I’m finishing my 2nd season paddling a large Zen 3 [6’3" 200#]. I’d like to progress to a more maneuverable boat. I’m not interested in squirting, just a bit of surfing. My goal is to be comfortable paddling rivers /creeks up to class III. I’m intrigued by the new Jackson Flow but that’s still a year out for my size. Something used for the interim I think.
Then you should looking for the appropriate volume boat for your weight that has a flat planing hull, with hard bottom chines that allow you to carve the weight. Since you are not into squirting, find a design with higher rocker ends that minimize inadvertant diving of the stern (or bow) into the current edge, since this is what needs to happen to squirt.
So all my boats surf well! That’s a joke. It is not so much about the boat and more about the paddler. The truth is you can surf canoes, duckies, rafts, kayaks, and c1s. All with different bow shapes, edges, and angles. You learn to adjust to the boat and learn what works for what boat. With the diesel I have got to keep the boat moving to avoid pearling out, With the long boats they work best on low angle stuff and not deeper holes but waves. My xp10 with its big bulbous bow is easy to surf and stable but not very reactive. Think about ferrying across features and you will be surfing in no time.
Nothing wrong with wanting another boat. I got me a few. Who am I to deny someone? Different boats can teach us different things. I had a short canoe that taught me how to swim a lot. Just know that there is nothing wrong with a Zen unless it doesn’t fit you. It could be a beginner’s boat or an advanced paddler. For instance, a half slice would give you a deeper understanding of eddy lines and rolling. All ww boats and crossovers are capable of class III. It is really about the user. A crossover teaches you to plan ahead (less reactive) and boat laden with gear teaches you how to pick out the simplest lines on a river.
Surfing is fun. I do it a lot but not on a very big scale and the goal is to be under control. Cleanly getting on, enjoying the ride, and making a good exit is my focus. That seems really simple but to me that is what a good surf is.
liked the canoe footage surfing, so sad they lost their wave
I feel you with your question. However, there are few white water boaters left in these forums. Found this thread I posted from almost 20 years ago, when I was looking for a boat to facilitate my move up from intermediate to upper intermediate skills and higher class runs. Way more folks and engagement then with questions and discussion about white water and surf:
Are you near any whitewater location? Asking because if there is a good WW shop/training location they may have boats you should consider.
Thank you all for your comments. All good information. I’m borrowing a friend’s Burn for a while to see how that feels.