Build a surf kayak?

Would it theoretically be possible to design and build a strip built kayak for the surf? I know that this concept wouldn’t really work in WW because it would get beat into… well… toothpicks or something, but could it be possible for the surf? Would buoyancy be a problem due to its size? I was thinking something around 8 feet, with a hull design similar to a Dagger GT 8.1. Possible? Please give me your thoughts… or if it isn’t possible let me know and I’ll try to move on to the next crazy idea…

It’s possible

– Last Updated: May-10-06 10:47 PM EST –

A guy built a strip built surf kayak here in Southern California a few years ago, I heard about the boat, but have never seen it except in pictures. He built it too small for his size so it did not get much use. If you only took it out in mild conditions it would probably be OK. If you were going to build a strip boat I would build it more like a polo boat than a whitewater boat. If you wanted to build a good proven surf boat out of wood I would look at Dave Church's Woody Ski, also the guy who does the Guilimot boats, (Spelling ?, sorry I'm not into boat building) had plans for a stitch and glue kayak in the works but I don't think it materialized into something he wanted to get behind. Here's a link to the Woody Ski....

Check this out!

‘Facetious’, by builder/designer Mike Allen.

Talk about some tortured plywood, eh?!


from Guillemot
Nick Schade from Guillemot built a prototype surf kayak a year or so ago, but was stitch-and-glue, not cedarstrip. He doesn’t have the plans available yet, but there is some information on his website at

A Stripped Built Can Be Done

– Last Updated: May-11-06 5:08 AM EST –

but it's a lot of work. The greatest challenge is to find a design that has already been proven to work. Otherwise, you'll find yourself spending lots of time, material and end up with a pig in the waves. The GT 8.1 is not even close to being optimal for wave riding. If I were going to spend both time and money, the darn thing better rip on a wave.

If you were going to do a surf kayak that looks reasonably nice and actually surfs, I would recommend contacting Nick Schrade about his prototype. I've seen that boat. It looks like it can surf. If you like it, after using it, you can always change the top deck to incorporate strips to pretty up the boat.

Personally, I am not big about the aesthetics of a boat. It's what it can do on a wave that I am most concerned about. Once rippin' on a wave, I could care less what the heck the boat looks like. It's all about the function.


wooden surf kayak
the guy that did the woodyski also has a wood surf kayak:

Also there is a how to video on building a wooden surf kayak that looks cool:


You can build a cedar strip
kayak to be anything you want. I just built an exact replica of my skin on frame kayak and it was pretty easy. Make internal forms attached to a strongback and let your imagination build a kayak to suite your needs. You can use another proven kayak as a model and make changes to it as you would like. Cedar is really easy to work with. If you want you can take a look at the building proccess I used to copy my skin on frame kayak.

Fragility ?
I don’t do a lot of wood working. I’ve made some musical instruments and cedar tops have really nice lively tone but they are very fragile. Also trying to build stuff for decorative purposes it seems to split when you don’t want it to?

Don’t think of it as cedar,
think of it as “wood-core composite” If you encpsulate a strip hull in S-glass and epoxy the wood isn’t going anywhere.

Tough as you want!
You can do it. Pick a design you like an build it. You can make it super tough but that will also make it super heavy. There is no need for 9 layaers of kevlar unless you trying to build the ultimate white water bombproof expedition boat.

for sale
speek of coincindence, there is a surfyak wooden kayak for sale for $250 on under gear swap in surf kayak section


thanks… one more ?

– Last Updated: May-24-06 6:23 PM EST –

thanks for all the opinions!

What is a good hull design to copy for small surf play? I'm in Texas, we don't get big waves but on a windy day the can still be fun. Any suggestions from the surf kayakers out there?

Thanks in advance...

Build a surf kayak?
I built a Cedar strip surf kayak, wheighs 22 pounds and surfs great, you can see pictures posted on here is a link.