surfski recommendations

Have not paddled a surfski yet, but am pretty sure I want one. Anybody have any recommendations? My specifics: 5’11", 170 lbs, looking for a fairly fast boat for paddling in near coastal waters. Something stable enoough for deep water reentry and that can handle wind and chop and under 50 lbs is what I have in mind. Thanks in advance for any ideas. Larry

Check this out
OK so I have no idea of what I am talking about since I have never paddled a surf ski but I saw one of these and decided I want one also!

4 posts already and no TRILOBYTE?
Mark C - where are you when we want some sizable text content? (of good quality) I want to hear more about the HUKI boats!!!

when the master isn’t available the rest of us can fill in.

Yes, Grasshopper…
when you can snatch the pebble from my hand (laughing)…Wow, Master Po (Po-seur?) status. (Wayne’s World voice: “I’m not worthy…”)

So many nice boats out there… More stable:

Fenn Mako XT, Huki S1-R, Epic V-10 Sport, Think Evo, new Rogue Honcho, etc.

I, of course, am biased with my S1-R (light, stable,decent turn of speed, and available now with single footwell). V10 Sport’s a really nice boat also-maybe better for someone on the larger size (w/o padding). Of the two, the Sport has less initial stability, about the same secondary. Speed’s a toss up. Maybe the Sport’s a hair faster with 8’ rudders, but you can quickly change the Huki to the 4" for less drag in flatter conditions. Hear good things about the Think Evo also from friends you have paddled all-same speed, stability and high level of comfort. I’d like to try one.

Check the classifieds…
Franklin is selling his new Epic V10.

do you have any local groups?

– Last Updated: Feb-26-08 10:27 AM EST –

most local groups are pretty friendly and will likely let you try their boats...

i like the mako xt (contact ocean paddlesports) and huki's beginner boat is also nice and well liked in my neck of the woods. both ocean paddlesports and jude are really helpful and easy to talk to too.

have fun!


Which model to get - well, what to avoid is : any Epic in the Ultra layup. The build just won’t hold up, unless you are really really careful and never hit any object in the water. If you hit a rock, log, or whatever - well… The boat will just fall apart. I could easily see getting enough perforation hitting a log or buoy that the hull would get ripped open enough to force swimming in without the boat.

Just ask anybody who’s had an Ultra for awhile.

Borrow, try, learn
They’re all capable in any water you can paddle them in and they’re all stable enough to remount in deep water. The question isn’t the boat, it’s the paddler. Which means you really need to get your butt into some boats and try them. Or–and this is a perfectly viable way to start–look for a used Mako XT or S1-R or V10 Sport at a decent price in your area, buy it, and paddle it for a while. By the time you’ve done that you’ll have a much better idea what you’re looking for when/if you choose to trade up. Your first ski is unlikely to be your last.

XT For Sale,
Larry, I’m in South Florida also and have a used very good condition Mako XT for sale, tried to e-mail you and it was returned.


Another Plug For Huki S1-R
The Huki S1-R is an excellent stabile surfski. Huki has some significant advantages over the other companies that offer a more stabile surfksi:

Customization - Pick your construction method, colors, graphics, etc…I think Huki is the only surfski company that gives you these choices.

Rudders - Huki offers the greates number of rudders, including the new 9" weedless, a weedless rudder that really works. I carry 3 rudders in my car that I can pop in depending on the conditions.

Customer Service - When you call Huki you talk with the owner. Jude is one of the nicest guys in paddling. There are no big egos, just good advice with a friendly “mahalo.”

Hi Larry

– Last Updated: Feb-26-08 12:07 PM EST –

I have the Sport. The initial stability is a little light but the secondary is as good as my kayak. I think the wide seat might have something to do with feeling a little loose in the primary?
I have never seen the Huki but I've heard great things about them. I did try the Think Evo. For me (subjective), it was more stable than the Sport. It also seemed very quick. Sadly, that day I did not have my GPS so I can't say for sure. I don't know what it's like in the bumps. The rudder placement seems a little far back on the boat. My XT was like that, but I think they have moved it forward. The Evo was also a little snug on my hips but doable (I weigh 225, oh well). I have ordered an Evo. Their next shipment will be here in mid March. The fit and finish on the Think was awesome. They used polyurethane paint in lieu of gel coat. It made the boat lighter but I'm not sure how it will hold up over time. I am very careful with boats so it's really not a big issue to me.
I also found the seating position on the Think very nice and comfortable. I feel like my feet are higher than my body when I paddle the Sport. I have not heard anyone else say that so, I guess that is another subjective comment and may not be true for all of us?
Being on the heavy side, both the Think and Sport were much faster with me in them. BUT, I sold the XT to a guy who weighed about 165 pounds. He was very fast in the XT.
Good luck finding your boat and remember, the hunt is lots of fun!
Ps. Wesley has had all the boats you are interested in. Hopefully he will chime in too!
I am in Northeast Florida. You are welcome to try my Sport if you are anywhere in the area.
Pps. I just read your bio. Bruce Gibson, Venturesport (great guy) is now a Think dealer. He is going to get several Think surf skis in April. He also has several XT's you could go and try now. Google Venturesport and you will find his website.

Always say it … if you have your
’sea butt’ in a regular sea kayak you will be amazed @ how fun and friendly the new ‘stable’ skis are. The S1-R is the leader in this group IMO.

Franklin, Talked to Daryl for 45 minutes the other day … the boats are still gelcoated ( lightly ) for production and QC consistancy THEN sprayed.

Hi Patrick
Hope all is well in Paradise. Hope you are able to stay ahead of Paddle demands?

If you could ever figure out how to build mass quantities, I bet kayak shops around the country would eat your paddles up. Great paddle, quality and price.

Food for thought!

Talk to you soon I hope.


Thanks to all
for the great suggestions. And to hexsledge, have already contacted you by email. I changed my ISP a while ago and never changed my profile, so will do that now. Larry

PS And Franklin, if I get up that way would love to try your V10 Sport.

Just wondering speed wise
on flat water or slow moving rivers are surfskis faster than say a Mohican or a Thunderbolt kayaks? I know the benifit for rough water but just curious asuming the same paddler on all boats if there is a big or noticable difference in speed.

Mohican/T Bolt
Don’t own either, but know of at least one person who owns the Mohican, Mako 6, V10, and some more stable skis. His take is that the Mohican is pretty much the fastest thing out there shy of a full on K-1 in flatter water.

I can say that my EFT is noticeably easier to keep at race pace than my S1-R in flatter conditions-better glide at 6-7+ mph equals lower heart rate. The S1-R comes alive in conditions though, and there’s always the ease of remount consideration, which even psychologically, you can’t discount. For a river event, or protected harbor, I take the EFT. It just goes. A little texture, or lots of texture, and the Ski is more fun and confidence inspiring, thus faster. I think you’re starting to see more folks going to skis vs. the ‘Bolts, Vampires, and other unlimited class closed boats for ocean races for the self rescue factor alone.

This brings up the point of more stable vs. less stable but faster skis. For most, the more stable (ie* starter) ski would be a good choice for someone just learning the ropes. You’re only as fast as you are able to efficiently put the power down, regardless of the out and out potential speed of the boat. With a potentially faster, albeit far more tender ski, you’ll likely easily become frustrated at swimming so often.

As DLonberg accurately stated: “Your first ski is unlikely to be your last.” My first ski was an intermediate Mark 1, which I could never really comfortably ‘sit,’ given my skillset and lack of experience then. I was faster in my QCC700 than in that ski by virtue of the ultra stable platform. Then I went to a significantly more stable XT, now to my S1-R and am thinking to go to something more challenging, to increase skills and for that extra measure of speed in flatter races. Will likely keep the R as it’s such a versatile and fun boat.

I’d echo to maybe look at Franklin’s V10 Sport and/or Hex’s XT. You’ll save a bit over new, and can turn them around pretty easily to someone else in your position on the learning/‘gotta’ have one’ curve if you decide you want something else, while having a whole heaping helping of fun in the process.

CD Speedster
don’t forget this old boy. out of production, but fast, stable and perfect for learning, you could probably pick one up cheap.

Hold on … please tell me if I am wrong
Never paddled one … but the Speedster has an overwealming reputation for LACK of stability and ultra poor construction (Suprising given CD’s rep ). Based on this alone I would say it is contributing to giving surfskis a BAD name. Compared to everything else, this thing should be dead and buried. Way, WAY better choices out there now.

You are right!
I have a V10 and a CD Speedster and the Speedster is far less stable than the V10. It is also a lot faster than the V10 though. I didn’t have any issues with quality of construction on the Speedster. Unless you are really dedicated and can spend a lot of time paddling and working through the stability issues I don’t think the Speedster is a good choice for first surf ski.