Watermaster review and K pump

Discussion in 'WFF Gear Program' started by James Mello, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Posts: 2,784
    Ratings: +87 / 0
    So I finally got a chance to use a Watermaster grizzly as well as the K-Force 2-stage pump. Here's a quick review of the items.

    Watermaster Grizzly:


    Fast to set up, very easy to row, stops on a dime and is very manuverable. It sat fairly high in the water and we ended up floating over some rocks that I thought for sure we would scrape on. I really like the secure feeling that you go going through "rough water" and how the responsiveness of the raft allowed to you avoid trouble by going through thinner less rough water out of the "tongue" of the river.

    Now for some cons:
    I didn't like the way the that foot-rest strap worked, but overall it wasn't a problem as it worked. I would be concerned that over time that the strap and stitches holding it together will eventually fall apart, so I was hoping that in the future they would use a different mechanism to hold that together.

    I didn't like the backrest. It was mushy, and difficult to adjust. The hardbottom seat was nice, but it was tough on froggy stretches to lean back and relax.

    Since it sits really low, it is a bit harder to read the water ahead of you. Since it was manuverable it wasn't an issue on the river we were in, but in some cases, since you sat so low, you didn't get a lot of time to figure out your line when going through boney sections. So rather than being able to back row, and stand up and see what's ahead, you'd more than likely have to pull over and walk the shore. Not a problem, but it was a bit different than I was used to.

    So for the Grizzly, and rate it a 7.5 out of 10 :)

    Now the KForce pump was a different issue entirely.

    Pros: It works, it's built like a tank, and for whimpy upper body James, having the second smaller stage was really nice to firm up the chambers. It's also pretty quick considering it's size.

    Cons: No reverse so you can't suck air out. The same durable construction makes it *very* heavy.

    Overall I'd say it's 5 out of 10. I'm on the fence on whether the slight portability benefits outweight the other features that a standard double action pump provides. If it's relatively inexpensive then it's worth it, but if the cost is too high, I'd be hesitant to purchase it.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
  2. chadk Be the guide...

    Posts: 5,057
    Snohomish, WA.
    Ratings: +41 / 0
    Watermaster review and KForce pump

    "Since it sits really low, it is a bit harder to read the water ahead of you."

    I had the same experience. But what I did was just turn the boat around and get up on my knees on the seat quite often. Helped when trying to spot fish and see farther downstream.
  3. Sloan Craven Active Member

    Posts: 2,464
    NoSho, ma
    Ratings: +30 / 0
    Watermaster review and KForce pump

    I used the Kodiak Water Master out with James the other day. So I'll just piggyback on his review.

    I'm not sure the best way to put this, the Watermasters are work boats. You're in the water, your gonna be wet, you have to work the oars. Obviously with float tubes you don't need to work as much and with drift boats, you have a friend that does it. So, if you don't mind the idea of some paddling .... these things are awesome. They are stable, the have a huge load capacity, so you could go on a weekend float. They are forgiving enough if you make a mistake scouting the water, (which I did a couple of times), and light enough that a couple of people can easily carry the thing if you don't want to go through the rough water.
    I didn't fish from them. I'd imagine that if you did that it would be better than a float tube, but worse than a pontoon or kayak, based solely on how high you are.
    The foot straps are an issue and I made a small tear in the anchors worse on the float, this needs to be redesigned.
    These WMs are light for a boat, but I wouldn't want to hike more than a couple of miles with one on my back.
    The seat sucks.. I didn't mind the hardness of the thing, but the fact that there was NO back support. The back of the seat is short and really doesn't do much, or I couldn't figure it out. Since these things could be taken on some serious week long fishing expeditions, it would be nice to lean back once in a while.

    Pros: Stable, forgiving, light enough to portage, amazing control, fun,
    Cons: low visibility, uncomfortable seat, need to work the boat and have some knowlege about boating on a river.
    All in all I'd give it 4 out of 5 brewskis :beer1: :beer1: :beer1: :beer1:

    K-pump: I think it was not given enough thought.
    I was most surprised to see there was no reverse. While a reverse is one of those things that you use 1/20th of the time (only to get the last remaining air out of something when you back it up), it really is nice to have. The thing was also pretty big and probably took up that same amount of room that a foot pump would. The shape of it probably would make it easier to pack, but I wouldn't know without trying. The two-speed feature was also a little bit 'so-what'. James did like it, but I just figured one could pump slower if they were getting tired or near the end of the inflation process. You also have to use your upper body, which may not be appealing to some.
    What I did like about it was that it is more durable that the footpumps that you see with WMs. Also, because it is not a foot pump, you don't need to find a good foothold on shore to pump the thing up. In fact, you could probably easily add extra air to the boat while you are floating down river. So I give it a 2 out of 5 :beer1: :beer1: . It's better than a lot of foot pumps, but not by much.
  4. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,388
    Wolf Bay
    Ratings: +314 / 1
    Watermaster review and KForce pump

    Thanks Gentlemen
    I've had my eye on the WMs for several years. Appreciate the evaluation. Another example of why this is a premier site.
  5. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,443
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,564 / 0
    James & Sloan,

    I appreciate the critique. I'm surprised there are any cons, but that's because I compare it to my old Achilles LT2 raft, which has a floor instead of a foot strap, and an inflatable thward for a seat. I agree that a functional backrest would be a good addition. If my LT wasn't still in near perfect condition, I'd buy a WM in a heartbeat. I'm surprised they haven't caught on even more. Of course they don't offer the height and tracking of a pontoon, but after seeing how combersome 'toons are for one-man-handling (lots of guys trailer them), I won't even consider the 'toon. I like the light weight, and most importantly, the ease of packing, both in the rig, and carrying or portaging through the woods. The launch and retrieve anywhere more than offsets the limited sight distance and getting splashed in white water in my book.

    So is that foot strap a fatal flaw, or just an imperfection? And how does one deal with it if the stitching rips out - back to manufacturer?


    Salmo g.
  6. chadk Be the guide...

    Posts: 5,057
    Snohomish, WA.
    Ratings: +41 / 0
    The fact that the strap is still holding must be a sign of the WM quality. I bet these gear program boats have been used and abused more than the average WM owned by an individual by quite a bit...

    I noticed them as potential problems right away, but if Chris hasn't had them repaired\re-enforced since he's got them for the program, then I'd have no second thoughts about them. If you plan to fish them more than 150 days per year, and\or you are a big guy who'd be putting lots of pressure on them, then you may have something to worry about... But for the average guy - the boats should last a long time.
  7. Chris Scoones Administrator

    Posts: 3,578
    North Bend
    Ratings: +293 / 0
    The foot strap mount is a design flaw fixed after I got these boats. Some others have mis-used the foot strap, pushing against it with their feet while oaring like they would with framed foot rest. The WM's strap is only to rest your foot on. The new design is similar, just a lot sturdier.

    I'll have it upgraded with the new strap mounts.

    I'm quite surprised at K-Pump reviews guys. IMO, no double chamber pump can touch it, no foot foot can touch it, and although it WOULD be nice if it reversed it's not designed for that. The double chamber is very functional given the higher volume chamber will along allow the leverage to fill a boat to 1.5lbs, and the smaller chamber, while pushing less air, will top it off to 8lbs or more.

    Chad, if you're referring to buoyancy I disagree about an anglers size being an issue with the WM's. Quite the opposite. A popular toon size has been the 8ft'rs. The Pac 800 for example only had a rating of 275lbs. The WM's are 500/700, by comparison. If you're referring to comfort, a older friend that would break some scales noted he would prefer the hard seat (a WM option) and didn't like having to sit so low as it was a strain having to stand back up so far.

    No, I haven't had to repair until now. The only issue I've had really, outside of this new one, is that they light gray shows dirt more than the olive, which wouldn't be a big deal but many have returned the boats without wiping them down first.


  8. Sloan Craven Active Member

    Posts: 2,464
    NoSho, ma
    Ratings: +30 / 0
    There are cons I think to any sort of water transportation device. Nothing is going to be perfect for every scenario. But the watermaster will transport you in class II rapids, and probably class III if you are a stud, but also will take you through shallow creeks that you couldn't do in a drift boat. Basicallly if I had the cash, I'd have ordered one today. Before, a pontoon or a driftboat, I want one of these.
    With the pump, maybe I was a little hard on it. It does pump fast, and you don't need a foothold. But it is big and heavy. I guess I just had high expectations and it wasn't awesome. Better than a foot pump? Yes-
  9. chadk Be the guide...

    Posts: 5,057
    Snohomish, WA.
    Ratings: +41 / 0
    Chris - the size issue I was talking about was specific to the straps and extra pressure put on them by bigger guys. But you are right, if used as simply a foot rest and not to push off of, that would be less of an issue.
  10. Chris Scoones Administrator

    Posts: 3,578
    North Bend
    Ratings: +293 / 0
    Gotcha. In that case, the new connection points are a bit more robust, and have been changed so that the straps angle isn't an issue. Look at it this way. It's a flat strap that was designed for load from the top, as you rest your feet on them. If you push straight out, you're straining the side of the strap. That was the design flaw that was fixed, along with using stronger material.
  11. Philster New Member

    Posts: 2,479
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    you just rest your feet on top? In heavy water? would anybody do that? I own a kodiak, but I've never even thought of that other than resting. P.S. when was the redesign done, and if you don't know, can you post a pic of the new system to see if it's what I have?

  12. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,718
    Ratings: +413 / 0
    I bought a Kodiak at the end of January- it was custom built to fit my short legs (at no extra charge), so I know it wasn't old stock sitting around. This photo isn't great, but it shows the connection point for the foot rest strap.

    I love mine- have floated the Yak twice, and no buyer's remorse. Me and a buddy who has the same raft took out at Lmuma one day, and the guys from Red's picked us up in their suburban. We just deflated and tossed the rafts in back, and got a ride back to camp. Pretty slick. The low seat back doesn't bother me, but I did velcro a 3/4" thick closed cel foam pad to the seat base to keep my bony arse comfortable. I use the foot pump with no complaints. A little exercise in the morning gets my blood pumping and my bowels moving, which is good and bad.
  13. golfman65 Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    i ordered one last week, (the grizzly model) after reading all the reviews on here. I am 6'2" 235lb so i will give it a good test. my question is, i ordered the upgraded seat as i've seen that as one problem everyone seems to mention. Is the upgraded seat causing any problems?
    I honestly can't wait to get mine as a pontoon is not the answer for me and a boat is out of my range...
  14. shortline New Member

    Posts: 15
    Tacoma, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    I also ordered a Watermaster Grizzly last week. I'm 5'4'' and weigh 135 lbs. It might be interesting to compare notes after we've had a chance to road test the boats with our two different body styles.

  15. luv2fly2 Active Member

    Posts: 1,569
    Ratings: +29 / 0
    i have had 2 wm's since the early 90's and have had no problems other than a small leak in the red one. back then that was the only color. paid $500 each. one thing not mentioned is the backstraps, so you can backpack it into a lake. we got 4 wm's in a car with 4 guys. try that with 4 toons. why is the k-40 so expensive? $145 is more than i paid for my u boat. mike w
  16. Chris Scoones Administrator

    Posts: 3,578
    North Bend
    Ratings: +293 / 0
    I think the K-40 is so expensive due to it's design. It's two pumps. Most wouldn't need a pump like that but if you're going to rely on non-powered pump and expect to inflate / deflate a lot it would be a good choice if ya had the extra scratch.
  17. Leroy Laviolet Aint no nookie like chinookie

    Posts: 995
    do'n it 4 the chinookie
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have the grizz and love it. Super boat!
    Fits in my toyota corrola wagon with room to spare, sets up in ten minuts or less. I bought the hard seat as an addition, so if I plan to be in it for awhile, just use the hard seat for back support. I too wonder about the foot strap... But it seems to be fine.
    Any time I go fishing and think It may be worth takeing a boat, but don't want to jack with towing something, I just huck it in the back of the truck just in case... Very versitile.
    I'd go 9 out of 10 easy:thumb: