river & surf yak

I’m looking for recommendations on a ww yak. Probably will be used more for great lakes surf, but also for fast rivers (Class II - IV). I’m looking at some used models now but need some help.


I have to admit some confusion on
my part with your question. What confuses me is the inclusion of “class 2”. As i see it, class 2 is the bottom of moving water and a long ways from class IV. As such, the type of boats are going to be totally different from one another. In addition you are adding in the equation of ocean/lake surfing.

First, a good ww yak is not going to be the best ocean surf boat or for going down slow moving water in a straight line. There are a lot of reasons for this and i will let someone else get into that.

White water boats are in general slower and will not maneouver as well as surf kayaks in the ocean surf. But, like many white water boaters, i have only one boat for doing it all and accept the compromise. Some white water boats that would be good for class 3 plus and are considerred better for ocean surfing are Necky Jive and Gliss. A buddy of mine is happy with his Necky Switch. Me, i paddle a Big EZ which is dog getting through the break but gets me down the river just fine. In the back of my head, i am saving for one of those necky boats when i have the opportunity to do more ocean surfing. Hope this helps…

No All-Purpose Kayak
Unless you’ll be happy with less than the best performance, I’d strongly recommend that you pick the type of paddling you will most likely spend the most time at, and then select a craft specifically suited for that purpose. An objective of acquiring a kayak that fits a wide range of paddling options will almost surely result in less than optimum performance in any one of those options.

Just remember…a sea kayak is not a white water kayak is not a surf kayak. Three completely different settings requiring three completely different boats.

A Good Surf Yak

– Last Updated: Jul-02-05 5:52 AM EST –

will get you hurt on class III/IV. The sharp chines or rails that will let you carve on a wave face will be catching every squirrelly line and hole, sending you right over. A white water boat with more forgiving chines will be sliding off the wave faces. If it's a short boat, much shorter than 8', it won't have any speed. It be tougher to catch waves and when you do it be hard press to outrun the break. Lots of buttbouncing fun on the foam pile but it won't be "classic wave surfing" as boardies and surf kayakers would define it. But that doesn't matter as long as you have fun and don't run folks over.

Having said the above, some ww boats do okay in surf more than others. (How well in class III and up? How skill are you?) I think the Riot Dom/Trickster/Prankster series does well with fins on. The Riot Techno also has fins and sharpe chines (almost rail like) and would be good on cleaner/steeper waves. The Necky Bliss/Gliss, Jive/Rip series does well on ocean waves but act more like runners than players on rivers. Necky (S)Witch and Zip are shorter and sharper chines that surf nice clean waves well but too short for most choppy Great Lake waves. They're also probably very edgey for higher class rivers unless you're really good.


ah thanks sing
I’m learning.

I’ll be using this mostly on great lakes surf. Rivers, no greater than Class III, more likely fast moving streams with small rapids only, and only occasionally. I surf with a sea kayak but want something to turn faster and play with. Someone else suggested the Bliss also. Whadaya think?

Bliss if you’re big. Gliss if you’re small. Good river runners and decent surfers (actually, I rented the Gliss to use my Santa Cruz surf comp in the novice division). I the Jive would just be slightly faster in surf (and better for sloppy waves) since it’s slightly longer and a good river runner. The like way I see it, which ever comes up first for a good price on a gearswap. :slight_smile:


my thinking exactly
re: gearswap.

Thanks again sing.

please explain
re: “As i see it, class 2 is the bottom of moving water and a long ways from class IV. As such, the type of boats are going to be totally different from one another.”

I don’t understand your comment. If someone is running Class IV, they’re likely going to encounter some Class II’s on the same river, correct? Shouldn’t any whitewater river runner do both reasonably well?



It’s The Other Way Around…

– Last Updated: Jul-04-05 5:22 AM EST –

some low volume playboats can handle class IIs relatively easier. It can even handle class IV under a very capable paddler/playboater. For other less skilled folks, the lower volume and edgier lines of a playboat will mean getting edges caught and having the boat flipped in power, squirrelly current lines. It may not have the speed to ferry across strong fast currents to make a "must make" line to avoid getting pinned against a big boulder, or dropping into a keeper hole.

BTW, what may serve as a "river runner" for me could be a "playboat" for someone heavier and larger because the relatively lower volume will allow the bigger paddler to "throw" the boat around. The edges will sit lower in the water making it less "forgiving."


good comments
Thanks, Sing. I think I understand.