Surf kayak vs ICF slalom kayak

Hi, guys!

Can anyone give me advice on should I sell my carbon (8kg) slalom boat and buy a surf kayak, if the largest waves that I surf are 1-1,5 meter waves on the beach?

Do you think it’s worth the hustle or is the difference/feel gonna be negligible?

Thanks :slight_smile:

Noticeable Difference…

– Last Updated: Apr-30-16 6:54 AM EST –

in the ability of the surf kayak to track and carve on the wave face because of the "rails" (surf kayak edges) and the use of fins. The old school slalom kayak will have speed and make great diagonal runs. but the lack of rails and fins will not make rollercoastering up and down the wave face and cutbacks possible (as you would see with board surfers. It will also not have the same speed as surf kayak of the same length because slalom speed will be lost in "slippage" of the displacement hull on the waveface, compared to a surf kayak which can maintain speed in the direction because the rails and fins will keep the kayak on "track". Actually, the surf kayak can/will outrun the power pocket (the spot of the wave face that is breaking and peeling). A skilled surf kayaker will then cut back around to catch the pocket again.

If you do go with a surf kayak, you may want to start with an International Class (IC) surf kayak which is lightly over 9' long and traces directly back to the early days of surfing with slalom kayaks. However, the IC surf kayak have evolved to to have rails and slots for fins (fins can't be used, however, when competing in IC contests). The shorter High Performance (HP) surf kayaks are lower volume, twitchier and optimized for aggressive surfing maneuvers and style. Think of IC kayak as equivalent to a long (surf) board while a HP surf kayak is the equivalent to the short board of the board surfers. Basically, surf kayak designers (and especially waveski carvers) have incorporated elements from surf boards to mimic as much as possible the capabilities.

Here is a link for IC surf kayak (and others:


Second what Sing said …
I’m guessing from your screen name and us of SI units in your post that you are probably going to be surfing on The North Sea or Baltic. Messy, windy surf will work better with IC class boat and some of the newer models that Mega is making perform closer to high performance surf kayaks. The longer hull will be good for paddling out in wind and mess and let you catch waves when the surf is not so clean.

If on the other hand you are surfing somewhere with clean conditions, check out wave skis, you get even more performance and surfing rush for the money.

Good info thank You

– Last Updated: May-02-16 11:49 AM EST –

Thanks, guys, that was exactly the kind of info I was searching for. If I go this way (the problem being I'll have to order the kayak from the UK - can't find anything closer on the webI) I'll definitely buy an IC longboat. Do You have any personal experience with both Mega and Ride? Ride Equinox seems like really cool looking boat :)

Also, You were right about me being from Estonia. I try to surf on sandy beaches in Estonia - haven't got much skill to navigate through rocks etc. Our waves here are quite messy, very small intervals between them and quite rare to get those long nice interval waves with weak wind, so my plan is to better my technique as much as I can using a longboat :)

More info
I don’t know much about Ride kayaks other than they are in the UK, look OK from the web page.

Mega has been one of the major players in surf kayaks for many years and most of us who have been doing it for a while have owned or paddled one of their kayaks. Their founder retired a few years ago but still seems involved with the company. If you can afford a cheap flight to England you might get yourself over to one of the summer surf contests or workshops they have there. You could try out boats in person and maybe buy a used boat and save money. You can get info from their webpage. I also get invited every year to a surf kayak symposium on the west coast of Denmark (Danish Surf Kayak Symposium) I don’t know if it is still going but also a place to buy a used boat. I think it is in the middle of September. I’ll see if I can find the facebook postings.

Size of the boat
Thanks, Seadart! Great idea about travelling to try out / buy. Although by now I’ve had a couple of used boats and have started to long for a new one :slight_smile:

Would You advise to size up while buying a IC surf kayak? Meaning that if my weight is over 90 kg with drysuit etc on, should I go for a bit larger or smaller kayak? Asking this because f.e. slalom is better in a smaller volume kayak, so it is advised to buy the tightest a person can fit in. Is it similar with surf kayaks? My intuition says that a larger volume boat would help me get on smaller waves easier (small is what I mostly encounter)

Thanks again :slight_smile:

Not an expert on IC class

– Last Updated: May-02-16 4:37 PM EST –

With high peformance surf kayaks and waveskis once you know what you are doing the shortest and most narrow will give you the best performance while surfing ( and the worse performance sitting still and paddling out.) ( Wide can be advantage for planing with the right hull shape but usually not.)

IC class is more of a different style of surfing: long sweeping turns and maneuvers, not so much trying to hit the lip and re-enter,big airs etc ( sort of longboarding vs short boarding. I weigh about 85 kg and every IC class boat I have ever tried has been fine on weight.

Typically with a HP surf kayak you don't want to sink the tail, so that the skirt is getting submerged. I think this really hard to do at your weight on most IC designs. When you are starting out, and if you are in small waves, more volume will be friendlier as you have surmised for catching waves and paddling out.

Props to the specialist
Thanks again! Will take Your advice into consideration when ordering an IC surf kayak :slight_smile:

Mega Banshee
Supposed to be the latest and greatest, one of the newer hybrid ic\hp boats.