Waveski or SOT surf kayak for Boston and 5'9" paddler

@sing and other waveski / SOT surfers who know Boston water well:

I am in Quincy Massachusetts and REALLY want to get into waveski (wanted that since 10 years ago, but never got a chance to do it till now). Please kindly advise me.

How many days of weekend surf can you catch per year, on average, in Boston waters?

My main problem is that I mostly only have weekends (due to busy work). And I understand long waves are not common in Boston area, except when a winter storm comes.

On my short list of waveski / SOT surf kayaks are:

Used Island waveski EZ model 8’ long 28" wide, 15lbs, for $450, bit about 5 hrs drive for me.

Pyranha (Venture) Surfjet 305 (10’ long, 25" 28lbs sit-on-top surf kayak) for $199 locally.

The Pyranha also seem to have channels while some of the other SOT do not. https://www.sitons.com/kayak-reviews/pyranha/pyranha-surf-jet-305-kayak-review/

Other SOT surf kayaks, such as
Cobra Strike, Dagger Kaos, Perception 5-0 or Ocean Kayak RrrAPIDO weight in at about 40lbs. But not currently available used around me.

Which beginner boat option sounds more suitable for me in Boston waters (no more than 1.5 hrs from Quincy), please?

I would like something slightly challenging, but not too difficult to start with.

About myself:

I have been doing sea kayaking for some years (no problem in 22" wide 14’-17’ long kayaks), but I crave to ride some waves (flat water bores me). Sit-inside surf kayaks do not appeal to me as much, as I cannot roll well yet and don’t want a kayak filled with water in the surf to hit myself.

I am almost 40yo, 5’9",140 lbs in weight, lean and fit, US medium sized male, 31*31 pants, size 9 feet, have decent sense of balance, but rarely surfed before.

I do need to buy a good 5/4 wetsuit. Currently have a gifted Kokatat Gortex drysuit, but it is one size too large. Already have good neoprene gloves, socks and shoes.

Thank you very much!

PS: I also have, for sale / trade, in Quincy MA, a P&H Capella 166, two carbon fiber canoe paddles, and one kevlar canoe (either Swift Temagami family tripping canoe in good shape or an old Mad River C2 race canoe that needs fiberglass patches, but not both).

@sing will hopefully reply with lots of local knowledge

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Once you sell your Capella and/or canoe, you can order and pick this up at Hingham REI:


You are definitely within the lower end of the Kaos’ weight range, meaning that it will more forgiving for you in not feeling as tippy. Being fit is good. Surfing means needing to do a lot of sprinting to get out through the break zone, especially when the waves are bigger. Balance… as a beginner paddle surfer, you will get flipped quite a bit. Have a helmet for your brain. You don’t want to get knocked out from hitting the bottom and/or from being hit by the boat.

The used waveski could be a good deal but it may not fit you in the seat-to-feet measurement. https://waveski.com/seat-to-feet/ Its dimensions certainly would make it easier/appropriate to learn on for a beginning paddle surfer of your weight (has plenty of float for your 140 lbs).

Some hooded wetsuits are on sale at the Wetsuit Wearhouse. I just bought myself a MS hooded, as insurance since I currently straddle the S and M sizes with my 150 lbs. Who knows what can happen after a good Thanksgiving feast?!? :yum:

Surf expected after Thanksgiving. I will be surfing the projected head high swells at my homebreak up on the north shore this Friday. I will surf the projected waist-chest highs at Nantasket this Saturday AM.



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Call Osprey Sea Kayak in Westport Mass 508 636 0300. Ask for Samantha. They are the go-to in the Northeast for waveskis. Sam is a fanatic. They might have a couple used ones and they are having a huge sale on just about everything including the business itself. They will certainly point you in the right direction. Good luck

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Wow. Sorry to hear that Carl and Sam are selling Osprey. They were supportive early on with the (now ceased) winter “RISK” (Rhode Island Surf Kayak) surf gatherings way back when.

I am sure they will continue to have time for adventures on the water, probably more so without the demands of running and retail a guide business…


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Thank you very much, gents.

I have talked to Carl (he called me on Sunday evening, right after reading my email). Fantastic, kind and knowledgeable guy.

Carl has a used Dagger Kaos and this:

Pyranha (Venture) Surfjet 305 (10’ long, 25" 28lbs sit-on-top surf kayak) for $199.

I prefer the Pyranha Surfjet for its 28 lbs of light weight, over Dagger Kaos’ 40 lbs of weight. Am I missing something? Is Kaos obviously better in some other way?

The Pyranha also seem to have channels while some of the other SOT do not. https://www.sitons.com/kayak-reviews/pyranha/pyranha-surf-jet-305-kayak-review/

I have a NRS helmet and will buy a short ww paddle (of 195cm I guess?).

Friday and Saturday’s “feels like” temperature is under 30 or 25. We lose heat some 6 times faster in water. Is your 5/4 wetsuit warm enough?

May I meet with you on Friday or Saturday? Lunch or dinner on me. Approximately when you would be done with surfing? I am going to Carl’s Osprey on Saturday or Sunday.

The Dagger Kaos is a “surf-specific” design, with side rails and a tri-fin set up as with most surf kayaks and surf boards. The Surf Jet (despite the name) looks to have a displacement (ww style) hull. The Surf Jet’s skeg is too far back relative to the sitting position. If you deploy it, it will likely track the boat straight and work against being able to carve turns on the wave. The kaos, tri-fin setup towards the seat area, will help to carve and track on a wave face. The surf jet, without deploying the skeg, will likely slide out more with it’s high side walls. Sliding out means you lose speed on a diagonal run and the wave pocket will more likely catch up and break on you, ending your ride quicker.

The heavier weight of the Kaos only makes a difference when you carrying it to and from the beach break. But carrying Kaos’ 40 lbs on the shoulder with the thigh straps should be a big deal for someone in decent shape. Heck, I often carry my 60 lb Scupper Pro SOT by the thigh straps from the car to the beach with little problem (windy days do present a challenge). Once on the water, the Kaos’ weight won’t matter much at all. The Kaos’ surf specific features, however, make a huge difference for quality surfing on a waveface. It’ll allow you to carve and do cutbacks better.

Given the choice, go for the Kaos!


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@sing Thank you so much!
Friday and Saturday’s “feels like” temperature is under 30 or 25. We lose heat some 6 times faster in water. Is your 5/4 wetsuit warm enough?

May I meet with you on Friday or Saturday? Lunch or dinner on me. Approximately when you would be done with surfing? I am going to Carl’s Osprey on Saturday or Sunday.

Kaos, it is!

I plan on surfing Nantasket on Saturday morning, between 9:30 AM - 12 PM. High tide is at around 1:40 PM. With the astronomical high, the waves will be slamming into the seawall sometime after 12 PM.

If you come back around 11:30 AM, I should be near to finishing up. I can show you and explain my current favorite waveski (I have five waveskis but none fit you as you are much taller than my 5’3").

The water temp is still over 50 degrees but air expected to be around 40 degrees. I will probably be surfing in a 4/3 wetsuit, with the addition of a neo hood and mitts to deal with the air temp.


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Saturday lunch on me then? I will be thrilled to meet the Bostonian surf kayak legend!

My cell number is seven 13 eight 05 zero 175.

Please drop me a GPS pin, if your surf location is not easy to find.

Make sure the Kaos has thigh straps. Or you will need to get these as well as a short paddle leash. The use of a paddle leash is debated on this site. But I have been using them for over a decade on my waveskis. The advantages outweigh the potential danger of being wrapped by the leash. Frankly when that happens, it serves to help keep me connected to and prevents the loss of the waveski or SOT. Of course, if the leash wraps around your neck (highly unlikely if you attached the leash to the front of the waveski/SOT).


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Please drop me a GPS pin, if your surf location is not easy to find. Thank you very much @sing

I am good with DIY and can add straps myself. I have been using paddle leash myself and prefer to have it than not.

Oh, and I will remember to take my super telephoto lens and take a few videos an/or photos of your surf, if you like @sing

I’ll be in the area in front of the big bathhouse, with parking lots on either side of it. I won’t be hard to find, as 90% of the time when I surf there, I am usually the only sit-down paddle surfer at Nantasket. Others with a paddle will be standing up on their oversized surfboards. LOL!


PS. Here is a review of the Kaos, from a kayaker’s perspective: https://nextadventure.net/blog/gear-review-dagger-kaos-sot-surf-kayak/ Two minor things I disagree with. The fins do not provide stability. Rather, the fins allow the boat to carve into the inclined wave and prevent it from sliding down the face into the wave trough. Second, the recommendation of a www paddle of 194 plus is too long. It’s doable but a shorter paddle is better, especially when you are tucked right along side the face of the wave. A longer paddle can get in the way. I normally use a 175 paddle in white water, but my favorite waveski paddle is only 165 long. It was prototype Big Spoon carbon paddle given to me by one of the RISK winter session founders. I cherish the paddle because not only does it fit me well, but that it can never be replaced as BS never put that paddle into production.

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Roger, roger.

So should I look for a 175cm we paddle, or shorter? Those short paddles are not easily found, right? May I buy / trade a paddle from you? I have a nice Kialoa carbon outrigger (single blade) paddle that I don’t use.

My usual sea kayak paddle is about 213cm. I understand much shorter paddles should be used in waves.

Don’t buy a paddle yet. I have a 175 and 190 that you can try out first. This will give you a better sense of what your personal preference may be.


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Thank you very much, @sing.

Between a used
EZski (waveski 8’ , 28" and 15lbs), httpss://waveski.com/models/ezski/

and a used Dager Kaos,

which one would you recommend me to start with?

The Kaos is obviously 2’2" longer, 1.5" narrower and 28 lbs heavier, than EZski. I am guessing Kaos will have easier time in catching mostly short/small waves in Boston waters?

Their used cost is likely similar. I would need to drive 3.5-4 hrs longer for the used waveski, though that is probably ok with me.

Start with the Kaos. Learn to surf with that for the next year or two. Then you can figure out what kind of surfing style you have, which then influences the model of waveski you want in the future.

The Kaos’ longer length will definitely help with paddling out quicker in the break zone and catching waves faster. Also, the long length works better on smaller waves. This is the reason that I switched from shorter high performance waveskis - 7.5’-8’x24-25". You need higher quality waves - chest high plus and longer periods to really get the most out of the shorter waveskis. And, then it is way more of a workout and a combat rolling session as the these shorter skis are slower and way tippier. It would be major pain, if you don’t have a roll, to constantly have to climb back on after a flip.

I find the he longboard skis just give me more surfing enjoyment in a variety of wave conditions. they are also better on a beach break, like Nantasket, on bigger wave days. Beach breaks are much harder to get out through on big wave days and a long board provides an advantage in speed and less tippiness. I use my short waveskis more at my homebreak which is a combination of reef and point break with set waves (predictably peaking and breaking in the same places). There are easier sneak out routes that makes the slower, shorter skis more bearable. But, you have to be a good surfer, because the boardies will be lining up at the set waves. You have to be able to compete for waves with good wave etiquette and then surf and weave around the other surfers paddling back out. “Dropping in” on someone’s wave and/or running over a surfer paddling out won’t be tolerated at my homebreak. There is way more of “local surfer culture” at my homebreak. Nantasket is the opposite in that it is consider a beginner’s break and folks can spread out and not compete and get in each other’s way. It is definitely more accepting of sit down paddle surfers who are starting out.

Another thing with the Kaos, you don’t have to worry just yet about banging a waveski up and have to learn/do epoxy/FG repairs. That is another reason why I have more than one waveski - seems that almost always have a skis that need some fiberglass and/or fin box repair because I ran into the rocky/boulder shoreline at the homebreak.


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Sounds great, thank you, Sing!

Now I just need to find out if I can tolerate the low water temperature in November with a 5/4 wetsuit.

How do I find out though, without actually buying a 5/4 wetsuit? I am assuming wetsuits cannot be returned, after I try them in the sea?

I do have a cheap short sleeve wetsuit I bough from Academy more about 10 years ago (used once or twice in Texas waters). But it won’t be warm enough for Boston waters.

I used to take cold water shower when it snows outside in college, but have not done it in 17 years :frowning:

You cannot buy, use and then return. :hot_face:

The coldest water temps around here is generally around February into early March. Water can be at 40 and slightly lower. I have a 6/5/4 but find that I am pretty good in my 5/4 for surf sessions that go for several hours. Remember, we are not boardies whose body is actually almost always touching the water. Instead, we are sitting on top of the waveski and/or SOT. Only time you are in the water is when you flip and have to roll and/or climb back on. That is still a short period of time compared to the boardies.

You should be able to tolerate the current water temps right now into December with a 5/4. Over time, you may even be comfortable with it into February.

Changing out is when it becomes challenging in air temps below 30 degrees. I have strategies for that too…

I find my hand gets cold more than anything else. It’s why I am very much a believer in neo mitts rather than gloves. And, in trying surfing and paddling mitts, I find NRS toaster mitts to be the most durable and workable for my needs, with it’s 3.5mm top and 2.5mm palm. I have two Level Six mitts blow out in less than winter season. I tried surf mitts and found them too tight and too thick to be able to handle a paddle loom for an extended session, without cramping after awhile.

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