sitting position: surfski vs kayak

This fall I had occasion to try a surfski. I still have her in my garage but Colorado weather and water condition is not very surfski friendly right now (Thanks Murph, do you want your boat back?)

The surfski: ~9 years old Futura Blade in carbon layout, leaking quite badly, basically “breathing through skin”. I put some epoxy patches on her but this boat needs a new layer of epoxy. She weighs ~40lb! A lot of absorbed water, I guess.

One question here: Is this leaking problem typical for light layout racing boats? Any better with a gelcoat? I have two carbon boats but not older than 3 years.

I was able to paddle the Blade on a calm water without any problems with stability. The seat well was too narrow for me, so I added two layers of sleeping pad to improve this situation.

However, I found the sitting position quite akward and uncomfortable anyway, something like feeling my feet above my butt. I had troubles to apply any leg work.

It’s true that I paddle boats with elevated seat (X-treme safari canoe, Surfrigger, Sea Wind), but most of my paddling time this year I spent in Sisson Nucleus kayak. I found that kayak with a tiller bar steering quite comfortable. Well, my legs are getting tired from pumping after 2 or 3 hours.

So, is this typical seat position for a surfski? I’ve heard something about old and new style of boats. Do you have troubles to switch from a narrow kayak to surfski concerning sitting position?

I am not sure if I am really interested in a surfski for Colorado paddling. I may be more attracted to Thunderbolt/EFT type of racing boats. I am just making my research. Anyway if I reach 6.5 mph average speed over 5 miles in my Sisson, I will start to think more seriously about a new boat. Right now, I am around 6.1 mph (

I have a 2 year old fiberglass mako. It leaks a little but there is a small crack in the gel coat that I have been meaning to repair. For now it is covered with aluminum duct tape. I think that is the oly leak.

The new style ski have deeper seats which add stability but are harder to remount.

I am in Va and paddle the ski march to october otherwise I get cold. That varies as I have heard of crazy yankees paddling all year round in skis but they are crazy.

I paddle k1 in winter and it has tiller bar, I like it alot. With ski have to push with your heals beacuase top of foot is on rudder pedals.

True advantage of ski is for going downwind with wind waves, big boat wakes b/c it will surf these and understern rudder allows good control. I think they are slower than icf boats. If you are doing river racing than I would get an icf k1 but if you will be far from shore (no re-entry) than capsize really sucks. If open water and warm; ski rules. I have never paddled a bushnell boat so can’t comment.

In terms of going from kayak to ski it is different but not hard to get used to. Like going from wing to standard paddle.


non/adjustable foot pedals in surfski
I see that some surfskis come with adjustable foot pedals and other are not. Are they available in different sizes of deck configuration or one size suppose to fit all paddlers?

Sized to fit (nm)


Epic is coming out with a new ski, Futura SX-1 looks promising as well,and they have adjustable foot braces. But your best bet is a eft or thunderbolt for you uses, Probabaly best deal for the money. So let me know if you need any info Dan

surfski repair
I have a used carbon Mako and have a little water in it. My plan is to drill another breather hole in the top and really let the ski dry over the winter. Bruce from Venturesport uses duct tape on the holes and it seems to work. The tape sort of breathes and holds the water out. IF the ski doesn’t breathe, it can suck in water, when the air pressure inside the hull is different than the pressure outside. I think it is when the air is warmer than the water that this occurs.

Does anyone have experience with a carbon hull seeming to be less stiff? Where I carry the ski on my shoulder it seems soft and buckles slightly…

speaking of crazy yankees, yep, I paddled yesterday at sunset. Awesome.

Your choice with some.
Order Custom / sized to fit OR adjustable foot

pedals. Check out

Carbon ‘softening’…
is most likely from you carrying it like that. I built a few skis for a certain manufacture out here and he always insisted on putting some large patches right where the boat would sort of sit on ones hip or shoulder. It’s really a PITA to lay up the deck area between the seat bucket and the deck wall ajacent to it… if the guy building it is not into it, real easy to bugger it up for lack of caring. Will crack for sure. You might try out a rubber stopper with a tiny bit of tubing in it instead of the duct tape. If / when you are ‘drying’ out your boat , you will get much better action if you have a small fan blowing across the hull or deck , preferably having the ‘column’ of air skimming across any hole or inspection port.

sitting position in a surfski
I think I’ve figured out the main difference between sitting in a kayak and a surfski (at least for me). In a kayak I am pushing with a straight leg. It’s not possible in the Blade since there are separate wells for feet and seat, so my legs are always bent.

A couple of winter pictures of the Blade:

thanks Onno,

i have tried the plug and tube. At the San Francisco race, the plug became dislodged out in the rough water, forcing me to quit the race due to a sinking Mako, by mile 14. with the Duct tape I know it will stay and it really seems to work for some reason. With the tape I also rarely forget to “plug It”.

What can I do for my soft carbon spot? I have already repaired it once with fiberglass cloth and that held for the summer. It looks like I now have some blistering elsewhere on the hull. Maybe there is no answer for the soft spot, except to open up the hull and foam out the shape, then re-carbon glass it? Is that OK to do?