Outriggers on a surf ski?

I am still way down the learning curve on my surf ski, to the point I considered selling it, but can’t quite make myself do it.

The problem is seat time which is limited. Thinking of possible solutions,I wondered about outriggers and found some made by Huki but it cost almost a grand to acquire them.

One of my not so creative friends suggested pool noodles and duct tape.

Anyone ever tried aquatic training wheels on a ski? Any ideas better than pool noodles?

This guy’s solution
looks better than pool noodles. His jpegs can be viewed.



– Last Updated: Nov-22-15 10:28 PM EST –

AMAs -training wheels for kayaks. Typically used for extra stability, while sailing. Could work for your needs as well.


Seat time is key
If your intent on keeping it Jim, don’t ruin it by adding a crutch. It took me a few outings before I felt somewhat comfortable, now, it’s a breeze. I enjoy the minimalist aspect of a ski. Paddle, pfd and boat.

Don’t Bother
Best to sell your ski and acquire the real thing (used). It was actually surfski paddlers in Hawaii that invented the currently popular surfing OC-1’s 25 years ago by adding a float (ama), outrigger sticks (iako) to their old surfskis.

The OC-1’s have really improved in performance in the past five years, recently finishing 2 minutes behind the winning surfski (Allwave CX) a week ago in Hawaii. Even beating out Olympic Gold Champ, Greg Barton (Epic V14), by a minute in this 8 mile race, who came in 3rd overall. So you can see that these canoes are very fast.

There’s practically no learning curve at all, just mount and go. Usually, there’s no fuss or muss assembling all the parts now a days, just twist or click in place. Paddle mostly anywhere: flat or rough. Just avoid the surfzone, for these boats are designed to take advantage of the open ocean surf, but not the shorebreak surf or the outside breakers.

Depending on the proceeds of your sale, you should be able to get a decent used oc-1 for under $3000 or one in fair shape for under $2000. Best to spend the time fixing up a used oc-1, than trying to modify your ski. Plus, your back will love you, for most of these oc-1’s usually weigh less than 30 pounds.

Bucket Time
I wouldn’t give up. Too much fun to be had.

What make/model ski are you on?

How long have you been working on it and how often do you go out?

Joseph Di Chiacchio



Home Made Wing

– Last Updated: Nov-23-15 12:22 PM EST –

Another MR340 crafty paddler:

He made his own wings rather successfully.

Also, what boat are you paddling?

OC aint no surf ski
Although similarly fast, the “feel” of an OC vs a Ski is completely different. At least for me, when I feel like paddling a ski, I don’t necessarily feel like paddling an OC.

Both are fun IMO, but one is not a substitute for the other. Not to me at least. But you can’t beat the stability of an OC; even when you do flip, its a very easy remount.

My ski is a Stellar 18 S. In warm weathe

– Last Updated: Nov-23-15 5:13 PM EST –

I get out a couple of times a month with the ski, mostly because I paddle places like creeks and swamps, not open water.
If I'm on flat or slightly bumpy water, I have no problems but if chop starts coming from the side, I get pretty shakey. The reason is, I stop being relaxed.
It would be nice to just paddle and forget the conditions.
I've been talking to my wife about renting a house on a lake for a week when the weather warms and paddling until I've got it or decide I'll never have it.

Like Riding a Ferrari vs. Limo
Is how I use to describe: ski vs. oc-1.

There’s a Hurricane OC-1 For Sale
In New Orleans, LA for $2500 if you live close by?

Hey Jim
If it doesn’t work out, and you don’t sell it, I’ll gladly rent it off you a few times for some local races next summer.

I have been lusting for one for a long time, but the boat barn is too full right now and I can’t see paying the big bucks for a boat that I’ll only use a few times, in between racing my QCC and canoe.

Jack L

Jack, if I still have it, you won’t have
to rent it.

Good analogy

Stick with it
The S18S is 21" wide by 18’ long, right?

If that’s your boat, I’d say stick with it. Maybe get a balance trainer so you can practice balance off the water in your warm, dry home during the off season. a 21" ski should be quite stable in the grand scheme of stability, so you should be able to master it with some more seat time.

If side chop is the problem, a skinnier, more rounded boat may actually be more stable in a way because it would be less affected by side waves, assuming you can deal with the initial stability. Something like a Stellar SR or V10 Sport maybe? But I’m sure you want to keep the boat you have, so thats moot.

Anyways, I’d say you can do it. Just paddle it more and or get a off-water balance trainer. Or if you just want to forget about it, the home made outrigger is likely the easiest option. It requires the least amount of modification to the boat and could probably be done for ~$100 and 20 hours of time.

Stellar S18?

– Last Updated: Nov-24-15 11:36 AM EST –

That's a good boat. I'd keep after it. It will pay off in dividends later.
The first thing I do when I start on a new boat is hit a few remounts.
It helps to know that you can just climb back on in the event of a swim.
You might find that doing this will relax you and allow you to feel more comfortable.

Joseph Di Chiacchio

get out more often
frequency is the way to get better.

Honestly, a couple of times a month is not really enough to climb up the learning curve in a ski. Even a week or two of 5-6 days a week would get you over the hump. I went to Kauai and paddled 2x a day for 10 days. After that I still sucked but I didn’t fall out for a year.

The other thing that will help is go out and do 10 remounts per side in chop. I do this at the start of big water week in the columbia gorge. It gives you confidence and you relax and paddle harder which makes you more stable. If you can’t do that then work on it until you can.

Get rough water experience
There are two elements to feel “stable”. One is to be sensitive to the motions of the ski, so you are centered and don’t come off balance much in the first place. Second, bracing through your forward stroke or all out via a dedicated brace. Getting some time in rough water is the only way to gain these skills (ideally with some instruction). The 18S should be stable enough for the average person to master even in slightly choppy conditions. Easy whitewater and currents in a safe location are a great place to practice stability and bracing. I intentionally take my ski to some moving water occasionally and also seek out boat wakes and choppy conditions on purpose. The result is increased confidence with each outing. It may take a couple of seasons even longer if you only go out once or twice a month though. So do your own math and figure out if it is worth the effort/time vs. getting some more stable boat now.

I’d say stick with it, also-bucket time is key. Have you tried padding it out so it fits you perfectly? This particular Stellar bucket is quite generous; I know of another individual with the exact same boat, who realized a world of difference when he padded it out. He had the same issues in beam chop, that all but went away once fitted.

In a ski, your main points of contact are your heels, bum, and to some degree, the sides of your calves. I like my foot strap snug also-yet another point of contact. Start by duct taping some minicell in, at your contact points. Adding a thinner foam wedge in your seat back will keep you forward in the bucket. As your core tires, most folks have a tendency to slump and lean back, which results in the negative effect of dragging a paddle blade at exit, lifting water, and imbalancing you further.

Give the padding a try-you might find it makes the difference you’re looking for!

The issue with the ski is in part my
size. There is barely room for my butt in the seat and it is a compression fit. As in zero wiggle room.

The leg length at max is just right.

I have a long torso so my COG is 6-8" higher than most(I’m 6’5").

Seat time is my friend.