surfing with kayaks

I live on a quiet shallow river in Weeki Wachee, Central Florida and enjoy my Necky dolphin. I’ve been a surfer all my life but a neck injury has put an end to me laying on the board to paddle. I am planning to move back to Florida’s East Coast and want to know what kind of gear i need. When the waves have some size it can be hard to get out. I would like to eventually ride a kayak like a surfboard, shooting down the line, cutting back etc. I can’t find much info on this. No pictures in either surf or kayak publications. can you help

I’d start this way…
…if nobody gets you an answer here, try

and/or go to

and get an account so you can post to the forum


I’ll bet that between this site and those two you

can find SOMEONE who will help.

Some info

– Last Updated: Dec-22-04 10:57 PM EST –

If you really want to surf like on a surfboard (short-board) then kayaks may not cut it. You might want to look into getting a waveski. I think they are the best way to go in warm water. Good sources of information are on the wavemaster and island wave ski web pages ... and .

For surfing down the line, paddle at a slight angle to the wave heading slightly toward the shoulder, drop in with your weight back then use your paddle to stern rudder into the curl and lean into the wave .

See this link from wavemaster ... might be hard to do in a Dolphin on a big wave, but works on small waves on a dolphin....

I started surfing a Ocean Kayak Frenzy, then a Cobra Strike, which I still use and love, I then learned how to roll using a Necky Jive, which also works OK in the surf, I then started looking at waveskis ( probably will still buy one) and just bought an old but very fast fiberglass Mako surf kayak made by Mike Johnson. Surf kayaking is very addictive, once you start riding big waves, but most of the boats can be had for not a lot of money if you buy used.

The easiest way to get started would be to just surf your Necky Dolphin, but it is going to be difficult to cut back and get off of bigger waves.

Ocean Kayaks on their web page have information for begining surfing on a sit on top kayak.

A shorter higher performance sit on top might be a good way to move up. Examples are Cobra Strikes and Wilderness System Kaos boats. A good way to start is to find a used Ocean Kayak Rapido. They are no longer made and can be found cheap. A lot depends on your weight, the rapido can only float about 180 lbs, the Strike about 215 amd the Kaos a little more.

Check out the reviews here and on those companies web pages for SOT surf boats and at

For sit inside surfing you can use white water boats like a Necky Jive or RIp but they are not much like surfing on a surf board.

High peformance composite surf kayaks are expensive to buy new and hard to find and try out to buy used but it can be done. On the east coast you might find one for 450 -600 bucks or a used Riot Boogie for about 400 bucks. Try searching the forums here for information under "surfing" or "waveski" and search the archives at boatertalk on surfing and specific boat models. There are a few of us here that surf regularly if you have specific questions and would be willing to help you out.

Make sure you wear a helmet and a good PFD, and try to hook up with other kayak/waveski surfers to help show you how to surf effectively in a kayak.

If you look in the archives here or on boater talk you can find lots of hints about getting out through big waves, the best way to learn is to find other surfers and watch and ask questions, and then practice, practice practice. Also I reccomend finding a DVD from Vince Shay called The Search 2, it will give you an idea of what surf kayaking can be like. There is also an instructional video called "In the surf" by performance seakayaking that is OK to help you learn the basics. Have fun.

Great informative post Seadart…

I’m one of the “converts” that these guys swung over to the “dark side”…hehe…once you take a ride on a surf kayak you’ll paddle until your arms are ready to fall out! I bought a used Wilderness Systems Kaos…and have been having a blast with it down in Myrtle Beach all summer. I’m not really good at manuevering it back and forth…I’m still learning. It is great exercise though…and paddling back out THROUGH the surf can be very entertaining…hehe…

I’m taking my dry-suit with me down to the beach in a few days…gonna try to get in a Christmas session.

Anyway…great post Seadart…new surf kayakers should all be directed to this thread… :slight_smile:


Yup! You Can Stoke…

– Last Updated: Dec-23-04 4:50 AM EST –

again with a surf specific craft.

Here is an informative link for different surf craft designs, etc.:


starter boat
I have also recently started surf kayaking. I would recomend a starter type boat to see if you like it and then move up. I have a pyrhana surf jet which I have enjoyed immensley but it does not have much of a rail and getting boat ripped off of me in big waves has been a problem. I would look at a the cobra surf boat(forgot name either strike or wavewitch it is the short sit on top that looks like a surf board) or the surfjet they are widly available and if you get the basics you can move up to a fancier boat. There are a bunch of other sit on top surf boats also. Probably does not matter that much which one you get. I would try to find a shop with a knowledgable staff near the beach you are moving to. Also Nigel Fosters surf kayak book is great and will answer many questions.


BeachAV8r, I grew surfing at the
yachtsman pier in Myrtle. we used to have great waves there , my little brother says it’s not the same since the beach renourishment project. the beach used to be incredibly wide, at low tide you would get tired walking down to water.what area are you surfing ? ever go to Dunes cove or up to sunset island (Byrd island)

I Feel You…
I used to surf long boards on the east coast of Florida. Sebastian was a favorite spot. Anywhere along Anatasia Beach when you could still drive on. New Syrna was good, but too many sharks…

I didn’t surf for years and when I came to Norhtern California I had gained weight and gotten out of shape and it was miserable. And really cold for a Florida boy. I bought an OK Frenzy, and am still surfing that, but not much these days. I have had lessons and used the Cobra Strike and Wilderness Kaos. I like the Strike the best so far of the SOTs.

I think a waveski would be the way for you to go. Island waveskis are made on the Florida east coast. Somewher arouond Coco Beach, I think. Waveskis perform the most like a real surfboard. They are about as light as a surfboard at 15-20# Surfing SOTs are more like 40-50#. They are harder to learn than SOTs, but in relatively mild, warm, Florida surf the learning curve is not so bruttal like here in NORCAL with cold water, big surf, and rocky shoreline…Also waveskis are somewhat fragile.

I still plan on returning to Florida some day to finish my state retirement. I am planning on going to a waveski then.

Springmaid Pire in Myrtle Beach?
I spent part of a summer at the Springmaid campground down by the Springmaid Pier when I was in college. The surfing there was pretty decent. The best surf trip of my life.

That was pretty much prime surfing time of my life. I was a professional lifeguard in college, I weighted about 160#, and was swimming 5-10 miles week.

I quess that was about 30 years ago now. Time flys…

Such Is The Nature of Obsession
After board surfing for many years, I acquired a Cobra Strike, mostly as a general fun boat . I took it out in the surf one day…and I was totally hooked! Seeking the next step up in performance, I picked up a Wilderness Systems Kaos. A good ride but not as aggressive a move as I had anticipated. Next I ordered a custom shaped Infinity Stinger wave ski. As mentioned earlier, this turned out to be a big step up…with a matching learning curve. But once I started to get the hang of it, the moves I had loved to do on a board were all there…and then some.

Since then, I have had two more Infinity skis shaped by legendary surfer / shaper Steve Boehne that incorporate higher performance features…each shorter, thinner, narrower then its predecessor. And today, I picked up a new Mako Aquarius surf kayak…a carbon fiber/ kevlar masterpiece created by Paul Schreiner at PS Composites. At 7’10" x 17" and only 25 lbs, I anticipate it will be a rocket.

So be forewarned…once you start paddle surfing, there is no turning back.

A couple of sites I strongly urge you to visit: