Surfski Vs Waveski

-- Last Updated: Jul-18-05 8:03 AM EST --

I did 4 hours practicing on little waves yesterday in my waveski. My butt is totally sore this morning. I read with interest Sanjay's woes with his surfski in the Blackburn.

Just curious whether the paddling positions are similar between the two. I am sitting about 3" above waterline. My legs are straight in front and slightly bent (about 1.5 fists from the back of my knees to the deck). Tippy as heck. Find myself sweeping out a bit at the end of the stroke, almost as a brace component. Helps to stay loose in the hips. Found towards the end of the session, I was getting tired and unconsciously tightening up. That's when the capsizes begin to occur.

I like to figure out the right way to paddle this thing. It doesn't have much speed. I think getting through a good break zone is going to be a real challenge.


Gotta Love Google…
found various photos. Seems the sitting positions are similar. Guess I’ll have to read more about surfski paddling technique.



I have a Island epoxy waveski with a 3/4" foam pad in the seat recess. I have been tempted to remove the pad to improve stability but it is comfortable.

I read your past post about feeling like a beginner again. I feel the same with this waveski. Like you I purchased a “performance” model (instead of a “friendly”, stable one). Compared to my surf kayak, it feels very sluggish crawling through the surf zone and the stability feels about the same as if I sat atop a few phone books on the aft deck of a kayak. I don’t have thigh-straps and miss the input and control of my kayaks. It is fun once you lock into a wave though!

Greg Stamer

i paddle a surfski and have been paddling a waveski for 6 months. Although the actual body positions are similair in terms on angle of knees the technique and feel are compleley diffetrent. In the surfski that I have there is a deep seat so that you are siiting close to or below waterline and feet are even lower. It is 17 inches wide but has tremendous secondary stability. The waveski is 26 inches wide with almost no secondary stability. The surfski has no rails and although you can carve turns to some degree for the most part turning is done with large under sturn rudder. Also using wing paddle changes the dynamic of the stroke.

It is amazing that a 26" wide craft can seem as unstable as a 17" one. I don’t think being good at one helps with the other except in terms of general fitness.


Thanks For Feedback, G & E…
I know I have a learning curve but this one feels like a lot more steep one than for the surf boat. There is the part of me wondering what the heck am I doing to myself when I have just gotten to the point of being comfortable getting through decent size breaks and surfing with the Venom.

Eugene, I made the comparision to the surfski because of Sanjay’s post. My butt is really sore this morning. OUCH! The other is checking on the stroking technique. When I try to paddle like I do with my white water/surf boats - that is high angle stroke from toe to hips right next to the hull – I feel I am pulling myself off balance. Yesterday, I was stroking outwards at the end of the stroke, more as I would imagine with a wing, that felt a little more stable. Was wondering if that is adapted stroke that waveskiers use, or am I totally off track, and need to just get used to the squirrelly balance of the waveski (and toughening my butt cheeks up)?


Observation from beginner
Lots of waveskiers use a very shallow quick horizontal stroke with a lot of bracing action, but I do think the best guys use a pretty normal stroke for power for getting out, but with some subtle braces thrown in, the secret for tippy skis seems to be timing the paddle out, using the flow of the wave to keep you upright, getting those feet out of the stirrups for stability, blowing over the foam or turtle rolls. If I ever master any of that I’ll let you know. I learned a lot watching Fletcher Burton live, I heard the Cryptic Meanings video is also supposed to be good to learn technique by watching, I think its about 45 bucks.

Never Heard Of That Vid…
where did you order it from? I often look over and over again my Search 2 DVD, especially before a big surf day. It helps me focus on what I may want to work on a specific session. The problem with Search 2 is that I see the rides but not the paddle out! Generally when I see Burton in the segments, he’s doing 3 or 4 quick strokes and dropping in on the wave. Yup, would love to do that after I figure out how to paddle out without falling over. :slight_smile:

what I really need is a good three foot day just to test my ability to get through the break zone without getting squashed if I blow it. A clean 3 foot wave would be plenty to get the feel of how a ski would surf as the reward.


No I meant watching live…

– Last Updated: Jul-18-05 10:13 PM EST –

In particular we filmed Burton and several of the west coast best at a surf contest in Ventura when there was huge surf.

The other video--- Cryptic Meanings is from a French guy I think its under something like Subgraviti productions. I have heard about five people suggest this video. I watched the trailer and it was kind of avant garde ... and the pay method did not work, which I was glad because I fured out with shipping it would be about $50. Advice from my son Ian on getting out through the break..."Never give up"

That being said I've been with him a few times when he's called it quits after getter repeatedly worked.

"Never Give Up…"
I like that! I need to surf with you two one of these days when I get out to SD again. Ian and I can get pounded together. I am kinda thick too… :slight_smile: (Probably too many dead brain cells from being hit on the head.)


the cryyptic meanings video is made by sub gravity. It is a nice video but it is in a weird dvd format that only plays on my computer.

There is a good discussion on on learning how to crawl on waveski. Also links to get cryptic meanings dvd.

I have found that I do much better on little waves and when it is big I get my butt kicked. My biggest problems have been taking off straight in the wrong place, nose digs in and I go head over heels. Also trying turn to much off the front of ski catch a rail on downwave side and flip. I think also timing is key.

I have been working with trying to edge down wave without catching a rail and can do it in little waves but still have alot to learn.

This winter had alot of frustration with waveski had put a couple holes in it and had a hard time rolling but now seem to be making some progress. Definatley a challenge, and with an advanced ski even more so.


Damn Ugly Cheat That I Am…
I can’t say much about catching waves since my experience so far has been catching those “gigantic” 1.5" waves. I pitchpoled a couple of times. I started to aggressively edge and lean into the wave as soon as I am on. What I found was the ski turned mightly fast when I do and I ended up riding right back over the lip and loosing the wave. This morning, I moved the the fins an inch back, as well as the lap belt back an inch. I think everything is too forward perhaps…

In terms of the roll, I discovered a “cheat” method. Maybe it’s not but not having seen others roll a ski up close and personal… Anyway, as soon as I flipped, I extracted both feet from the straps and hooked the top of my feet/toes around the edge of the ski. Then as I rolled up, I threw the inboard leg over for counterweight and final stability. My outboard leg stayed hooked to the edge and helped transfer the roll momentum into that edge to bring it up. With this cheat method, I found I could roll the offside pretty consistently. Doing this, I found that I had the option while under to not ponder too long which direction I want to roll up on, and that if I blew it, I can reclip my feet and attempt a roll on the other side. However, this method works muscles that I have never used in kayaking, namely the inner thighs. I discovered that I am sore there, as if I had done hours with Suzanne Sommer’s Thigh Master…