Thunderbolt vs. Surf Skis - Comparisons?

Hey all, hoping for a little advice from those with experience with a boat like the WSBS Thunderbolt and surf skis.

I’ve been paddling my Thunderbolt for about a year now and feel pretty comfortable in it. I’ve never had the chance to paddle a surf ski but can’t help but think about switching over to one. The Thunderbolt is great but causes me some anxiety in windy/choppy water as taking a swim means filling up a 21’ boat with water. Rolling it isn’t a problem but I don’t like wearing the skirt when it’s hot and I’m paddling hard. That means I also have to deal with waves breaking over the cockpit and dumping in some water.

There’s no opportunity around here for big water so I don’t need anything that can handle surf conditions. Just wind driven waves on small lakes, boat wakes, and fairly slow river currents.

So my question is: how does the Thunderbolt relate to various surf skis in terms of speed and stability on flat water?



VEry close

having paddled most of the skis and unlimited boats around.

On flatwater skis accelerate faster and are much cooler in the warm months

The Thunderbolt needs to be trim. in stock position the bow is to far out of the water.

ideally your bow should be 1/2" to 1" lower than the stern.

Bottom line it is the motor and technique.

having race both many times. so work on your technique and get a good training plan going.



I really liked the tbolts and dont think there are many skis that are any faster. I have tried several skis and when it was time to race I would get the Tbolt. I dont paddle big water so I`m not really worried about getting in trouble with the tbolt.

I like the comfort of the ski better and the summer paddling is cooler.

If you are worried about speed I would keep the Tbolt and work on the motor.

I’ve had both

– Last Updated: Jun-21-10 7:48 AM EST –

and would NEVER go back to a kayak now. A ski is way safer in deep water if you get in trouble and that alone gives me more confidence to pull on that paddle.I went from a T-bolt X to the "slower" boat a Epic V10 sport and got way faster. West side boats need work to fit and feel right. Ski's are ready out of the box. Now after working on technice and getting more confident in the boat I've moved to a V12. Now that's one of the fastest boat avalible. Good luck. Chaz

Thanks for the responses. I was afraid I was missing the boat (pun not intended) but it’s good to hear the Thunderbolt isn’t giving up anything in terms of speed. I can certainly appreciate the safety aspect of a surf ski but I think I’ll save my money for now and stick it out with the Thunderbolt. I’ll start taking my skirt along more often and playing around in more challenging conditions to get a bit more comfortable in it.