Waves can be a big problem for people who go in kayaks and other small craft.
The better the boat performs in waves, the more it is seaworthy. Wavewalk kayaks are stabler than other kayaks, and they offer their users better means to balance themselves. This makes these patented catamaran kayaks more seaworthy than other kayaks and small boats.
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.
This movie illustrates the concept of Wake-Immunity, which is part of the broader concept of Super-Stability.
A Wavewalk S4 motor kayak skiff is going in choppy water, in the ocean. This portable boat is so stable and its driver so much in control that a series of big lateral waves from the wake of a fast motorboat passing nearby at full speed does not present a problem or even a challenge to the S4 driver – It is just a new opportunity to have some wake fun in the sun…
Just a short video shot while driving my S4 around the corner…
Couple observations –
This 6 HP outboard is no 10 HP, and this 8″ pitch prop is no 9″ pitch 😀
Driving this little boat in the chop is super easy and fun, whether it’s against the wind, in lateral waves, or in a following sea.
The spray shield that Wavewalk developed years ago for the 500 series is made from a 48″ x 12″ Polycarbonate (PC) sheet.
This accessory bends around the front of the W500, and stops spray from getting into the cockpit from the space between the front hull tips, as well as from their sides.
Since there isn’t that much difference in design and size between the W500 and W700, this spray shield works for the latter as well, and it allows for driving both motorized kayaks at high speeds in choppy waters.
But the S4 is different –
To begin with, the S4’s front deck blocks most of the spray generated at the bow while bumping frontally into waves at high speeds, and let’s not forget that the S4 is faster than the W700 and W500…
But the S4’s front deck is less effective for blocking spray generated on the sides of the boat while it hits waves in diagonal. This is by no means a major problem, and the worst outcome can be that a passenger sitting at the front of the cockpit could get a little wet when the boat goes at high speed in choppy water.
This little problem can persist even with a W500 Spray Shield attached to the S4 –
Since the S4 skiff is 9″ wider than the W500, a 48″ long spray shield bent and attached at the front of its cockpit won’t bend enough to protect both its front and its sides.
To achieve their goal, an S4 owner who wants to outfit their boat with a totally effective spray shield would have to make one from two sheets of 48″ x 12″ Polycarbonate – One sheet in the center, and a 24″ x 12″ extension riveted to each side of that central sheet, forming together a 96″ long sheet.
The DIY designer can cut the Polycarbonate, and reduce the height of the spray shield’s ends, and thus give the final product a cool, professional look that’s higher at the center and tapering down on both ends, namely backward when attached to the kayak’s cockpit (See images below).
Drilling holes in a Polycarbonate sheets is easy, and so is riveting lashing hooks to it.
These hooks will serve to attach the spray shield to the deck with a shock cord (bungee), in a way that makes attaching and detaching easy and quick.
Other methods can serve as well to attach the spray shield to the S4.
We recommend using Polycarbonate sheets that are 0.1″ thick or slightly thinner, in order to keep the end product lightweight and assure its flexibility.
Polycarbonate (PC) sheets are not expensive, and they can be purchased online.
W500 Spray Shield made from one 48″ x 12″ Polycarbonate sheet
The W500 Spray Shield bends easily without heating
“Kayak”??… This is likely to be the last thing that comes to mind of anyone watching this movie, but indeed, the S4, like all Wavewalk’s patented catamaran boats, is officially designated as a kayak, not just because of its light weight (98 lbs) and high performance as a paddle craft, but mainly thanks to certain design features required by law.
Skiff?… The kind of performance seen in this movie is not what you’d expect from a skiff or skiff by name.
Wavewalk likes to bring forward the S4’s performance as a skiff, namely a fishing boat for flat water, but there’s no flat water to be seen in this offshore movie… far from that!
PWC?… Such comparison would have been more appropriate if we used wheel steering instead of direct steering with the tiller, and possibly an even more powerful motor than the 9.8 HP Tohatsu that features in this movie. Nevertheless, the movie conveys some of the action and excitement associated with Personal Watercraft (PWC), sometimes referred to as jet-skis.
PWC stability at high speed
This video shows the Wavewalk S4 powered by a 9.8 HP Tohatsu outboard motor, driven at full throttle, offshore, in choppy water and waves.
It demonstrates a performance level that’s new in the world of small boats and watercraft, including both unrivaled speed and stability that enables stand-up driving and wave-hopping that one expects to find only in Personal Watercraft (PWC).
Perfect balancing and ergonomic saddle seat
The Wavewalk design and PWC have one feature in common, which is their similar saddle seats that deliver the best balancing capabilities to the driver and passengers. But the advantage of the saddle seat doesn’t end there – The saddle also allows the driver and passengers’ legs to act naturally as powerful and effective shock absorbers that protect their backs from the unwanted impact of the constant leaps and bounds, and high speed clashes with waves.
Being officially designated as a kayak, the S4 delivers these capabilities in a paddling mode too, although at much lower speeds…
A most seaworthy small boat
The performance seen in this video is not the kind of performance that flat-bottomed boats such as Jon boats or skiffs can deliver. The S4 is seaworthy, while these traditional small fishing boats aren’t.
What cannot be well perceived from watching this movie is the fact that the S4 is dry too – Frontal clashes with waves do not let water into its hulls, and the only time when spray gets in is when the boat is hits a wave with its broadside. Even then, very little water gets inside.
Shooting this video
The cameraman was Captain Larry Jarboe, standing on the deck of his fishing boat, the Line Dancer, that was anchored in the same choppy waters as the S4 is seen going in. The Line Dancer was constantly bouncing and tilting, which made it particularly difficult to shoot video of another, distant and fast moving small boat.
Larry used a Nikon Coolpix 900 digital camera with a powerful x83 optical zoom lens, in an auto-focus mode, but since placing this camera on a tripod would have been useless under these hectic conditions, Larry’s sea legs were the decisive factor that helped produce the video footage for this movie.
The White Knight – Larry’s workhorse S4
The boat in this movie is Larry’s personal S4, dubbed the White Knight. Larry offers fishing and diving tours in Key Largo, and it is this boat that he uses in these trips, and on a daily basis. The White Knight features a base for a diving ladder at the bow, and foam boards on its sides, since Larry sometimes uses it to side-tow two other S4s,each attached to a different side of the White Knight.
The White Knight is powered by a 9.8 HP 2-cycle Tohatsu outboard motor, and Larry recently clocked 17 mph with it, which is a world speed record for kayaks.
Driving the S4
The S4 operator in this movie is 56 years old, and not in great shape. An athletic driver half his age would have probably driven the S4 more aggressively and spectacularly, but that tired-looking, gray haired driver adds a feeling of reality to the video, or so we hope…