surf kayaks

i’m looking to buy a used surf kayak. i’m 180lbs, 6ft tall, and paddle a Looksha Sport

i live in New England, and would be using the boat at new england beaches

what are some good sit on top surf kayaks that are common on the used boat market?

Two of the best
Wilderness Systems Kaos

Cobra Strike

you might also find a perception five-o or a Ocean Kayak Rapido

They go for 300 -400 dollars used.

Lot’s of people will recommend the Scrambler too, but if you want to do real surfing, not just riding the wave straight in, you want a boat like the Kaos or Strike or Rapdio.

What He Said…
I like the Strike better than the Kaos, but the Kaos is the more popular boat around NORCAL.

At 180# you might do OK with a Rapido, but kind of borderline

Perception Torrent…check out my ad in the classifieds. Great SOT of WW and surf.

surf jet
pyranha surf jet is another tasty model.


– Last Updated: Aug-05-05 5:17 AM EST –

Ran into about 4-5 folks surfing these up on the NH and ME coasts. A couple of them can really rip pretty well with them. Kaos has more than enough volume for your size. Also, has three fins. Make a big difference in holding a wave face.

Surf Jet has some nice lines (for surfing) and will hold your weight as well. It has one dropped down skeg. This is better than nothing but I prefer the three fin set up for surfing.


I have a surfjet, is a good beginer boat. It does have a good deal of volume which means it will float you but takes more effort to manuever. If all you want to do is surf you might consider kaos or cobra strike(surfjet has thigh straps that I have had pulled off by large waves and left swimming). However if you have a family the surfjet can also be used by others to paddle and have fun, also helps with justifying bying another boat. I take my 2 year old out in flat water with the surfjet and goof off and my wife also uses it.


How about one of these? :slight_smile:
From a posting on Boatertalk:

Call Me An "Elitist…"
but a waveski ain’t for a beginner or those faint of heart. Even a moderately performance oriented ski is challenging for a decent skilled, decked surf kayaker. I know I am being challenged by one and have read of even more accomplished surf kayakers being challenged by waveskis. Lots of dogged persistence needed to ride one to point of it being enjoyable as opposed to a swim on every wave.

Having said the above, there are beginner waveski’s that are very wide with low centers of gravity. These however don’t show up much in the used market that I have seen. A brand new one cost twice what the original poster seems willing to pay. If he were willing to pay the price of a new beginner’s ski, he would most definitely be rewarded with better rides than a SOT.


Well, it wasn’t a serious suggestion.
Just thought it was a cool video and looks like a heck of a lotta fun if you know how.

point taken…
however, i just dropped $1,300 on a Looksha Sport and all the necessary accessories. i’m not interested in spending a huge amount of money again.

i’ve done some thumbing around, and the following boats have caught my eye…

the perception torrent, the WS Kaos, and the islander big stick

what are some thoughts on these boats… compare… contrast

Okay, Sorry…

Of The Three…

– Last Updated: Aug-05-05 9:54 AM EST –

Torrent is the least likely performer in the surf. What makes it forgiving on whitewater also makes it a mediocre performer at best in the surf. Lack of sharp edges to carve and stick to a wave face.

Both The Kaos and BigStick are more surf oriented and sized for you. Of these two, I think the Bigstick is a more aggressive surf design (and hence higher learning curve).


Big Stick = Dog
In my opinion. Of the boats you mentioned go with the Kaos. Torrent surfs like an old school whitewater boat. The other large volume boats are fun for beginners but you’ll get bored once you want to ride in the pocket, cut back or try 360s.

I surf a Cobra Strike, I’ve got a glass surf kayak and have access to waveskis but still enjoy the Strike, the kaos is more forgiving.

I have not checked lately, but not so sure a beginner waveski costs that much more than a SOT.

Kayak Connestion in Santa Cruz had some Island EZ skis that were listed for $650, and they were 30% off for the tourament a couple years ago!

Not very common in stock
New skis are hard to find in California, except for the San Onofre type Infinity/Mike Johnson custom made skis. A new beginner wavemaster or island ski you’ll have to deal with the companies and shipment. It gets pretty expensive. There is a beginner waveski made in france that looks pretty good RMS or something like that, I only saw it at Santa Cruz, have not seen a dealer on west coast.

Surf Kayak
I have been using my Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT for kayak surfing for the last 10 years.

It allows me to go out through 3-6 foot surf without any problems.

I do not ride a straight line in, but am able to attack the wave, cut right or left depending on the break, get a good lateral ride across the face, cut back up the face, stay in the face, and cut back over the top. Depending on how well I position myself on the wave, I can get rides as long as some of the board surfers.

I can ride the crest of the wave with, at times, half of my yak out of the water.

A used XT should be anywhere from $300-$350.

You can do a lot of fun surfing with a Scrambler, or a Frenzy.

If you don’t have big steep wave faces to work with, you can probably make the most of what you have with a Scrambler.

And a Scrambler is a more verstile boat for uses other than surfing, while most other surf SOTs aren’t really good for anything else.

Surf Specific vs Scrambler
Scramblers work pretty well but if you are surfing on the crest with half your boat sticking out you are missing a lot of fun. A good surf boat will drop down the wave face and scream across the wave out in front of the pocket cut back and hit the foam where you are sitting static in your high volume Scrambler. A good fast surf kayak can catch a wave long before a board surfer, so you should not measure your good rides by being almost as long as a board surfer’s ride, a good kayak can catch a wave long before a board surfer. As stated above scramblers are OK, but faster, lower volume boats with fins, that can actually cut back on the waves are more fun. Once you try one you’ll think surfing a scrambler is boring. A waveski is another notch higher in performance allowing you to do more radical turns and airs like a short boarder. There is a guy who surfs here a lot who has been using a scrambler, I dread seeing him because he runs over people once he is on a wave, no way to get off a powerful wave in a high volume scrambler.

Supply & Demand
I would have agreed with you a couple of years ago about the availability of used Mike Johnson / Infinity wave skis…but now it seems demand is exceeding supply. Or maybe better put, the supply is almost nonexistent. I’m not sure why second hand wave skis have become hard to find, but it may have something to do with fewer folks getting into the sport. The overall number of wave skiers, at least at San Onofre, has remained fairly constant over the last several years…the few new folks entering the line up are offset by those who lose interest.

But for those who have stayed with the sport, the skill level has definitely gone way up…and this may be another reason why there seem to be fewer skis available. Most of the folks who have been at it for awhile are now on their second or third ski, which was probably custom shaped with lots of growth potential built in. Now, these owners are keeping their skis three, four and five years because they have either achieved the level of performance they seek…or they are still attempting to realized the craft’s potential.

Either way…there seems to be few opportunities to pick up a good conditioned, previously-owned Infinity or Mike Johnson wave ski.