Alamax for total beginner surfer.

I posted the following on boater talk, surf zone. Interested in your thoughts here too though, especially since some of you know me a bit.

I’ve been sea kayaking for a year, in a 17 ft sea kayak, Tempest 170. Very solid Greenland style rolls and sweep to C roll. I took one informal surf lesson and want to do more play in the surf. 6’ 2", 225 lb, 38" waist, 32" inseam, 10.5 shoe.

Found an Alamax for sale locally, $150. That’s almost free. Have read a lot of the comments on boater talk. Alamax should fit my size well. Sounds like it’s a barge, heavy, turns slow, with the fins in at least. Difficult to roll. Likes big waves. The Pacific throws big waves, but I like small waves as a beginner, so will be looking for 3 footers at low tide.

Here’s the questions:

How much better is an Alamax than a sea kayak, which is what I have now?

Do you think the Alamax will give me a feel for surfing and let me know whether I want to trade up to a Mega boat, or will the Alamax just discourage me? Right now I just want to learn to ride down the wave, turn up the wave, ride back down. Not planning on doing tricks.

How hard do you think it will be to re-sell the boat later for $150?

I know, once I try the boat, I’ll know on the first two questions. Interested in your thoughts though.



Heard It Surfs Like A Pig…
but at $150, I’d would give it a go. I saw one up close. It looked okay to me, like a really long, long board. Definitely better for someone with some weight to throw it around.

I suspect that criticism may be because it’s being compared with some of the newer, more maneuverable surf kayaks. It seems to me that the boat should get some really good down the line speed and still be able to have some ability to make looping cutbacks, or at the very least be able to trim up and down, rollercoastering, the waveface.

There was something about the fin configuration that didnt sit well with me, tho’ I can’t remember the specifics since it was a couple of years ago that I saw the boat at SC.

Yes, I think it will surf more board like than a long boat.


okay guess my assessment from a look two years ago ain’t too far off the mark.

I doubt you would lose out on $150. If it really is a freakin’ pig on the wave face, sell it to the next unsuspecting kook… :slight_smile:


who is still a surfing kook.

Fin configuration
The fin box is supposed to be way too far back on the boat so that 3 fins and it tracks like a train. No fins and it spins like a top. One fin all the way forward gives some grip and can still turn, according to cchuckj on boater talk.


Much better performance
If you bought a sit on top like a Cobra Strike or a Kaos (isn’t a kaos the stepchild of the Alamax?)

Personally if you want an inexpensive decked boat to start surfing in, look for a Necky Jive or similar older boat. I tried an Alamax and it is a heavy POS.

Okay, Fins…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-07 10:40 AM EST –

Center box too far back -- you can play with a smaller center fin vis-a-vis the side fins(thrusters) Use 3.5" thrusters with a 2.5" or 3" center fin. That should work up to 6' waves. With bigger waves, you can move up 4-4.5" side fins with bigger waves. When fins are too big for the wave conditions, you'll find more drag. My long board waveski has 4.5" fins which I thought would be too big. They are for smaller waves. But waves bigger than 5', they really kick in for grip and drive.


PS. Does the boat come with fins? Getting fins may cost you almost as much as the boat with about $75 per set of three.

"a Kaos (isn’t a kaos the stepchild of the Alamax?)" a B@$tard one if i remember correctly…

the kaos does okay…

my .02$ get it and have fun with it…learn from it then pass it along…

There’s another one still out there?!!!
I thought I had the last known in existance! Seriously, I did see some TV bit on a funky river/tidal race up in AK where a guy was using an Alamax to hop on this once-a-day, mile long ride. His was patterned like an orca which was cool.

Anyhoo, I’d be surprised if you’ll be able to get in an sit down. I’ve got a 30" inseam with 10.5W feet and JUST fit if I point my toes into the bow. The others are right about the fin boxes. They’re way too far back. Without fins, it’s a top. I carved a single 2.5" skeg-like fin for the center and it balances it out ok. The Stern is too long/buoyant also. It’d be darn hard to keep from pearling on good wave faces. Rollable? No prob once you get used to the flop effect. Surfable? Probably, though everytime I’ve taken it to Lake Michigan the water was just too flat to really tell. In the past couple years, it’s found a new life as a shallow river runner (as it has next to no draft) and the kids’ kayak. I picked up mine for $100 to learn how to roll in. If I could do it over, I would. For you, I think if you can fit in it, it would probably be worth it, and you should get your money back no prob. If it doesn’t sell, donate it to a club and tax deduct.


“Carving Fins…“
Actually, for the DIY type, it’s a pretty inexpensive (not withstanding time) to do. With 3 waveskis and one surf kayak (passively trying to get rid off), I have made a bunch of fins using luan/glass/epoxy and then HDPE (plastic cutting board). It’s a less expensive way to mess with different fin sizes and shapes.

The luan fins are okay for sandy breaks but I’ve blown too many on rocky breaks to keep making 'em. The HDPE, however, are pretty durable. Only had one snapped totally in half when I surfed over a submerged boulder. The beauty of the HDPE is that it’s easy to work with. Need jig saw (or band saw) to cut the shape. Rasp, files, Stanley Sureform and sand paper to shape the foil and thickness. The challenge of HDPE is that it doesn’t come readily (as cutting boards) in the same thicknesses as the standard fins. Bahne (standard long board) boxes most often found on Megas and other surf kayaks use fins that 5/16” thick at the base. Future Fin boxes that mostly are used on certain waveskis take fins with a base width of 9/32”. However, HDPE is usually found in 3/8" and 1/4". Making long box fins means shaping down the thickness of a 3/8" piece of HDPE. Making Future style fins means just shaping a 1/4" piece of HDPE and then inserting a very thin strip of 3/4" deep piece of plastic into the box with the fin to fill out the box and to help the base of the fin locked in tight. (I suppose applying electrical tape to the base of the fin would do the same as the sliver of plastic.)

Shaping the HDPE fins into different sizes, thicknesses at the fin tip (for flex), and the rakes (angle and extension of the fin tip) result in different performance characteristics. I also mix match the size of the thrusters and the center fin for different wave conditions.

I’ve been messing with thickness of the fin tips to experiment with flex. Been interesting to feel a slingshot effect on radical cutbacks. But, I have also had the flex work against on big steep waves where the flex resulted in the fin letting go and I ended up skittering down a waveface sideways.