Diane and Ernie Balch are serious kayakers and serious Wavewalk fans. They bought their first Wavewalk, a W500, for Ernie. He discovered that it really wasn’t adequate for his frame so he gave it to his wife who became a real fan.
When the W700 came out last fall Ernie was among the very first to try it and then buy it. You can see the video of his test paddle here.
This May they booked a vacation at Hatteras Island, North Carolina to visit their daughter and grandkids and naturally wanted to take their Wavewalks with them. Here is a video of a unique side-loader Ernie built to help them deal with 2 kayaks and a truck that is seven feet tall!
Here is Diane with one of her grandchildren in her W500. Ahead of her and hidden by the tree are Ernie and Diane’s daughter and her husband with another grandchild on board. You can’t really see the W700 up ahead but you can see the 2 paddles sticking out from behind the tree.
In case you want a rack like his, Ernie was kind enough to share pictures of how he built it. It detaches easily and even breaks down to fit easily inside the vehicle. After all this, Ernie concluded his emails to me with “I need another vacation!”.
Tim Fish from Massachusetts spent over 2 years looking for a fishing kayak. He owns boats and canoes but wanted something that would be easier to transport and launch. And most importantly, that he could stand and fly-cast from with complete confidence.
I took a potential customer to a nearby lake to test paddle a W5oo. A few yards away, 2 ladies were launching there new paddle boat for the first time.
As the customer was returning to shore we heard a cry for help from the middle of the lake. The pedal craft was in trouble; the drive mechanism on their new boat had failed and they were stranded. As soon as my kayak reached shore I got in, paddled out and towed the grateful castaways to safety. I captured a few moments of the event using the camera on my phone. Of course, the lake was small and I don’t think they were in any great danger, though they certainly were grateful for the tow.
Windy days make it tougher to fish from almost any boat (even sailboats) but it is often just something that must be dealt with. The usual solution is to use an anchor, which I have been doing. Truth be told though, I wish there was something quicker and less involved.
Despite watching many YouTube videos where they were used I never thought to try one. Maybe this was because they were usually shown in clips about fishing in saltwater flats or bayous. I am usually in shallow water (less than 6 feet) because I primarily fish for bass but I never made the connection….duh!
Trial by Water
I made a quick prototype so I could experience the pros and cons. Suffice it to say, I was impressed! Here is a picture of the pole holding my W500. This was the same day I caught those 3 huge fish in my previous post.
The wind wasn’t too strong and it worked very well, even though it was only jammed about 6 inches into the mud. The real test came when I went to remove it from the lake bottom; it wasn’t easy! It took some effort, pulling straight up, to remove it. This told me it should work well in almost any wind that I would choose to fish in.
The pole is made of only 3 pieces:
A heavy-duty, fiberglass driveway marker, 1/2 inch diameter and 4 1/2 feet long.
A 3 1/2 foot section of a wooden dowel, 1 inch in diameter
A PVC pipe T-connector
Here is a picture of the fiberglass driveway marker-
Remove the cap from the fiberglass pole
Drill a 3 inch deep hole in one end of the dowel
Insert the fiberglass pole into the hole with a generous amount of epoxy
Attach the T-connector to the other end of the dowel
The finished project with a piece of pool noodle, a tether and a carabiner attached-
Why did I wait so long? 🙂
Easy to make, inexpensive and effective. Using it is much easier, quicker and quieter then any anchor, conditions permitting. I highly recommend you make or buy 🙁 one ASAP.