Wavewalk has been developing new solutions to work with its S4 skiff, namely the S4 kayak outfitted with a powerful outboard motor.
Aside from these technical developments that enhance the boat’s performance in rough water, shallow water, launching and beaching, fishing and hunting, Wavewalk now offers the S4 in a new color – the Gator Drag Green, seen in some of the pictures below. This color matches the typical drab green color of Jon boats, and it can serve as an excellent base for camouflage.
1. Portable set of large-size, wide wheels for carrying the Wavewalk S4 over rough terrain
The first is a set of large-size, wide wheels that allow for easier carrying of the S4 when outfitted with a heavy outboard motor. This is particularly useful for anglers who want to launch this skiff in remote beaches on the Gulf coast, in marshes, flats, etc. The wheels work well on rough terrain, but pulling the boat in deep sand is still not easy.
2. Large-size spray shield for the Wavewalk S4
Sometimes the Gulf of Mexico gets choppy, and you want to drive your S4 skiff in it at full speed. No problem with that, except that if you have a passenger sitting in the front (e.g. a fishing buddy), they might get splashed when the bow hits waves.
The solution is a large-size, lightweight, detachable, transparent spray shield, and shown here:
Easy to attach. full size spray shield
Since this spray shield is attached to the deck with just a few bungees, detaching is quick and easy, in case it gets in the way during a fishing trip.
Wavewalk does not offer this spray shield for sale, but the good news is that making a DIY version is easy and inexpensive, and the materials can be purchased at home improvement stores.
3. Powerful mud motor for driving in marshes and flats
Chris from Northern Tribe Outdoors use a Wavewalk S4 outfitted with a 6.5 HP mud motor in their duck hunting trips. Since the S4 won’t take all of them on board plus the mud motor, wheels, and retriever dog, they take a Wavewalk 700 kayak too. The S4 can easily hip-tow the non-motorized W700, and carry all the team over long distances, in shallow water, mud, marshes, etc.
The wheels in this picture are just inflated tire tubes. Note that a mud motor weighs more than a regular outboard motor of similar power
The Wavewalk S4 keeps changing people’s perception of both kayaks and car-top boats. Anglers, kayakers and boaters are learning that with this lightweight craft they can expect more, get more, and achieve more than they previously could, even if they owned several boats of different types and sizes, for fishing in different places. Texas is a big place that offers a wide variety of fisheries, both inland and in the ocean, and the S4 delivers high performance in all of them.
The S4 does much more, and it does it better too.
Here are some new demo movies that show the S4 in action –
1. Driving the S4 at high speed in narrow, winding mangrove creeks. The unrivaled stability and balancing capability that the S4 delivers to its crew allow for making sharp turns, and having a lot of fun – Because a good boat should be able to get you to the fisheries and fishing holes that you’d like to fish in, whether it’s the ocean, the flats, or the mangroves, and you should have fun while you drive there, and on your way back. Note that passenger sitting in the front is a big and heavy guy (6’3″ 260 lbs) who happens to be disabled as well. He rides the saddle-seat with a foot in each of the S4’s twin hulls, while the driver sits side-saddle, with both feet in the boat’s left hull, and facing sideways, dinghy style. Both positions are comfortable and stable, and switching from one to the other is effortless –
2. Driving the s4 at high speed offshore, in the ocean chop. This movie shows how seaworthy the S4 is. In fact, this 98 lbs Polyethylene boat that’s designated as a kayak is more stable than any kayak, as well as from many larger boats. The S4’s stability, together with its user’s ability to easily and effectively keep their balance on its saddle, result in a new level of seaworthiness, comparable to that of a personal watercraft (PWC), namely the ability to drive it standing up –
3. The S4 breaks the world speed record for motor kayaks – Captain Larry Jarboe drives his S4 powered by a 9.8 HP Tohatsu outboard motor at 17 mph –
4. Comparison of the S4 powered by a 5 HP outboard motor to an S4 powered by a 9.8 HP motor – Both work perfectly, and provide a smooth and enjoyable ride, but the bigger and more powerful motor drives the S4 at a higher speed. Note that if you want your S4 to go faster, you’d need to outfit its motor with a high pitch propeller, and you may also want to consider outfitting the motor with a hydrofoil.
Read more in this article How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor? »
Like anglers in other regions, Texas anglers don’t appreciate wasting their precious time driving to boat ramps, or waiting in line while other anglers launch their boats there, or take them out. Popular launching spots can get crowded, and people waiting in them can get impatient and frustrated –
But what is the alternative to launching a boat that’s transported on a trailer?
Well, the alternative is to downsize to a car-top boat that you can launch in spots that are closer to where you want to fish, and where you won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot.
Portable boats are by definition smaller than full fledged boats, but this is not necessarily a problem if you fish the flats, and you don’t venture too far offshore into the Gulf. And for a the price of a trailer, you can buy a lot of fishing gear…
Micronautical published a new guide for people who are looking to know more about portable boats. The article is entitled “The Portable Boat“, and it provides insight about different types of portable boats, including small dinghies, inflatable dinghies, Jon boats, and ultralight skiffs, their advantages, and disadvantages.
So, if you happen to be stuck in traffic on your way to a boat ramp, or worse, you’ve just arrived there only to find that there are no parking spots left for your vehicle and trailer… think about a car-top boat!
And by the way, if you’re worried about the performance of a portable boat in the ocean, or with more than one person on board, watch this movie:
And if you’re totally desperate about boating, and you’re thinking about downgrading to a fishing kayak, or you think not to downsize because of the need to go fishing with additional passengers on board (going solo isn’t necessarily that much fun), there are good news for you too:
Fisheries along Texas’s coastal areas are diverse and most productive, from flats to estuaries, and to deep blue water.
The Wavewalk S4 works extremely well in all these environments, since it can go in shallow water that bigger skiffs that draft more cannot access, and if necessary it works perfectly with a paddle, be it a canoe or a kayak paddle.
But the S4 shies in choppy water too, as well as in actual ocean waves, which means that crossing bays and estuaries with is not only possible, but it can be fun too. Unlike other skiffs that may get their crew to feel seasick in rough water, the passengers of the S4 ride a saddle seat much like the saddles of big personal watercraft (PWC – “jet-ski”), all terrain vehicles (ATV), and dirt bikes. These vehicles allow their users for the most effective balancing possible, so they don’t feel seasick.
This first movie shows the Wavewalk S4 driven in wavy seas and towed behind a big motorboat, as a tender boat. Note how well it moves with a second passenger on board -This is not a solo skiff!
This second movie shows the WAvewalk S4 driven in choppy water –
Both these movies demonstrate the S4’s versatility and high performance that rival and even outperform various types of skiffs and microskiffs out there.
Flats fishing is very popular in Texas, since the flats are very productive fishery. The warm and shallow water are home for the most prized fish species, including redfish, seatrout, flounder, and more.
But the skinny water and tides present a challenge to local anglers who fish from boats, since they risk being stranded, or worse – damaging the motor’s propeller and even its lower unit.
Kayaks are often used for fishing the flats, but their limited range of travel and the discomfort imposed on their users has most anglers stay away from them.
The solution seems easy, and it is to fish out of a boat that’s lightweight enough to have a very shallow draft, and that can be propelled manually with paddles, since poling isn’t much of a real world solution for non athletic anglers. But such a boat would still be drafting as much as its outboard requires for proper functioning, which raises the question why not use a mud motor with it, as mud motors can operate in extremely shallow water –
The reason why mud motors are less popular than conventional outboard motors is mainly their bigger size and heavier weight, which require the boat to be more stable. Price wise, mud motors are not necessarily more expensive than conventional outboard motors of similar horsepower.
The following video shows a Wavewalk S4 kayak skiff powered by a 6.5 HP Twister from Mud Skipper
The video shows how effective the motor is for going through aquatic vegetation, and over underwater obstacles.
This kayak skiff is by no means a solo skiff, and it can carry on board up to three anglers and their gear.
Unlike most microskiff, the S4 is a seaworthy boat that can go in choppy water and waves, which makes it ideal for crossing open water, bays and estuaries even under rough conditions, and it can serve fishermen who fish in deep water.
The perfect car-top skiff that’s more seaworthy than most Jon boats and skiffs, and works better as a fishing kayak than all other kayaks. Ideal for one or two large-size anglers.
Whether you’re motorizing in a bay or in the gulf, in the flats or in rivers, the S4 offers you more stability and comfort, and you can switch to a paddling mode anytime you need to, or feel like it.
Launching no longer depends on boat ramps, and neither does beaching. No more trailers, and no more time wasted waiting for other boat owners to launch and beach.
This patented craft features a real catamaran hull and a personal watercraft saddle seat. Together, they provide the highest level of stability and balancing capability, not just on flat water, but also for driving in the ocean. And most importantly, no more back pain, since you sit in this boat in the comfortable riding position, or side-saddle, and not in the non-ergonomic kayaking L posture. Standing up in this skiff kayak is easy and intuitive, and you can even drive it standing.
The S4 features a front deck that can be used as a casting platform, or a dog platform for duck hunters.
Portable boats offer one big advantage, which is that when you own one, you don’t have to use a trailer to store and transport it. In other words, after a long drive to the beach, you can put in without necessarily waiting in line at the boat ramp, together with other impatient and frustrated boaters like yourself. And when your fishing trip is done, you can simply take the boat out, without having to wait for others who where there before you. Traffic at boat ramps can definitely take too much time away from your fishing trip, and it can definitely take away some of the fun.
Portability is important, but portable boats come with their own problems and limitations, and these have to do mainly with their size – Being of smaller size, these boats are neither stable nor comfortable, and their seaworthiness leaves much to be desired. Being boats and not paddle craft, they aren’t well fit for human propulsion, and paddling them across long distances is impossible.
These limitations practically mean than portable boats don’t work well in moving water, such as in the ocean, and on the other hand, they don’t work well in very shallow water (skinny water) and weed infested water, since outboard motors’ performance in such waters is very limited.
Fishing kayaks are considered by many as unworthy of being called boats because they are neither stable nor dry enough for fishing in the ocean, nor comfortable enough to fish anywhere, unless you’re a young, lightweight and physically fit person who suffers from no back problems at all.
Another problem that fishing kayaks present is their being unfit for effective motorizing, namely with outboard motors, and this severely limits the user’s range of operation, and could even be a safety problem in fast currents, strong wind, and bad weather. For these reasons, few kayak fishermen venture in the ocean along the Texas coast.
Seaworthy portable boats that work perfectly as paddle craft
The Wavewalk S4 cartop cat microskiff
But what if there were portable boats that were seaworthy enough for fishing in the ocean, yet narrow enough to work perfectly as paddle craft, whether with canoe or kayak paddles?
Such boat is the Wavewalk® Series 4 (S4), patented twin-hull (catamaran) ultralight cartop microskiff.
Another solution that Wavewalk offers is the W700 catamaran kayak.
Both boats are lightweight enough to be car-topped by one person, yet roomy and stable enough to take on board two large size anglers with all their fishing gear, plus an outboard motor. They can be launched pretty much everywhere, including rocky beaches nicknamed “rock gardens”.
They can even be dragged across rough terrain. Both boats work well as paddle craft, with a crew of one (I.E. Solo) or two. In case the two passengers are not particularly heavy, the cockpits of these two boats are roomy enough to accommodate a third, small size passenger, such as a child or a dog, or both.
The fact that these two boats work in either a canoeing or a kayaking mode allows their crew to fish the flats in very skinny water, as well as fish and hunt in marshes and other fisheries where vegetation abounds, and in non-motor zones (NMZ).
This unique combination of seaworthiness and shallow water capabilities makes extremely well suitable to serve as skiffs for fishing the flats, bays and estuaries along the Texas coast. In fact the Series 4 (S) features the typical skiff stand up casting platform at the bow.
The differences between the W700 and S4 is that the bigger S4 can carry a bigger payload and a more powerful outboard motor, while the narrower W700 works so well as a paddle craft that it’s easier and more comfortable to paddle than any canoe or fishing kayak, whether in a solo or a tandem mode. And this is where it’s important to say that both boats feature a saddle seat that’s similar to the seats that personal watercraft (PWC) a.k.a. Jet-skis feature, and they are totally back pain free (see this review »), which can’t be said about sit-in and SOT kayaks.
This movie is about a 15 mile round trip offshore in a W700:
This video shows the W700 sneaking into a mangrove tunnel –
So, whether you’re after redfish or tarpon, seatrout, mangrove snapper or bass, or any other saltwater or freshwater fish species, and whether you fly fish or hunt for ducks, solo or with a friend – these two boats offer you a higher level or freedom, comfort and versatility.
Do you like shallow water fishing, and in particular flats fishing? Many fishermen in Texas do, and if you’re one of them, or just interested in this type of fishing, you know that some boats and kayaks are mote suitable than others for it, and some less.
The purpose of this website is to expose new types of kayaks and boats that work particularly well in this context, and deliver the most comprehensive solutions both motorized and human powered, namely paddled.
This category of small fishing boats is not particularly well defined, but generally speaking, it includes small-size, relatively lightweight, flat-bottomed motorboats designed for fishing in shallow water, flats, protected bays, and estuaries. An important attribute of any microskiff is being sufficiently stable to allow a fisherman to fish standing up in it.
Set YouTube to watch this video at 720p HD (high quality):
Some anglers use push-poling to advance through areas of thick vegetation and/or skinny water, where an outboard motor’s propeller drafts too much. This mode of human powered propulsion is slow and hard to practice, and therefore not convenient for covering longer distances.
Paddling works better, of course, but most microskiffs are too wide to be paddled, and those who do offer such option are still too wide and heavy to enable traveling over meaningful distances, or paddling in adverse conditions, such as wind, current, waves, etc.
At 80 lbs (without a motor), the new Wavewalk™ 700 series is the most lightweight microskiff on the market. In fact, it weighs almost half as the next lightweight boat in this class. This makes the W700 is the only car-top microskiff out there.
Thanks to its patented twinhull form (catamaran) the W700 is extremely stable, although it’s just 31 inches wide, which makes it the narrowest microskiff and a high-performance paddle craft, namely kayak. Note that it works perfectly as a fishing canoe as well, that is paddled with single-blade paddles, both with a crew of one or two.
Microskiffs are considerably heavier than kayaks, and they cannot be be car topped. Some of the smallest microskiffs are not designed to take a second passenger or angler on board. Such micro skiffs are called solo skiff, namely a one-person skiff.
The W700 is lightweight enough for one person to car-top, and with its total recommended load capacity of 580 lbs and the super-stability to back it, the W700 works as a full tandem microskiff (I.E. motorized) and tandem fishing kayak (I.E. paddled).
It offers all the advantages of a regular size micro skiff without imposing any of the inconveniences associated with boats, and it offers all the advantages of a fishing kayak, and some more, without any of the problems that plague fishing kayaks, which are instability, wetness, discomfort, poor tracking, and lack of sufficient storage on board.