Inflatable Kayak for surfing

-- Last Updated: Jul-01-07 3:10 AM EST --

I mostly do flat water kayaking in my tempest 170, but occasionally I will take my Sevylor Bali 1 man inflatable kayak to the beach and surf. I am going to get a place that is right on the beach, so I will have the chance to do a lot more surfing. I like the fact that my Sevylor has a skeg and is fairly short and maneuverable, but I want something a little less flexible that self bails better and is more of a real kayak. I haven't found a place in Southern California that demos many inflatable, so I am just going to have to buy one without paddling it first.

From doing a little research it looks like the Innova Safari fits my needs pretty well. Does anyone have any experience with how well this boat surfs fairly large ocean waves? Are there any other kayaks that would be worth looking at? Also what paddle would be good for this? For touring I use a Werner Kalliste and I am 6'2". Thanks for any suggestions!

Dude, With A House Next To Surf

– Last Updated: Jul-01-07 5:48 AM EST –

bag that inflatable. It won't even come close to the performance of a plastic SOT or old ww boat, never mind surf kayaks and waveskis.

Seriously, spend $300-$500 and get a SOT like the Cobra Strike, Kaos or what ever floats you. It will do much better. The point of most inflatables is traveling convenience and storage. Not performance. These are not considerations (except maybe storage) when you own a house right next to water.


Innova Safari is your best bet
for a surfing inflatable.

But listen to Sing. He probably knows more about kayak surfing than anybody on this site.

thanks for the repsonses
I’m not really a very experienced kayak surfer. The thing I like about inflatable is that if I am out in large waves and get into trouble they are pretty soft when they land on me. Years ago I surfed a larger SOT Ocean Kayak. I didn’t really like rolling around in 8’ waves with a hard 60 lb Kayak. The inflatable just seems safer and easier to manage since it’s very light weight and fairly soft. Maybe I just need to get used to surfing a hard SOT though. For medium size waves is a Cobra Strike probably my best bet?


– Last Updated: Jul-02-07 4:57 AM EST –

can't say I know everything about surf kayaking... I do know that a good driver can get some pretty good surfing in on a SOT. Seen enough of the good riders locally with Strikes and Kaos who can get their diagonals and cutbacks on the wavefaces.

The issue with an inflatable is that it lacks rigidity which means loss of speed. It lacks edges which means loss of carving, wave grip and thus loss of speed. Means you'll end up skeetering down a wave face more, getting caught in the foam pile and just bouncing along.

No one starts of as an "experienced surf kayaker." You just have be addicted to the ride and the stoke and find yourselve wanting to control the ride more, rather than being controled by the wave.

Assuming you know how to exit your Tempest, you'll have to spend some time learning to exit the SOT, outfitted with quad straps to help keep you on and to give edging control. Start of in flat water, flip, hang a bit, take your feet out of the feet rest slots and thereby releasing the tension of the quad straps. Once you come of the quad straps, you're just going to fall out of the SOT. Learn to come back up holding your paddle and a quad strap so neither takes off without you. I am a strong proponent of using paddle leash to SOT (and waveskis). Sometimes holding onto the paddle leash, will allow you to keep the craft from taking off if you happen to lose a grip on it on a wet exit.

Now, go practice the wet exit in the waves. Pick a small day with 3' waves and under. When you flip, hang and relax until you feel the wave forces let you go. Then come out of the quads. When you come up, check to make sure you're on the ocean side of the SOT. If not, hang onto the quad and maneuver the SOT to the shore side of you. In between waves, practice climbing back on.

Always wear a helmet when surf paddling. You don't what you might hit when going over. Even your paddle can cut you up, if it whacks you on the head on a tumble.

There are several PNet folks who have surfed SOTs. SeaDart comes to mind with the Cobra Strike. Think he is in the 200 lb range. 'Cuda has surfed SOTs. BeachAVR also surfs a SOT. Then there is the (in)famous Ventura Wino who occaisons another forum. The dude has a black Scrambler that he absolute rips and tubes (as in the curling lip) in.