I was wondering if anyone would care to comment on their experiences with waveski’s (short surfboard looking things for breaking waves not the long skinny surfski’s). I have been playing with a pyrhana surfjet which is a plastic sit on top surfboat. I have enjoyed it immensely but am pondering waveski’s. Is the performance difference a big jump or is it more subtle? Can you play in the soup and side surf with a waveski or does the reduced volume make this not work. I live on the east coast so will be playing in va beach and obx.



Not an expert.

– Last Updated: Nov-28-04 1:19 PM EST –

My oldest son started to use a waveski about two years ago. He was surfing a Cobra Strike which is about as good as you can get for a sit-on-top surf Kayak. He has gotten into surfing High Performance Australian Style waves skis and yes there is a huge difference in the performance from a SOT surf boat . His ski weighs about 14 pounds and is much faster than almost anything else on the water when it is ripping on a wave. It is also exceptionally maneuvrable once you learn how and you can fly over the lip, plant your paddle and get big air going off the back. I have only succesfully surfed on it a few times and it was really fun, but it takes very good balance and insticnt to stay on it , and it pays to not be very heavy with a high center of mass. I've tried several lower performance wave skis and almost all of them out perform surf SOTs.
The drawback to a wave ski is they are hard to get out through the break when its big. If you are looking at buying a ski and starting I would look at the Wavemaster Stabilizer Comp or Evolution unless you are young and athletic, then you might try a Strata, you can check them out at Wavemasterusa.com also check out Island Wave Skis they have several introductory models but I don't like them too much. Their higher performance models are excellent. Vince Shay is selling a J-Bay on surf zone on boatertalk.com, it would be a good board for an advanced intermediate.
We have a spot here in SOCAL where there is a cult of California Waveskis made by Mike Johnson and Steve Boehne at Infinity Surfboards.Com These are realy cool but don't work well for steep walled up waves.

You can surf in the soup if you want to on a waveski, in fact it can be hard to get off of the soup, but not as big a problem as a SOT. There are a bunch of guys on the surfzone forum on www.boatertalk.com that surf waveskis in the VA beach area, you might contact them for best local advice.

You can see several shots of the Wavemaster Strata in action in my webshot photos (see Waveski and both Baja albums for example) also check out the Ventura 2004 album for some pictures of some of the best west coast guys, I think all of them were on high performance Islands.


Superb post seadart

Question for Seadart
I have also been surfing a Surf Jet for several years and am also going to purchase a waveski. I can roll either side and have been surfing 3 to 10 foot waves in SE Fl, but have no waveski experience. I went to the Wavemaster web-site and filled out the boat selection questionnaire, they recomended an Evolution 7’ 8’’. I am 5’ 10" and 135 lbs, old not young but athletic. You mentioned if you were young and athletic the Strata was a possibility. Could you tell us the difference between the Stabilizer Comp, the Evolution and the Strata from a performance standpoint, paddling out, turning, rolling or anything else you can think of.

Thanks Lee

Eugene, have you cracked your sidedeck above the attachment point for the rear thigh strap on your Surf Jet?

Wavemaster Skis

– Last Updated: Nov-28-04 10:49 PM EST –

I'm not sure I'm informed enough to help. I'm still shopping for a ski, hoping to find a used Dick Wold Ski or go with a used Stabilize Comp or Evolution next summer. On the stabilizer comp you sit lower, which it means you are more stable and it is is slightly wider, on the Strata you sit higher so you can crank turns much tighter but it is also alot more difficult to balance. This becomes an issue when you are paddling out and getting pounded by waves. The evolution has a different hull design and is intermediate between the two for performance, but blows the doors off of the stabilizer comp. My own impression is that all of the Australian skis are hard to roll , but you don't have to roll since when you tip over with the seat belt the boat stays with you and they are easy to climb on ( the Strata is a bit like balancing a pencil however.) I would try to demo them before you bought them. I'm not the worlds most agile person, but I ski down hill and skate ski, and tried snow boarding, as you get older your balance goes down hill even in your fourties... the Strata is the most challenging thing I have ever tried to balance. You are much lighter than I am and would probably not have so much trouble. I don't think the Wavemaster boats are the most durable boats in the world, we do a lot of repairs to my son's ski, but it's not hard to do, similar to taking care of a fancy surfboard, we also got it as a demo ski for $600, a new surfkayak that will perform as well will cost about three times as much. You might post your questions on the western waveski page (see link below), Wavemaster USA is a sponsor for the board. Steve Moser (Ripp) who runs the business sometimes reads the boards and might respond. He does not seem like one of the most customer oriented people in the world so it might be easier to get info from your local dealer if you have one.


Jerry (JLK) who posts here once in a while is one of the San Onofre regulars and has owned many different kind of skis. He could tell you better about the "California Style" skis. I think he just switched over to high performance surfkayaks this year which is kind of unusual. Hopefully he will see this and chime in.

surfjet and island waveski
have not cracked the surfjet but it does creak. Have had it about 3 years.

seadart thank you for your comments. What about island waveskis is it that turns you off?



Just the Fun ski and EZ ski
and I forget the name of the other starter ski. They were just slow slogs to paddle and not that hot on the wave. Maybe just personal preference. They may work very well for Atlantic Coast surfing conditions. Also waveskis are very dependent on each surfers weight and style.

Helpful Links



If Performance is What You Seek…
I have to get a plug in for the Infinity wave ski. The beauty of Steve Boehne’s creations is that each ski is custom built to fit the rider’s physical specs, as well as his or her skill level and performance objectives. A major plus of Steve’s designs is the fact that he has been, and still is, a world class surfer. He has incorporated decades of riding experience and many years of surfboard shaping into his wave ski designs. And he is not afraid to experiment with shape and material to keep his products on the leading edge.

I personally have two of the Infinity wave skis…both are the Mosquito model. I use the 9’6" ski for days when the surf goes overhead and I need some length to deal with the swell size and speed. I use my 8’6" when we get those classic 3’ - 5’ fast down the line waves. The speed and maneuverability of a well tuned wave ski is well beyond anything a plastic SOT surf kayak can achieve. I know…I started on a Cobra Strike and then a W.S Kaos.

As to side sliding in the soup…at the risk of pushing someone’s buttons…I don’t consider that really surfing. My goal is to stay in the green, unbroken part of the wave, just ahead of the white water, moving across the face of the wave at optimum speed. If the conditions are right, a skilled wave ski rider can perform all the same high performance moves of stand up surfers…round house cut backs, off the lips, ariels… and throw in a couple of 360 degree spinners to set themselves apart from the boardies.

Check out http://www.sopsa.org for some additional information about wave skis and paddle surfing.

Works of art!
I tried out an Infinity ski this summer at San Onofre. The thing I remember most about the rides is what a beautiful piece of craftmanship the board was I was riding on, put together like a fine guitar. I was afraid I would scratch or dent it trying it out. They are really cool.

“As to side sliding in the soup…at the risk of pushing someone’s buttons…I don’t consider that really surfing. My goal is to stay in the green, unbroken part of the wave, just ahead of the white water, moving across the face of the wave at optimum speed.”

Hard to explain that to someone who doesn’t have a craft with the capability of staying in and/or ahead of the pocket. It takes a leap of faith, or the an opportunity to borrow someone’s surf craft, take the initial lumps, and then have an eye opening experience.

Loving my Venom. Keeping my Boogie as the "guest boat. Gotten rid of my ww (posing as “surf”) boats for guests.