The W Fishing Kayak in the Surf

Launching any kayak in the surf isn’t easy, and launching a fishing kayak loaded with fishing gear and tackle can be even harder.
However, launching a W fishing kayak is considerably easier, and it can be fun:  You just get the kayak in the water and hop inside – as you can see in the demo movie on the side bar.

How to prevent your kayak from broaching:

If the waves drive your kayak to a position that’s parallel to the shoreline (a.k.a. ‘broaching’), all you need to do is slide to the front of the cockpit, thus lowering the bow and making the stern go up. The bow will act as a pivot while the waves hit the stern and make your kayak face the ocean again.
When this is done, you go back to paddling forward from a position in the middle of the cockpit, and most importantly: in the Riding position.

Remember – the riding position is your position of choice in rough waters. Standing up is less stable, and sitting with your knees forward isn’t recommended at all in such circumstances.
If you need to go pass big incoming waves, you should ride the saddle from the back of the cockpit. This makes your kayak’s bow go up, so you can go over the wave crests rather than have to go through them.
Most important: Before entering the water you need to make sure that you’re wearing a PFD (Personal Floatation Device), and that all your fishing tackle and gear are secured to your kayak.
Every W fishing kayak comes with at least one pair of side flotation modules. The E series (enhanced) kayaks come with two pairs. Outfitting your W kayak with at least one pair of these side flotation modules is highly recommended.
How to cope with side waves?
It’s actually part of the fun of surf playing with a W Kayak – You paddle your W kayak in parallel to the beach, and let the side waves roll under you.
You’d need to learn how to lean your kayak into the wave just enough to prevent it from being overturned, but don’t lean too strongly or else you might roll to the other side once the wave has passed under your kayak.
Never surf alone or too far from shore,  and make sure the beach is safe for kayak surfing: No underwater rocks, oyster beds etc.
You should practice with your W kayak in smaller waves before you tackle bigger ones.
What happens if you capsize?
If you bail out swiftly enough the W kayak is likely to stay right.  In such case you can hop back in or crawl inside from the back. (Learn more in theUser Manual section).
If the W kayak is just laying on its side, chances are the side flotation would prevent it from overturning, and with some luck the kayak may even right itself back.  Read more about side floatation.
If your W Kayak gets overturned close to shore, the easiest and most sensible thing for you to do would be to let the waves wash it to shore. Once it’s there, pull it out to shore, and drain it by simply overturning it. It’s easy and takes little time, and you can be back paddling immediately after you’re done.
If your W Kayak is overturned far from shore, you can turn it back but when you do so one of the hulls will scoop some water in, and you’d want to pump or scoop it out (or at least part of it).
Keeping a hand bucket or small bilge pump onboard is highly recommended.

Do you need a spray skirt?

Spray isn’t that much of a problem when you’re a W fishing kayak:
The W kayak features a real cockpit and higher freeboard, which other kayaks don’t have. When you launch or go back to sea you can “climb” even big waves by standing or riding in the back of the cockpit and leaning backward -This way you’re lifting your W kayak’s bow in a steep angle and the waves normally pass under you.
When surfing you get relatively little water in, and it is drained to the bottom of the hulls, where even several gallons might be unnoticed by you.
You can also outfit your W kayak with a cockpit cover that will protect you and your fishing gear from spray. All our 2008-9 models come equipped with a preparation for such a cover. You can use any waterproof fabric or plastic sheet to cover your cockpit in full, or partially.
What makes the W Kayak so easy to maneuver?
1. The W kayak is just 10′ 2″ long (310 cm).
2. The W kayak’s patented hulls and saddle enable you to create a powerful rudder effect by leaning into the turn.  It’s the natural thing to do.
3. You can paddle the W kayak and fish from it from the cockpit front, middle or back part, according to your need. Just move along the kayak’s saddle to reposition yourself.
Safety:  Watch for bathers and surfers
When paddling or surfing your W fishing kayak you may go overboard, especially while you’re in the initial, learning phase. Before you catch a wave you need to check and make sure that in case you fall overboard and your kayak gets washed ashore it won’t hit anybody.
Possible solution:  Have your paddle attached to your kayak with a long bungee leash, and don’t let go of it if and when you’re in the water. This will help you stop the boat from hitting people in the surf zone.
Please be courteous
Good surfing beaches are sometime crowded.  In most cases board surfers have no paddle, so they are both less protected and less mobile than you. A collision between you and a surfer may be harmless to you but it could be painful to the surfer. Always leave surfers enough space for surfing and maneuvering, even it means you’re losing a nice, big wave…
Don’t worry, there will be others, and you can always paddle around and do other fun stuff with your W kayak… If you cross paths with surfers let them pass before you.
When launching make sure that no surfer is being thrown against your W kayak by an incoming wave.
Again: Always wear a PFD when using your W Kayak!