Tarpon or other SOT owners question.

Do you ever surf your boats? Any tips other than practice? I have never successfully surfed any boat, but figure fishermen have to get back to shore.

Lean back
That was the advice a guide told me on my one and only surf zone paddle. We had some extra time at the end of the tour. The guide asked what we wanted to do with the time. My nephew asked him to teach us to surf the kayaks. He said to get ahead of the crest and lean back. He was still talking, but a wave picked me up and I leaned back and was off like a rocket. What a blast.

I’m glad he told me to lean back after teaching myself to lean forward in whitewater. Mike Sawyer, remember him, he told me to head into ledges aggressively treating the water like it slapped my Mama. But you don’t want to do that in the surf, I guess. You lean back and get the push right along. It was cool. The three of us, guide, nephew, and I, spent the rest of the time plus some right on to sunset surfing those little SOT’s in the mild surf. I only dumped once.

Great surf boat
I think the Tarpon is a great surf boat. My hatches leak so I have to pump out often, but I have a great time.

I took an ACA surf kayak lesson with my Kaos and helped a lot.

Face the waves, and back in…
This way, you can brace and paddle into the waves to stay straight and not get turned sideways and tumbled.

Having a 68 lb Tarpon 160 knock you on your head is not fun… Trust me, I know.


Quite a bit.
An OK Frenzy is a really fun little craft in the beakers. Leaning back is important, partly to have a low center of gravity, but it also seems to help the boat ride up on the wave rather that down in it and have the wave pass you by. Low bracing is the main thing you do to maintain control. Leg straps make things a whole lot easier.

There are better choices.
For surfing you want a bit of rocker to help prevent burying the bow.Tarpons are not good for this sort of thing.Look at some of the Ocean and RTM yaks.

Surfing Tarpons
I have ridden the waves in the Gulf of Mexico around Destin, FL in both my Tarpon 100 and 120. The skeg on the 120 catches too much of the wave and is a beast to manage. The 100, on the other hand, is a blast to ride the waves on. I zoom past boogie boarders and oftentimes surf all the way up to the sand and turn and paddle back out for more fun. I do get dumped every so often and will have to empty some water out afterwards but the 100 is a great compromise (I live 4 hours from the Gulf and don’t want a dedicated surf kayak as I fish mostly). The Tarpon 100 is a fun boat to have out on the waves!

I had
the Tarpon 160 with the big fore/aft hatches.IMO it’s really not a good choice for surfing.They tend to purl and due to length and lack of rocker they turn way to slow for good control.

Quite a lot.
I surf my Frenzy, both for fun and out of necessity when I come in from pulling heavy-rigged rods for sharks, bull redfish, spanish mackerel, etc. Frenzy is a good boat for in the surf, but not so much a Tarpon, it’s bow has a habit of pearling.

Generally if I am going offshore in my Tarpon 160, I am picking a really calm day where I don’t have to deal with surf, and because of the calm sea I can go out far, so therefore I want a longer, faster boat. If it isn’t as calm, I am going to stay closer to shore anyway, so I take the Frenzy, along with a very minimal amount of gear. Still, with the Frenzy, the only times I have wiped out were when I was surfing for fun. In a Frenzy, even in decent (by GOM standards) if you get through the surf as quickly as possible on your way out and back in, you aren’t going to have to worry about wiping out.

Exactly right.
Leaning back is what will get you on top of waves, if you don’t, they’ll pass right by you.