Best surf bost for beginner??

-- Last Updated: Dec-07-05 10:49 AM EST --

Ok, I mean "boat", not "bost". Having trouble narrowing in on a surf boat for a beginner. Any suggestions? I'm very familiar with the surf and do occasionally longboard, often boogie board if that helps.

I'm 6'0" and 210#. Links would help as well. Thanks all!

do you want sit in decked kayak, or
sit on top waves ski?

for decked kayaks, mega makes some kayaks for folks your size.

for waveski’s islandwaveski’s is a good place to start.

what sort of waves are you surfing, what sort of water temps, how much kayaking experience do you have in general?

Wave SOT’s or decked
I’ve tried both decked and SOT on flat water. I don’t have a preference really. Maybe I don’t know enough to have preference.

Seems most wave boats are SOT’s, right?

Response to kwikle
I surf in So-Cal (Huntington Beach). Temps run in the 60’s. Waves average 2’-5’.

Thanks for your input! Hope to get more.

Cobra Strike Is Popular
The Cobra Strike and the Wilderness Systems Kaos are popular surf SOT’s. I prefer the Strike.

Kwikle… doesn’t come up. Also, I’ve read “waveskis” are for the ultra performance folks. Having done plenty of surfing, albeit poorly, seems the “board” like shape of the waveski would be for advanced wave surfers - especially in the soup area. Was looking for something a bit easier for my 43 year body.

Most folks starting out in southern california go for a SOT. Cobra Strike and Wilderness Systems Kaos are the best surf specific boats. You might also find a used Ocean Kayak Rapido. It’s easy to find surfable whitewater boats but you are goign to have a hard time surfing with the boardies in the Huntington Beach area. Decked surf kayaks are great but they are hard to find to try out. Waveskis are really great in southern california because they are high performance and light weight. They are more challenging to surf than kayaks. sells the Stabilizer Comp which is listed as a beginner ski. Also Mike Johnson, who is one of the grandfathers of surfkayaking and has designed many great boats and skis hangs out at San Onofre. The crew there can show you some skis and boats and Mike will probably have you sold on a California style waveski if you visit. Also check from time to time on for people selling decked surf boats and when people get together to surf. There are three guys in the Huntington beach area that surf often. Also the San Diego Kayak Club gets together to surf once in a while.

My progression has been:

Ocean Kayak Frenzy SOT

Cobra Strike SOT

Necky Jive whitewater boat

Mako (decked surf kayak)

Wavemaster Strata waveski

I still use the last four quite a bit, depending on where I am surfing, conditions and who I am surfing with.

The California Skis
are pretty user friendly, not good for steep walled up waves. Designed and used by guys 20-30 years older than you believe it or not. If you have surfed quite a bit you may get bored with a Kaos or Strike pretty quickly. But it sounds like about where you should start. If you are under 180 lbs a Rapido would be good. I know somebody on the webpage is selling a strike, I would offer them about 300-350.

Thanks to you too! Great info.

go infinity!
the infinity waveski, along with the mike johnson waveski (which are shaped by infinity), are the longboards of waveskis. about 9’ long, easy going, super stable, very forgiving. i’ve had wavemasters and a kaos and if you go straight to an infinity you’ll never regret it.

the head guy, steve boehne, has a whole cool section on how he designs his waveskis. he’s a super nice guy and while his skis are expensive new you can sometimes find them used for around $900, which is pretty expensive as well.

if you want a waveski, i’d be making calls today. two days ago, clark foam – which produced 80% of the blanks used for surfboards, etc – went out of business and will never return. surfers and surfboard manufacturers are freaking out. how this will affect waveskis, i don’t know, but since they’re made out of foam, i bet it’ll have some impact.

good luck!

If you can find one used
The Infinity skis are definitely works of art, very, very nice but pricey. I’ve seen them as low as $650 but it was gone before I could buy it.

Tsunami Air Cruiser…
waiting to see if and when these folks will have a US distributer.

The Air Cruiser concept sounds perfect for an aggressive beginner to learn and grow into.

So, it is a matter of the person’s preference/style. For example, I really don’t think I like the California style ski. Seems to laid back for me. I want fast moves and hopefully air someday. Just getting floaters on the falls down now.


more …

– Last Updated: Dec-07-05 3:19 PM EST –


have you ever ridden an infinity? if not maybe i ought to leave my rhode island reef break and come up and bring mine, as well as my g-force, and let you have a go on it. i don't think anyone can do airs on them but lots of other stuff is possible. also, being longboardish, they look really cool, and (also) because they look like a surfboard and come from infinity, surfers in the line up seem to have no problem with them.
btw/ i've owned two infinities (only one now) and bought them both used from the infinity shop in cal and had them shipped to me.

That Cool…
Lets hook up sometime. Maybe Westport at some point.


My Progression
I started surfing in my Avocet, it was fun, but the ride often ended in a bongo slide to the beach. I decided to get a Cobra Strike, figuring it was a good intro in a surf specific hull, and it is a fun little boat, but I very quickly got bored with it and got a Mega Cyclone. The Cyclone is a fairly forgiving, long (3 meters) high performance decked surf kayak. I have had so much fun on it. Very fast, and catches waves easily. I haven’t made the move to a ski…yet. Here is a working link to Mega’s web site:


Infinity Wave Ski
For starting out, the Strike or Kaos are the fine surf boats to learn the basics. They are a durable and economical way to get introduced to paddle surfing. As sit-on-top boats, they are forgiving and accomodating as one passes through the learning process.

Jumping into a closed deck kayak or a high performance wave ski like the WaveMaster series, might present such a challenge, that frustration would likely kick in long before mastery was achieved.

But if one had a desire to be challenged at the outset, a wave ski out of the Infinity shop might be worth considering. Check the posting on this site -

“The End of Foam & Fiberglass Wave Skis?”

Video of California Ski
On this site Kenny King is surfing a MJ Mako waveski …

Fun but not as dynamic as the Austrailian skis …

Infinity? Well,…
Sure, I’d love an Infinity but as a starter boat, I think I’d like to limit my investment and make sure I can master a less challenging model first.

Seems a strong candidate is the Cobra Strike. I’ll consider the Wavemaster and Mega as well. Thanks again, great advice all.

California Skis
tend to be longer overall and will make getting through the break, and remounting if necesary, easier than most of the Wavemaster skis. I think the beginning Wavemaster Stablizer Comp is targetted for newer folks and should have forgiving characteristics. But it would still be more a short boat compared to the Infinity “long board” equivilent.


Infinity “Short” Ski

I just got a sneak peak of Steve Boehne’s latest creation…an 8’ ski out of styrofoam that incorporates features of both his Stinger/Moquito line and the look/styling of the Aussie style ski. The first one just went to the glasser yesterday.

My name is on the list for the next one! Stay tuned!!