Will Kayak Fishing Be An Extreme Sport In The Future?

Kayak fishing is viewed as an extreme sport by most people who fish from more traditional settings, i.e. motorboats and dry land. The factors that make kayak fishing relatively extreme are:

Compared to motorboats, fishing kayaks offer inadequate stability and they basic comfort. In addition, they fail to provide a real storage solution. Fishing kayaks are notoriously unstable, and are extremely uncomfortable, in comparison to motor boats.

The Unfulfilled Promise

Although tens of millions of Americans fish from motorboats, only one in a thousand fish out of a kayak. This is after more than a decade of hype about ‘kayak fishing being the fastest growing outdoors sport in America’. The fishing kayak’s promise was an inexpensive, easy to use, lightweight, car top boat. It also promised to deliver a sporty outdoor experience.  The huge majority of US anglers followed neither kayak anglers nor kayak vendors’ hype. The growth in kayak fishing participation is much slower in recent years than it was in the beginning of the century. It is possible that the market matured. This is the result of participants being less enthusiastic, and a high rate of participants dropping  out of the sport, which has been typical of kayak fishing since the beginning.

But kayak fishing is very uncomfortable if you’re fishing out of a sit-on-top (SOT) kayak, sit-in kayak, or a hybrid kayak. When you fish out of a W kayak, you experience a comfort that’s equal to that of fishing from a motorboat. Some W kayak fans may say it is more comfy.

The level of stability an angler benefits from when they fish out of a W500 kayak is equal to that offered by a typical small sized motorboat, namely that they don’t have to constantly balance the kayak. Fishing standing up is easy, and can be done with confidence, unlike all other fishing kayaks.

Only the W500 offers sufficient storage space that is dry and accessible, even for long fishing and camping trips that require carrying on board a lot of cumbersome gear that only canoes and small motorboats can carry.

Kayak Fishing In The Future

If kayak fishing has a future, it is not as an extreme sport. Kayak fishing’s future  depends on it becoming a popular leisure activity that is comfortable and easy, namely, the future of kayak fishing is W kayak fishing.


The Uncomfortable Truth About Fishing Kayaks

Whether you are paddling or even pedaling a kayak, any setup consisting of footrests with a backrest will cause you soreness of some sort in the end because you’re stuck sitting in the uncomfortable L position. Remaining confined in the L position can eventually result in a condition dubbed ‘yak back’, as well as a multitude of other ailments including leg pain, leg numbness, butt pain (a.k.a. ‘yakass’), and many others.

Irrespective of how you use your kayak, the constant pressure your legs apply on your lumbar spine is an unhealthy thing that should be refrained from. However, this problem cannot be circumvented in any kayak that’s either a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak, so what do manufacturers of such kayaks do? They can’t overlook the problem, obviously, since doing so could damage their sales. Instead, they fallaciously advertise their deficient products as being comfortable, ergonomic etc., and they suppose that even if you took one of those kayaks for a 15-20 minute test ride, it would be improbable that you would notice the problem, as it usually takes a longer duration than that for the passenger to start observing noticeable soreness.

They’ll advertise fake features such as ‘new ergonomic design’, ‘improved lumbar support’ and any other amalgamation of  buzz words that could relay a false sense of comfort, and deceive people into believing that their problem is solved.
Some kayak manufacturers go even further, and try to convince potential customers that their kayak is as comfortable as a real fishing boat, i.e. a motor boat, hoping that perhaps a few people would be tricked by their smoke and mirrors.
But since kayaking and kayak fishing trips almost always take substantially longer than average test rides, sooner rather than later you will find that the faux-comfort purported by the manufacturers of traditional kayaks is not real comfort, and you will experience serious ergonomic problems resultingly. In this case its very likely that you will give up relinquishing your kayak fishing hobby entirely, as many have done before, or suffer in silence as your kayak works against your very body. The only legitimate way to bypass this plethora of bodily ailments associated with kayak fishing is to switch to a W fishing kayak, as a growing number of kayak anglers have begun to do.

The L Posture’s Negative Affects On Kayak Fishing

The L posture that most sit-in and SOT kayakers are accustomed to being forced into when they paddle diverges from the original Inuit kayak posture, in that these antecedent kayaker designed their kayaks with neither a backrest (lumbar support) nor footrests.

Backrest and footrests were initially adjoined to these watercraft by modern kayak designers and manufacturers to restrain the paddlers and anglers who use kayaks from shifting forward. However, the cost of this augmentation is that kayakers and kayak fishermen experience discomfort that eventually results in back pain, leg pain, leg numbness and an array of other issues.

The combination of footrests and backrest creates a frame against which your legs can push forward in order to inhibit you from sliding forward. Your legs have the most robust set of muscles in your body, and as a result of their pushing on the backrest, the backrest exerts a force back on you – that’s just simple physics. This results in an ergonomic nightmare for you as the user, because the majority of this pressure is exerted on your spinal column, a very sensitive region, especially in advanced age.

Basically, this position is named the L posture, dubbed so because your legs are forced forward in a manner resembling the letter, is abnormal to your body, as well as possibly harmful in the long term:
Anatomically, your spine is construed of rigid bones, separated by discs of flexible cartilage. This structure is optimal for supporting vertical loads and efforts usual to running, walking and standing up, but not for contending with horizontal pressure like that created by the L posture.

The above image demonstrates how this works: your own legs work against your back to support you in this posture while you’re paddling and fishing.

The worst of this is that you can’t adjust yourself to a different position because this is the sole position that sit-in and SOT designs will accommodate.

Despite designers’ and manufacturers’ attempts to alleviate this problem by cushioning their kayak seats, it is impossible to fully solve the problems created by this defective design in this manner because your spine in your lower back is the sole hard object between your pelvis and your rib cage, and no matter how much cushioning is added that’s exactly where the pressure will be focused.

Another complication generated by the L kayak posture is the vertical pressure on your tailbone and butt, as illustrated by this image:

The joint weight of your upper body with a portion of the weight of your thighs presses your posterior downwards, precisely in the region wherein your sciatic nerve is situated.

Here your legs cannot support this effort, but rather they do the opposite, and exasperate the problem.

This incessant pressure causes disruptions in the regular circulation of blood to your legs,which manifests itself as leg numbness and leg pain.

Additionally, it can also harm your lower back, as your legs push harder in vain, trying to change their position and relive the the pressure on the sciatic nerve.

This swath of problems elucidates clearly why so many people who use kayaks for touring and for fishing generally feel awkward in their kayaks, and why an abundant number of them suffer from back pain and back stress.

The L posture catalyzes fatigue, leads to leg and back pain, and all in all makes kayaking and kayak fishing an uncomfortable and is a disaster from an ergonomic design standpoint. The only way to fix this design flaw is to create a new design for fishing kayaks. So far the only solution to this problem is the W fishing kayak, and its new design.

Midwestern Anglers’ Dream Fishing Kayak

It’s common knowledge that many people in the Midwest love fishing, and that the Midwest fields some of the greatest places to fish in America, and arguably the world.

Midwest anglers, however, seem to ignore a lot of the hype about kayak fishing, sticking to the time-tested method of fishing from motorboats. Dryness and comfort are paramount to these anglers and sit-in and sit-on-top fishing kayaks just don’t make the cut in their book.

When it’s impossible to get out of your kayak and get into the shallow and lukewarm water that Southern anglers enjoy to unkink, and assuage the pain and fatigue in your legs, your back, and your butt, it just makes sense to keep fishing from a real boat, and leave those new-age, experimental kayaks to others.

If traditional kayaks were your only option this attitude would be completely justified, but with that said, kayak fishing doesn’t necessarily have to be such an unappealing experience if you’re fishing out of the right kayak. It seems like a select few anglers have started to discover a solution to this problem, the Wavewalk  Fishing Kayak. These anglers have realized that there’s a way to fish that combines the maneuverability, ease of use, and inexpensiveness of a kayak with the stability, dryness, and comfort of the traditional motorboat. On top of all this, this fishing kayak offers some new and refreshing features, such as super mobility, and aesthetic appeal.

To read more about kayak fishing in the Midwest, and kayak fishing in general, you can read through Wavewalk’s blog for more information.  In this blog you can find plenty of info about kayak dealers, kayak fishing trip reports, rigging tips, kayak fishing movies, and fishing kayak reviews.

So, if you’re from the Midwest, or are just an avid angler interested in fishing for bass, pike, salmon, trout, walleye, or whatever may capture your attention, check it out.

More Foam, More Lumbar Problems

Research on lumbar support in kayaks, demonstrates that remaining seated in the L position with footrest/backrest combo creates tension that is greatly unhealthy for your back, and results in an excessive amount of discomfort and pain.

Cushioning the seat of your fishing kayak with extra padding may alleviate pain for a short while, but it fails to solve the dilemma in the long run. What pushes the Lumbar spine up against the backrest while in the L position is the strongest muscles in your body, your legs, which are perpendicular to your back and are pushing against the footrest:
You don’t want something pushing against your back that can also propel you for long distances at running speeds, as well as lift your entire body of the ground when your jump. 

Your legs act as a sort of piston when in the L position, slamming your back against the backrest of your fishing kayak. Since there are very few bones and no large muscles in the are where the backrest and back meet, all the pressure is focused on a small area, your lumbar spine.

The forces pressing against your back are almost equivalent to the force needed to support your body weight, to put the pressure in perspective.

The harder you paddle, cast, or do other activities that require your legs to keep you in place, the more pressure is applied to your lumbar, or on top of your fishing kayak.

The more tired your body becomes, and the more uncomfortable, the more tense you become, and the more your legs have to work to keep you stable and in place, greatly increasing the pressure on your Lumbar spine, as well as exponentially increasing the pain, and creating an endless circle of fatigue.

Foam does not provide a good solution to the lumbar spine problem to start off, and due to foams compressing over time tendency, initial temporary relief will vanish after a time, and will increase the back resistance, as there is less movement room between your back and legs.

Also, if you are a heavier person, you have the possibility of experiencing butt pain, or as it is more commonly know among kayak fishing circles, yak ass, after kayak fishing in the L position. The nerves in your body, and the foam of your seat, will both become as compressed as pancakes. Leg numbness, leg pain, and butt pain are all directly correlated to compressed nerves, and are a common phenomena in the kayak fishing world. This intense pain is not a joke once you start feeling it, and has discouraged many prominent kayak anglers.

In summary, most sit-on top kayaks nowadays are equipped with heavily padded foam backrests, designed to reduce pain. Even with these specially designed seats, kayak anglers that use these fishing kayaks experience many of these symptoms: Fatigue, back soreness, yak ass, yak back, and leg pain. This creates a need for rest periods, where you must interrupt your kayak fishing for a “un-kinking” rest break.

In the Wavewalk fishing kayak, there is no L position, instead there is the Riding Position. Similar to riding a horse, your legs support your body weight, while helping you paddle, balance, and fish.

This revolutionary new type of fishing kayak allows the angler to change between a number of other positions at any time, which include the Standing Up position and the Sitting position (this position is like being seated in a canoe) . This means you can relax, stretch, and fish comfortably for very long stretches of time, without having the problem of pain, numbness, or soreness in any part of your body.