Plastic Surf Yak - Revisit

-- Last Updated: Sep-24-04 7:47 AM EST --

Okay, Riot still produces limited Boogies for overseas consumption. Mega just released it's plastic X-ray. Drago Rossi (corran's new outfit) is producing the Squashtail. Amoeba is perhaps releasing a plastic Carver (seems a hint of legal squable in there). Both Mega and Amoeba are in England, Drago Rossi in Italy, and Riot is in Canada.

I would urge Necky to give it a shot in the US. I know the criticism that a plastic surf yak is a compromise because it is heavier and has too much flex. Looking at my Necky Chronic, I am not sure that has to be the entirely the case anymore. Why not use a lighter (? thinner) plastic, so called "comp weight", and use the aluminum hull bar stiffener as in my Chronic. No, it won't be on the same level of stiffness as full out glass boats but it won't be as expensive either.

I still think the sport can grow if there is an affordable entry into the surf kayaking arena. I don't expect a response but I know the Necky folks read this forum. So, just food for thought. BTW, I am seeing more and more surf kayakers out there in white water boats. There seems to be a slow but growing interest.


Interest - definitely
I don’t surf yak now, but have an eye on it. The right entry boat would likely push it over the top. Other option down here is a wave ski, but for some crazy reason a decked boat looks more interesting.

BTW - I got a PDF from Ameoba about the Carver recently. I can forward it you if you don’t already have it.

white water boats
They were fiberglass 30 years ago when I first tried it. Then Perception started making rotomolded boats (at least theirs were the first I saw) and now all ww boats are plastic. I have an Islander Bigstik for surfing the small waves in the Gulf of Mexico. It is heavy but indestructable and a lot of fun. Cost me $275 and I’ve gotten all my money out of it. I would love to see some plastic surf kayaks.

Your posts have me interested.
I live less than 2 hours from Lake Michigan and you seem to have so much fun at surfing I couldn’t resist. So I have a new boat (plastic). It is a playboat and a decent surfing boat: a Fish from Dragorossi. I know that is not a cheap way to start out but it was my 65th birthday present to myself. I will let you know how things turn out. Right now I am still making sure I can roll it without fail.

Necky Board on Boater Talk
I don’t ever read it but I wonder if it might have more impact there. I sometimes have wondered if companies that make decent surf SOTs like Cobra or Wilderness systems might be interested in making a decent plastic surf boat like the boogie. It seems like fewer and fewer good surf options are available in SOTs and the whitewater boats just don’t really surf the way lots of folks would like, carving turns and high speed and on the green part of the wave.


– Last Updated: Sep-24-04 9:23 PM EST –

Tell us how it rides for you. The fish is short so you're gonna need to some decent green face to get some speed. But once you are planing, those rails will carve. :)

The rails on a surf yak make the feel of the roll different but not hard. It's like going from rolling seakayak to rolling a white water boat with sharp chines and high sidewalls. Now, instead of chines, it's sharper rails. There is a quick "plop" feel to it. It's not a big deal for an experienced roller. You made not feel much difference at all since the fish is not an out and out surf boat. More a mix of ww and surf.


surf kayak
While playing in the surf with my sea kayak I always enjoyed watching people on their surf boards or river kayaks. Well I finally got myself a surf/river kayak, a necky rip, and I can’t wait to go play in the surf. With the fall season upon us there should be good surf comeing to the south shore of Lake Superior. Come on north wind.

you’re the first person with a DragoRossi boat that I’ve read on this forum. I’d be interested to hear how it performs. I know many people have pretty polarized opinions of Coran but regardless of him as a person I’d be interested to hear if his designs live up to the hype. I love the DragoRossi paint scheme though. Their boats just look cool!

Wow !
There are really cool looking boats, the thing I don’t have a clue about is how you paddle a 6’ boat out through the break; on a 8’ high performance wave ski or 8’4"" whitewater boat I get knocked head over teakettle quite a bit . Shorter boats are much harder to get out with in big surf than my 9’6" boat. If you can roll in whitewater you will roll in surf in this boat, just stick your paddle up into the wave and you’ll probably flip back to horizontal. I’m assuming with this short boat you can take off really late …crash and butt bounce or rip in the pocket if you drop in just right, so it will probably be really fun once you get the hang of it. Post some pictures. Where will you be surfing in MI? Where did you actually buy this in the US?

Actually, I would mind getting hold of a good used one. I like the length and the lines. I think it would do well in some of the sloppy, smaller waves we get around here on a NE wind.


I have some of your questions too.
I have several friends who surf Lake Michigan somewhere on the southern part of the Michigan coast line. Hopefully they can get me started. It would be nice if there were a rip that you can go out on if you need to. But we shall see. I bought the boat from NRS.

I just bought it last week on e-bay for $250. I was surprised that nobody was bidding on it. It looks like most people want the short park and play style. I’m curious how it will do getting out past the breaking waves. The place that I surf at is a bay and always gets a nice rip current that should help.

South Haven Mi. beach cam
Looks good right now (10;0 am). Some waves are pier height, but it looks disorganized at the moment. Supposed to be 2-4s today and getting smaller.

There’s a drop-down box in the upper right corner to choose where you want to look, check the pier.

Rip Currents

– Last Updated: Sep-25-04 10:12 AM EST –

once you have waves 3' plus, there be noticeable rips somewhere. Look for spots where waves seem to slow down, are smaller, break lightly, or don't break at all.

Getting out through the break zone: Here's what I learned in the past year through the school of hard knocks.

1. Look at the waves and anticipate where the break is going to happen. Head towards that spot.

2. When you see a wave coming, and it doesn't look ready to break, sprint like hell and climb it. Sometimes as you climb up, you can see the wave begin to break. Immediately duck forward and aim the paddle right into the wave. Most cases, you'll punch right through the curl. If you stay straight up, even on a 2' breaking wave, a direct hit on the head/chest can knock the wind out of you. A bigger one will knock you over and suck you out of the boat. I have this happened twice now.

3. As you head towards a wave and are not yet at it's base, or if it's really big, and you notice it's going to break, your best bet is to immediately tuck into a set up position and roll over. The wave will collapse on your hull instead of you. You'll carried back a bit but not much because your body acts as a sea anchor. Roll up once you feel the turbulence passing, and sprint like hell 'cause the next one is coming. If the the wave starts to break, and it's still abit out in front, you may opt not to duck and roll, but to aim for the section that breaks first. There, you'll be dealing with the rushing foam pile.

4. When dealing with the foam pile, it depends on how big. If it's under two feet, I sprint like heck at it and really lean forward. If it's bigger, I lift the bow a split second and then lean forward. In both case, a paddle blade is engaged to push me beyond (or hold me in place) as the foam pile goes by. The worse is to lean back. You will either end up back surfing on the pile, or will go butt over head backwards.

A lot of the above is all timing. You just have to get in there and figure that piece out.


That is cool.

The scariest thing about kayak surfing to me is paddling out in the winter time when there are large nasty waves and almost getting to the outside when a clean-up wave comes rolling through. Where I surf the biggest waves are usually very large barreling waves that barrel for quite a way and then throw all at once clear accross the beach, I never give up and turtle roll but I alway try to go up and over the top or spear through the lip as it throws, but in my whitewater boat I just don’t have enough speed to hop the steep wall, and blam- I get blown to pieces .

Hey wear your helmets out there!
This evening I went out for some quick surfing in small surf (2 - 4 ft) and I almost did not wear my helmet, because I was not too worried about serious wipeouts. On my last ride, the biggest wave of the night came rolling through and broke outside of me so I tried to take off late; got thrown over the falls and thought I had rolled up when my head came up out of the water, but guess what? My kayak was recirculating detached from me in the wave and got thrown down on my head, the fin hitting me square in the helmet. I think I would probably be in the hospital tonight if it was not for my cheap protec helmet (which has an interesting battle scar but still seems intact).

I Never Forget

– Last Updated: Sep-26-04 5:12 AM EST –

to put the helmet on because it helps keep on my hat which protects my bald head from the sun. :)

My pink helment has quite a collection of dinks, scrapes and scars. :) I was recently thinking about a Garth helmet to help keep water out from the ears as the colder water season approaches. Then I saw the price (and the fact that pink is not a color option)... :D I think the ole pink helmet, coupled with a 5 mm neo hood, will suffice (maybe along with ear plugs). Heck, I don't have much use for talking when the waves are rolling in anyway.

Looking forward to today's session. Me and a whitewater/surf buddy (and his ww buddy) are headed out today to hopefully find something from Jeanne.


Fin Setup?
I know Corran was talking about a fin option for inproving surf performance. Can’t tell from the NRS website whether that is in place? Is it thruster (3 fin) or quad fin set up?

Fins take getting used to. More drag paddling out, but once on the wave, it brings carving for short boats to another level.


There are two fins on each side in a straight line about even with the back band. Go to the Dragorossi site and look at the picture of the bottom of the Fish. There are four circles where the fins attach if you want them.