Boat Length For Lake Downwind Surfing

Sadly, I don’t live close enough to the coast to get proper downwinds on a regular basis, so I have to make do with what I have.

I have found that when the conditions are right on the lakes nearby, I can enjoy some reasonable surfing.

One adjustment I’ve had to make is that due to the lessened distance between waves, my shorter boat (about 18.2 feet) is better suited to “sit on” the wave than my longer boat.

So, I’m wondering if even shorter still would do better than 18 ft?
Definitely would rather avoid shelling out more money for a 16 footer if it doesn’t make much of a difference.

I don’t really have any options to try nearby so I t’d like to see if anyone else had experience here first.

Any thoughts?

What model boat is the 18’ boat? My Artisan Millennium is 18’3" and on lakes with a good downwind it surfs nicely.

Hull design is more important than length. The best surfing boats have a flat spot on the bottom that helps them catch that energy.

Think surfskis (the brand name) have a flat spot under the paddler and they surf better than my Mako 6.

A Westside EFT I had surfed better than my Wave Exceed. The EFT has a flat spot under the cockpit.

Waveskis are very short, but surf well because the hull is designed for that.

18’ is already on the short end of skis (assuming you’re talking about a ski, which I believe you have). You could go down to a Nelo in the 17’ range, a V7 at 17’, or a few other skis sub-18’. But I agree with the sentiment that unless you’re going really short (a V5) you probably wont see much difference between 18’ and 17’, but may see some difference at 14 or 15’ (with a V5). There are some videos of a nordic guy surfing his V5 on a scandanavian lake downwind and not even paddling.

If you’re not going to go drastically shorter, then I agree a flat spot and generous rocker will have as much affect as slightly less length.

What kind of period are you talking about? We have a reservoir near me that still gets somewhat long period (for a lake) swell where the wind is channeled through the valley, maybe 5-6 second period. On other lakes you may only get a 2-4 second period. if you are at the extreme low end of period, then a really short boat will benefit.

As im sure you know the best surfing is when your boat fits nicely in the valley between waves. How much shorter does your boat need to be to sit between waves on an ‘average’ day?

I agree Mclmes, I don’t think losing a foot would make much of a difference. I was hoping to try out a Stellar S16 or a composite V5 for reference.
Thought maybe dropping 2 or more feet might be optimum.

I paddle a Think Zen and an Epic V10. Prior to that a Think Uno Max. The longer boats were mostly useless for surfing in my area.
Not sure what the set distance is, but the lakes are not very large so likely sets are on the shorter side.

I generally need a minimum of about 9-10 mph sustained with 20+ gusting headed in the long fetch direction. I won’t get ocean rides from this, but it will move me along and I can generally chase and link bumps.

Not really sure if this helps, but this is about a 10 mph sustained day.
(sorry about the lighting and bad camera angle)


Distance of fetch is about 4 miles