First WaveWalk Paddle Trip, Kayak Review By Retired Gentleman From Texas

Took my WaveWalk out this morning for my first paddle and decided to take a trip thru some of our marshes down here. According to a google earth retracing of my steps I covered about 5.7 miles in 2 hours at a leisurely pace (as would be expected from a Retired Gentleman of Leisure).
The wind was blowing about 8 mph when I started and picked up to 15 to 20 towards the last half of the trip. We had a thunder storm moving in with the usual increase in winds, cloudiness and slight drop in temperature. Literally “no sweat.”
This gave me a chance to compare how the WaveWalk handled the wind as compared to my experiences with both sit in and sit on top kayaks. I think that I can sum it up as WOW! All I had to do was shift my position to raise the bow or stern enough to give me enough weather vane effect to keep me pretty much on a straight course. It took a little experimentation, but I picked up on it pretty quick. I also think that the wind being channeled between the 2 hulls helped me stay on line to a degree. The main point is that I did NOT have to paddle just on one side to keep my heading in a quartering or broadside wind, even when crossing open water. Just scoot towards bow or stern and keep on truckin’.
I had a tug pushing a load of barges up the Neches River throw a pretty good wake at me when I was fixin’ to cross on my way back to the launch. I was pretty nervous, but I shifted my weight all the way to the back of the cockpit and took the 1.5 to 2 foot wake head on. No problems once I got over the initial “oh crap” moment, and the boat took the waves just fine.
I got caught in the rain for the last 40 minutes or so, but I was having so much fun that I decided that if Indians didn’t have ponchos then I didn’t need one either. I wonder if Hyawatha got as nervous as I did when the lightening started popping…
I had a great paddle.
Snuck up on birds, fish, a boat full of fisherman and the one small gator who wasn’t paying much attention. (choot ‘em, Lizabet) Got a few blisters and my muscles are a little sore (hey, I’m 60) but no yak back and my shoulder with arthritis feels pretty good. I was kind of surprised when I stepped out onto land at the end of the trip and staggered around for a few minutes. It’s true – you do use the muscles in your thighs when you paddle a WaveWalk, you just don’t notice it.

Being able to change positions while paddling also helped my knees tremendously. Years ago I shattered one knee cap twice (full of screws now) and tore cartilage in the other, so that was a big plus for me.
I only have one question – how come nobody thought of a catamaran hull concept for paddling craft a long time ago? Ok, so the Polynesians may have figured it out first on a larger scale. It needs less energy to paddle than a sit in, is much more stable than a SOT, your back doesn’t hurt and your butt stays dry! What more could you ask for?
I want to thank both of you for the amount of time that you spent giving me and my friend a test drive and a few tips. The only thing that I would suggest so far is a couple of tie downs inside the hull to tie a small dry box or whatever to securely keep your ID, cell phone, fishing license and maybe a few bucks from going swimming if you get swamped or capsize. Just a thought…

Anyway, thanks guys! I’m having a blast! I’m gonna infect my son with WaveWalk fever the first chance I get, as he is still using a SOT. I think Village Creek would be a good place to start him out.

Lee,
Nederland, Texas

Addendum:

I did a lot of research on the W500 – read all of the blogs and watched most of the videos – before I started saving the funds to possibly purchase one. I had the “book knowledge” on the W500 but not the practical experience. The purchase was totally dependent on a test drive to see if it was as advertised. It didn’t take long to get the basics down.

Although I do plan on doing some fishing from the W, I realized that I need to get more practical experience learning the boat before I do some inshore fishing in it. Plus it’s really great to get back to cruising the marshes & bayous like I used to do years ago. If you’re going into unfamiliar territory, especially back in the marshes, take the time to use GoogleEarth to print a map of the area. A compass is great, but the bayous twist & turn quite a bit and you often can see where you want to be but can’t get there without a map on board. Man, do I love GoogleEarth!

So I’m looking forward to spending some more time just wandering around and getting better with the W and enjoying the sights before I actually go fishing. I’d rather be in a narrow twisting bayou than just about anywhere. Thanks to the wealth of info at the W web site, for making retirement even better than it already is.

More fishing kayak reviews >

The Future Of Kayak Fishing Is Not As An Extreme Sport

For most anglers, kayak fishing is an extreme sport. Extreme in the sense that an angler fishing from a kayak is compelled to give up the two essential things that any regular fishing motorboat provides, which are adequate stability and elementary comfort. The third requirement, storage space is important as well, but less than the first ‘must have’ two. Indeed, fishing kayaks are not stable enough, and they are extremely uncomfortable, when compared to regular size boats. As for storage in fishing kayaks, the situation is as dire as it is with regards to stability and ergonomics.

The Promise vs. Reality

Kayak fishing promised a cheaper, hassle free, low maintenance, lightweight, car top form of fishing craft, and a direct, sporty experience. However, today, out of tens of millions of Americans who fish from boats, merely one in every thousand fishes from a kayak, and this is after a decade of promises that ‘kayak fishing is the fastest growing outdoors sport’, etc.  The bulk of US anglers have followed neither the kayak fishing pioneers nor the fishing kayak manufacturers’ hype, and since growth in kayak fishing participation is no longer as fast as it had been several years ago, it is safe to say that the US kayak fishing market has matured. This is partly a result of decreasing enthusiasm from new participants, as well as a high dropout rate that has been typical to this sport since its early beginnings.

Yes, but…

But kayak fishing feels extremely uncomfortable only if you’re fishing from the old fashion, sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks and sit-in kayaks. In contrast, when you fish from a W kayak, you experience a level of comfort that’s equivalent to that of fishing from a regular size boat, and some W fans would argue that you feel even better.

When stability is concerned, the level of stability an angler experiences while fishing from a W500 kayak is on par with what they’d feel fishing in a regular size fishing boat, in the sense that they are not required to constantly address the issue of balancing, and they can fish standing up with ease, comfort and confidence that are outside the world of fishing kayaks.

The W500 is the only kayak offering storage space that’s dry and accessible any time, and as much as any kayak angler may need, even if their fishing trip includes camping, and therefore carrying on board numerous and bulky items that so far only canoes and regular size boats could carry.

The Future Of Kayak Fishing

This is to say that kayak fishing has a future, and a bright one, but not as the extreme sport it’s been for most kayak anglers so far. The future of kayak fishing as a broad base sport and leisure activity depends on the participation of regular people, who care about their personal comfort, and demand a performance level in stability and storage that is not sub-minimal.  In other words, the future of kayak fishing is W kayak fishing.


Senior Kayak Fisherman With Back Surgery and Balance Problems Finds The Solution

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

Tony, from New Hampshire, offers this testimonial:
-“The Wavewalk 500 is great. It only took a minimum amount of time of actual paddling to get used to the kayak.
The weather is still bad but I am planning to get out next week and see if I can catch a fish.
My daughter Lisa and I have spent many hours fishing out of the kayaks on the weekends but I have not slimed the 500 yet. Today we had to quit because our hands got so cold.
The 500 is very stable and easy to control. The stability is very important as I had a major surgery on my back last year and somehow it messed up my balance.
Wavewalk have designed a great craft. Thanks to you I can enjoy fishing again.”

Can You Paddle a Kayak After Spinal Fusion Surgery?

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

Spinal fusion is an extreme surgical intervention performed on patients who suffer from certain chronic, serious back conditions, including severe pain, which have not responded to conservative treatment.
One of those patients recently posted a short review of her W kayak. Her testimonial sends a message of hope to other people in her situation:
I had spinal fusion six years ago. I have always wanted to Kayak but I know there is no way that I can sit in the L position on a regular kayak.
I contacted Norm Craig, a W kayaker who had spinal fusion too, and he assured me I would be fine with the W500.
I love my W kayak. I have taken it out about 7 times, and my longest trip was about 2 hours. It is very easy on my back. I just bought a new life preserver today made for kayaking. I am planning on going out tomorrow morning.
I am also going to make a cushion for the seat.

Kayak Angler’s Reflexions on Kayak Fishing, Old Age, and Sore Backs

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

The following paragraph is taken from a new kayak fishing trip report written by Florida kayak angler Jeff McGovern:

A really remarkable thing that struck me about this whole day was the comfort we had fishing from these boats.  None of us are young men –I am the youngest at 55, both Ed and Gary are the 70 year old range.  Between us there have been back issues ranging from simple sciatic problems to major surgeries.  To a man, the W500 is a boat we could use easily and comfortable.  In any other fishing kayaks, our range would not have been as great and there would have been many more stops to get out for unkinking.  This trip was only the start.  There will be many more to come, fishing the waters off  Florida’s west coast in the world’s most comfortable and fishable paddle craft.”

The important point is that elderly kayak anglers may be more aware of health problems, including back pain, leg pain etc., as they’ve had more opportunities to experience such problems, but young kayak anglers and paddlers should be aware of those things as well, since sooner or later they will experience them to some extent.

That is to say that prevention is the best cure, and if you feel uncomfortable paddling a sit-in or SOT kayak or fishing from such a kayak, it’s basically because it’s not a well designed watercraft, and sooner or later it would make you feel worse: Those things don’t just go away by themselves, and more padding in your seat and below your knees may provide you with a momentary illusion of relief, but they can’t and won’t solve your problem.

Read Jeff’s entire kayak fishing report