Ok…maybe I’m a bit confused…

In reading a couple of these recent strings, I see that a Rominy S may have been designed to surf with hard chines to edge into waves. However, I believe I also had seen that surfskis have round hulls for surfing…

What am I missing here?

Surfing =
It don’t matter 'till you stand up !

Surfskis are not for surfing
Surfskis are designed for going fast on open water and catching runs from the small waves. They were also originally intended for getting in and out through surf breaks but are not used for this much anymore. The rounded hull has less surface area and is therefore faster.

Surfing on breaking waves like a surfboard requires a flattish hull to plane more easily. A Romany won’t surf as well as a surf specific design but it’s less rounded hull helps it carve along the face of a wave.

To summarise:

A surfski is for going fast and straight in and out at a surf break.

A Romany is slower but more maneuverable and can do more on breaking waves.

If you are serious about surfing breaking waves get a short, flat bottomed surf specific design.


Thanks Kelvin! and Onno…
No sea kayak really surfs well…

OK…that helps…
I have seen “surf shoes” made by VCP that are pretty flat…and have also seen a Valhalla advertised on ebay that is more a surfski and I believe might have even had a “lifeguard” model designation, or something like that…that would get someone through and out beyond the breaking waves and back quickly…

Thanks! That’s one of the things I like so about this interest/activity, there is so much to learn and keep one’s interest!

my subject goes here
Its true sea kayaks dont surf well but you can do alot more with them than most people think. Dont worry about what kind of boat you have. Just get out there and do what you can with what you have.

If you get bit by the bug you will end up getting a surf boat.

Don’t get into technical aspects of the virtues of surfing one kayak over the other. The idea is to get on a wave and have some fun.

I have been kayak surfing waves up to about 5 feet with my Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT, a 12 year old boat that I also use for kayak fishing. It is beat up, scratched, dinged, has been tossed over a jetty by a wave, but still works fine.

I have a friend that uses a kayak specifically designed for surfing, but I have just as much fun as he does, and we both ride the same waves.

Nothing like getting wet.

Chine shape isn’t the only thing that’s going on with how a hull bites into a wave. Surfskis don’t like big piles of broken wave, but the flattish bottom and rounded chine on a V10 carves pretty nicely with a bit of a lean on an unbroken face, and even the very round Mako Millenium responds well to a slight lean if you can handle the floating-log stablility profile.

True but

– Last Updated: May-28-08 1:35 AM EST –

There are many ways to ride waves.
I've certainly had fun on a scrambler but not my idea of optimal experience. Trust me there is more fun to be had and it does not need to be expensive fun. A waveski or surf kayak will let you ride the green part of the wave at high speed, cutting back, round-houses, hitting the lip, doing floaters and re-entries, getting air kicking off the back.

More to life than running straight in ...

I surf my surfski every time I go out
I don’t think I agree with some of the comments you have received. I have surfed all types of waves in my Huki S1-R surfski and my former QCC700. These are both non-chined hulls.

The idea of surfing shore break in my QCC was not very appealing because if I capsized and did not execute a quick roll, I was soon swimming with a flooded kayak as the waves tossed me into the beach. The surfski is so much friendlier in these situations. It is easy to re-mount if necessary and flooding does not happen. Plus I can ride the surfski right into the shore, jumping out in the last seconds.

The surfski can also catch shore break much further out than regular surfboards. You can catch rollers just as they start to shoal up. And then if you want, you can pull out before the wave breaks taking many runs outside of the break zone.

I was in the lineup with some long boards out at the Cape last year. The waves were small with the occasional set allowing the long boarders to get short rides. I was catching these waves about 50 yards further out and riding them all the way in. Then it was very easy turning around and paddling back out for another wave. I must have rode 20 waves in a couple hours where the long boards only had 5 or 6 short rides each. I was in the right craft for these conditions.

Now you are not gonna do sharp carves or cutbacks or anything like that. Its more like surfing a long board. Depending on the ski, you can still change directions on a wave and surf modest diagonals. Much of this steering is with the rudder and also leaning out on a skimming paddle blade.

As far as open water waves, this is where the surfski shines. Somebody said they are only good for surfing small waves. I guess the term “small” is relative. I find even big boat wake to be small waves. Most of what I consider “small” waves are too slow to bother catching including most boat wake unless you can catch it diagonally. The exception are larger ferry wake or freighter wake which I will hunt out when there are no good wind waves or ocean swell.

I find the best open water waves have a period a little longer than the surfski. This means 3 - 5 footers moving at 8 - 15 mph. Remember that deep open water waves move at different speeds and pop up and disappear as waves of different speeds and sizes compound and cancel each other. So deep open water rides are limited in length and take special skill to feel and take adavantage of the opportunities.

One of the keys to surfski joy is to find locations where ocean swells shoal up but not necessarily break. This is where waves line up and move at a constant speed maintaining a well defined crest and trough. You will often see these wrapping around points or forming over bars and reefs. Their speed is defined by the depth of the water. These you can get on and ride for great distances. I’ve got my favorite places to go hunting for these waves and I expect most other surfskiers do as well. This is the type of surfing that is unique to surfskis and so much fun.

There are lots of types of waves out there and a surfski is uniquely qualified to surf them better than any other craft I know of.

Chines are over rated
Adding chines does not suddenly make any boat a better surfer. You need waterplane area with some surface area at a positive angle of attack to the oncoming water. Chines do not magically provide this.

Chines do not magically allow one to lean into turn to carve while planing. Its rocker that provides this.

Now chines could be a by product of exagerating waterplane area out to the maximum beam of a craft like on a surfboard.

I often wonder how much you could round off chines and still get nearly the same hydraulic effect, but with less drag. Or conversely, how much could you reduce the radius of a curve to gain some plane effects without going so far as to to create a drag inducing corner like a chine?

That’s surf board shaper talk
My friend and I discuss this often. He’s shaped over 10,000 surf boards. Sea Kayakers assume that a hard edge grabs and holds the wave face, when in actuality a cisp edge is very loose. Conversely a very round shape tends to get “held”.

Surf board edge profiles are critical and I think to your point envyabull…“not crisp per sey…”

This could tip people over, so I’ll stop. Good day.