Mike is a retired sailboat broker who doesn’t believe in ordering a boat without first seeing it. So he drove all the way from upstate NY to Sharon, Massachusetts, where he saw the W500 kayak, tested it, and took one back home with him.
This is what he has to say now, several weeks later:
I live in Rochester NY and I have been fishing from kayaks for the past 15 years.
I’m a retired sailboat broker with over 40 years sailing experience, and I hold a USCG maritime license.
My last fishing kayak was a [12′ long, popular sit-in brand].
Being a 220 # male with some physical limitations, including arthritis, knee, mobility and lumbar issues, my sit-in fishing kayak was getting very difficult to use. I was thinking I was at the end of my kayak days due to my physical limitations, and this is why I’ve become interested in W kayaks, since I thought this craft will overcome them.
Prior to the W kayak, the [brand name sit-in kayak] was as good a fishing kayak as was available. The W has totally raised the bar. Launching / landing it is actually enjoyable, and standing up is remarkable.
My maiden voyage:
My new W500 and I went on our maiden voyage, and I had a ball. I haven’t stood up in it then, as I took my time getting used to how it handles. I landed / launched it about 10 times and did some basic turning. A number of kayakers were intrigued at the new craft. It transports solid as a rock now that I figured out my system.
I was very pleased with the W and my progress on that initial trip with it. With my knee and back limitations, I knew I’d be advancing slowly.
I’m very grateful for being able to get out on the water again at all. Being able to launch and land easily is more than worth the cost of the W. I am now thankful that I’ll get many more years on the water.
I think it would make a fabulous yacht tender too.
Well I’ve had my W out about 5-6 times so far, and I want you to know how happy I am with my purchase decision. I was paddling by a major canoe / kayak facility yesterday and noticed I had drawn some attention by the staff and a few of their clients. I couldn’t resist the urge to stand up and proceed paddling around a bend until I was out of their sight. Awesome.
I’ve been in 2-3 foot chop on a local bay with no problems. I’m not pushing myself, just going along as my confidence and experience builds. I haven’t been able to turn around in the cockpit, as my knee range of motion is too limited. It is wonderful to be able to go ashore at will.
– ‘High-Beaching’ W Kayakers’ Style –
I want to thank you again, and I’m sure your design will give me another 10 years on the water.
Please use me as a local resource for demo purposes, as I would be glad to let prospects touch and see my W and possibly try it out if my timing works. I would be very glad to show my W to anyone in my area that has some interest.
I think you have one hell of a nice product.
Mike Ratigan, Rochester NY