surf kayak?

A friend of mine wants to get a new kayak for surfing (he has a tempest 170, and we’re on Lake SUperior, not the ocean). After reading all the stuff here about the wonders of true surf kayaks, I googled them, and got a bewildering array of hits.

So: for those of you who have invested in real surf kayaks, what are your favorites? What are good ones for people ready to try to surf in something other than their touring kayak?

Personal Opinion…
for the generally tighter intervals and sloppier wind waves that are more common than swells in the great lakes, go with an International Class (IC) surf kayak which are a tad bit over 9’. The longer line gives better coverage of a range of conditions, though it does sacrafice ripping type of manueverability. The IC boats include the PS composites Mini Mako, Mega Cyclone/Trident (lower volume Cyclone) and Bullit (this has more rocker and more “high performance” built in) and the Murky Waters’ Salsa. There are some older ICs out there too on the used market.

Since getting my 9’ longboard waveski (IC like), I have been turned on to the advantages of a longer surf craft for crappy conditions and big conditions. I don’t bother taking my sub 8’ rides out unless it’s 3-6’ clean swells. Then these pocket rockets really shine in ripping maneuvers.



old school surf kayaks would work…

– Last Updated: Jul-06-07 9:51 AM EST –

and give your friend more quality surfing days on Superior. Along with the models that sing mentioned, any mocassin style surf kayak such as a Valley Sneaker would work well and probably could be found used.

Youtube Vid Of The Santa Cruz Surf Fest.
you’ll see a combination of shorter, sub 8’, high performance (HP) boats and the IC, >9’, boats. With the waves not being particular big or steep, the IC boats were actually getting more speed and abled to make better manuevers (in my opinion) on this particular day.


one thing more to add to what they said
is to email the builder to get the right fit. I don’t fit alot of surf boats well but some I do. I got a decent HP design with 3 fin boxes that fits me well. If I lived where you do, I’d probably get an IC.


Other Possibility…
WaterDoc mentioned picking up an old 11’ plus plastic slalom boat. Those old style ww boats work pretty well (IC surf boats and comp came from folks surfing old slalom boats) in the sloppier stuff. Remember going out in really sloppy wind waves with a guy visiting from down south. He had a 10’ glass slalom boat and was catching some decent rides on the sloppier stuff. Me, I was struggling just to get out to the backside in short waveski. I was taking more off a pounding then surfing. The other guy was able to make good speed in getting back out through impact zone. That can make a difference between a good and bad surf day right there.


cobra strike
Thanks for the suggestions. What about the Cobra strike? Has anyone used it?

Must have been chopped. Until
recently the slalom boats were all 4 meters = 13’ 2". Under the new formula, they are 3.5 meters = 11’ 5". Their flattish bottoms do provide a semi-planing function, but I think a patient shopper could find a true composite surf kayak within a reasonable period of time.

I like the old Seda ww boat I pickied up
last week.

I took it out for a bit last weekend and got quite an education. Although I am used to a back band in my long boat, the back band on this is only about 2 inches wide. There’s very little support and I’m finding that my abs need more work as well as my diet as I continue to lose that spare tire around my waist.

I had the boat in some baby stuff - only 1 - 2 foot high as I get used to it. It’s very easy to roll and that makes it also very easy to capsize if you miss a brace. But it’s really fun to play with.

A friend tried it and showed me the boat can do a lot more than I’m capable of at this point.

Another very similar boat to the one I bought is the Perception Pyranna.

You should be able to find a used ww boat at a really good price.

not a strike, but. . .
I surf a Wilderness Systems Kaos and love it. I think it’s mostly a personal preference kind of thing–there are a lot of folks who swear by the Strike. Either way, I think the Kaos or Strike are good introductory boats to surfing, especially if the user’s previous experience is on SOTs.

Or A Kaos
saw someone doing pretty well yesterday in 2’ sloppy waves. The length of it really helped him get an early start and good diagonals.


I just got one and tried it last weekend

– Last Updated: Jul-09-07 6:16 PM EST –

But, a big nasty beach break, then a hand infection, then crappy two foot waves (still breaking on the beach) all conspired against me.

I can tell you that I completely side surfed two waves with the Strike that would have dumped me on a Kaos. I've surfed a Kaos for three seasons (which for me means about 20 times) and I can already say I like the Strike better.

Hopefully I'll get some surf time on the Strike next month.