The new world speed record for motor kayaks is 17 mph. This world record holder is Captain Larry Jarboe, a retired businessman and county official from Maryland, who settled in Key Largo, Florida, where he runs a Wavewalk dealership and a fishing and diving business. Visit Larry’s website »
When Larry broke this motorized kayak speed record, he was driving his Wavewalk S4 powered by a 9.8 HP Tohatsu outboard motor, on flat water. The S4 is a twin-hull (catamaran) watercraft designated as a kayak, and it can serve as such, namely as a paddle craft, as well as a portable boat for fishing the flats (I.E. microskiff) and for offshore fishing.
Note that Larry prefers to drive his S4 facing sideways, in the side-saddle position in which he’s used to drive dinghies. Another position that the S4 offers is riding, namely with a leg on each side of the saddle seat, similarly to the way personal watercraft (PWC), ATVs and snowmobiles are driven. Riding is the most stable posture for driving, and the combination of the balancing capabilities that it offers the driver and passengers with the catamaran hulls, delivers unrivaled stability. Without this extreme stability, such speed would have not been possible.
The unique, patented saddle seat featuring in the S4 is back-pain free, unlike other kayak seats that force their users to sit in the notorious L position, with their legs stretched uncomfortably in front of them, and their lower back exposed to continuous pressure.
Larry driving his S4 side-saddle in the ocean chop
The above photo shows the motorized S4 kayak catamaran kayak driven in the ocean, in choppy water, with the driver facing forward in the riding position.