Big Guys On Surf Skis?

Any 200#+ guys out there on surfskis?

I believe I might have seen one a time
or two:


Less facetious answer: yes, definitely, but it takes some level of conditioning to make the thing go worth a damn in sloppy water.

Okay, so not the raciest one,
but I think that guy does weigh more that 200 lbs.


I feel so much better now!
Never noticed that pic on the Futura site before.

Thanks to Dave also for posting that picture of Oscar. I wasn’t going to say anything, but that was the first thing I thought of - as a good example at least.

No one has pictures of me on my ski when I has over 200. They would have needed an underwater camera for most shots! Maybe now that I’m under 200, and have a little more stable ski…

I still use my old ski
not nearly as much as I use to. I am 215 now and wishing I was 205 and in better shape. Still, I enjoy taking the ski out for an hour or so.

What the pic doesn’t show…
…is the ends of the boat and if anyone is holding on to it… look at the turbulance ahead of the blade face…

But there’s still a couple inches of
freeboard, and there can’t be anybody lifting on the ends or the thing would be broken in half. Anyway, while having a gut isn’t the greatest for flexibility or speed, it’s probably a net plus for stability (more weight down low), and it’s great for floatation and insulation (rationalize, rationalize, rationalize).

Kidding aside, I think Oscar is probably 6’3 or 6’4 and at least 230 or 240. He’s a seriously big dude. I can’t think offhand of anybody else that big, but as long as you can get your butt in the cockpit, you can paddle a ski.

How about 195??
Though I suppose with gear and drysuit I am at 200#.

Fear of what my size, my 6’2" height, and my lack of balance in confused waves would result in paddling the S-1X kept me from buying one…got my 'yak instead.

Now I see these things on the water and wish i just would have plunked the $$ down and bought one.

here also, at 6’1". Fit fine into the well of my Mark 1 with the deep seat. This ski has a fair amount of volume and seems to find favor with bigger paddlers. Reputable sources state that Oscar pads his seat up considerably. For someone at his skill level, less stability is certainly not an issue, and it gives him more leverage. I can’t imagine what a Mako padded up two inches feels like in terms of stability. Wait, I can, like an Olympic k-1. :wink:

10 time molokai champion oscar chalupsky is the size of a small polar bear.

Should I plan to see you zipping along
in a surfski at the next NorCal Flatwater Ranger rendezvous?

i was going to mention Oscar, he’s big, big as in Built, NOT FAT…

Just Thinking About It…

– Last Updated: Feb-03-05 1:44 PM EST –

It is that time of year when I start thinking about "new" boats. Actually I always buy expensive boats used. We have a great selection here in NORCAL. Were you interested in the one at MBK?

A ski might make sense because I want something light, and I don't need to carry much gear. I want sometime that can potentiallly handle rough conditions.

Speed is no big issue with me. I don't race, and I don't mind being at the back of the pack, as long as I don't get left behind. Actually, I get uncomfortable if I can't talk to the last paddler. Especially if the trip was my idea. On my own, I like to just sit well outside the break and just enjoy being on the ocean.

I think a heavier person is at a disdvantage when it comes to stablility. That can be overcome buy natural ballance, and building skill. Since I am at a disadvanatage, and I don't have much natural talent, I wonder if I could develop enough skill to handle a ski. Maybe I should try and do that rather than put my effort into SINK skills. I just prefer SOTs for their ease of use, and I just feel more connected to the ocean that way. Just a personal preference.

The example of Oscar C. wasn't really what I was looking for. We all know he is an exceptional paddler. Hearing ScottB's opinion was more what I was looking for. A guy about my size, maybe slightly better condition, and a little more exprience.

I think I need to try one and get a feeling for it. Let me know about any opportunities.

You’re asking all the right questions
I’m down to 195 - and only 5’9".

I have a different ski now that should be a better match (but still a bit challenging!) - but will not have much time to paddle it until days lengthen. I’ll be better able to give you the sort of feedback you want then.

I wholly agree about the weight being a disadvantage. I can confirm that. Gut is not ballast on a ski - as even though it bay be low on your abdomen - it’s still mostly above deck. Also complicates remounts. Boats don’t handle conditions, the people them do.

Your comment: “I like to just sit well outside the break and just enjoy being on the ocean” makes me wonder about you getting a ski. Skis are not really made for that - they need to be moving. Stability is active with skis - not passive. Sitting and relaxing as you can on a Plastic SOT or SINK in not really what these are about. You can just sit on one - but in moving water you’ll be expending more energy bracing than you would be paddling. Think “race horse” that has to be walked when off the track - and goes crazy if you try to keep it still. More entry level and “touring” skis may be a bit more relaxed in this regard.

You may not be into speed, but a ski can provide it and may change that! It will not be a good choice for mixed group paddles. Plan on soloing or going with other ski paddlers.

Bottom line: Ski would be a lot of fun if you want workout paddles with minimal gear and can put in the time to develop the balance. If enjoying the ocean AND learning to use it’s free energy appeals to you - it could be worth the effort. Few who start with skis stay with skis. Why do you think it’s so easy to get used ones? Which ski you get and what your mindset is make a big difference. If $ were no option I’d probably start with an XT, but the Mark 1 is good for my size and more stable than the UX was. Only time will tell if I stay or sell. At least I have the warm water…

I Need The Fleet!

– Last Updated: Feb-03-05 3:04 PM EST –

Maybe I am just boat crazy, but I do need several because I paddle in varying conditions. From small mountain lakes to the open coast. I paddle solo, with sometimes reluctant family members, and more exprienced groups. Several of my recent purchases were for family members. Everyone in the family so inclined now has their own boat.

I already have my "napping" boat. The Mars is perfect for suntanning on Capitola Cove and keeping an eye on the "kids". (Actually Kathy's granddaughter is the only child) No sense in taking a performance boat if I am taking along a 10 year old in an OK Venus. I just take whatever is easiest to take and most comfortable.

What I need is something for longer open water NORCAL trips with other exprienced boaters. My solo exprience was always been inshore.

One problem with having so many boats is that each one gets less use. It makes it hard to develop specific skills sets.

some thoughts
i’m only 175, so i can’t address the “big guy” issue, but i have paddled and owned a few skis. you could do a lot worse than the futura 2 for what you are looking for. it’s 19 x 20, has a new high volume bow (which it needed), and is well made. stability is exceptional, about the same or a little less than a fast sea kayak (like a 700 or a mariner 2), and the speed is better than basically any kayak (including the 700). comes with a hatch for day trip stuff. made in californiia, so you very well might be able to find one used.

i bought a used one a number of years ago and leave it up in new york. it’s a great boat, particularly in rough ocean waves. not quite as fast as a mako, but i was able to keep up with a strong paddler in a mako, at a fast exercise pace (probably would eventually have been dropped in a race).

anyway, i think you would like the futura 2 a lot. the mako xt would be another option. both have adjustable footwells so you don’t have to worry about sizing.

feel free to drop me a line if you want to know more about the futura.


Actually, I was looking at a Futura II. There is a used one locally, and I may be able to demo on flatwater.

longer open water NORCAL trips
Your SINK - or another (bit longer/narrower) - wouldn’t be better for this? What do the other’s paddle?

Longer is relative - so longer than what?

Fleet is good. Come to SE FL and you can try out the Mark I or the X-1. I won’t loan you the Q700 as it could destroy your bias toward Brit designs - and further contribute to any crossing over to the darkside. Speed, stability, handling, and comfort is hard not to like! Kim (confusing, isn’t it) would probably have no problem with you borrowing her Pintail either if you want something more familiar. Odds are my fleet will have undergone some changes by the time you get around to returning to warmer waters though…

Side note - if you do find a ski you like, you may find your Shearwater up for sale. Ski with a small hatch can do more, unless you regularly stuff the hatches full in the Shearwater. Skis (even the more casual varieties) are faster, better in wind/wave (rudder), easier to remount…

And For The Record
I am not as big as the guy on the Futura site, as some of my friends have suggested offline!

Actually, I have gained about 20# in the last couple years due to some lifesylte changes, but I am still under 200#. The optimum weight for my build is probally about 175#

Which makes you around the same size
I am–I’m right around 200, should be 175-180. You should be just fine in a 19-20" ski. You’d be OK in a narrower one if you wanted to put in the time, but it really doesn’t sound like that’s your thing, so the beginner/intermediate ski sounds like the right bet.