Author Archive: Personal Microskiff

Is the Wavewalk S4 a microskiff?

Micro skiffs (microskiff) are great for fishing the flats, that is generally still water, without waves. And while being stable and safe enough to go through mild chop, they don’t convey a sense of comfort to their users under such less than favorable conditions. This is mainly because people going in micro skiffs don’t benefit from adequate means to balance themselves, and the ability to balance oneself is a key factor in achieving good overall stability.

A good example for this principle are motorcycles – A motorcycle is a vehicle that totally lacks any stability of its own, and would always fall on its side if not maintained upright by a special device or kept upright by a person who drives it. Still, people who drive motorcycles enjoy a good overall stability thanks to the fact that they can balance themselves intuitively and most effectively by riding its saddle while grabbing its steering bar. In other words, motorcycles lack physical stability, but offer great ergonomic stability.

Similarly, Jet-skis (Personal Watercraft) are smaller and narrower than most boats, and potentially less stable, but their motorcycle-like saddle and steering bar offer their users much better means to balance themselves and their vessel, even at very high speeds and through big waves. The fact that the PWC engine is located at its lowest point helps, of course, but it is not the main factor.

Going back to micro skiffs, arguably, much like their freshwater relatives the Jon boats, these are not seaworthy vessels, and it’s very rare to see them operated in the ocean, unless they travel from one protected fishery to another, or in perfect weather conditions.

But the Wavewalk S4 is different, since it allows its users to go in much rougher water than typical micro skiffs would. In this sense, the S4 is more of a micro boat than a micro skiff, and by boat we mean a seaworthy one. In the case of the S4, seaworthiness is achieved through better stability that relies both on the twin-hull (catamaran) built, and on the Jet-ski like saddle seat, namely on a solid and efficient combination of physical stability and ergonomic stability, I.E. balancing capabilities.

If you’re driving a typical micro skiff, or fishing from it, and it gets hit by a 3 ft wake that a big powerboat generated, you’re in trouble. But if this happens to you when you’re in an S4, the incident is unlikely to leave a noticeable impression on you.

This is probably a good occasion to mention yet another difference between typical micro skiffs and the Wavewalk S4, which is that if you fish from the first, you might get stranded in shallow water at low tide, and this can’t happen with the S4, since thanks to its narrower built and extremely light weight, you can always raise its motor and paddle it (or pole it) like you would to a common kayak, or a canoe.

Sometimes life is better than expected.

A new look at the super micro skiff

People who watch videos showing the Wavewalk S4 micro skiff in action have no problem realizing that it raises the bar in performance terms, beyond anything that small skiffs, Jon boats and fishing kayaks can. However, some people find it harder to understand how the S4 is built, and this is not surprising, since the S4 is unique, and revolutionary.

Recently, Wavewalk released this new technical figure (see above) that describes the S4 visually, in detail. In itself, this figure isn’t enough to provide a full understanding of all the aspects of the S4’s technical innovations, unique features, and high performance in multiple applications, but it can serve as an additional means to get a better insight.

Click this link to see this figure in full size

Note the slanted sides of the cockpit that enhance performance in kayaking and canoeing, and the front deck that can serve as a stand up casting platform, which is a feature typical to microskiffs.

Also, it’s worth noting the integrated (molded-in) pairs of carry handles (total of 4) at the bow and stern, which make it so easy to carry this ultralight microskiff, as well as attach it to a vehicle or a dock, or to another boat.

Looking at the animated slideshow featuring on this website’s header is another good means for getting an instant snapshot of the Wavewalk S4 unrivaled capabilities, but eventually, learning about these things is best done by watching movies. For this reason, we recommend visiting Wavewalk Kayak and Microskiff YouTube channel »

 

 

 

High speed and seaworthiness for the Wavewalk S4 microskiff

Microskiff are neither fast nor seaworthy, or at least this was the common perception of these small skiffs, until now.
But Wavewalk’s S4 has recently begun to show that it can push the microskiff’s performance envelope in terms of speed and seaworthiness.
The S4 features a twin hull (full fledged catamaran hull) and a personal watercraft (PWC) saddle-seat, so it is constrained neither by the mono-hull form, which is inherently unstable, nor by the ergonomics of small skiffs’ seats that limit the users’ ability to balance themselves effectively.
The S4 also lighter than other microskiffs (98 lbs without a motor), and this is a good thing when speed is concerned.

The following two movies were shot in Key Largo, in southern Florida. They feature the Wavewalk S4 outfitted with a 9.8 HP Tohatsu outboard, which is a powerful motor for this class of small watercraft. Interestingly, the S4 is officially designated as a kayak, so the fact that it clocked 17 mph makes it the world’s fastest motor kayak.

Captain Larry Jarboe drives the S4 at 17 mph on flat water:

 

High speed in the ocean chop, seated and standing:

 

Solo skiff?

Solo skiff means a skiff for one person, and this definition does not fit the S4, which can accommodate up to three adults anglers and their gear, in the microskiff configuration, that is powered by an outboard motor, such as see here –

 

Photos courtesy of Mike Silva, Massachusetts

Pushing the microskiff boundaries

The Wavewalk S4 has pushed the microskiff boundaries in all directions –
It showed that a microskiff can be effectively paddled, and that the slogan “Forget about paddling” belongs in the dustbin of history. After all, when it comes to skinny water, paddling can be key, and even critically important, and the same is true for weedy water.
The S4 also proved that a microskiff can be easily car-topped by one person, and its users can be freed from having to transport it on a trailer and launch it only at boat ramps.
And now, the S4 has pushed the microskiff envelope again, by displaying top performance in rough water, waves, offshore, and on flat water.

In sum, these are good times for anglers who are looking for a lightweight, portable boat that would effectively replace both a fishing kayak and a skiff, Jon boat, and dinghy, for flats fishing as well as offshore fishing.