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Saltatrix

Wave Witch

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Presently use a cobra tourer to fish off fire island both inside the curl along the beach and out a couple of miles sprinting after schools of fish. The tourer is a fine boat but I would like something faster at sea and more nimble in close. The thread on kayak speed noted that the Wave Witch has unusual speed and is very nimble, having been designed as a surf boat. Any satisfied customers out there?

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A Wave Witch is Not A Wave Witch...It gets a bit confusing and I am here to set the record Straight for you on this count.

 

The designer of the Wave Witch is Hunt Johnsen. Hunt lives in Hawaii, where he designed and built the first Wave Witch in the 80's to compete in Surf Kayak competitions in BIG waves over there. His boat was magic,and in fact, his boats were banned from the international sit-on-top surf competetions due to the pro yak surfers in both men's and women's categories cleaning everyones clocks.

 

Hunt has since developed two more "Wave Witch" variants; the "Horizon", and the "Witchlet". You can read-up on these here:

http://members.aol.com/kayaksrfr2/hjd.html

 

Fast forward to a few years ago, when the Cobra Kayak Company in Gardena, California licensed the original Wave Witch design from Hunt. Hunt worked with Cobra on this poly boat and there were a few changes to the design as this Cobra Wave Witch is made using the rotational molding process using Poly. Note: The boats that Hunt produces in his factory are hand layed-up glass and/or carbon, or Kevlar and vinylester resins, reinforced with various foams.

 

The main difference is weight and trueness of the hull shape. Poly boats are a bit wavey and lumpy and get more mis-shaped through use via heat exposure,storage and transport.

 

All that said, I can tell you both factories put out wonderful watercraft. I happen to be fortunate enough to have both a Hunt Johnsen and a Cobra Wave Witch. The Cobra is a teal model, and the HJ Horizon has a white hull and a Mango deck. There is no comparison of the two, other than looks and surf vibe. The Cobra will paddle@ 3.3 MPH and the Horizon will paddle at 5.5 MPH, and carry 50 # extra payload and is over 2 feet longer and is 15 pounds lighter. And you guessed correctly if you thought the Hawaiian connection was expensive. The Cobra Witch is about $700 rigged with all the options (mine has an aft hatch, the Knee Braces,rudder,& skegs, while the Horizon will set you back about $1,500.00 after freight; even more if made of carbon or Kevlar. Both Witch varieties will make a good little "jump" fishing craft.

 

So to answer your question, the Tourer is just as fast as the Cobra Witch-maybe faster. The Cobra Witch tops-off at 230# payload. The Cobra Witch is the most maneuverable Cobra IMHO, however, both The HJ and the Cobra Witches will carve box turns using these very effective rudders. You paddle evenly and let the rudder make your turn. These rudder systems are completely different in both design and function compared to the typical retractable kayak rudders on todays market.

 

If you can swing it-call Hunt Johnsen! You will be all grins and giggles, albeit a little poorersmile.gif

 

 

[This message has been edited by sharp1 (edited 02-16-2002).]

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Sharp, thanks for the run down.

 

I'm interested in the cobra witch because, aside from cost, the poly hull might hold together better than the glass or cf when the steep beach waves off fire island pound me when launching or beaching.

 

By the way, how do you launch in surf what with all the skegs and rudder (non-retractable?) below. Swim it out?

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Saltatrix,

The rudder does not pose too large a surf launch/landing problem due to the extreme lightweight of the craft. Hunt's boats come with a macromee woven handle that is positioned at the forward part of the seat pan. It is on the boat's balance point and grabing a hold of it there with one hand allows you to literally carry the yak like a brief case . So I just wade out with it. Upon landing you bale off in knee deep water, pick it up and carry it in.Cinchy.

 

Now trhe Cobra Wave Witch has a molded in recess for the handle, but for some odd reason(cost?)COBRA decided to not offer, or supply a handle.Duh. I called customer service about it and they were real, uh "Dumb" on the subject. So plan on attaching a handle right there where it is SUPPOSED to be, or maybe an Ocean Kayak auxillary handle on the edge of the deck-ala a Drifter's handle. The Cobra is about 34-40 lbs max and if it had a place to grab it, you could easily carry it too-like mine.

 

Also, if you are going to buy one and rig it for fishing, I would highly recommend interalizing the rudder cables. Hunt told me how to do this: 1) order the Wave Witch with the rudder "uninstalled but get it and all the rigging". 2)Then after you get it, install a 10" hatch aft of the seat. 3) Now get 1/8 poly dripper tubing from Home Depot to make cable shrouds. Then drill an aft slanting hole to fit the tubing just forward of the rudder asemble back there. Then do the same thing just aft of the rudder bar. Now use the hatch access to string the cables.

 

Otherwise, you stand a chance of getting hooks and stuff caught on the darn exterior cables and also have all the cable fasteners and clips that adorn the decks edges to contend with. Truth in marketing? Hmm... the pictures of the WW on the Cobra web site and printed matter is actually a fiberglass witch. So you don't know what you have till you get it. I was pretty mad about the handle and the exteriorized cables, but it is just a tupperware tub anyway. It is a fun ride "Witch" ever one you chooseicon14.gif

Sharp1

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I've looked at the Cobra Wave Witch for surfing use and it seems to be a great boat but I've never thought it would make a good fishing boat. Real low, real wet, not much in the way of storage. My experience is that a boat that's good in the waves doesn't do well for the long,fast chase.

 

Never the less, Sharp seems to really know the Cobra Wave Witch so I would bow to his opinion.

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Salt I paddled a Tourer and thought it turned well.

I dont think you can go much faster than what you are doing in a tupperware yak.

 

I know a couple of guys who only paddle (no fishing)and they only use glass/carbon boats for the same reasons that Sharp said .These guys paddle from Mystic to Block Island a couple of times a year.They are nuts cwm13.gif

I would at least troll.

 

Did you check out the Expedition(think thats the one thats like 17 or 18 feet)most likely faster but wont turn as easy.

 

Do you have a rudder on your yak ?

 

joev

 

------------------

Always Wishin I Was Yak Fishin

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Santiago II,

Your comments on the Cobra Wave Witch being a marginal fishing craft are spot on. I would only consider one as a secondary boat used to chase things like boils, crashing bait near shore and also to fish and manuever around docks, moored boats and pilings. With nothing more than a small sonar and a single fly rod holder and the S2S fishing seat, you could have a real blast. It is not in the same league as the poly kayaks usually used for angling. Rather, this Cobra is a "Special Operations" watercraft when outfitted as a fishing kayak. You are right too-it will be a wet ride. There are a series of small scuppers in the Cobra WW and the factory leaves them plugged on purpose with black discs. I asked Hunt about these and he told me to leave the WW plugged. I am thinking these scupper tubes help stiffen the shell of this little yak.

 

Note: The Cobra factory also does not give you the Breakwater deflector seen in their literature and web site(Bummer too!!). The composite versions from Hunt Johnsen Designs have no scuppers by design and do have a breakwater deflector. It is one fine surfing machine.

Huntjohnsensurfing1.jpg

 

Here is the man himself surfing on the Cobra Version.

 

Sharp1

 

 

[This message has been edited by sharp1 (edited 02-17-2002).]

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