I forget if Sing or String is the resident surf kayaker here, but I have some questions. My interest was peaked after spending an afternoon with the great Merv Larson. I didn’t know who he was at the time but after watching his old videos, I think I could get behind the surf kayak. He does some amazing things like a forward eskimo roll, one of the most impressive moves I’ve ever seen (mid-way through the segment in the video linked below)
Basically, if I want to look into a surf kayak, where should I go (any dedicated forums?) / what should I know as a total newbie? I’ll start looking for a boat in the semi-near future, but figure I should learn the basics.
Check out Merv Larson paddling beginning at 1:04:20
Merv Larson is seen as one of the pioneers in the US paddle surf scene out in the west coast. Where Larson is associated more with waveski, his contemporary, Mike Johnson, is more associated with the the development of the American surf kayak, the Mako and min-Mako, through his partnership with PS composite which made custom composite ww and squirt boats. His Mako attempted to put a “Larson inspired” waveski bottom onto a decked boat. Here is an interview with Johnson:
Both SeaDart and I started about the same time in the US surf paddle scene, probably almost 20 years. He has as much information and probably more since there is way more of active surf paddle scene out on the west coast (where I met him on a visit to santa cruz). He knows some of the folks who are/were active competitors who help spurred the expansion and development of surf craft design and manufacturing. Should also note there were/are (more) active surf paddling communities outside of the US, i.e. Australia, South Africa, France, Portugal, Ireland, which are also pushing the edge of paddle surf design. The overall thrust has been for shorter, lighter surf crafts (both waveski and surf kayaks) that lend to much more air maneuvers that are largely pushed and elevated by the young, strong and fearless athletic types, Just like in the board surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding arenas.
Some manufacturers and shapers to check out:
Waveskis: Infinity, Island Waveski, Tyler Lausten, MacSki (USA); KS, RTM, Solamanski (France), Wavemaster, Raider (Australia), Tsunami (NZ), Atlantic Waveski (UK)
Surf kayaks: PS Composite, Wold (USA), Mega (UK), Murky Water (Can), Watertech (Portugal),
Surf SOT manufacturers: Ocean Kayak, Cobra, Perception, Wilderness System
My past and current surf crafts: Riot Boogie, Wold Epic, Mega Venom, 6 custom Island Waveskis, 1 custom Infinity Waveski