surf ski beginer

I currently paddle a current designs scirroco and am looking at getting a surf ski. I live well inland so i’ll mainly use on a large river for exercise. I am looking at a custom kayak mark 1. I’m new to this so forgive me for not knowing but the owner says it’s a size 8 and i was wondering about sizing for me. i’m 5’10" and 165lbs. also what are the thoughts on custom kayaks mark 1 and thoughts about this as a beginners boat. i’ve been paddling for 2 years.


Mark 1
While the Mark 1 is a fine boat, it’s definitely not a beginner’s ski. It’s touted as an intermediate ski, but compared to the new crop of high performance skis such as the V10 and L, S1-X and Special and Legend, it’s not as fast and although it has strong secondary stability, the primary is pretty low, making it feel a touch nervous on flat water. Paddling it mainly on flat water will be easier than any kind of conditions, but this is not its forte-it has lots of rocker.

The size 8 should be huge. How tall is the person selling it? For comparison, my Mark 1 was a 6D (deep seat), and I’m 6’1" with a 34" inseam. You could pad it out on the footwells, but unless it’s very inexpensive, which I’m assuming it is, I’d look to get a more stable used ski, like a Mako XT, S1-R, V10 Sport, or Think Evo. If you’re really driven, the Mark 1 might work for you, but the learning curve will be far steeper and you’ll likely get frustrated with the boat when any kind of chop or fetch picks up. Hope this helps.

that helps a lot.

…I will have to agree with EVERYTHING Triobite said- since I owned his Mark 1 after him…

Not a beginner ski. That said, if you can get one very inexpensive, consider it a temporary platform to gain balance and form on flatwater.

Where are you located? There are more and more groups forming which allows you to give many boats a spin to compare. Surfski kayakers are very accommadating!

BTW Triobite- we are doing Fusco’s training paddle Saturady in NYC- you gonna be there?


here are 4 groups that offer excellant advice and support:

this one for Metro NYC:

this one is for New England:

here is one for the PNW:

and this cover the world:

You got Garden State up there twice…


Training Paddle
Hey Scott,

Nope, not making the training paddle, although last year’s sounded like an adventure. :wink: Also won’t make the Beacon Race-next stop will be the Mayor’s Cup. Lighthouse to Lighthouse was good-flat but fast. Would have been nice to have some bumps, or at least a few well placed boat wakes. The Hudson will have more than we had that day-smile.

Have fun rounding Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. :wink:


thanks Andy…

Meant to say this for the New England guys"

Think you’re more a size 4
But I still get mixed up on sizing. My next will be adjustable.

Trilobite02’s advice is dead on, particularly the short list of 4 skis to look at - and come adjustable (guaranteed fit - and big resale advantage). These will be harder to find used, but they do come up.

thanks everyone
I live in pittsburgh (insert joke here) and the three rivers are starting to attract a lot of paddlers, but no groups that i’m aware of.

I had a Mark 1
I had a Mark 1 as my first ski. It is very twitchy compared to the new designs and has a steeper learning curve than many of the others out there now. I sold it and was glad to do so. I can’t say I hated the ski, but I also can’t say I liked it. I just never had a completely comfortable feeling in it. You couldn’t ever just sit and rest in it. In other words, what Mark said. LOL!


another New England resource here->

full of all info imaginable!!!

Hi B.S.
What Trib said too. I’ve owned the XT, Sport and Evo. All great boats. XT most stable, Sport rides waves best, Evo slightly fastest on flats. I’ve never even seen the S1R but hear it is an awesome boat! Sport, Evo and S1R not much slower than the “Big Boy Boats” but much more stable…a good thing in the bumps. I also hear that the new intro Honcho is awesome. Bruce Gibson of VentureSports (Boca Raton, Florida) has several and is selling them at a much discounted price.

Bruce’s email address is

Bruce is a great guy and you could buy a good intermediate ski VERY cheaply!

Good luck


I only have experience with the V10 Sport and a Twogood. Adjustable footwells are a huge plus because you can dial in the pedals for your leg length, to make the ski fit you exactly. (As stated earlier, really helps resale value, too.)

The Sport is relatively easy to remount, which is a plus when you’re going through the learning curve. I even did a remount as part of my initial demo, to make sure I could get back in the ski.

(Yeah, I have a really good remount, from lots of practice.)

couldn’t stay on
I tried out the mark 1 and got to get a good taste of the ohio river, i couldn’t stay on for more than 3 or 4 strokes. I’ll take all your advice and look for a good beginner ski.

Mako XT
It’s touted as an intermediate ski. I’ve had one for a few months and have been out about 6 times now. Fell off once, but don’t yet feel comfortable on it. I get better each time I’m out. Work in progress.

Don’t get discouraged.


XT remount

I heard that the XT was difficult to remount, and then unstable until it got up to speed and the venturis drained the water from the cockpit. Does that match your experience?



XT is easy to remount
Mako Millenium is kind of a tough remount, but by ski standards remounting the XT is about like crawling back onto the couch. It’s a forgiving boat.

Yeah, I’ve done it a few times. Once because I had to, and the other times just practice. Glad no one was around watching. It wasn’t pretty.

As far as getting going again, 2 key things that I’ve learned so far. Stay relaxed, don’t tense up, the ski will rock and roll. And once I sit in the ski, I keep my feet in the water, then take a few strokes to get some headway and pull my feet in. Ski’s don’t like to be stationary, at least not on my level. That may change with more seat time.

Here some photo’s just after I got it.

and here it is on the water…


Beautiful ski.