Newb Question on Surfing

Excuse the newb please, but this question seems too basic for the archives:

When we are talking here about surfing on the surfski’s or even surfing SINKs, is the discussion primarily around swells in the open sea or more about the waves breaking on the shore?

I’m an east coaster (mostly play at the OBX) and don’t see how a 21’ craft could be used in the surf there… what am I missing?

I’ve seen (and envied) the folks in the SINKs in the breaking surf and look forward to being one of them in the near future… but those boats don’t appear much different from the 8’ whitewater boats, in fact a few were Dagger RPMs that I saw…


Whitewater Boats and Surfing

– Last Updated: Nov-05-05 9:49 AM EST –

The problem is what constitutes surfing. Anything that floats can ride on a breaking wave. Once you start doing a lot of it you'll discover that the ultimate progression is to be able to surf like a short board surfer on a surfboard. That means catching steep critical waves, driving the craft to the planing speed, which is very fast for shorter boats with planing bottoms. It also means: surfing in front of the curl or breaking part of the wave in the power pocket, manuevering up and down the wave as you move along laterally with the power pocket and the ability to cut back, re-enter, smack the lip, do floaters, and climb up and kick off the back of big waves. A whitewater boat more often is good for riding the wave in straight towards shore, playing in the foam, bouncing, in small waves a whitewate boat can be a lot of fun. Surf kayaks look like whitewater boats to the untrained eye, but there are subtle differences that make a big effect on performance. It's fine to get started in a river boat. Choose one with a planning hull and as litttle tail rocker as you can find. Lots of the older Necky boats work well for this ( I have a Jive that surf s OK) but it's not fast enough to get in front of the power pocket on big fast waves and it does not have fins which enable you to hold on a steep wave face and climb up and over. Properly placed fins also give you more speed. But I'm for getting out and surfing however you want. Whitewater boats can be a blast in the surf. I surfed with a guy in Drago Raggosi squashtail a few weeks ago, his first time in the surf he was doing flat spins and surfing in less than optimal conditions and having a really good time. Make sure you learn surf etiquette how to share the waves and the rules of the road and don't side surf (bongo slide) over people in the break. If you want to see what surfkayaking is about get Vince's Shay's video The Search II, there is also a video from Performance Kayaking called In the Surf that is an OK introduction to surfing. Find some folks surfing or see if there is a club in your area. On Boatertalk Surfzone there are several guys from the central atlantic states that get together.

Also check out this page put together by the folks at San Onofre ....

well put
i would only add that a 21 foot waveski in serious breaking waves nearshore would be something I would like to see, and maybe try once. I’ve seen photos of it, but it looks like something that was maybe shot for the opening sequence for magnum pi or hawaii five-0

I really appreciate…
the time you put into that response… very helpful and pretty much why I’ve come to value this forum and the people who post. Thank you.

Personally, I have a good time in my SOT surfing, but as you say that boat just isn’t very fast, but it was the only one I had last summer… funny… my inventory is on the rise :^).

Thanks again,


some confusion comes from the names of different boats. A surfski is a long skinny sit on top made for gooing straight through beach break, regular surfing type waves. It surfs on wind waves and if they are going the ssme direction as the ground swell in deep water you can get enough speed to catch those as well. You dont surf like a surf board you go more straight for long distances. They are used in some contries as rescue craft and you go straight through the breaking waves if you broach you get washed off as there is no seat belt but there are none adjustable foot straps.

The name surfski was already taken when waveskis became popular. They are the sit on top paddlecraft used for surfing breaking waves. Basicly a surf board with more volume and seat belt and foot straps that allow rolling and provide inseprable connection to craft. They are basicly hi performance fiberglass sit on top type boats.

I dont have any experience with decked surf kayaks but I am intrigued by them. However missing your roll out in the breaks is a big enough deterent for me now to avoid them. I can almost always roll my waveski but when I get tired and miss my a roll it is no big deal and does not require long swim.

My parents live in Manteo and I bring my waveski down to nags head at least once a month if you want to go surfing some time give me an email. I will be down for thanksgiving thursday threw sunday and will be definatley be playing in water.


More confusion …
My Wavemaster Waveski has a decal that says… Wavemaster Surfski (I think in OZ Wavemaster is known as Wavemaster Surfski Co because they make rescue surfskis etc.)

If I had been surfing SOTs and lived where the water was warm I would certainly consider moving up to a waveski. One thing I do like about SINK surf craft though is the stability for paddling out. The Mega Maverick plastic surf kayak made in the UK looks pretty interesting, if I was looking for a boat I would look into it; it would be high performance enough in the surf and not easy to damage. It’s hard to find used surf kayaks to demo unless you find expression sessions or contests where people are selling off old equipment but in california you can find used boats for four hundred to about eight hundred bucks, and whitewater boats that are passable are cheaper, maybe about three hundred and fifty bucks.