Kayak fishing has widely been considered as an outlandish fantasy since the advent of the craft itself. Fishing kayak manufacturers know that their products are completely incapable of supporting this option, so they scoff at the idea and say it’s contradictory to ‘classic kayak fishing’.
Then, in view of a growing demand for stable fishing kayaks, fishing kayak manufacturers realized they had to come up with some kind of response, so they began offering increasingly wide sit-on-top (SOP) fishing kayaks that became almost impossible to paddle, but were promoted as being stable enough to allow stand up kayak fishing.
Some people fell for this hype, but they soon realized that although the new, extra-wide fishing kayaks were indeed stabler, they weren’t nearly as stable as would be required to fish standing up. This has to do with both lack of initial stability and secondary stability, as well as the fact that such kayaks do not offer a ‘Plan B’, that is a solution for dealing with situations where the angler has already been destabilized, as it often happens, and they are facing the unwanted possibility of falling overboard with their fishing gear and tackle following them.
Then, some manufacturers began offering solutions based on kayak outriggers. Those may have improved initial stability, but they could not solve the problem of ‘what if” – that is what should the angler do if and when they lose balance in their kayak, and are forced to fall overboard – an event usually described as ‘going swimming’.
So far, the only fishing kayaks to provide adequate initial and secondary stability, as well as a solution in case the standing kayak angler lose their stability are the kayaks made by Wavewalk Fishing Kayaks, due to the combination of optimal kayak stability and a saddle that the angler can fall on, and regain balance instantly.
2012 was the year of the motorized fishing kayak – Not just a common sit-n or SOT kayak outfitted with a lame electric trolling motor, but the real thing: a motorboat as American anglers understand it, and this means a boat powered by a gas engine – typically an outboard motor.
And by motorboat we don’t mean one that offers just inland fishing on flat water but cannot be used for offshore fishing – What we’re talking about is real ocean fishing capabilities, from surf launching to trips that are several times longer than what electric motors may enable before they run out of electricity.
This also means sufficient stability for stand up fishing, dryness (sorry, we don’t buy the notion that kayak fishing is a wet sport…), sufficient storage space for long trips, and a comfort level that’s acceptable for anyone, and not just for young, lightweight and athletic fishermen.
And when trailers are concerned – we find that unless you’re looking for a boat that will carry you and several passengers on board, you can and should do without a trailer, not just because of the additional expense, but also because it takes room in your yard, and it takes precious time from each and every fishing trip you make. And when you consider the fact that a trailer also limits your launching and beaching options to the same spot, and one that features a boat ramp, we’re talking about a new level of freedom…
No-motor-zones? Not necessarily a problem when you can instantly switch to a human powered mode of propulsion – paddling in most cases, poling in shallow water, and rowing if you prefer!
This is no longer an experimental concept – People enjoy the advantages of fishing out of W motor kayaks worldwide, and if you ask many of them, the boat they fish from is a personal skiff that offers some extra advantages compared to small motorboats (skiff, jon boat, bass boat, etc.) and kayaks.
From now, this online kayak fishing magazine will focus exclusively on Motorized Kayak Fishing. We’ll publish articles, videos and reviews related only to motorized fishing kayaks: Inland and offshore, in shallow and deep water, in cold climates and in warmer ones, in bass fishing trips and when fishing for other fish species.
While considering what kind of fishing kayak to purchase to fulfill your personal requirements, it is of high importance to your wallet to be conscious of the fact that the bottom-line price of a fishing kayak is almost always not limited to just the base cost of the kayak itself. When you factor in the additional cost of the countless accessories necessary to outfit a traditional kayak, you will find that the money piles up and that the add-ons can end up doubling your investment.
However, buying a Wavewalk fishing kayak eliminates much of these expenditures by eradicating the need for these hassling adjuncts.
Rudder: With superior tracking over competing traditional kayaks, the W kayak gets rid of the the need for a rudder. You save $220 – $300
Kayak Seat: W Kayaks do not contribute to yak-back, and thus do not necessitate any special seat. (Read more about that her) You save $80 – $200
Kayak Rack: W kayaks are easy to cartop and fit any car rack – No need to go out of your way for auxiliary kayak rack. You save $50 – $500.
Outriggers: The W500 kayak model is by far safer and more stable than traditional kayaks, even those equipped with outriggers. The W500 fishing kayak is so stable that their is zero need for outriggers, even with an attached electric trolling motor. You save $100 – $350.
Rudders are a hassle to use, they considerably slow you down, and get easily mired in shallow water and weeds.
Kayak seats are unhealthy for your back, and can turn a pleasant kayak fishing trip into an uncomfortable endeavor. It’s even possible that they will irritate you to the point that you quit kayak fishing in the long run, simply due to the mounting back pain and discomfort.
When using a traditional SOT or sit in kayak, you must place a kayak rack on top of your car rack, taking up a lot of space and disallowing you from carrying other things you may need on top of your car.
Outriggers, which are often necessary to establish adequate stability with the usage of a traditional kayak, are a pain to install, slow you down, and limit your kayak’s mobility and maneuverability. Out of the water, they’re just one more cumbersome thing to carry.
The bottom line is that the slew of accessories needed to utilize a traditional kayak: rudders, yak racks and outriggers, are annoying, expensive, and unwieldy. The added cost of those accessories could top $1,000. Besides the financial investment, your health and peace of mind can be compromised by using these accessories in conjunction with a traditional yak.
In order to avoid endless hassle, discomfort, and a gaping hole in your wallet, go to Wavewalk’s website to find these fishing kayaks.
Kayaks’ sub-par ergonomics are putting thousands of kayak anglers in harm’s way, a problem that is easily surmountable by switching to a more ergonomic kayak such as the W fishing kayak.
There are a variety of dangers associated with using a traditional kayak:
First, there’s the peril of being unable to paddle back to shore due to fatigue or exhaustion.
In addition, anglers who are elderly or inexperienced, or just plain tired, can be at risk from outside hazards outside of their control such as strong wind or tidal current. If kayaking in your traditional kayak makes you tired quickly, consider switching to something more comfortable, with better tracking and easier paddling, namely a Wavewalk kayak.
Seasonal problems, such as overheating in summer, and hypothermia in winter, are also big threats, since they drain your energy and make it difficult or even impossible to return to shore.
Traditional kayaks that expose the user to the elements are costly both on your health and your wallet, for when buying extra gear such as dry suits to protect yourself you are potentially forking up hundreds of unnecessary dollars. Other heavy clothing, such as boots and waders, can disable you from swimming, and from getting back into your boat, or kayak, a very precarious situation to say the least.
Paddlers of traditional fishing kayaks are also susceptible to cramps, leg numbness and even partial paralysis, a problem that is virtually nonexistent in the W Kayak.
Leg cramps can be very painful and long-lasting if you can’t stand up safely in your craft to loosen up. Sit-in and SOT kayaks restrict you to sitting in an L shape, with your legs forced forward and clamped by footrests. Paddling or fishing in this position for extended period of time all but guarantees the onset of cramps and leg numbness, a very uncomfortable paddling experience.
Both leg pain and leg numbness also prevent you from balancing and maneuvering your kayak efficiently, a very dangerous dilemma.
Pain in your back and butt can compromise your paddling ability. Moreover, you might find yourself near shore but still unable to beach your kayak, or get out of it, as Don, this California kayak angler describes in his kayak review:
“I fished for 8 years in the “L” sitting position and it’s effect on my back is what finished standard kayaking for me… One day I beached the bow of that 16 footer and was still about 10-12 feet out in the water where I was sitting. I discovered I couldn’t move my legs. Getting out of that thing without causing all kinds of laughter from spectators was one of my greatest physical accomplishments. I was sure I’d avoid those scenarios with the”W”, and I could hardly wait to find out all the wonderful differences.” Read this entire kayak review >>
Examples like this are very common, many regular kayakers report experiencing similar discomforts with their sit-in and SOT kayaks. Many kayakers and kayak anglers have become so accustomed to this stiffness that they regularly stop their paddling and fishing just climb ashore and ‘unkink’. ‘Unkinking’ basically means stretching and allowing some reprieve for the tensed back and sore legs. This hassle is completely unnecessary when using the W Kayak because the user can easily stretch within the spacious confines of the craft itself, allowing you to finish uninterrupted and comfortably. So in order to enjoy more hours of kayak fishing without the pain, danger, and hassle of traditional SOT and sit-in kayaks, make the switch to the W Kayak, and if you want, learn more about kayak fishing pains on Wavewak’s website.
The term “Lumbar Support” is one of the most prominent subjects of the Kayak Fishing back pain discourse. This topic mainly arises in those discussions with the consensus that the lumbar spine needs support, which will consequently alleviate back pain.
What Is The Lumbar Spine?
The dictionary definition states that lumbar is:
▸ adj: [pertaining to] or near the area of the back between the ribs and the hip bones . “Lumbar vertebrae”
The lumbar spine consists of the stiff vertebrae and flexible cartilage of the lower spine. This area holds the weight of the upper body, and is supported by the hip bones.
Therefore, nothing holds, pushes, or supports the lumbar spine from any direction except from the top and bottom when in its normal position.
How did the Lumbar Spine turn into a Problem for Kayakers?
The first kayakers, native Arctic people, sat on the floor of their kayak with outstretched legs, eliminating the need for lumbar spine support. For this reason native kayaks did not have a backrest, or any other means of support.
When Westerners began using aboriginal kayaks they realized they had trouble staying upright with their legs stretched forward, in the L position. This is due they to the lack of sitting in this way in everyday life, and the muscles in their body were not adjusted. Rather than adjusting the passenger to the kayak, manufacturers and designers decided to change the kayak to match the paddler, introducing a system of back and foot rests engineered to clasp the kayaker in the L position, preventing the upper body from moving backwards or sliding forwards.
The kayaker is supported by three non moving points in the kayak: two footrests and a back rest. By constantly pushing against those points, the kayakers legs give the force needed to keep the body in place.
How Does the L Posture Affect the Lumbar Spine?
The legs have the most powerful muscles in your body, allowing you to run, jump, e.t.c. When you are stuck in the L position, your legs are constantly pushing against the kayak’s footrests, and against the lumbar spine, which is held in place by the backrest behind it. The hard, constant pressure on your lumbar spine comes at an unnatural angle, that is caused by the backrest. There is no solution to ease this pressure, when seated in this format, which is also the only possible posture allowed by Sit-On-Top kayaks and Sit-in kayaks.
In other words, when paddling or fishing from a kayak, the only solution to relieve this stress and pain is to leave the kayak and stretch.
How Does it Lead to Pain, and to the ‘Yak Back’ Syndrome?
Leaving the kayak to abate pressure on your lumbar spine is not a pliable option in most situations, and this is why most kayak anglers and paddlers continue to sit in their kayaks braving growing discomfort, and pain in their back.
This pain known as ‘Yak Back‘, is experienced by most kayak fishermen and paddlers who use their boat for longer than an hour. This pain is caused by pressure on the cartilage, and muscles in this area, as a result of the force they have to exert to stop spine injuries, or to at least lessen the severity
Try to imagine this situation as a fight between the very strong legs shoving your lumbar spine back against the backrest, and the less powerful muscles in the lower back that are attempting to protect the spine, and avert it from being injured.
Luckily, your body will warn you of this, in the form of pain. The pain will tell you to stop this unhealthy “battle” between your legs and your back, before you get seriously injured.
Disregarding this pain will lead to an increase in the severity of the problem, resulting in more pain, and ultimately to a more severe back injury.
How much force do your legs exert on your lumbar spine in the L Position?
We have measured the force as anywhere between forty and sixty pounds.
To measure this pressure by yourself, position a bathroom scale upright between your lumbar spine the backrest of your kayak. Sit i your kayak as you would normally, and have someone read the dial for you.
Even worse than this huge amount of pressure is that it is constant and unavoidable.
More alarming than the total pressure is the pressure per area measurement, which would be alarming.
Correct Paddling Form, Cushioning Your Seat, and the Truth of Back Pain and Spinal Injury
Kayaking and kayak fishing instructors will tell you to sit straight as to better your kayaking style and perform more efficient torso rotations. Despite this, you must remember that the people who initially created and polished this style did not have backrests, as they did not need them. Therefore, theses first kayakers did not suffer from ‘Yak Back’ .
In general, polishing your kayaking style will not improve the situation in your back: You will continue to experience discomfort and pain, and still be at risk of spinal damage.
The clear reason for this is due to the fact that your legs will keep pushing your back.
Sit-in and SOT kayak vendors will offer to “upgrade” your kayak to the latest “user friendly” seat, that is certain to be more expensive. Vendors will praise the extra cushioning of the seat on your hips and lumbar spine, claiming that these seats will nullify fatigue, leg numbness, and back pain.
In reality, special kayak seats, that have been around for decades,have never produced the wanted effect of ending Yak Back. These seats don’t work, because all kayaks have a backrest by definition. No amount of cushioning will lessen the amount of force that your legs exert when they push that backrest against your back.
These seats can be counterproductive, as the soft cushioning can lessen the pressure on softer tissues in your lower back, like skin, delaying the feeling of discomfort and pain in your back, and in its supporting muscles. The problem will surface when it as a more advanced stage, which is dangerous, from a health stand point.
What Your Lumbar Spine Needs When You Kayak Fish
Of course you must avoid kayak fishing and paddling while in the L position, because it is harmful to your health, and sitting for long periods of time can lead to back injuries and long-term back pain.
So, what is the ideal kayak?
The ideal kayak would always be comfortable, and not damaging to your lumbar spine. But does such a kayak exist?
Indeed a kayak that matches those criteria exists. The Wavewalk Fishing Kayak has no backrest, and instead has a saddle; This saddle is similar to that of a bike’s, snowmobile’s, and horse’s saddle, as well as that of many other’s. The common factor in these examples is that your own legs support body. This factor is great for your lumbar spine, as no unnatural pressure points are present.
Secondly, the saddle seat of the Wavewalk Kayak offers a multitude of different stances, such as stand-up, and the option to change between two stances at any given time. Therefore, whatever ailment you feel in your back, or pressure in any part of your body can be relieved at your whim.
As a result, kayak anglers and paddlers, who suffer back problems, say that even after spending lots of time in their Wavewalk kayaks do not feel discomfort or pain. Reports on this can be found in fishing kayak reviews, where these anglers and paddlers state that without their Wavewalk kayak, fishing or paddling from a kayak would be nigh on impossible.