Surf Ski

Just wondering if there are many on the board who are into surf ski? I recently picked up an Epic V10 Sport and would be interested in how many of you fellow paddlers have gotten into surf skis.

I have been at it for a week or so and it is quite humbling compared to my sea kayak.

Actually I have not been in the kayak since I purchased the ski but I’ll do some kayaking this weekend.

I am assuming that after a 19 in wide ski my 24 in. kayak will feel quite stable.

I look forward to hearing from fellow skiers.

BTW: if any of you are in the Ocala, Fl. area and want to try a surf ski let me know and I’m all for letting you give it a go.


Have a surf ski
Key is seat time. The more you paddle it the more comfortable you will become. It also helps to relax, don’t be tense or you’ll get the shakes.

I divide my time on the water between my sea kayak, solo canoe and the surf ski.

seat time

You are right about seat time. Every day a bit better. Regarding relaxing:

I currently paddle on a lake as one trip to the Gulf convinced me I am not ready for the waves!!

So I’m on the lake which is just under a mile across, doing well, nice and relaxed. as I approach the far shore for some reason, (possibly a breeze which kicked up) I got real tense and next thing I know I’m swimming.

BTW: Do you find that paddling a narrow ski aids your kayaking ability? In other words does the kayak feel rock steady coming from the “tippy” ski?

Been thinking about it
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting one.

If I see a great deal somewhere I might pull the trigger, but I’m not serious enough to fork out for something new.

Had a Findeisen surfski until 4-5
years ago, and several friends in the area who still go out 3 times a week to surf here in Venice, Fl. I finally sold mine and bought better sea kayaks I could use in my touring business.

  1. Make sure the boat fits you.
  2. Relax, relax, relax.
  3. Torso rotation is key.
  4. Seat time is key.

    You’ll see people use em’ on the Silver River east of Ocala frequently. Can pick up good tips there!


– Last Updated: Aug-24-12 10:56 AM EST –

I've been paddling my kayak for many years and tippiness is not an issue at all. My kayak is 21.5" wide and 18'3" long. The first time I paddled the surf ski I was nervous and jerky, took a deep breath and relaxed and off I went. I've only fallen off the surf ski twice, once was legit and the last time I hit a rock and was jettisoned from the ski.

Surf ski's are decidely minimalist. You can't take much with you. I did install some webbing behind the cockpit to hold my water bag and my sandals. I paddle barefoot usually in the ski.

My last outing in the surf ski.....

Here is a photo of both the kayak and the surf ski...

Also, if you don't have one, get one....a wing paddle.


The Stellar rep in Michigan is pushing for more

exposure of surfski usage on the Great Lakes

Someday I’ll find myself on something over 18 ft

looking for some more speed.

my first season
I bought a v10 sport at the beginning of the year. Started racing it after just a couple of weeks. I love it. I joined a local race group to get my butt kicked regularly in our Wed night races. Our local paddling races are a little humbling since our local paddlers include two ex-olympians (Greg Barton is one of them!) and another guy ranked top 10 in world cup rankings.

In July I went to Kauai and rented one from Surfski Kauai. Anyone who surf ski paddles should put this on their to do list. Paddled 2x a day for 10 days. Did a couple of downwind shuttle runs with the owner, Dylan Thomas, providing some great coaching. 15-20 kt winds every day. Big fast moving ocean swell. 80 deg air and water, and having to steer around sea turtles as you paddle downwind.

The other awesome place to go is the Columbia river gorge. It pretty much blows upriver all summer and is a lot cheaper than kauai. Water’s a little colder at 65F but the air is 80-90.

Welcome to the club
All new surfski paddlers. Watch out, for it is addicting and you can become a surfski junkie in less than 2 years time and owning several skis and wing paddles. No problem if you got kids, for they and their friends will be using them all the time, since these boats are fast compared to the other forms of paddle craft most grownups use. Surfskis are the perfect vehicle to get kids started in paddling, so lobby your school board to offer it as a sport in middle and high school?

Wing paddle

Actually got home today and an Epic mid wing was waiting at my door. Will give it a go tomorrow A.M.

Is your ski a Mako??

Mako XT

Some of the new 18ft skis like the Stellar S18S is so stable I have let some none paddlers try mine and they had no problem paddling it.

I love paddling a ski, I feel so closed in when I paddle my kayak now

Welcome to the Inner Circle

Seriously, as Andy and Clyde stated, it is an addiction, and one made quickly enjoyable via time spent in the bucket.

I have three closed boats in addition to my three skis (two singles and a double), and I honestly no longer enjoy taking the closed boats out, as they feel claustrophobic after growing accustomed to the plein air feel of the skis. As I’m sure you’re finding out, acclimation to this exposed feeling might be initially daunting, but stay with it. Same with the wing. Every stroke becomes a brace stroke.

The V10 Sport’s a great boat; enjoy it. For those wanting a smoother transition, the introduction of boats like the Stellar S18S, the Epic V8, etc., allow the step from sea kayak to surf ski to be even easier. They enjoy all of the design aspects of the higher performance skis, with the added benefit of being significantly more stable for someone just starting out in this class of boats. Great fun for accomplished surf ski paddlers in big water, too.

So i tried the wing !! What a difference it makes.

RE: not using closed kayak. At my level this is not an option. Today here in Ocala, Fl. we had a pretty stiff breeze. I put the ski in the lake and over I went, over and over and over again.

Hopped in the kayak it was a more enjoyable ride.

I imagine at some point I will have no problem with the wind and waves but I’m not there yet.

My biggest problem in the wind is turning the ski as soon as I get the wind abeam I’m swimming. Water is 86 degrees so not a big deal just a big challenge.

Just bought a Mako XT. Looking for a wing, as the GP looks silly:)

If you haven’t seen this video
I recommend it.

call pat
At onno. When you do, ask him about his single blade paddles for me.

Ryan L.

lots of fun
I have owned and used surf skis since the 90’s.

living on or near lake ontario has been incredible.

So many different types of water. Surfing with these craft is is so much fun!!! When it gets cold I prefer a kayak. I have several HP kayaks that perform very well in the rough.

So keep paddling and work on your remount often.

Cheers Dan

paddle cadence in wind
In cross winds, keep your cadence up and your upper hand lower than you would in flat conditions. Time your catch with the face of the waves not the crest and paddle at an angle to the waves not straight in or straight across if possible. Pressing out with your heels or calves against the cockpit increases stability.

Deck lines?
Has anyone come up with a way to attach deck lines? My XT is carbon and I don’t want to drill into it. There is nothing to grab hold of when you go off (I have a foot strap.), and it is like a bar of soap to grab. Even trying to hold the cockpit edge while reentering is difficult. Also, it is hard for assisters to hold too. Any ideas?