Getting to the water with a surfski

This is probably a stupid question but I might as well learn from the experts. I now have my new Epic V10Sport and putting it in the water yesterday I discovered a problem. How do you carry everything you’re taking to get in the water all at one time. Obviously you can’t put your boat out in the water and come back for the paddle and water bottle etc. It would be nice if you could stash the paddle with the boat. But I don’t see anything that can do that and I’m so concerned about handing a 20 foot boat on my shoulder on slippery rock in winds (plus I’m currently treating it as fragile as an egg) that I don’t want to try and carry both unattached while launching. Any ideas? Sorry nobody here has them so there’s nobody local I can ask.

On the up note that boat is sooooooooooooo awesome and very FAST!!!

What I do
Not being an expert, but this is what I do. I get everything by the water, usually in 2 trips (though it can be done in one). At the beach I put my water bottle or bladder under the rear bungees (I don’t have space in front of my feet, most people secure the bladder there with the drinking tube going under the foot board through that nice cutout that Epic made for it there). PFD is already on, so are my sunglasses and my hat. Leg leash is coiled at the foot strap, ready to uncoil and strap it at my ankle after I am sitting in the ski, legs hanging in the water or inside, if it is calm. To get in the water, grab the paddle in my left hand, grab and carry the boat with my right hand at the side of the seat where it is narrow to hold with your fingers or some have a handle and carry in the water. Or if the boat feels slippery or heavy for one hand, put on my shoulder, with left hand still holding the paddle over my right shoulder, parallel to the boat and helping keep balance of the boat on the shoulder, though it is mainly my right arm holding the boat up there).

I sometimes strap everything on by the car, put the ski on my shoulder, and carry all the way to the water as described above.

I agree with Kocho, although many times I’ll just get everything set up and then carry the boat and paddle together using one hand to hold both the boat and paddle together and the other to bear most of the weight of the boat.

I may also carry the boat upside down bucket side on head and shoulders. You’ll get so good at it will become totally comfortable in no time.

Although I didn’t start this way, I often arrive at the water at the same time as SUP’s and am on the water as fast as they are.

A Tip…
learned from Wesley Echols… The carry will go much easier if you fasten two sections of Velcro, fuzzy side out, on either side of the cockpit where your hips fall. This enables you to get a grip on a very slippery surface. I usually pick the boat up fist, then with a foot, flip the wing up and catch it. On windy days, best to make two trips.

I’d really like to see manufacturers add carry handles recessed into the sides, a la Huki, or as on the V6s and V8s. My Sport could use them; it’s just wide enough.

Glad you like the Sport. Had mine out today in some very confused chop and slop. You can just keep the hammer down in that boat-so stable, and a decent turn of speed besides.

Practice Practice
Carrying that new ski in a grassy yard in various positions. Practice picking it up and putting it down. Carrying it with the tail facing forward and backward. On your right shoulder and left shoulder. Under your arms too. Now do the same, but add a wing paddle. Tuck the paddle along the gunwales and then in the center. After this, try running with both the ski and paddle. You’ll get the hang of it soon, and eventually, you won’t be embarrassed when the petite outrigger gals, carrying their canoes and paddles by themselves launch next to you on the rocks.

My water is contained in a 2 ltr. Camel Bak bladder stored in the long back pocket of my Ocean Paddler PFD that was specifically designed for surfski paddlers.

one trip carry
Boat under arm like a surfboard or on shoulder if you have a short wingspan, paddle in other hand, bottle in the big front pocket of a Mocke PFD. Think PFDs also have a big front pocket for a bottle.

If it’s windy and you need both hands on the boat, paddle also can go under rear bungie with blade tucked under foot strap.

IKEA blue tarp bags are super useful for carrying your wet stuff back to the house. I stand in the bag and strip down.

I usually have my VHF or phone in my front pocket as well and a bladder in the rear pocket for long paddles.

Where did you find that Ocean Paddler PFD?

I’ve looked all over and can’t find one.

From Oceanpaddlesports West Coast
According to DeAnne, they only have XL size in stock for $100.00. I prefer this pfd over the Mocke ones because they are less bulky up front, which makes for easier re-entry in rough seas. I also own and use both the original and the new model Mockes. Yes, the Mocke pfd’s also have a large rear pouch that holds my 2 litre Camel Bak bladder snuggly and out of the way, but the small chunky floatation foam blocks in the front of the pfd are no match for the thin, smooth and wider floatation foam of the Ocean Paddler pfd. Try Oceanpaddlesports East Coast to see if they might have them in stock.

Although not Coast Guard approved, they meet foreign specifications and are designed by a certified Surf Life Saver for open ocean conditions, such as the nortorious Na Pali Coast on Kauai, Hawaii. Where they were tested under real world race conditions and actually saved a surfski racer’s life this past August by enabling her to swim, signal and throw her wing paddle ahead for four (4) hours until rescued. Check out Sarah’s story for yourself:

ps: recommend a pre-run on a motorized Zodiak first before doing it on a kayak, canoe or SUP.

Thanks for the info! Really good ideas. I have to get one of those Ocean Paddler PFD"s