Surf Kayak Options - Informal Poll

long boat

– Last Updated: Oct-01-04 7:50 PM EST –

I usually surf in one of my 2 Tsunami X-15's, which is 14' long. As I see it, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this:
ADVANTAGES: 1. Faster, easier to get out through the break.
2. Can catch less steep waves, meaning you can catch the wave sooner, and get a longer ride.
3. At 14', you can tour with this boat, meaning that you can seek out remote surf spots that would be a real pain in a whitewater boat.
DISADVANTAGES: 1. Even though it has a rudder (yes, I do use it even for surfing...VERY durable), the manueverability is nothing like a whitewater boat which turns on a dime. As a result, you can't do certain tricks, like spinning on the face of a wave.
2. Being a long boat, it's best to avoid too steep a wave for the take-off, unless you like to wipe out! As the waves grow in size, this point becomes more important.
Sometimes I'll surf with my Tsunami X-2 double. At 20' long, it still surfs great, only not as responsively as the X-15. You get sort of a slow motion effect / feeling when you catch a wave, even though you're travelling at the same speed. It's especially good on large waves.

Thanks For The Link
I haven’t looked at his boats for awhile. Starting price at $1200 is good but you have to add on about $200 to get the thruster boxes and three fins for the high performance kayak. You can go without fins on the International Class (3 meters) but I would still want the fin options even if you can’t compete in ICY with them. Most folks don’t compete and would probably like the added wave sticking benefit of the fins. That’s still a $100 or more less expensive than PS composites starting price and less than a Mega which has the tack on of shipping and customs.


Option 3
I would prefer a stiffer, longer, lowish volume plastic boat Currently, I have a multi purpose ww boat.

Some Concluding Thoughts…
kayak surfing is and will likely remain a very specialized sport for a relatively small contingent. Very specialized and expensive equipment involved and right now mostly dominated with by self-select, hard cored, independent types who can be very protective/secretive of their “home breaks.” Maybe this is the way it should be…

Last several times out, I was actually out in the breaks with boardies. I saw young kids, teens and women along with the stereotypical “macho” types. I think this good mix is very much due to the wide availability of equipment and very organized events for getting newbies started.

Guess I’ll have to learn the “secret handshake” cause us surf yakkers seem few and far in between.


surf specific kayak
I bought a used Necky Jive to start surfing with, mainly because I had heard or read that all of the Necky’s were excellent surf boats, especially the Jive. I was thinking, Why spend big money on a composit boat, when I can buy good plastic boat for $300. I loved playing in river with the Jive, It rolls,and spins great. I could throw it in the truck or barn,never worrying about scratches or dings.

But after learning just the very basics of ocean surfing, I started hating to bring it to the beach. I soon realized that it was not made to catch ocean waves, It was not build for flat out speed. I missed 80% of the waves that I tried to surf. Very frustrating,after paddling your heart out, only to see the wave run on ahead without you. To make matters worse it is very tough to paddle out thru big surf. Fortunately for me, a bunch of New England surf kayakers posted the best advice I have ever recieved. GET A SURF SPECIFIC, COMPOSIT KAYAK! Which I did, and It was the best money I have ever spent by for. In the past I might spent top dollar on an item, hoping for superior

quality, only to be disappointed. But not with my surf kayak, Its great, going out thru the surf is a snap and catching waves is easy. Then, once Im on the wave the fun really begins. Every kayaker needs to try surfing in a surf specific kayak, the difference is like night and day. have fun Larry

A few other options…
I know this is not where Sing is headed with this thread but if people are interested in surfing they should think about:

I. OK Rapido (no longer made), WS Kaos, or Cobra Strike (my favorite), all much more surf machines, for surfing the green part of the wave than a whitewater boat like the Jive (which I also surf.)

II. Waveskis: For $400-800 dollars you can pick up a used High performance waveski that will out surf any closed deck surf kayak. Try one and you will be hooked ( if you can keep it upright paddling out.)

Available Options
and expanding them is where I am headed. I didn’t ask about SOT’s because, thankfully, they are available from the lower end (on the cost scale) all the way to the higher end waveski’s. I actually think the Kaos has some great lines though I’ve never ridden one.

I’ve only seen two waveski’s in NE in the several years I have surfed. One was being used on a break at Plum Island in the middle of summer. The other was sitting on the beach, for a demo, in the RISK winter session. I didn’t notice anyone getting on it. In the NE, the “best” surf season starts with the hurricane season and continues into the winter with nor’easters. Summer we seem to get into the doldrums. So, the window for comfortable use of a SOT/waveski is shorter. One can dress better with immersion gear for these but, when the water temps begin to drop, I think it’s much warmer for a surf paddler with a roll to be in a SINK. Combined with a drytop/drysuit, the paddler is better protected from the cold water. I think this is why we don’t see many SOT/waveski’s in NE.

The problem for SINKers trying to get into surfing is the lack of a range of options at different price levels. It’s seems to be either a ww boat which is not optimal for green face surfing, or a very high composite boat. For someone getting into surf, it’s hard to rationalize the price of admission of $1500 and up for a composite boat, especially when one hasn’t experienced the difference of a surf specific design.

In terms of getting used surf crafts, it’s not that easy because the “supply” of such crafts are low compared to white water boats. That’s why we see so much more white water boats in the surf, at least around here, than surf specific crafts. I surfed a Riot Trickster with fins for well over a year before I got the Boogie. I still smile when I think of how I got my Boogie on a gearswap. I was literally looking for well over a year before it turned up. I still kick myself for letting Shay’s Micro Mako get away, though there was no way to get it since he wasn’t going to ship… Before I had a chance at Preston’s glass Boogie prototype, it was gone.

Definitely, at some point, I going to get a composite surf kayak. I know it’ll be worth it. I going to have save it bit before I can afford a new one. At this point, I am comtemplating selling off my glass Montauk to help finance the purchase since I (and my wife) paddle mostly the Greenland S&G and/or the SOF anyway. It’s much easier for me to build another (SOF), which I like better than the available day tour boats out there anyway (a whole other story), than to build a composite surf kayak.

We’ll see.


SOTs Brrr!
For a long time I surfed with a 16’ “RiverSki” thus my login name. It was a Canadian made surfboard with a divot type thing, thigh straps, foot straps and a single fin. As long as the waves were appropriate for it’s length it was a great ride. A friend gave it to me before his untimely passing, and as a tribute to him I decided to surf it for 12 straight months. In Feb. & March in NH that’s a cold proposition. I was limited on gear and used a 3/4 suit under a dry top and splash pants. Kept me dry, but it got real difficult to keep my feet as warm as I needed them to be. The footwells would fill up with 30 degree water and just over time sap the heat right out of me. SOTs are definitely still in my quiver for warmer water, but this winter I’ll opt for a SINK for sure.

Sing, Just Let Me Know If You Need Help

– Last Updated: Oct-06-04 5:12 PM EST –

Don't let a good deal get past you because of the shipping thing.

If they refuse to ship, I will try and pick it up and ship it for you. Not to volunteer for anyone else, but I think most of us west coast folks will try to help.

Keep an eye on those BASK classifieds. They have composite surf boats there from time to time. Probably more than show up on BT.

surf specific
kayak in glass or plastic would be great.

I’d love to have one, but unfortunately I have access to free ww kayaks and a variety of them.

Thanks 'Cuda
Appreciate that. I am following a lukewarm lead right now. It’s not really what I envision but the price may make it right. (shrug)


When We Hook Up
at some point, let me know if you want to try an Acrobat (kind of cross between a Jive and a RPM) or a Trickster with fins, depending on your size.


Surf Boat
I am currently in a Necky Zip. This is my dedicated surf boat. I came into surfing from a touring boat; I have never tried “whitewater”. I am developing the same problem as Larry, the boat is too slow! I need a composite boat. I have yet to try one, but have seen them in person. The ease of catching a wave the beauty of the quick bottom turn followed with the carve up the face of the wave. Ah! I must have one! The money is an issue. The other issue is the very minimal information available on surf specific boats. I am a larger paddler… 6ft…200lbs…size 11…32 inch inseam. What is the right boat for me? Where can I demo one? I will try and make it to the RISK session in Nov. That seems like one of the few opportunities us New Englanders will have to even see the boats we drool over on the Internet and in videos. I am excited! I have heard that one of our local kayak shops has got the Mega X-Ray!!! Support your local shop!!! Stuff on the Internet maybe cheaper, but what about customer service and test-drives??? I have also met a gentleman in the area who is planning on building surf specific kayak for production. Support your local builders!

I think if I found the right boat for my body type and the type of surf we have here in New England I would find the answer to the financial issue.

I’d probably skip the Xray
It sounds like its kind of a dog and expensive for a plastic boat.

Look for a used glass boat at some of the get-togethers on the coast and on boater talk surf zone. People on the east coast are selling used Mega boats and Mike Johnson boats fairly regularly on that board. Predators go fairly cheap out here and they would fit you no problem.

It’ll Be Interesting To See
how the PE X-Ray sells. :slight_smile: But, of course, if the “local builder” gets out a good composite boat for a good price… It’ll compete almost directly against NESC’s supply of X-Rays. Another builder said he may jump into the fray for a surf kayak. Yeehaw!!! The good thing with a small builder is that they can take the order and build as needed. Yeah, lag time, not much different than what’s happening now, except more options.

OT- my lukewarm lead for a used composite HP boat has become very “hot.” May have a surf craft, actually designed for a small/medium paddler like me, in a couple of weeks. How good is that!? Have to figure out whether I’ll keep the Boogie which I just upgraded to composite fin boxes and fins. Darn, I also have a new Mountainsurf skirt on order for that…


Trident or Cyclone?
I’ve seen Cyclones but not Tridents, it should be a fast boat for getting out and screaming on the green part of the wave. I decided to hold off on buying another boat for a while. My wife’s disatisfaction level with my kayak addiction was getting a bit dangerous the last few weeks. I got out for a surf before work this morning, only got three rides but one was on a good head high barreling wave that I rode for about 40 seconds. Hard to beat that for starting the morning.

Mega Venom
HP design by Randy Phillips and furthered modified by Mega. Not quite as small as the micro Mako but close. I going to have to get rid of my Boogie, or a seakayak. I am leaning towards selling the Montauk since I haven’t paddle it in almost 2 years and it should sell easier. I can always build another SOF which I already have wood for.

We expecting overhead tomorrow. I am pumped.


When I first saw someone live surfing a decked boat it was a Venom, it was very fast, and I decided I had to have one of those… but I’m too heavy, someone told me it was way to edgy for a beginner too, I bet you do well in it. I have some pics of two guys at the Ventura meet last year really ripping in them. I actually think Leo Lekas had a hand in designing this boat but Randy gets mentioned as the designer. I’m

Hang Tight…
one “local builder” is finishing up his prototype. It’ll definitely be for a paddler bigger than me since he is. The other possible “local builder…” Well, he is not really local to my coast. :slight_smile:


ww boat
Been using a longer ww boat Riot glide or necky 8-10. Surfing on lake ontario has very short steep waves getting out is real trick. Find the rip and work your way out short boats jsut do not make out tried a bunch booster 55. dom 47 and my s8

Longer boats really ahve the speed to get moving. lake ontario is also affected by false breaks mixinx with the rip. Any one else on thegreat lakes have simialr thoughts