Knee position in a Surfski

A few months back I acquired a surfski in a trade. From the photos in the link, are my knees in an ok position? Are they bent too much? Not enough? I searched a few ss sites to check pics. Some have straight legs, others knees slightly bent and a few with some really bent knees.

These were taken a week after I dislocated my shoulder and I wanted to test paddle w/o putting alot of strain on my shoulder, so I tried it with a GP. The fit felt pretty bad, really tippy. I went out today using a 190cm small bladed kayak paddle and it felt a little bit tippy but really pretty comfortable for the hour I was paddling.

Hey Chuck … dial up not letting me
get to pics … old computer too.

Pull the pedals ( and test paddle ) back 'till you feel like the weight of your bent legs is too heavy and is ( not actually but feels like it ) wedging your feet and back in too tight to get good leg drive. Now start moving them forward 'till you feel like you have good leg drive ( through your heel / lower foot), but can still oooch around in the seat while keeping good contact with back. Too far forward and you lose connection w/ boat. Bet you end up trying to decide between two clicks … one ( aft most) feels real solid with good leg drive and boat response + a little more comfortable … one click forward and you feel more ‘at home’ but maybe a little more naked due to a little less connected feel … as long as you like the leg drive you are getting either one will work … theoretically the lower leg one will be more stable but might not feel like it from the seat.

Hope that all helps with your shoulder.

knee position
Your knees look way too high. Dropping the knees also helps with stability. When working to acquire balance, almost flat down might be most comfortable.

Generally, a height equal to your hand’s width is about right. Overall comfort and freedom to wiggle around is what you need in a boat.

For stroke ideas, the Epic DVD or Brent Reitz’ Forward Stroke video are about the best sources of guidance. (Many other paddlers are also full of good ideas) The traditional Werner type paddles might be better if you are nursing shoulder injuries. Once past your shoulder issues, a wing would be a good idea.

Hope some of this helps!


Your posture looks awkward due to the high knee position. Your elbows come close to ‘not’ clearing your knees. Posture should be at the very least “straight up” but preferably a 5 to 10% forward lean.

Looks like a Lifeguard spec boat, one of the more stable skis. A wing blade will actually help with stability a little also, as the curved tipps of the blade grab the water for much better purchase, less slicing.

Good luck with it.


Guess I will part with it. Don’t know how to get anymore stretch.