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.
For decades, Captain Larry Jarboe owned and ran sawmill in Maryland, and served as a county commissioner there, and all this time, his passion was fishing and diving.
When Larry retired in Key largo, his plan was to keep fishing out of a commercial fishing boat that he owns named the Line Dancer, and offer guided fishing and diving tours from this boat. At that time, Larry was already a fan of the Wavewalk 500, which he had used in Maryland, and he became a Wavewalk dealer.
Then came the Wavewalk 700 series, and Larry discovered the potential for using it for guided fishing tours in the mangroves and for diving tours on the reef. He also discovered motorized kayaking. Both discoveries led Larry to reassess the business potential of the Wavewalk 700, and put a greater emphasis on this small watercraft, in combination with the Line Dancer, serving as a mother ship.
Larry also discovered the option to use a motorized W700 for driving clients into the mangroves, and as the creek becomes narrower and tortuous, continue in a paddling mode.
The advent of the S4 changed things for Larry and his business. He found that he could use a motorized S4 to tow two Wavewalk 700 kayaks, each one attached to each side of this versatile boat. This innovative setup is extremely stable and comfortable, and it allows its passengers to chose between paddling autonomously or being towed by Larry’s S4 skiff.
Larry developed a climbing ladder for the S4, which allows practically anyone, including big and heavy clients, as well as elderly ones to get back into the boat easily.
In addition, Larry found that practically anyone could drive the S4 and fish out of it, and this includes people who simply cannot used any other kayak, and would feel uncomfortable in a conventional small boat such as a Jon boat or a skiff, such as this 330 lbs guy –
As Larry keeps finding new ways to use the Wavewalk S4 and 700 to better serve the clients of his burgeoning fishing and diving business, he’s very excited about advising others who may benefit from the versatility and high performance of these skiff-kayaks that practically anyone can use, including people with a sensitive back, back problems, back injuries, arthritis, sciatica, excess weight, and other limitations and disabilities.
And let’s not forget couples who just want to paddle in tandem, or go motorizing in the mangroves –
Some people mistakenly think that older people are the only ones who suffer from back pain as a result of paddling conventional kayaks and fishing from them. This notion is false, of course, and young people suffer from yack back and kayaking injuries as well.
Kayak anglers down under! -Here is some good new for your lower back:
Steve suffered from kayaking back injuries, which brought him to look for a solution.
-“I have a love for water and paddling but after experiencing 2 months of pain and subsequent treatment as a direct result of using a S.O.T Sit On Top) Kayak, I thought there must be a better way. After spending many hours researching different options, I was convinced with out doubt that the Wavewalk was the way to go. I purchased a Wavewalk direct from the US in December of 2011 and has not looked back since. NO more PAIN or INJURIES.”
A fishing kayak review from an experienced angler who’s tried various fishing styles and fishing boats often tell a lot. Here is Glynn Gantenbein’s account of his experience with the W fishing kayak:
I have been flyfishing around the world for 20 years, much of it in a kayak.
I found only two things were missing: a comfortable seating position and the ability to stand up for sighting fish.
After studying videos at Wavewalk, I ordered an inventory of Wavewalk kayaks without even seeing one.
Upon receipt I tested the Wavewalk… -I am 70 years old, weigh 230, have a bad back, need a knee replacement, and have constant vertigo from a chronic ear condition.
During my initial test I was able to stand up and paddle and really enjoyed the seating position called Riding.
IF I CAN DO IT, ANYONE CAN!!
The Wavewalk 500 is fast and runs straight.
Everything you read is correct.
One of my customers put a $100 trolling motor on his and said he was “going water skiing”… which was his way of saying its fast.
This is a most unusual, yet most revealing story.
It says a lot about kayak anglers and the sacrifices some of them are willing to make for their love of fishing.
It also shows that propelling fishing kayaks with outboard gas engines is picking up, has a future, but it also faces certain limitations.
This story also shows that pedal drives for fishing kayaks simply can’t substitute a motor – any motor, in any way, and that when push comes to shove, they can’t replace the paddle.
And last but not least, it shows that two elderly people can go out for a long, offshore kayak fishing trip on a cold day in December, catch fish together, and enjoy each other’s company while doing so, without suffering from back pain, leg numbness, discomfort, wetness, or any other undesirable phenomenon that elderly anglers suffer from when they attempt to fish out of kayaks.
Members of the South Korean Sea Dreamer Kayak Fishing club, who are all courageous and avid anglers, outfitted their fishing kayaks with outriggers and outboard gas engines. These unusual people went out for an offshore kayak fishing trip December 31st, in cold weather. The fishing expedition included a few traditional SOT kayaks, and a W500 kayak, which unlike the other kayaks, was operated by a crew of two: And elderly couple who loves fishing, and enjoys fishing together.
Sungjin Kim, Wavewalk’s distributor in South Korea, published this story (in Korean) on his Korean kayak fishing website, and his post there includes a link to the kayak fishing club’s website.
Here are the fish this tandem crew of kayak anglers caught in the ocean:
The reader should be aware that imported fishing kayaks are expensive in Korea, and so are outboard motors and outriggers. For the cost of their motorized W kayak, this couple could have gotten a nice small motorboat, but not necessarily one that they could car top:
Another inconvenience with a bigger boat could have been the need to launch it from a boat ramp, which is neither easy nor convenient.
But let’s not forget that winters in south Korea are cold, and so is the ocean there. This means that elderly people can’t go fishing offshore out of regular SOT, sit-in or hybrid fishing kayaks: They need to fish out of a kayak that keeps them dry, which wouldn’t be the case if they used anything else than their W500:
And last but not least, elderly people need a level of comfort that can’t be found in kayaks other than the W kayak: They need to stand up easily and whenever they want to stretch, change positions, be free from any pressure on their lower back, and be able to fight and prevent leg numbness.
The reader has surely realized that fishing in tandem out of a kayak can be problematic, due to the small space available, and the reduced range of motion of the crew. But this was not the case for this tandem crew, obviously – They managed just fine.
In other words, while the other anglers who participated in this cold water and weather, offshore expedition practiced kayak fishing as an extreme sport , this elderly couple practiced traditional, cozy fishing – as it should really be. The only difference between their motorized W500 and other motorized W500 kayaks is the fact they outfitted it with outriggers, like all the other participants in this fishing trip did. This safety measure is understandable in view of the hazardous environment and the risk of hypothermia in case of an accident, the fact that two people were on board the W500 and not just one, and the fact that these were elderly people whose sense of balance might be impaired by age: Seniors are usually more cautious than younger people are, and rightfully so.
Interestingly, the other motorized kayaks that participated in this expedition were of the type that features a push pedal drive, but all the other anglers carried a paddle on board as a safety measure in case the motor stalled, and in order to propel their kayaks in shallow water, when launching and beaching. In other words, out of the three propulsion devices (paddle, motor and pedal drive), the drive was redundant. The fact they didn’t count on their pedal drives for such a long, offshore trip also shows that such devices cannot be counted on as means to extend a kayak’s range of operation, and cannot serve as a substitute for some kind of motor when currents and wind are to be dealt with.