Help - choosing a WW kayak

I’m a sea kayaker who made the mistake of borrowing a friend’s whitewater boat for surfing. Now I “need” one of my own. His boat was too tight for me (my dimensions are 6’ 1", 170 lbs, 34" inseam.) I’m looking for something used for surfing and river running. Any suggestions?


my 2 bits…
From my viewpoint it is difficult to be truly happy using a ww kayak to be good in the surf and on the river. I have found my ww yaks to be ultra slow getting out to the surf. Someone here will explain the techical reasons for that and there are many.

To improve my ocean surfing I bought a cheap white water discontinued Necky Rip but haven’t had a chance to use it. Another popular option is the discontinued Necky Jive. I have heard popular things about the WaveSport Foreplay as well. For the surf I wanted longer meaning faster.

Some add fins to their white water boats, removing the fins in the river when needed. That is an option to consider but me, I won’t be the one to cut the hole in my boat - too chicken. Hope this helps. See you downstream.

The Jive Cult
Out here in San Diego the good Old Necky Jive seems to be a very popular boat for getting started in surf. They are abundant and cheap. Will it perform like a surf kayak, no, but still is a lot of fun and a good way to learn the basics. The regular jive will fit you fine for surfing. It works well for downriver whitewater paddling for beginners and intermediates.

Corran’s boats
Sme of Addison’s designs at Riot and Draggo Rosi walk that line ad have detachable fins.

2nd the Jive
Necky Jive 8-10.

Necky Zip
I’ve paddled my Zip on Section III.5 and at Folly Beach. Does pretty well both places. A lot faster than my S6X.

Thank you all taking the time to reply. Sorry for my delay in replying – I was away from the net a bit longer than expected.

Do you have any thoughts about sizing? I’m really concerned about getting something that’s not too small.

Rip, Jive, Gliss…

– Last Updated: Dec-04-07 6:52 AM EST –

surfed them all. I like the Rip best just because it paddles out faster and catches waves sooner. On the wave they're about the same.

With ww boats, the "best" surfer I found for me was the riot trickster (extending to the larger Prankster) because it has a wicked sharp chine from front to back and a low volume stern that combine to carve really well into the waveface. PLUS, it had the 2" riot fins. With the fins on, it surfed the most like a surf kayak. This is the boat the made think, "I need to try a dedicated surf kayak."

Also, with trickster I can actually do sternsquirts bury the bow for rudimentary play in white water. Can't do anything but run the river with the Rip, Jive and Gliss, probably because I am too light for them.

The worse ww boat I surfed was my Perception Shock (low volume playboat). Can you say "submarine?" This is followed by the Utrafuge (great playboat in class II/III) but I always ended up pitchpoling, pirouetting and inadvertantly blunting on a wavesface because it was slicey in the bow and stern. I could probably handle it better now. But back then it was a PITA when only get 50% decent ride on some nice steep wavefaces.

The worse surfing ww boats I've seen are those sub 7' playboats. Might as well call them "flotsam" or "foam toys." One of my buddy is a ww and surf guy. He surfs fine in his surf kayak. But when he decides to surf his sub 7' playboat, I can only wince. He is barely on a waveface for several seconds before he is totally caught up in the foam pile and doing multiple 360s, 720s, enders, etc. This is fine on non-boardie break but with boardies, nothing turns them off more, than someone who seems out of control on a break.

Of the boats mentioned above, for your height and weight, you could fit into the Rip, Jive, Bliss (big Gliss) and Prankster. I have seem some really big competent kayakers who can fit (shoehorn) into a Zip. Very edgy and thus carves well into a waveface. Ultimately, they all gave it up because it is short, slow and a punishing paddle out on bigger days. The length will effect how fast you can paddle out. When you're just starting out, it just sux to be in the break zone any longer than you have to be because it looks like everything is "blowing up" around you like bombs. After awhile, you can actually see the micro channels and shoulders to avoid most of the direct hits from breakers.


PS. If you live near the shore and far from ww, doing the latter only occaisonally, skip the whole ww boat thing and go with a dedicated surfing boat. You won't regret it. Plus, used surf boats have actually become more more (relatively speaking) available than in the past.

Thanks, sing. That’s some good information.

When it comes to WW, I’m a novice. I may need to ease the transition from a larger boat. Hopefully I’ll learn some WW moves soon!