can be outfitted with accessories such as a wheel cart that can be carried on board, and a large-size, detachable spray shield that protects the front passenger from being sprayed when the boat goes in waves at high speed. The S4 micro skiff is more stable than other skiffs its size, and unlike typical skiffs, it is not made from fiberglass but from Polyethylene, which is a resilient and more durable material. This makes it possible to move the S4 over rugged terrain, rocks and various obstacles.
Even more versatility – Food for thought
Skiffs and micro skiffs are designed for flats fishing. The problem with these fisheries is twofold – The first challenge is that in low tide, the water can be too shallow even for a micro skiff to move in it, and the propeller is the lowest point in the boat that determines its actual draft. The second problem is vegetation that can get entangled in the outboard’s propeller. In this context, on top of its being a seaworthy boat, the S4 works well with a surface drive, also known as a mud motor. These motors work at sea, and they outperform regular outboards in shallow water, muddy water, and water where much vegetation grows. For some anglers, the S4 offers top performance and extreme versatility as a seaworthy microskiff, as well as an all-terrain and all-water boat.
Waterfront properties differ from each other, and so do boats, so the answer depends on a multitude of factors including –
Location of the property
Does the property border the ocean, a big lake, a small lake, a pond or a river?
Is the water adjacent to the property deep or shallow?
If the property borders the ocean, how strong are the tides there?
Is it a beachfront property, or does it border a canal, or a cove?
Are waves and currents too strong there?
Physical attributes of the property and access to the water
Does the property feature a beach or a dock, or both?
Is it necessary to carry the boat from the house or the boat shed to the water and back?
Is the water at the beach very shallow, and does it feature rocks, and/or vegetation?
Is the dock high or low above the water?
Is it a permanent or a floating structure?
Boat size and type
Some boats are too big, and they draft too much to be docked close to shore. These boats may be moored close enough, but then they require a small service boat, namely a boat tender to allow transportation of passengers and goods from shore and back.
Other vessels, such as canoes, SOT kayaks and sit-in kayaks, don’t offer much as far as boating goes, and they are not comfortable.
Jon boats and skiffs work well on flat water, and they can go in relatively shallow water. However, they are not seaworthy, and they are not useful in water where abundant vegetation grows, unless they are outfitted with a surface drive (mud motor). These flat bottomed boats are usually too wide for their users to paddle them effectively over any meaningful distance.
Inflatable dinghies are typically more seaworthy than Jon boats and skiffs, but they are notoriously uncomfortable, and similarly, they don’t paddle well. Most anglers would be reluctant to fish out of an inflatable boat, because fishing hooks can easily perforate their walls.
Pontoon boats work well on flat water, but despite their extreme stability, they are not comfortable in choppy water.
Big motorboats are fun, and they are more seaworthy than small boats, but they draft too much to go in shallow water, they won’t go in water with vegetation, and there is no way to paddle them, even over very short distances.
In general, the bigger the boat the harder it is to carry it over land, and the more its owners depend on docks. Needless to say that maintaining a large size boat is not cheap, even if it’s possible to moor or dock it next to your property.
Could this boat fit your waterfront property needs?
Comfortable, seaworthy, lightweight, extremely versatile, no maintenance: The S4
The main advantages of the Wavewalk S4 as a boat for a waterfront property are:
It is lightweight and portable – barely 100 lbs without the motor. This means that you don’t necessarily need a dock to launch and beach it, and if needed, you can haul it on top of your dock. Moreover, being a car-top boat makes it available for you to take on trips to other places, even without a trailer.
It’s a kayak, and it paddles well as such, and as a canoe.
Very shallow draft, even with a motor. For many anglers and paddlers, this feature means everything.
It’s fast – 17 mph sustained with a powerful outboard motor.
It’s an all-terrain boat that you can outfit with a surface drive (mud motor)
It’s comfortable and back-pain free, thanks to its saddle seat that its passengers ride similarly to the way you ride the saddle of high performance personal watercraft (jet-ski), all-terrain vehicles (ATV), and snowmobiles.
It’s extremely stable – more than Jon boats and micro skiffs of similar size, which makes it great for fishing. It even features a front deck for casting.
Plenty of storage space and good carrying capacity – The S4 can carry a payload of 650 lbs, which means a powerful portable outboard motor and three passengers. The on board storage space it provides is equivalent to the storage space offered by good size skiffs and Jon boats.
It’s durable, thanks to the fact that it’s rotomolded from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and you can carry and launch it over rocks.
I have had little exposure yet. I have troublesome hands and the 5 hp outboard was a little wearing to manipulate (it’ll go as a kicker on another boat in the family). I’ve ordered a Honda 2.3 as I need another kicker and would like to try this on the S4. I think I’ll like it better but will use the boat differently as a result.
Not much in the way of mods, some lighting and tie downs.
The trailer bunks will have to be lowered to get this to float the kayak w/o putting the truck in the water.
This rig just traveled 1,800 miles w/o a hitch. Trailers beautifully.
This boat can be many things to many people and that’s different in a boat.
The challenge: Keeping the front passenger dry when driving your S4 at full speed in choppy water.
The solution: Outfitting your S4 with a spray shield that’s big enough.
Wavewalk S4 outfitted with a full size spray shield and carrying a wheel cart on its deck. This wheel cart has an extension that can fit into the second slot in the S4’s front deck.
We used a 48″ x 24″ x 0.093″ Makrolon (Polycarbonate) sheet cut into three sections to create a 90″ long, 16″ high spray shield. This material is available at Home Depot.
We assembled the sections using Goop adhesive and rivets.
We attached the spray shield to the S4 deck using eyelets and short bungees.
This full size spray shield effectively protects from spray the passenger sitting in the front of the cockpit, and it further enhances the seaworthiness of your S4.
Warning: Stay away from Acrylic sheets because this material is too rigid for this kind of application, and it will develop cracks as soon as you start cutting it.