Surge Sea Kayak vs. Struer Arrow or Acti

I am helping my girlfriend look for a new sea or touring kayak. She is comfortable paddling a V10L surf ski and I would say she is an intermediate paddler. We do offroad tris as well as kayak races on ocean harbors, rivers, etc. We are hoping to do PHATWATER and/or the Mayor’s Cup or similar races next year. The surf ski she uses for flat water and sometimes rough but she wants something for rougher conditions also. She is about 5’4" and 120 pounds. Where we live, we don’t have much of a chance to demo too many boats. We have narrowed it down to the following boats:

Surge Sea Kayak by Surge Marine

Struer Arrow or Active

possibly a Viper 51 or 55

Does anyone have any experience with any of these and input on their performance in rougher water and flat water?

I have a Surge but haven’t paddled the other boats you mentioned. I’ve found the surge to be excellent in rough & confused water. First impression when looking at the Surge is how will it be without a skeg or rudder but I’ve found it to tracks very well. Construction quality is good. Only about 20 Surges a year are made and finding one may be difficult. I spoke to Bellington Sea Kayak up in Plymouth Mass a month or so ago and they were expecting to get 5 or 6 more for sale this year. There are 7-8 Surges in the local kayak club (Eastern Long Island) and everyone I know is happy with theirs. Even split between male and female owners. One of the advantages is the light weight 38 pounds and it’s definately a fast boat. Price for a new one will be around $3,700. The shortest paddler is about 5’2" and I’d estimate the lightest is around 135 pounds.

Different Classes?
The Vipers are more K-1 trainer in intent I believe, while the Surge is a true sea kayak. If she’s comfortable on a V10L, the Viper will be more stable but also less rough water worthy (big cockpit). What about a second ski, something more stable like an Evo or an S1-R? She’s have a hoot on one of these in the rough given her skills on the L.

cold weather
She wants something with a true cockpit so she can use it for winter paddling and can put a spray skirt on it.

I’ve paddled the Vipers, basically updated Nelo Razors. Same category as the Kayakpro Jet/Burn, etc. They’re fairly stable, but not much bow volume for rough water-of course, at her weight, this would be less of an issue.

There are quite a few Jets/Burns out there, Thunderbolts and even a few EFTs (after the Soundrowers switch…smile). That would be a great winter boat-good manners in the rough and significantly faster than a Surge.

I have a Surge and consider it an awesome sea kayak for open water races.

Pam is fast in the Surge
In the 70 miler I think she has a faster time than my t-bolt. To buy a boat for racing it is good to check to see what is barely legal in their class. The eft is so fast that it was like the 57 chevy in car shows. It won so much that the jealous got it banned.

Addendum, Dave
Pam is fast in anything. :wink: You could give her a Pungo with a 2 X4 and she’ll put in a blistering time.

Know about two others who own Surge boats besides Pam, and they love 'em.

surfski w/ sprayskirt
One of the Think skis has a cockpit rim that will take a sprayskirt. Just looked it up and it’s called the Fit.