Long Boat Surfing...

-- Last Updated: Mar-25-04 12:14 PM EST --

At the Santa Cruz, I saw a plethora of specialized surf kayaks and new designs. Really quite impressive what the the expert surf yakkers can do with these.

At the same time, one of the more impressive surfing was done by Jayson (? last name) who rode in a sea kayak, ~ 15-16'. The man was able to cut back and forth on the green face with noticeable skill if not with the same speed of turns as the shorter boats. I thought his was one of the more impressive display of skills in the men's expert division.

I was struck by how he stern ruddered in those steep faces. He was literally lying on his back deck and reaching back over one shoulder or the other with the paddle to rudder. I've never seen this before but am fairly sure that lay back posture allowed him to keep the bow from pearling and enabled him to maneuver on the wave in way that would not be possible were he in the more upright (normal) position. In the normal position, the bow would have probably buried in the trough, leading to a broach and sidesurf. Definitely a no-no when it comes to stylized surfing.

Worth trying for you long boat surfers out there, next time you surf some steeper faces.


Hey Sing,
Above all, congrats for your first competition.

I did not know you were so into surfing.

Keep it up!


Sing-Did you find out the make/design
of the yak that Jayson was using?

Definitely Into Surfing

– Last Updated: Mar-25-04 2:31 PM EST –

started as way to develop combat roll and rough water skills. But surfing has become an "end" unto itself.

I went to the competition not so much to compete but to participate, observe and learn. Just watching the best names in the circuit ride was an incredible opportunity and learning experience.

I have to say even the competition didn't really feel like a "competition." I tend to think of competition as going "head to head." In the surfing competition, I really didn't know what the others were doing. It was just a matter of me catching the waves and finding my own groove. I have to say on the second day of the "heat", I felt a slight bit of the "comp" creeping in after knowing that I was on the bottom half of the novice plastic boat division following the first day's heat. I had been too focused on catching the "best" waves and getting a great ride. I ended up catching only two rides out of a minimum of three. I simply stepped up on the second day's heat and caught every wave possible and rode aggressively, even when it meant running straight into the cliffside and boulders. Knowing that catching the "inside" waves meant riding right into rocks took a certain mentality... That mentality was definitely more aggressive and thus more "competitive." I daresay that I ended placing overall because some of the others possibily got spooked by headlong rush into the cliffside and backed off.


Possibly, One Of The Dagger

– Last Updated: Mar-25-04 2:33 PM EST –

light touring boats, ~15' long and ~24-5" wide. I say this because he pulled, or stored his boat, at the Dagger booth. I had seen the boat earlier on but didnt' pay it much attention. It was only after seeing Jayson ride that I was intrigued. The boat was not around for me to look more closely at later on.

BTW, here's an article about some of those "specialized" designs I was referring to:



Mike Johnson Style
Have you seen this guy surf? He uses boats and skis without fins and has a really smooth rudder style with the paddle for staying on the green part of the wave. Kind of amazing to see what folks like Dave Johnston, Kenny King, Vince Shay, etc can do. Someday this sport will really catch on.

is all I have to say. I’ve heard legends of guys being able to turn sea kayaks back and forth on ocean waves, but have never seen it.

Perhaps it is just my experience with greatlakes surf.

It is high frequency low height shore break, and not long slow spilling waves in deep water. Would like to do some of the latter.

Sing, are you practicing with the whitewater paddle alot to be able to switch between the inuit blade and the ww paddle?

I’m trying to imagine an over-the-shoulder stern rudder, and it seems that it would put your shoulder in a very weak and vulnerable position. Maybe I’m just picturing it wrong --was it elbow-up or elbow-down with the rear hand?

Congrats on doing so well!

I watched Mike Johnston, Kenny King, Vince Shay, PJ Grossman, Dave Johnston, John Bonaventure, Dennis Judsen, Fletcher Burton and some of others whose names I don’t know. I saw Dick Wold but am not sure if he was in the water.

What amazes me is most of these guys are middle aged or older. Yeah, Vince Shay, PJ Grossman and Fletcher Burton are in the 30’s. Dave Johnston and John Bonaventure are probably around my age, in the mid 40’s. Dick Wold, Dennis Judsen, Kenny King are probably in the 50’s category. Mike Johnson has got to be around 60. As I watched them surf, there really isn’t a heck of a lot of seperation in skill levels. To my untrained eyes, tt seemed more a matter of catching a good wave and stokin with it. I did note that Shay was definitely more “aggressive” out there in jockeying for the waves. Other than that…

So, I am pretty psyched. Guess I can play on the “edge” and be stoked for some years yet. The examples were right there at SC.


Both Elbows Up

– Last Updated: Mar-25-04 5:34 PM EST –

Normally, in an upright position, you would stern rudder with both elbows pointed down. This was like the reverse. So he was actually ruddering with the top of the blade rather than the bottom.

I actually don't think his positioning was that much more dangerous. His elbows are still in the "box." It's just that the box was over him, as he laid back, rather than in front of him. Of course you can avoid ruddering altogether with the paddle. Some of the folks in the short boats, simply laid back on one side or the other and ruddered with their heads. :) Really!


Paddle Switching…
For the past year, I’ve been about 50/50 between touring and ww/surf. So I don’t really notice the differences that much anymore. My body just makes the adaptation. I do have to make a slight, initial conscious effort to shorten my strokes when I get out in a white water or surf boat because I use a stroke that passes my hip a tad bit with the GP. But the adaptation quickly becomes unconscious.


BTW, PICs Can Be Found Here
of the men’s expert heats:


Fletcher Burton et al
This guy is really cool to watch, when the wave barrels he holds on to it with a hand, when he gets bored he stands up and surfs like a boardie. Vince Shay has only been kayak surfing since about 2000, pretty agressive competitive guy but he is really nice in his own way too.

Saw FB do his “stand up” routine. One of the pics below showed him diving off the ski in front of the foam pile.

Someone got called for interference in the expert heat. I’m tempted to say Burton but am not sure…

Only 3 years of waves under him…? VS is pretty amazing with the moves. He’s got to be out like every week to build up that quickly.


A lot of these guys are locals, so
I know their ages-or at least what they are reported to be:)

Dave Johnston is 40- I am taking a roll class with him this spring. I took a wet exit and rentry, and intro to the surfzone class with him last year. He is a really nice guy!

Mark Pastick just turned 48, also a really personable guy.

Dennis Judson is 60! This is the guy responsible for putting this festival together, and working so hard to build a bridge and good relations with local baord surfers, and create the festival spirit.

It is a great sport that seems to know no age limits!

I have zero interest in surfing, but was completely captivated watching these guys move through the water, and hope to have the chance to volunteer again next year. I loved the festival feel to it, and how respectful all of the kayaers seemed of one another. The A judges (all long time board surfers) actually commeneted on it that day I worked as ascribe for them.

That touring yak really got my attention as well!

Hope to meet more of you out here next year!

I 'm Strongly Leaning
towards returning next year, especially if you have the same type of weather! :slight_smile: The week in the sun really did me some good.

Hey, if you take some more surfing classes with Dave, you may well end up getting hooked! What the hey… Use a SOT/or waveski, so you don’t have to worry about a roll. Like I said, the water temp was equivilent to a warm bath compared to what I am used to.

It would be cool to see more east coast folks go out. Frankly, we don’t have as much consistent surf here in NE and thus we don’t have as many surfers. Actually, we gotta get going on pulling the NE Spring Surf Session together which will take place on weekend in April/June, depending on availability of good waves. We want to cultivate more interest in the sport. Since our session is going to be on a relatively mild beach break (again, depends on the what’s “brewing” out there), some folks will likely be on long boats and can practice their surf landings. But, truthfully, I would encourage folks to try some of the shorter boats. With these “surfing” takes on a whole different meaning and feeling. I gotta find some boats of different sizes for folks to try at the Spring Session. Personally, I’m looking forward to more sessions. I need more practice to step up to the next level of heats.

Maybe with more NE sessions, more folks will be interested in surf kayaking and other New Englanders will be out at Santa Cruz with me next year. :slight_smile:


Board surfer
I suspect Vince has been a fantastic board surfer all his life, I’ve been meaning to ask him how he got so good so fast. I’ve resolved to surf once a week before work to try to improve. This morning it was windy, stormy, choppy just not worth it when I got out … but I guess we are spoiled here.

I spent a long time chatting with Vince onshore. He was so laid back and friendly compared to his reputation on the water and on the internet boards.

He may be new to kayak surfing, but he is a long time board surfer and still takes a board to Expressions Sessions and rides it. At Davenport he caught some of his best waves on his board, and it was huge that day.

That Was A First

– Last Updated: Mar-26-04 2:28 PM EST –

I saw that also, and I was impressed. At first I thought one of the safety boaters was moving in on the action.

I have never seen anything like that on Steamer before. I don't think it would work very well on a more "Normal" day.

No wonder the boardies ask me if I am going surfing when I have the 13' Mars off Seal Rock...

OK, It has occured to me before.....

That was very unusual weekend. Steamer needs a northwest swell. It was all south last weekend. That is why it was up against the cliffs like that. Much like my home break in Capitola. When it is coming from the northwest, the surf is much bigger, and I have seen big rides all the way from outside Seal Rock to Indicator Beach. Cool. Now you know what that means!

I have been giving my surfing "strategy" a lot of thought lately. I have decided to make some changes. I am going to move off from Capitola and Davenport and onto some nice sandy beach breaks. That will allow me to get a wave ski. I was afraid I would break on on the reef breaks like Capitola. Hey, I can still hang out at Margaritaville..

I am also going to just admit I don't really like winter surfing that much. It may be smaller in the summer, but I enjoy it more.

Hey, I Take It Back!!!

– Last Updated: Mar-26-04 3:47 PM EST –

don't try this long boat surfing at your local break... The guy, Jayson Bowerman, doing it all so nice and easy at Santa Cruz was a "sleeper..." He was riding the long boat for schits and giggles and to fool the unsuspecting... He came in last with his long boat antics in the International Class (IC - boats 3 meters and longer).

But Here's the REST OF THE STORY on Jayson Bowerman: